Friday, May 18, 2007

CarSoft (The Poorman's GT1/DIS)

This Blog does not condone the distribution of illegal software nor provides links or access to resources that violate the copyrights of software manufacturers.

With that said, welcome to what I call the Poorman's Diagostic software: CarSoft BMW

CarSoft much like DIS allows you to read and reset faults on your BMW (with a few limitations.) The biggest advantage is you can buy them (software and interface) at a SUBSTANTIALLY lower price than what BMW asks for its GT1 DISplus package and Diagnostic Head Unit. I have personally seen a fully set-up CarSoft Laptop (with interface, and both the OBD2 and 20pin cable adaptor) on eBay for $500!!!!

Let me paint you a picture:
    Carsoft Diagnostic Laptop from eBay: $550 (let's add shipping)
    Bentley Publishing 3 Series Service Manual: $95
    Parts for both Inspection I and Inspection II*: $200*
    Not having to go to the dealership: PRICELESS!
If you are really concerned (and this might be an issue for all the first time and newbie D.I.Y.ers) and feel you need a second opinion on your handy work, you can pay the dealership or you local mechanic for a part-less inspection (I or II) that will cost you SUBSTANTIALLY less.

Most of the online BMW forums will walk you through the software's features, how to use them and give you helpful hints on setting it all up (software comes with this information from the manufacturer.) Also, the same forums have handy articles on how to do everything from changing your oil to trouble shooting your convertible top.

One last thing, unlike GT1 (UNIX) CarSoft runs on a Windows machine and requires a RS232 (COM port) connection for the interface to the car. That means it's time to dust off that old laptop that's been sitting in you closet for 3 years, reformat the HD, install a fresh OS and make sure that it's COM port is still working!

-Service-interval adjustment & reset
-Component activation
-Live data stream
-Key coding

Apart from the software component, CarSoft comes with a Interface (and cables) that serve as a dongle to keep everyone honest. This is by far the best after-market solution I have come across.


Thursday, May 17, 2007

GT1 DIS(plus)

The latest vehicle diagnostic system that BMW Group uses (introduced in 1994 and currently used at the dealer level) is named GT One DIS(plus) and stands for Group Tester One (the base program.) The GT1 runs applications like DIS (Diagnosis and Information System, and TIS (Technical Information System.)

GT1 is a networked application that uses both hard wired Ethernet and Wireless connections to communicate with other diagnostic systems (i.e. Measurement Systems) and your vehicle. The vehicular connection is through a wireless Diagnostic Head unit.

Hardware wise, the GT1 is simply a glorified laptop running a UNIX operating system. It isn't even a powerful one considering that the software specs only require 128M of RAM and a 500Mhz Pentium Processor. You see where I am going with this right?

The key piece of technology here is the elusive Diagnostic Head. This proprietary piece of hardware (which replace the old Orange or MoDiC III) is the almost prohibitively expensive.

Diagnostic cables plug into the Head and receive power from the vehicle through the OBD2 16Pin connection or the 20Pin under hood connection.

Other Multi Function Cables also connect to the Head to measure temperature, voltage, DC current, etc.

You can read more about it here:

(Ps. for those of you who have been wondering, I finally figure out what EDIABAS stands for, it's German (duh) Elektronik DIAgnose BASissystem and mean "Electronics diagnosis basic system."

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Welcome to BMW'd

If you are here reading this, it's because like me you are tired of paying hundreds of dollars to your local BMW dealership for repair jobs that would take most of us a few minutes and a nice set of tools to accomplish. I'm going to try to bring you the best DIY (Do-it-Yourself) projects, diagnostic information and online resource pool possible. With all the BMW forums and web sites out there, it might seem overwhelming at first but with a a little patience you can save yourself a lot of time and money.

2001 Cic