Best OBD tool to get - Bimmerfest - BMW Forums

Welcome to Bimmerfest -- The #1 Online Community for BMW related information! Please enjoy the discussion forums below and share your experiences with the 200,000 current, new and past BMW owners. The forums are broken out by car model and into other special interest sections such as BMW European Delivery and a special forum to voice your questions to the many BMW dealers on the site to assist our members!

Please follow the links below to help get you started!

Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 7 Series & 8 Series > 7 Series - E38 (1995 - 2001)

7 Series - E38 (1995 - 2001)

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 02-27-2011, 12:13 PM
mikegdearborn mikegdearborn is offline
Registered User
Location: Huntington Beach, CA
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 15
Mein Auto: 98 740iL
Best OBD tool to get

I want to invest in an OBD tool but I want to make sure I get one that brings up BMW codes, can reset troubles and hopefully reset the SRS (airbag) as I have to remove the steering wheel to fix the spinning key issue (key cylinder will not come out). Also dont want to spend a fortune and would like to get one that plugs into my laptop and expands on my capabilities.

Any reccomendations?

Thanks in advance
Reply With Quote
Old 03-04-2011, 09:29 PM
Plum E38 Plum E38 is offline
SoCal 7's
Location: Southern California
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 5
Mein Auto: E38
Bump, does anyone have a source?
Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2011, 06:24 AM
balance balance is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: NC
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 766
Mein Auto: 97 740iL
I use an old an outdated MD-2500 SNAP-ON scanner. As old as it is now, you can buy the body for $50, and then buy the wiring connector, and BMW cartridge for about another $200, all on Ebay. With this scanner you will be able to read the codes on any of the electrical systems of the car. I have seen regular OBD2 scanners at the auto parts stores go for more than that, and they can only read the global OBD codes. Compared to newer scanners, the MD-2500 is a little outdated though.

This is they cheapest way that I know of, but I've never priced the program and wiring for a lap-top. I have heard that with the lap-top you will have more options than with hand-held scanners. Whatever you buy, keep in mind that the only way to get into all of the electrical systems of the car (ABS, Air-Bag, Transmission...), is through the circular connector under the hood, not the OBD2 port on the dash, so buy the right program/wiring.
Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2011, 07:58 AM
redpicker redpicker is offline
Registered User
Location: Texas
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 19
Mein Auto: 1998 750iL
The hot set-up is EDIABAS INPA and/or DIS. These are a powerful set of diagnostic programs that will read the codes from all the computers (even the radio), clear the codes, and even reprogram some of the modules like the dealer does. The DIS suite even matches error codes with repair procedures. But, you have to be careful. These programs are meant for dealer technician use and their misuse can do bad things that cost a lot to get fixed. If you go this route, you can get some cheap China cables off eBay that work OK, but the software that comes with them does not (at least I have never heard of anyone who got it to work). The cables use RS-232 serial connectors, so you have to find a serial to USB converter that will work (I bought 3 until I got one to work). The INPA programs were written for a windows machine (but not 64-bit, I don't think) so they're not too bad. The DIS runs on a UNIX platform and you have to set-up a virtual machine to run it.

Stay away from a third party program called PASoft. It says it will do all things, but it will turn your car into a very large paperweight. Another one is CarSoft. It is supposed to be better, but I have not used it. The INPA and DIS were written by BMW.

You can find the hardware (cables, etc...) you need on eBay, for around $100. If you look hard enough, you can find downloads of the software and instructions to help you get it working. This is not for the faint of heart. Most people who are good at working on cars aren't very good at hacking and folks that are good a hacking aren't any good at working on cars, so it can be a bit of a challenge. For someone who knows what they are doing, I'd guess they could set-up INPA on an XP or Vista machine in a couple of hours. DIS will take longer. I've been working on trying to get them running since October; I've got INPA working, but I still can't get DIS to run correctly (although I am very close). The INPA let me know that the steering angle sensor acts up, which causes the DSC light (yellow triangle with a circle around it on the instrument panel) to sometimes come on. I need DIS to be able to calibrate the steering angle sensor.

If you go this route, be prepared to do a lot of reading and a lot of learning.

Reply With Quote
Old 03-05-2011, 09:56 AM
joyism5's Avatar
joyism5 joyism5 is offline
Officially Welcomed to the 'Fest
Location: USA
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 1,271
Mein Auto: '99 740IL, K75RT
@ redpicker : Can you PM with your email please? I have a couple question regarding the soft.

As a diagnosis tool I use the basic code reader and alldata to interpret , troubleshot, TSB and recalls .
Reply With Quote

See More Related BMW Stories

Forum Navigation
Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 7 Series & 8 Series > 7 Series - E38 (1995 - 2001)
Today's Posts Search
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 04:27 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
© 2001- VerticalScope Inc. All rights reserved.