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@amgdvl: There are various ways to build an SDS system. The absolute least expensive is to get your own laptop, source the multiplexer and download the software for free. For the laptop, if you are going to use C3 (generally the easiest to setup and most reliable), you need one with an RS232 serial port. The Dell D630 is a good choice, can be bought cheap and is reliable. If you want more speed, upgrade to 8GB of ram and a solid state hard drive (SSD).

For the multiplexer, you will need to get a Chinese clone. In the past they sold a cheap, compact unit that tended to fail. The ones mostly sold now use an RS485 interface, which means it will have a small converter box inline on the cable to convert form RS232. Rumors were that the ones with red capacitors were best, but that is not necessarily true. Also, there are stories about them being built with used relays, but I think that is also sort of an urban myth. Basically, you are buying cheap Chinese crap of dubious quality, so it's sort of a crapshoot. Expect to pay around $150 for one.

For the software, it comes in various installation packages. Some will provide it on installation DVDs. Since the software is hacked a bit, it can be a real challenge to install. A better option is to get it pre-installed on a hard drive or an "image" that can be restored to a hard drive. There are two types of installations on a hard drive. One is native where it includes the Windows OS specific to the hardware. In that case, you may be required to use a certain IBM or Dell laptop. The better case is a virtualized copy that will run on any PC using VMWare Player. Virtualization adds some complexity, but it also means it's much more flexible. For example, I have my "live" version on a Dell D630 in the garage, but I also have one on my Lenovo Yoga Windows 10 laptop in the living room that I can pull up for reference to WIS, EPC and even "sim" mode for diagnostics.

To get a free copy of the software, you can join mhhauto and there are download links from guys there. I will warn you that they are not as friendly as we are here on benzworld. But if you dig enough, and have the computer skills, you can get it for free.

Now, if all of that sounds complicated, then go for the turnkey system with everything installed. Yes, you'll pay more than doing all all piecemeal, but if you don;t have the time or skills, it is the way to go. You could also do sort of a middle-of-the-road method where you source the laptop, and then buy just the MUX along with an external HD with the software pre-configured on a VMWare virtual machine that you copy to your laptop's hard drive.
 

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Rodney:

Thanks for explaining it ayll to us dummies.

Listening to you hold forth on these matters reminds me that I am but a "grasshopper amongst many masters"
(old Kung Fu analogy) !

I just used the Carsoft to scan to see if my bad LR & RR codes cleared after I cleaned ABS wheel sensors - there was crud in the cavity / sensor tip.

There was also a Brake Light Switch code.

I now believe that these 2 things were causing the Intermittent brake light + beeping.

In your experience could that also cause BAS to do sudden brake application ?


Thanks a ton - David
 

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@amgdvl: There are various ways to build an SDS system. The absolute least expensive is to get your own laptop, source the multiplexer and download the software for free. For the laptop, if you are going to use C3 (generally the easiest to setup and most reliable), you need one with an RS232 serial port. The Dell D630 is a good choice, can be bought cheap and is reliable. If you want more speed, upgrade to 8GB of ram and a solid state hard drive (SSD). ....
That info was really helpful thanks ! ... I will look into all of that... i intend to give it a shot myself. I also read on the R129 group that C4 was recommended (@art_arev also recommended it) ... i did read some concern of compatibility in past with C4... but it seems benefits outweigh concerns (as far as i can understand)... someone who knows better might to chime in.
 

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@David: Yes, wheel speed sensor problems can cause unexpected braking.
@amgdvl: Unless you expect to have a newere MBZ (2016+) , then C3 is just fine. Hop over the the W230 forum - lots of us over there use SDS. Bobterry posts a lot about it along with some links to systems he has found that appear to be good buys. Just keep in mind that since these are Chinese clones, quality is dubious so no one can really recommend one over another.
 

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If you read through the 129 post you will find that some claim the c4 is better quality other the C3.
I personal have a better experience with the c4 then the C3 when it comes to reliability.
To add to the confusion there is a third option it's called passthru this let's you use any passthry obd tool like a VAS5054A.
But only works on 2002 and up.
So your ML could be just on the edge.
If you PM me your Vin I can check if it works.
The big benifits of the c4 for me are:
It works on any Laptop that can run Windows 7 32bit.
It runs on Win7 not XP
Connects via WiFi or Ethernet no com port needed
Paul


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If you read through the 129 post you will find that some claim the c4 is better quality other the C3.
I personal have a better experience with the c4 then the C3 when it comes to reliability. ....
The big benifits of the c4 for me are:
It works on any Laptop that can run Windows 7 32bit.
...Connects via WiFi or Ethernet no com port needed

Paul


Thanks Paul (will pm my vin shortly)... but have read your posts on R129 forum... very helpful info !
 

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I'm been using the SDS C3 for some time with 03/2014 data version. I'm getting ready to purchased the SDS C5 with Vediamo and DTC Monoco engineering software running on SSD with windows 7. It is advertised with offline programming with no need for online account. Has anyone used this system?

Thanks in advance.
 

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I purchased a Chinese knockoff and it was the best investment I’ve made since buying the vehicles. It’s indispensable for diagnostic purposes and now that I’m no spring chicken anymore I take my results to my close friend (and indie mechanic) and he uses what I provide him with to make the repairs. Unless you’re loaded with money to pay dealers learning the vehicle is essential and getting the SDS is as essential. Learn how to use it and it will tell you everything you need to know about the vehicle.
Hi, where did you buy it from please?
 

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Gcarpenter, Vediamo & DTC Monaco are very serious & dangerous software's. One needs proper training. You can do serious damage with them. Those are not for DIY'ers. If you are a professional Benz mechanic, I would say yes go for it. If you are an amateur, don't touch it............
 

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Yes, there are things that SDS can do that you shouldn't - like test-firing and airbag squib without first unplugging it and attaching a special test device in its place, but there are warnings about these things. There are also some settings you can change on the car's electronics that might lead to undesirable results, but they can be changed back. I highly recommend it for anyone doing serious DIY work on their MBZ cars. As far as where to get one, look for "Star C3" on places like dhgate, alibaba, and eBay. No one can recommend any particular seller since these are all Chinese made with irregular QC. Today's great seller may provide crap next week, and vice-versa.
 

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C3 is too old, C5 is too unstable, the new bosch Vci is either unattainable or expensive as f..k and it doesn't do hht-win vehicles. C4 is the most reliable mux so far. I went through various eBay sellers and Chinese and European sellers. Eventually I found a seller that provided me with quality hardware and software. And updates it regularly. I can keep my cars healthy. Stay away from the Chinese sellers!!! They install hard disk lock software, backdoor apps and all kinds of garbage. Horrible! If anyone needs help shoot me a message, I'd be happy to help


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C3 is too old, C5 is too unstable, the new bosch Vci is either unattainable or expensive as f..k and it doesn't do hht-win vehicles. C4 is the most reliable mux so far. I went through various eBay sellers and Chinese and European sellers. Eventually I found a seller that provided me with quality hardware and software. And updates it regularly. I can keep my cars healthy. Stay away from the Chinese sellers!!! They install hard disk lock software, backdoor apps and all kinds of garbage. Horrible! If anyone needs help shoot me a message, I'd be happy to help


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So why would we trust you and your advice instead of Chinese sellers?

After all it came from China made iphone. :)
 

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Something that must be understood with SDS. You either buy a genuine system from MBZ by paying tens of thousands of dollars for the hardware, then thousands a month for the subscription -OR- you buy a Chinese clone for a few hudred dollars. There are no "Australian craftsmen" or "European tinkerers" making these systems. The software is hacked and the MUX units (C3, C4, Ct, it does not matter) are made in China factories that do not care about copyright and trademark laws of other countries. Anyone building these or even selling them within the USA, Canada, EU, or other first-world country that honors copyright and trademark laws runs the great risk of being prosecuted by Daimler-Benz. There was one such seller here on benzworld that received a cease and desist.

Having said that, there are some people out there who order these Chinese systems and will do some further QA on the hardware and cleanup the software. They may offer ongoing support by a native English speaking (or German, Spanish, Italian, etc. - whatever you need) technician and will provide a warranty and updates. This will cost you. Honestly, if you are willing to procure your own laptop, like a Dell D630 for about $70, you can get the software pretty much for free, and buy a C3 MUX for around $130. There is absolutely nothing wrong with C3. It and C4 are pretty much the same, except that C3 is a serial port connection and C4 is Ethernet/WiFi. There is some misinformation about C3 not working with some cars, but there are patches to the software that fix that. Now, the latest models (not sure what years, maybe 2017 and later?) do require C5 as many protocols were changed. But since this is the W163 forum, that is irrelevant.
 

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So why would we trust you and your advice instead of Chinese sellers?

After all it came from China made iphone. :)
You trust whoever you want. Freedom of choice. I had no one to tell me what I should buy and what I should stay away from. I ended up wasting tens of thousands on bullcrap. If I can help anyone avoiding the mistakes I made, I'll be glad to do it.


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