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I have read in this column that Harbor Freight has a good deal on scanners, and I see it's Cen-Tech brand. I also see Actron scanners advertised. Since the Cen-Tech is only $39.99 it's more attractive, but is it really a bargain? Also Harbor has another model for $79.99. I can't find any consumer info about the Cen-Tech. And then, Auto Zone will check it for free; should I just use their service and forget buying one?
 

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Get

the 94169 you will need it more times then you think and why be at the mercy of some kid that doesn't know from what:eek:
The 79 buck one displays the wording of the codes,but for the mercedes you can gety that list here or post it here since it is just a guide to follow in the proper diagnostics of the problem.I.E. the p0170 and p0173 codes typical of a bad or dirty maf sensor,google p0170 and p0173 obd and see what you come up with about fuel trim values and such.It is being able to decode the codes that is what solves the problem at hand.:thumbsup:
:bowdown:eek:hlord
 

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Plus one on the $40 CenTech at Harbor Freight. Small enough that it is easy to keep in the car AND it comes with a diagnostic CD that helps translate the codes for you (you don't have to leave the CD in the car;)). Having looked at the design, function and features I would bet that the same company makes at least a couple of the Actron and CenTech models.

If it makes you feel better the 94169 unit is $70 in the HF stores. They will match the online price if you print the web page and take it in with you.

Take care and enjoy the ride,
Greg
 

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I have not used an OBD II scan tool. I'm used to my old OBD I scan tools where I can watch the sensor values in real time - it's been very useful in troubleshooting intermittent faults.

Do any of these inexpensive OBD II scan tools let you see live sensor data, or do they just read and clear codes?
 

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OBD2

is the second generation protocol,you need a gen 2 scanner to read those codes.Gen 1 showed failure of systems not the constant monitoring of the obd2.The little scanner just displays codes,I/M status and erases.
Units like AutoTap - OBDII Diagnostic Scanner have real time functions,graph voltages,maf outputs,o2 function,etc.
beyond the need of most diy'rs.
The 94169 is handy,works,simple to use and worth it's weight in gold:thumbsup:
:bowdown:eek:hlord
 

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I guess I'm not the average DIYer. :) I like to be able to see what the computer thinks it's seeing, even though you can diagnose most problems with just the trouble code. I'm the only person I know with an oscilloscope in the garage.

Thanks for the info ohlord, that was exactly what I wanted to know. btw, the GM OBD I systems allowed you to monitor all of the sensor inputs in real time, along with a host of operating parameters like fuel trim.
 

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OBD-II stuff

I guess I'm not the average DIYer. :) I like to be able to see what the computer thinks it's seeing, even though you can diagnose most problems with just the trouble code. I'm the only person I know with an oscilloscope in the garage.

Thanks for the info ohlord, that was exactly what I wanted to know. btw, the GM OBD I systems allowed you to monitor all of the sensor inputs in real time, along with a host of operating parameters like fuel trim.
I'm a former Audi owner that lucked into a terrific deal on a 430, and I have a question as to whether there are PC-based OBD-II tools for the MBZ platform? Audi has a tool called VAG that can be used on a common laptop PC, and interfaces with the car via USB OBD-II connector.

Anything at all like that for MB? (hoping hoping hoping)

Thanks!
 

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Starmark

machine for thousands plus yearly fees for updates,but unless you are a shop who needs that?
Real time values,codes,sensor outputs,engine values,fuel trims,o2 values,all sensor values
AutoTap - OBDII Diagnostic Scanner
hooks up to your laptop,you go crazy with power:thumbsup:about $199
ohlord:bowdown:

simple backyard stuff the 94169 hhs from hbfreight for 39 bucks
 

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AutoTap - OBDII Diagnostic Scanner
hooks up to your laptop,you go crazy with power:thumbsup:about $199
ohlord:bowdown:
Anyone who's looking for inexpensive laptop-based OBDII scan tools might be interested in doing an eBay search for "Elm 327" - there are a bunch of generic OBDII to USB (or RS232 serial) interfaces available based on the Elm 327 chip, most of which sell for less than $100 including shipping, although you can even find models that work over Bluetooth.

If you're an electronics hobbyist you can buy the Elm 327 chip and build your own OBDII interface, although the Chinese eBay specials are so cheap it doesn't seem worth the time.

You can then download free OBDII scantool software such as from ScanTool.net. A Google search turns up a bunch more free software which will work with these interfaces- there is also free software for Palm PDAs that will work with the Elm 327.

If you just need to read and clear the trouble codes, the Harbor Freight tools are all you need.
 

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I bought $118 scanner from Harbor Freight and couldn't communicate with 2006 c280 any suggestions
You need to try the appropriate C-class forum to find out what protocol is used by your car. There are no less than four incompatible protocols, all called OBD-II. Not all scanners support all protocols. As of 2008, all US cars have the CAN protocol, but I don't know if M-B was an early adopter.
 

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ditto on the Elm Scan tool - very convenient BT, WiFi, serial/usb versions available.... i've been using the serial/usb version for years on my 1996 jeep and just used it last week on the mercedes! ...just plug it in to the obdII port and run the software on your pc/pda... you can use your laptop to capture live driving data and replay...much more versatile than the hand held units....you can even write your own software and utilize the Elm Scan tool protocol converter to communicate.
 

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I just bought an Actron CP9575 from Sears for 99 bucks and seems be pretty handy little device. Even has live data.
 
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