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DIY scanner/ Scope on a budget

  • Mitchell
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16 Apr 2019 21:20 #28763 by Mitchell
DIY scanner/ Scope on a budget was created by Mitchell
This is my first post and I am very happy to be here. First off I would like to thank Danner for this site as it has rekindled my love for cars. As a former Automotive Machinist who took up Carpentry to make a living. I am starting to learn how and most important why things work like they do. Although still love a good Three or Five angle valve job.

My struggle is I have about a $600 budget to buy a scanner and a scope with. My first thoughts were with an older Modis seemed logical kill Two birds with one stone. I don’t know if this is the proper route. Maybe a better Solus and a uscope?

Any insight would be much appreciated.

Sincerely Joe

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16 Apr 2019 21:47 #28764 by Zephyr
Replied by Zephyr on topic DIY scanner/ Scope on a budget
Being that you are not currently in the industry you would be fine with a Modis as you'll end up with a 4 channel with a scanner with vehicle coverage up to a certain point with component testing.
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17 Apr 2019 14:51 #28783 by Andy.MacFadyen
Replied by Andy.MacFadyen on topic DIY scanner/ Scope on a budget
A lot depends on the vehicles you expect to work on most hobby users are going to work on older vehicles and there is quite a lot of free/low cost PC software dedicated to one manufacturer that will work with a OBD USB interface.

"There's always a catch ---- Catch OBD2 ."

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18 Apr 2019 12:11 #28814 by GypsyR
Replied by GypsyR on topic DIY scanner/ Scope on a budget
A used Snap On scanner is an excellent way to go. All of them are packed with info. An example from yesterday. A car with apparently a bad injector. Guy wanted to verify the ECM was firing it with a test light. He didn't know if the ECM fired it by using the ground or positive and wasn't getting expected results. I pulled out a scanner (with scope) and went to "component testing" for that car. How what and where was all there to scope the injector signal. Though he didn't need to scope it, he had the info he needed to test it and another injector and finally determine the ECU was faulty. Saved semi-randomly poking wires and he didn't have to stop and go dig through Alldata trying to find out which wire was which. Stuff like that.

All the SnapOn scanners with scopes have this great stuff in them. Most people never bother to look though. If the car is ten years old or so the same info is in the scanner with the latest update (99%) as about a year after the car came out. They don't update older stuff much at all, the focus is always on the new model cars.

My first was a Modis I found in a pawn shop. Beat up and a slightly damaged screen. I really like it. It has like a "worm track" on the LCD which is a minor annoyance and never really affected usability. It's up to 2009 and I don't care. I use it at home and often as not on motorcycle ignitions and things to which any updates don't apply anyway. if you find a deal on a Modis, make sure you get a battery. It will likely be dead, but you can have it rebuilt. There are NO new ones and the cheapest old dead but rebuildable one I've seen on eBay went for over $60. And I haven't seen one for sale for a long time. Make sure the physical buttons work, people have had trouble with them. Snap On won't update these. Period.

Then there's a Vantage Pro. (There are other models, I have a Pro). No more updates as of this spring. 17 or 18 I think was the last. I didn't update mine, too pricey. This thing is basically a Modis without the scan tool function. The earlier model had an ammeter capability that this one doesn't have but I've never missed it. Two channels. Missing the extra ignition connector of the Modis. That one is just used when doing multi cylinder ignition scope readings. You don't read it directly, it just times which cylinder is first in the firing order, you read the ignition with other leads. A small thing but it bugs me.

A Verdict. Kind of a red-headed step child. Bluetooth connection to the scanner fob and a separate digital meter/two channel scope. It's kind of underpowered and slow. If you're not in a time-is-money situation and have it little patience it works OK. I upgraded mine with more memory and and SSD which helped speed it up just a little. It's Windows XP so it's outdated for sure but it's still Windows with wifi so you can get on the internet. If you have a "dock" you connect a USB mouse, keyboard, and bigger monitor to it. It doesn't support an external touchscreen though. The meter is a little weird as a scope. It doesn't have the extra ignition connector like the Vantage. You can display what you are looking at on it it's little monochrome screen or bluetooth it to the Verdict's screen. But the meter all by itself is a GREAT little graphing multimeter by itself. You don't need the Verdict to use it. It's why I kept the Verdict, I wanted the meter and didn't really want to sell the Verdict separately.

You might find a deal on a Verus which is probably good. An upgrade over the Verdict but still uses Win XP. No updates. Not real up on these but I think the next one up is a Verus Pro. You'd have to look those up. My main current one at work is a Verus Edge which would be out of price range here. It has it's quirks but I love it (and paid WAY too much for it.) It is what I wanted the Verdict to be. It also talks to the Verdict's sweet little multimeter.
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