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Old 01-25-2013, 04:54 PM   #1 (permalink)
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OBD 2 CAN Code Reader

2008 Solstice Base/ Premium

Hello. I am getting ready to buy my first ever code reader. I looked on the forum for a specific thread on buying code readers, but I didn't find one. Anyhow, I have done some research and I want one that displays not only the code, but translates the code right on the screen without having to go look it up. If possible, I'd like to keep it under a hundred bucks. What are you guys using, and why?

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Old 01-25-2013, 06:25 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I use a bluetooth obd II adapter that I got on ebay for like a buck, and Torque on my android phone and or tablet

it will pull the code and then search the interwebs to tell you what it means, it's not as good as a gm specific $3000 reader/programmer, but I think I'm into this for like 8 bucks.

it also has plugins available that serve a number of purposes such as a track recorder that records video, whatever gauges you choose to have on the screen at the time, and a gps map overlay.

Last edited by Jekl; 01-25-2013 at 06:41 PM.
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Old 01-26-2013, 04:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks for that quick response and the great details on the configuration. However, I am looking for an independent unit, and I don't even own a cell phone. I'm weird about that. Anyhow, what I think I have figured out is the real expensive ones about $200-$300 have brake code read abilities. The next best $75-$150 will do the onscreen displays of the codes and their definitions, and the ones that cost less than 50 or so will give you the codes, but you have to look it up. A good tip I found is if the unit only has two buttons, it most likely won't do anything more than turn off your check engine light, bring up your code, and you'll have to look it up. Thinking about it, for the number of times I will wind up using it, that may be enough. Thanks again for the considered response.
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Old 01-26-2013, 05:06 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I recently also bought an adapter that connects via usb to my laptop, there is a variety of free obd II software available, though I haven't really tried it out yet.

my main motivation in shopping for these has been getting as much as I can for as little money as possible.
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Old 01-26-2013, 05:33 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I recently also bought an adapter that connects via usb to my laptop, there is a variety of free obd II software available, though I haven't really tried it out yet.

my main motivation in shopping for these has been getting as much as I can for as little money as possible.
I'm with you on that. It leaves money to buy more stuff. I got my Magellen Roadmate 2136-T-LM for 60 dollars. Now I can buy a code reader. Anyhow, after considerable research and talking to you, I am just going to go with one in the $20.00-$30.00 range. I don't have any codes on my 2008 yet, but I know they are coming.
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Old 01-26-2013, 05:55 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I guess I didn't look hard enough. it's been said before, but the Goggle Search Button on the forum webpage gives a better search. I'll have to remember that.

OBD II Code Reader - $24 + shipping

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Old 01-27-2013, 08:42 AM   #7 (permalink)
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om - yes, the google search on the forum is the only way to go. Let us know what you end up with. I'm particularly interested as this item is on my wish list also.
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:58 PM   #8 (permalink)
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This what I decided to purchase. It has had a considerable amount of good reviews.
Autel MaxiScan MS300 CAN Diagnostic Scan Tool for OBDII Vehicles : Amazon.com : Automotive Autel MaxiScan MS300 CAN Diagnostic Scan Tool for OBDII Vehicles : Amazon.com : Automotive



There are four types of manufacturer specific codes: P (Power-train: Engine and Tranny- Example: P1267), B (Body -includes airbags-Example: B0013) C (Chassis includes ABS-Example: C1234), and U (Vehicle Network Codes-Example: U2023). The one I am getting, and pretty much any inexpensive one will only (as far as I know) read Power-train Codes. Another drawback is a cheaper one like this will not allow one to get "live" data while the car is running. Last, while it is super cheap, I realized after I bought it that it ships from China which means a hold-up in Customs.

On the positive side,it reads Generic and Pontiac (or GM if you prefer) specific P Codes. it presents the code and definition on the screen which means you do not have to stop and look the code up to translate what it means. It will identify things like loose gas cap, dirty MAF, bad spark plugs...and reset your check engine light. It will erase all codes, retrieve I/M readiness status, display the VIN on 2002 and newer cars, and rescan. In the end I bought this one because it was cheap, and I wanted to have something the first time my dash lit up. Most likely in the future, I will go the $200-$250.00 route and get one with all the bells and whistles. If the Bush Tax Cuts had not expired, I could have bought a better one.

No matter which type you go with, everything I read says once you get the code hit the internet (or the Google Search on Solstice Forum ) and go from there. An internet search on the code will offer better and more recent solutions than an outdated device database, CD, or text manual.

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Old 01-30-2013, 07:38 AM   #9 (permalink)
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And what happens when your car gets a B or C code and you can't read it?
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Old 01-30-2013, 09:25 AM   #10 (permalink)
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And what happens when your car gets a B or C code and you can't read it?
Dealership or someone with a Tech-2 if you don't have the coin for one of the super high-dollar diagnostic gizmos. I have a buddy with a small service shop and his can read all of the codes so they're not that rare, just expensive.


As another option, even if you don't have a smartphone you can usually find someone giving away an older model that would work with any of the ebay sensors. Even without cellular service they are still really useful.
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Old 01-30-2013, 09:31 AM   #11 (permalink)
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I order one or those bluetooth devices jekl posted about $12 bucks free shipping from hong kong i dont expect much but ill give it a shot
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Old 01-30-2013, 10:12 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Since there are many places that will read codes, some free, my unstated comment was why waste money on a partial solution. Penny wise and pound foolish even if you're not in the UK. Wait and get a useful tool, ~$100-150.
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Old 01-30-2013, 10:47 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Autozone's reader won't pick up those codes either; I wasn't aware of any that could for less than $500-1k. $150 would be great since many of these ODBII solutions can reach that.

Some just don't live near a service station.

I use mine more for recording sensor data during laps than just clearing codes.
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Old 01-30-2013, 05:35 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I order one or those bluetooth devices jekl posted about $12 bucks free shipping from hong kong i dont expect much but ill give it a shot
if you are using an android device, check out Torque — OBD2 Performance and Diagnostics for your Vehicle

realtime gauges, code reading and resetting, etc.
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Old 01-30-2013, 08:17 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Since there are many places that will read codes, some free, my unstated comment was why waste money on a partial solution. Penny wise and pound foolish even if you're not in the UK. Wait and get a useful tool, ~$100-150.
I never said I was good with money, just good looking.

I can respect what you offer, but I am planning a road trip of considerable distance and I did not want to be at the mercy of some mechanic who wants to go to Hawaii. For 20 dollars, or four packs of cigarettes, or a night of bowling, the peace of mind is worth it to me. It might be faulty, but that's my logic. Plus, when I upgrade, I can pass it along (for free) to one of my buddies. That's how I roll.
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