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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 04-29-2014, 01:25 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Cheapest usable E39 USB K-Line cable for 16-pin D-sub (>2000) & 20-pin round (<2000)?

EDIT: Corrected and simplified as per mr-b & edjack suggestions in subsequent posts (4/30).

Do we have a tested recommendation for the cheapest E39 K-line cable that works with INPA, EDIABAS, NCSExpert, NCS Dummies, DIS/GT1, EasyDIS, & Progman?

If not, can we summarize the (complicated) answer quoted below into a single link to a specific recommended cheapest usable K-line cable for the E39?

Specifically:
  1. We list the various cheapest possible K-line cables that work for the E39.
  2. Some of us buy and use those inexpensive cables (I'll volunteer to buy one).
  3. Then, after using them, we can RECOMMEND the best solution to others!
The quote below is the complicated stuff (which confuses me to no end), but, from which I pull just the two K-line requirements:
  • Primary K-Line on pin 7
    • (for the engine & gearbox)
  • Secondary K-Line on pin 8
    • (for all else)
Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
  1. Order the right cable (1) (2) (3)
    • Three constraints focus your cable decision:
      • Vehicle end:
        • 20-pin round "pacman" OBD connector or 16-pin trapezoidal OBD connector
      • Computer end:
        • USB or RS232 serial
      • Interface support:
        • L-Line &/or K-Line &/or D-CAN
    • 20-pin round "pacman" OBD connector vs standard 16-pin "trapezoidal" OBD connector
      • If your E39 has the round 20-pin "pacman" OBED connector in the engine bay, then you MUST use that connector with these tools.
        • Note: It doesn't matter whether you 'also' have a 16-pin trapezoidal OBD connector; you still must use the round pacman OBD connector with your cables!
        • Note: While the 20-pin round ADS pacman connector looks similar to the 20-pin round OBD pacman connector, no E39 uses the ADS interface!
      • If you do not have the round 20-pin pacman OBD connector in your E39 engine bay, then you MUST use a 16-pin trapezoidal OBD interface cable.
    • USB vs Serial
      • USB is virtually 100% compatible with the software listed below and most recommend USB cables at this point.
      • Serial cables are cheaper & more information exists about their use; but, as time goes on, USB is winning out over serial (as serial port laptops dwindle away).
      • Most serial cables included adapters or cables to fit both the 20-pin round "pacman" OBD plug in addition to the 16-pin trapezoidal OBD port.
      • Warning: Some serial-to-USB conversion cables work (1) (2); others don't. Try to avoid the hassle with good up-front decisions
    • L-Line vs K-Line vs D-CAN
      • L-Line is the communication protocol on BMW cars from circa 1987 (first year of the ADS connector) to about the 1997 (before the E39).
        • Note that E39s (built from 1998 onward), do NOT use the ADS interface!
        • Older E39s may have a similar 20-pin round pacman connector; but it's 'not' a round ADS interface; it's a round OBD interface.
        • The round ADS interface uses pin 15 (RXD), which was phased out in 1996.
        • None of the E39's should need an ADS interface, but if you have any doubt, check the voltage at pin 15 of your round pacman connector; if you see about 11v you need the round ADS interface. If not you need the round OBD interface.
        • For further details, see the connector diagrams included below and the documents (e.g., bus system.pdf from JeffStri in post #94)
      • K-Line is the communication protocol on BMW cars from around the end of L-LINE to around 2006, including all BMW E39s.
      • D-CAN started on BMW in 2007 and is the current protocol (no E39 is D-CAN but most D-CAN cables are backward compatible to the K-Line).
    • Warning: No cable (yet) handles all three interfaces!
      • The best you can do is two out of three
        • Serial cables are often L-Line & K-Line compatible
        • USB cables are often K-Line & D-CAN compatible
        • All E39s require at least the K-Line interface
      • 1st choice: BMW INPA EDIABAS K-Line USB Interface (e.g., USB K-Line, aka "BMW INPA EDIABAS K+CAN USB OBD2")
        • $50 1, 2, 3
        • Primary K-Line on pin 7 (for the engine & gearbox); secondary K-Line on pin 8 (for all else)
        • FTDI Chip [Note: Get FTDI drivers here (1)]
        • Works on all newer E39s from 2001 to 2003 with the 16-pin OBDII connector above the driver's left knee
        • Note that there is a secondary K-Line on pin 8 (which is not on most DCAN interface cables) in addition to the primary K-Line on pin 7.
        • Models that use the K-Line OBD interfaces are:
        • - E87, E30 E36 E46 E83 and new E90, E34 E39 E53 and older E60 E61, E63 E64, E38 E65 E66, E31 E52, E53, E85 E52, R50 R52 R53
      • 2nd choice: BMW INPA EDIABAS K-Line Serial Interface (i.e., RS232 K-Line)
        • $25, 1, 2, 3, ...
        • Computer must have a serial port
        • Usually comes as two cables, one for round 20-pin interface & one for the 16-pin OBD connector
      • 3rd choice: BMW INPA EDIABAS K+DCAN USB Interface (i.e., USB K-Line+DCAN)
        • $120 1, 2, 3, 4, ...
        • Be careful: There are TWO kinds of K+DCAN cables with respect to E39 compatibility
          • Primary K-Line on pin 7; secondary K-Line on pin 8
          • Pin 8 removed (needs adapter to restore 2nd K-Line)
        • Models that require D-CAN:
          - E60, E61 after 3/2007, E83 after 9/2006, E81, E87 after 3/2007, E90, E91, E92, E93 after 3/2007,
          - E70 (New X5), R56 (New Mini), New F Series, as well as all other new models.
        • Uses the FTDI FT232RL USB to Serial Converter chipset
      • 4th choice: BMW INPA EDIABAS ADS + K-Line USB Interface (e.g., RS232 ADS+K-Line)
        • $65 1,
        • This is the serial cable that Randomly & Quick99Si bought for their round pacman OBD interface cars, for $80, and which, unfortunately, needs a six-to-ten-foot serial port extension to be practical since it has a hard inflexible adapter.
        • The connection is from round pacman connector to cable to adapter to computer or from OBD to adapter to computer; but realize since the adapter is a hard card, there's no way (without an additional flexible cable) that you can connect your computer physically!
        • Works on older E39s from 1997 to 2000 with the 20-pin round pacman connector under the hood.
        • If you have both the 16pin OBD2 socket AND the round 20pin socket you will still have to use the 20pin connector for factory diagnostics because not all modules talk to the OBD socket.
      • 5th choice: $35 Carsoft 6.5 RS232 Interface
      • 6th choice: Volkswagon (modified) VAG-COM KKL 409.1 cables with a FT232RL chip.
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See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need

Last edited by bluebee; 05-02-2014 at 07:39 AM. Reason: Fixed the title and changed the question in the OP to be KISS
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  #2  
Old 04-29-2014, 07:30 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Based on QSilver7 details below, we probably need to ask two questions:
Q1: What is the cheapest K-Line D-sub USB cable for E39's after 10/2000?
Q2: What is the cheapest K-Line round USB cable for E39's before
10/2000?
Quote:
Originally Posted by QSilver7 View Post
The e39s produced before 10/2000 have 2 DLCs (data link connectors)...the 16-17 pin OBD II connector (for generic readers/scanners) is located inside the cabin on the lower left dash. The 20-pin (round) DLC is in the engine bay. In these EARLY e39s...the interior DLC does NOT have the ability to access all of the control modules, nor can you access the BMW proprietary info...because the TXD II lines only connect to the control modules that deal with OBD II protocols.

From 10/2000 build date-up...BMW dropped the 20-pin DLC in the engine bay...so those who own e39s built after that date can use the interior DLC to access everything....if you have both the interior and engine bay DLC...they are only REDUNDANT for OBD II access. See the Bus system's topological chart below:
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Last edited by bluebee; 04-30-2014 at 12:28 PM.
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  #3  
Old 04-30-2014, 04:09 AM
mr-b mr-b is offline
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I'd also modify the question(s) - why are you specifying D-CAN as well as K-Line? No E39 requires it.

As the original long post says:
"K-Line is the communication protocol on BMW cars from around the end of L-LINE to around 2006, including all BMW E39s.
D-CAN started on BMW in 2007 and is the current protocol (no E39 is D-CAN but most D-CAN cables are backward compatible to the K-Line)."

If it's for future compatibility with other models then this complicates things, since :

"Be careful: There are TWO kinds of K+DCAN cables with respect to E39 compatibility

Primary K-Line on pin 7; secondary K-Line on pin 8
Pin 8 removed (needs adapter to restore 2nd K-Line)"

i.e. if future compatibility is a must then this may require an additional adapter pushing up the cost.
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  #4  
Old 04-30-2014, 11:42 AM
edjack edjack is offline
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Trapezoidal connector is sometimes referred to as a "D-sub." This comes from the early days of communication systems, and refers to the "D" shape of the connector.
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Last edited by edjack; 04-30-2014 at 11:46 AM.
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  #5  
Old 04-30-2014, 12:16 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr-b View Post
why are you specifying D-CAN as well as K-Line? No E39 requires it.
Because I'm confused!

I will change the thread title from:
> What is the cheapest usable USB K-Line & D-CAN cable for E39 16-pin trapezoidal OBD?
TO something like:
> What is the cheapest usable USB K-Line cable for E39 16-pin D-sub (after 10/2000) and 20-pin round OBD (before 10/2000)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mr-b View Post
If it's for future compatibility with other models then this complicates things
I would rather this thread be KISS simple, so that the absolutely cheapest usable cable can be located, tested, and recommended for the E39.

Quote:
Originally Posted by edjack View Post
Trapezoidal connector is sometimes referred to as a "D-sub." This comes from the early days of communication systems, and refers to the "D" shape of the connector.
Good idea.
I'll start referring to it as the "D-sub" since that is easier than trapezoidal, which I just basically made up to differentiate from the round connector.
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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

Last edited by bluebee; 05-02-2014 at 07:38 AM.
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  #6  
Old 05-02-2014, 03:20 AM
mr-b mr-b is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebee View Post
> What is the cheapest usable USB K-Line cable for E39 16-pin D-sub (before 10/2000) and 20-pin round OBD (after 10/2000)?
Shouldn't that be the other way round i.e. the D-sub is on later models?
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  #7  
Old 05-02-2014, 07:39 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr-b View Post
Shouldn't that be the other way round i.e. the D-sub is on later models?
Thanks!
I just fixed it.
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  #8  
Old 05-06-2014, 11:45 PM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Burning2nd has a good thread whose answer will be useful:
> E39 (1997 - 2003) > d-can k can
Quote:
Originally Posted by Burning2nd View Post
...
so my 01 540 and my wifes 04 x3 will communcate in the same format
k-line

so when i look at these cables.. will something like this
http://www.amazon.com/Loftek-Interfa...VZV6BBDKG9EBYF


i cant find something that says "k-line" everything comes back as dcan

do the ones that say kline dcan combo... do the same thing?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Burning2nd View Post
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  #9  
Old 05-07-2014, 04:26 AM
mr-b mr-b is offline
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Not another thread!

Anyway that one on Amazon looks identical to the one I've purchased (except this one is slightly cheaper). I'll report back when it arrives.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-INPA-K-D...-/151252289935

Quote:

Description:

INPA / Ediabas K+DCAN USB fit for BMW
This Interface allows full diagnostic of BMW's build from 1998 - 2008

Works with INPA, SSS, Progman and others.
(All functions as in Omitec Interface)

The smallest, best looking & highest quality of it's kind.

Functions:
- Read & erase errors
- Adaptations
- Coding
- And others...

Models that require D-CAN:
- E60, E61 after 3/2007
- E83 after 9/2006
- E81, E87 after 3/2007
- E90, E91, E92, E93 after 3/2007
- E70 (New X5)
- R56 (New Mini)
- And others...

Features:
- Connects to USB (built in 1,5m long USB Cable, creates virtual comport)
- Double K-Line support (See Screenshot)
- High Speed D-CAN and PT-CAN support (500 kbit/s) (See Screenshot)
- Low Speed PT-CAN support (100 kbit/s)
- Battery voltage detection by control line (See Screenshot)
- Ignition voltage detection by control line

Package contains:
1 * INPA / Ediabas K+DCAN USB Interface
1 * CD software driver
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  #10  
Old 05-07-2014, 09:09 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr-b View Post
that one on Amazon looks identical to the one I've purchased (except this one is slightly cheaper). I'll report back when it arrives.
What you're doing is exactly what I'm looking for - which is for those who are getting the cable who have a clue what they're doing - to buy and test and suggest a cable.

I, for my part, will also buy a cable and let people know what I think of it. I just don't know which one to buy yet, so that why I had asked the question.

For the record, since ebay links are ephemeral, here's a screenshot of the cable you're kindly testing out for the team.
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  #11  
Old 05-28-2014, 03:38 AM
mr-b mr-b is offline
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The cable has arrived but now I'm finding that determining and downloading the correct s/w to use is proving even more troublesome than the cable!

The tested download links from Quick99Si in http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=561237 are no longer valid, and although I have found other copies of similar s/w on torrent sites etc., they all appear quite different and with either no instructions or else they're in Russian! I've sent Quick99Si a PM just in case the images are still available.

The CD that came with the cable has the "wrong" versions of INPA compared to the recommended one in above thread. So I'm going to build a virtual image of Windows and try out the various s/w versions on multiple vanilla copies of that image (since I've heard that the s/w modifies registry and system settings so I want to start with a clean Windows each time).

I'll report back ...
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