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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 11-30-2008, 09:43 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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OBD II PC freeware & $15 J1962 cable for the BMW E39

Has anyone used the OBD II PC freeware & $15 J1962 cable for the E39?

Two free OBD II scan tools I've found are:
http://freediag.sourceforge.net/
http://sourceforge.net/projects/scantool/

Has anyone used these free OBD tools on their BMW E39?

For a total cost of less than twenty dollars ... how well does PC freeware work on the E39 for reading and resetting the diagnostic codes?


Last edited by bluebee; 11-30-2008 at 10:07 PM.
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  #2  
Old 12-01-2008, 07:46 PM
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BMW-specific OBDII freeware

This seems to be a BMW-specific free OBD 2 package; but it's in German.
http://luuk.xs4all.nl/bmwboeken/Diag...s/Diagnose.htm

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  #3  
Old 12-01-2008, 07:51 PM
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This open source OBD 2 software seems to work on Windows

This open source OBD2 software seems to work on Windows and may be the best bet for freeware OBD software for the BMW E39.

http://sourceforge.net/projects/scantool/
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  #4  
Old 12-01-2008, 10:19 PM
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540 M-Sport 540 M-Sport is offline
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Yes, I bought an ELM 327 scan tool off Ebay for $22 or so several months ago, and using Scan Tool version 1.13v. It works wonderfully for reading OBDII codes, and it does allow you to read some of the sensor data, like the O2 pre and post cat voltages, water temp, air intake temp and fuel trim data. But, because this is "freeware" you are not going to get the fancy looking "dash board" look of the $100 software packages, nor are you going to get "freeze frame" and other functions. Though they are listed in 1.13v, they are not active. ALSO, version 1.14v is out, but will NOT work with a typical Ebay ELM chip, as they are all copycat chips, not original ones, and the software can detect that, and simply will not work with it. But the 1.13v works fine. And if you wish, you can always buy the full on software for $80 to $100 and get full functionality. If you just want the basics, and read/clear codes, it cannot be beat! It should work on any OBDII compliant car made since 1996. I am using it not only on my 540, but also on my Ferrari, no problem.

Mine looks just like this one (not sure if it is the same seller) and comes with the Scan Tool 1.13v software on a 3" disc.
http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ELM32...motiveQ5fTools

Last edited by 540 M-Sport; 12-01-2008 at 10:34 PM.
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  #5  
Old 12-26-2008, 12:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 540 M-Sport View Post
because this is "freeware" you are not going to get the fancy looking "dash board" look of the $100 software packages, nor are you going to get "freeze frame" and other functions.
I'm confused.
I thought all we needed to do was "read the code".

What does the fancy-schmancy "dash board" do for us when reading the code?

What does "freeze frame" add to the mix?

If all I wanted to do was read the code, wouldn't I only need 2 things?
1. A cable from the BMW OBDII connector to the Windows PC USB port
2. A PC with the freeware OBD2 software running to display the OBD code.
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Please read the suggested threads, where the best always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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  #6  
Old 12-26-2008, 07:28 AM
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****, if you have an ipod touch or iphone this is what you need.
Its a wireless OBD II scanner that... F it, you can read about all that it does


http://devtoaster.com/products/rev/index.html
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  #7  
Old 12-26-2008, 12:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
I'm confused.
I thought all we needed to do was "read the code".

What does the fancy-schmancy "dash board" do for us when reading the code?

What does "freeze frame" add to the mix?

If all I wanted to do was read the code, wouldn't I only need 2 things?
1. A cable from the BMW OBDII connector to the Windows PC USB port
2. A PC with the freeware OBD2 software running to display the OBD code.
The additional features are not needed to simply read and clear codes. Most "freeware" that I have found do not include the dash board or freeze frame functions. Those features can be useful for further diagnosis and tuning though. Trust me, for the $22 or so, the ELM 327 scanner and software cannot be beat, you'll love it!
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  #8  
Old 01-16-2009, 09:57 PM
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So does the $4 cable shown going to work with Scan Tool?
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  #9  
Old 01-16-2009, 10:26 PM
Redflea Redflea is offline
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You didn't mean ELM 323, instead of 327?

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/_Auto...3A1|240%3A1318
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  #10  
Old 01-16-2009, 10:47 PM
swooshdave swooshdave is offline
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So ELM323 for pre 2000 BMWs?

Ah, so ELM is the manufacturer of the chip. The 323 was the previous version and the 327 is the latest. 327 is backward compatible.

The biggest problem I've read about is that there are a ton of imitation (Asian knockoff) ELM products on ebay. These may or may not work.

Last edited by swooshdave; 01-17-2009 at 11:42 AM.
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  #11  
Old 01-21-2009, 11:19 PM
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What is ELM and REV with respect to OBD II free scanners

I'm confused what ELM is and how it relates to a freeware OBDII scanner.

Also the suggested REV tool for real-time monitoring via an Ipod Touch isn't freeware (but it does seem way cool to monitor engine things real time).
http://devtoaster.com/products/rev/index.html

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  #12  
Old 01-21-2009, 11:22 PM
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Freeware obdii scanner

But I did find another potentially viable freeware application for regularly logging the BMW E39 fuel consumption, emissions variables, knock sensing, ignition timing, fuel injection, etc. at http://www.windmill.co.uk/obd.html

We just need to find a good source for the computer cable to the USB or serial port of the WinXP PC to the OBD II port of the BMW E39.

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  #13  
Old 01-21-2009, 11:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
I'm confused what ELM is and how it relates to a freeware OBDII scanner.

Also the suggested REV tool for real-time monitoring via an Ipod Touch isn't freeware (but it does seem way cool to monitor engine things real time).
http://devtoaster.com/products/rev/index.html

I saw this and so far alot of people are upset because the full version isn't out yet. (Reviews on iTunes) If the full version turns out to be good I am definitely getting this when I get my iPhone (end of March baby!)
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  #14  
Old 02-04-2009, 06:31 PM
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Well, I bought the Carsoft 6.5 software and cables for $50 and a used laptop for another $100 so now I have all the cabling I need for a serial-port connection.

I'll let you know how the Carsoft works and, maybe if I ever get the chance, if the freeware also works with the cables that come with the Carsoft.
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  #15  
Old 02-04-2009, 06:50 PM
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bluebee

please keep us informed about the results
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  #16  
Old 02-17-2009, 11:44 AM
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Does the freeeware work with the cables I bought?

Well, so far, it's installed and running fine on a used laptop with a serial port interface. I only just got it but it was easy to set the temperature to centigrade and the odometer to kilometers which I did as a test.

And, it did some diagnostics and found errors ... which scare me a bit so I'll have to delve into what they are (see this thread for details).

My question now, for this freeware thread, is whether or not the cabling that I bought will work with the freeware programs listed here.

If anyone tests that out, please let us know here. Otherwise, I'll test out the cables with this freeware ... but only after I complete the tests outlined in that other thread.
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  #17  
Old 05-01-2009, 01:45 PM
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I still don't know WHERE to get cabling for OBDII

I still don't have a good pointer to cabling for the freeware OBDII software.
(I don't know if the 6.1 Carsoft cabling will work with the freeware).

Has anyone tested this Windows freeware yet?
http://www.obddiagnostics.com

From this post about it, it seems the software is free, but the cabling is about $90 ...

Does anyone know if the cabling must go with the software or if we can mix and match (e.g., can I use existing version 6.1 Carsoft cabling with the freeware)?

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  #18  
Old 05-01-2009, 07:49 PM
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Mix match is fine, mostly. I bought a generic ELM 327 scanner as I previously posted. I am ALSO using Palmer Performance software with it, as it offers more detailed sensor data, and functionality. So you can simply buy the $22 ELM scanner I previously posted about, use the online freeware available, and if you want more, then go and spend some $$$ and get the fancy software.

OR, there are many threads here on users buying CarSoft on Ebay and it looks to be an even better value, as it includes the cable AND some very useful software that includes many proprietary functions for BMW's. If I was starting over, I would get that.

If all you want or need is to read and clear codes, then get the ELM 327 scanner cable and software of Ebay, it is simple and works great.

Your existing cable should work fine with most all freeware, the only way to know for sure it to try it. I did find that the freeware from ScanTool.net in it's latest version (V14.1) recognizes my ELM 327 scanner cable has having a "copy cat" chip in it, and will not let me use that software. BUT their older version (V13.1) works fine and does not have that security feature.

Last edited by 540 M-Sport; 05-01-2009 at 07:54 PM.
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  #19  
Old 07-22-2009, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by 540 M-Sport View Post
there are many threads here on users buying CarSoft ... If all you want or need is to read and clear codes, then get the ELM 327 scanner cable and software of Ebay
Interestingly, Carsoft will NOT read nor reset OBDII error codes.
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  #20  
Old 07-22-2009, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by 540 M-Sport View Post
Your existing cable should work fine with most all freeware, the only way to know for sure it to try it.
It would be nice for all if those with OBDII-to-Serial and/or OBDII-to-USB cables could test some of the freeware applications and report back which ones work on our E39s.

The table would look something like:
------------------------------------------------------------------
CABLE USED FREEWARE TESTED GO or NOGO
------------------------------------------------------------------
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  #21  
Old 07-22-2009, 09:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
I still don't have a good pointer to cabling for the freeware OBDII software.
(I don't know if the 6.1 Carsoft cabling will work with the freeware).

Has anyone tested this Windows freeware yet?
http://www.obddiagnostics.com

From this post about it, it seems the software is free, but the cabling is about $90 ...

Does anyone know if the cabling must go with the software or if we can mix and match (e.g., can I use existing version 6.1 Carsoft cabling with the freeware)?

look at their compatible vehicles listing (pdf) the software states that it's only compatible with 2004 and up.
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  #22  
Old 07-23-2009, 06:41 AM
Max_VQ Max_VQ is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
Interestingly, Carsoft will NOT read nor reset OBDII error codes.
Not quite true let me explain...
CarSoft does read/reset the BMW DME codes. Most BMW codes have an equivalent OBD "P" code. (look at the back of Vol 1 Bentley to see the list.)

By clearing the error memory of the DME via Carsoft you will clear all codes and turn off the check engine light.

Last edited by Max_VQ; 07-23-2009 at 06:44 AM.
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  #23  
Old 07-23-2009, 08:24 AM
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carsoft most certainly will read/reset the codes- why would anyone bother otherwise?
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  #24  
Old 07-23-2009, 03:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Mark@EACTuning View Post
carsoft most certainly will read/reset the codes- why would anyone bother otherwise?
Hi Mark,
Can you confirm what I think you might have said?

This has been asked numerous times, and, to my knowledge, NOBODY has ever gotten Carsoft to read out the OBDII codes (not the version 6.5.1 nor the version 7.3 Carsoft).

I really really really wish I were wrong ... but ... there's not a single reference here on Bimmerfest where someone has successfully gotten Carsoft to simply read out the OBDII scan codes (e.g., P00001).

Please prove me wrong ... tell me HOW I could get Carsoft to spit out OBDII scan codes!!!!!!!!!!!! (I would love to be wrong!)
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  #25  
Old 07-23-2009, 04:15 PM
Max_VQ Max_VQ is offline
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Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
This has been asked numerous times, and, to my knowledge, NOBODY has ever gotten Carsoft to read out the OBDII codes (not the version 6.5.1 nor the version 7.3 Carsoft).
CarSoft does not read OBD-II codes, it reads the equivalent BMW fault code. Look at the back of your Bentley manual for a list of both. OBD-2 codes are only for emissions.

Because CarSoft reads BMW codes it will tell you MORE than the OBD-2 scanner. When my thermostat & aux fan went, there was not OBD-2 code, since they are not related to emissions.

Carsoft told me about both the issues.
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