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      09-27-2018, 09:43 AM   #1
nadthomas
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Best sub $500 Scan Tool?

I do all of my own mechanical repairs/maintenance, and so fair I have been able to get away with a cheap ODBII scan tool. That scanner has been on the frits lately, so its time to upgrade.

What is the best bang for your buck diagnostic scan tool for under $500. I would like something that will do more then just an ODBII reader, and I'm currently looking at the Schwaben scanner, but if there is a better one for a couple of bucks more or a cheaper one that does 90% of what the Schwaben will do for a fraction of the cost great. Even better if it will scan other cars, I currently have vehicles from Ford, GM, and BMW.

I'm also an IT Engineer, so it doesn't have to be a handheld either, I have plenty of computers at my disposable. Although handheld is preferred out of conveniences.

Share your thoughts!
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      09-27-2018, 10:11 AM   #2
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The Schwaben, or the identical Foxwell NT510, is all you need. Anything they can't do requires using ISTA, Rheingold, E-Sys and the like. You get software for one brand of cars in the price, but you can buy software for others as well.
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      09-27-2018, 12:10 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Billfitz View Post
The Schwaben, or the identical Foxwell NT510, is all you need. Anything they can't do requires using ISTA, Rheingold, E-Sys and the like. You get software for one brand of cars in the price, but you can buy software for others as well.
+1 for the Foxwell. I used it many times for my e90 335d and F36 430i.

Most recently, on my 335d, I activated the low-pressure fuel pump after the diesel filter change to purge air in fuel system, reset the transmission adaptation after ATF renewal and diagnose the DEF temperature sensor.

Note: I also have Carly for BMW. It can do coding but it is poor for diagnostics and servicing the car.

Last edited by montr; 09-27-2018 at 01:40 PM..
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      09-27-2018, 12:53 PM   #4
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I also purchased Schwaben / Foxwell NT510 and it already proved itself by identifying head unit faults which required updating the vehicle's software.
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      09-27-2018, 01:42 PM   #5
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Nice. I think I might go with the Foxwell NT520. Its only a little more then the NT510, but also has support for Mercedes, where the NT510 does not. Otherwise is appears to be pretty much identical. I could potentially see myself buy a Merc for my wife at some point.

Where did you guys buy your Foxwell? I found the NT520 on Amazon for $250, but FoxwellTool.com has it for $179. Although I don't think the site is actually associated with Foxwell, and it seems a little questionable.
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      09-27-2018, 02:39 PM   #6
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I got my 510 from Foxwell for $149. The downside was it shipped from China, but I still had it in 10 days.
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      09-27-2018, 02:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nadthomas View Post
Nice. I think I might go with the Foxwell NT520. Its only a little more then the NT510, but also has support for Mercedes, where the NT510 does not. Otherwise is appears to be pretty much identical. I could potentially see myself buy a Merc for my wife at some point.

Where did you guys buy your Foxwell? I found the NT520 on Amazon for $250, but FoxwellTool.com has it for $179. Although I don't think the site is actually associated with Foxwell, and it seems a little questionable.
Got my 510 from ECSTUNING on sale
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      09-27-2018, 03:17 PM   #8
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Does it show diesel information? Regenerations and DPF info?
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      09-27-2018, 03:26 PM   #9
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Does it show diesel information? Regenerations and DPF info?
Yes, some. I have used it to force a DPF regeneration more than once.
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      09-27-2018, 06:19 PM   #10
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Yes, some. I have used it to force a DPF regeneration more than once.
Very cool. Anything else it will let you do that is diesel specific?
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      09-27-2018, 08:15 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by n00bkiller944 View Post
Very cool. Anything else it will let you do that is diesel specific?
I do not know. The only functions that I used on my E90 335d are DEF and DPF related. On the ECStuning site, there is a list of functions supported
http://bd8ba3c866c8cbc330ab-7b26c6f3...ction_List.pdf

Another list is on http://www.foxwellsupport.com/foxwell-nt-510/

http://www.foxwelltool.com/upload/pr...nctionlist.pdf

Last edited by montr; 09-27-2018 at 08:20 PM..
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      09-27-2018, 09:18 PM   #12
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Has anyone here used Carly?
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      09-27-2018, 09:36 PM   #13
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Has anyone here used Carly?
I have both Carly and Foxwell NT510. For diagnostic, activation and calibration, there are no comparison. The NT510 is far superior.

The problem with Carly is that it display all the codes, real one and shadow codes, all at once. There are differentiation between shadow and real codes. Shadow codes comes and go. When a problem persist, shadow codes turn into real codes and then the "check engine light" is illuminated. When you read codes with Carly, you do not know which code turned ON your CEL. It is a guessing game. At least, the NT510 let you know the code and type of code.
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      09-27-2018, 10:00 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by montr View Post
I have both Carly and Foxwell NT510. For diagnostic, activation and calibration, there are no comparison. The NT510 is far superior.

The problem with Carly is that it display all the codes, real one and shadow codes, all at once. There are differentiation between shadow and real codes. Shadow codes comes and go. When a problem persist, shadow codes turn into real codes and then the "check engine light" is illuminated. When you read codes with Carly, you do not know which code turned ON your CEL. It is a guessing game. At least, the NT510 let you know the code and type of code.
Carly readout should have a mileage stamp on the fault. I would also argue that a shadow code is as important as a failure, since it is often just early stage failure and gives you a heads up.
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      09-27-2018, 10:34 PM   #15
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The ECS Tuning scan tool with programming functionality for the $. NT510 Foxwell is the same tool. I actually have an extra brand new Foxwell I would sell you for under $200. Let me know if interested.
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      09-28-2018, 12:11 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlpineX View Post
Carly readout should have a mileage stamp on the fault. I would also argue that a shadow code is as important as a failure, since it is often just early stage failure and gives you a heads up.
I did not say that shadow codes are unimportant. Carly list both but does not identify which ones are shadow codes. The NT510 gives you both type of codes and identify the one that are shadow codes.
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      10-05-2018, 08:50 AM   #17
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+1 for the Foxwell/Schwaben NT510. It's never been able to pull my VIN, but has an impressive amount of functionality once the chassis is selected manually. It's way more capable than my E46's Peake reader. Updates seem to come out fairly regularly too.

Overall pleased with the investment; it'll pay for itself 10x over if/when my F31 throws its first CEL.
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      10-05-2018, 10:53 AM   #18
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For your f30, ISTA+. Not only will it give you the code and in which ECU it's stored in, but it will also run you through the troubleshooting process and has all the repair procedures included. Only benefit to scan tools is they're universal.
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      10-05-2018, 05:03 PM   #19
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The 510 is easy to use, ISTA+, not so much. ISTA+ is a professional mechanic's tool, Foxwell NT510 is much more appropriate for a weekend mechanic. Anything that requires ISTA+ is probably best left to a pro. The NT510 is also much more than just a $50 OBD reader.
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      10-17-2018, 11:56 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Billfitz View Post
The 510 is easy to use, ISTA+, not so much. ISTA+ is a professional mechanic's tool, Foxwell NT510 is much more appropriate for a weekend mechanic. Anything that requires ISTA+ is probably best left to a pro. The NT510 is also much more than just a $50 OBD reader.
I find the ISTA+ GUI extremely intuitive, not very difficult to use at all, and I am not a professional by any means. The detail which it guides you through the process step-by-step really is dummy proof. I retrofit the OEM HUD system and owe it to ISTA+ for making the process pain-free. Anyone who's removed a dashboard knows that it's a long process with a ton of parts and trim that needs to be removed. ISTA will literally tell you where you should pry the trim piece at and in which direction -- not one tab or clip was broken.

Back in the day the handheld OBD scanners fit the bill, but nowadays with the complexity of the systems and all the separate ECUs/modules there are in a vehicle, they just don't cut it in my opinion. You can't even replace the battery without registering it after (which I did through ISTA+ as well).
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      10-17-2018, 12:35 PM   #21
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Quote:
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You can't even replace the battery without registering it after
The NT510 does that. I suspect that since you have ISTA and are comfortable using it that you've understandably never checked into the capabilities of the NT510, which are considerable. I'll probably look more closely at ISTA should I come across something that I can't do with the NT510 or ESYS, but that hasn't happened yet.
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      10-29-2018, 06:52 PM   #22
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Quote:
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I got my 510 from Foxwell for $149. The downside was it shipped from China, but I still had it in 10 days.
How is shipping from China a downside?
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