Did you know that a malfunctioning oxygen sensor in your car could spell trouble for your car’s performance? That’s true. Most people never even think about the possibility of a faulty oxygen sensor until they have a problem with their car during their weekly or monthly emissions tests. But there is no need to stress out that check engine light – just an OBD2 (Oxygen Computer) scanner will do. Anyone who need to keep track of what is going on within their car – and maybe even save a few dollars – can make great use of an OBD2 scanner and a general understanding of how to go about a particular problem code.
An OBD2 scanner is a small handheld device that fits easily into the dash of any car. The device sends out an electromagnetic signal that “reads” the car’s computer control system. In return, the computer reads the signal, which tells the actuator if the OBD2 codes are bad or not working properly.
To get started, the scanner must connect to the computer through a data link cable or other method. Next, the operator places the obd2 scanner in front of the computer and flips the switch on the device. Depending upon the make and model of the car, there may be only one option, or two if the vehicle is special. Usually two separate channels are used in these detectors; one for the parameters shown on the gauge (throttle position and engine speed) and another channel for performance indicators like coolant temperature. If there are more controls displayed, additional channels must be added.
Two channels can be set up in most OBD2 scanners, although some are dual-sided. These scanners now come with optional accessories such as temperature gauges, speedometer, digital clock, odometer, and others. However, some scanners come with the bare bones version, which just operates with one data channel and one display. Other variations include the introduction of the OBDII version two years later, which includes some standard OBD commands. The Texas Instruments branded OBD scanner on the other hand, supports more advanced commands, including support for diagnostic test blocks.
Some OBD2 scanners use a built-in or detachable probe card reader. Others use a plug-in connector with a USB port for connection to a computer. Some scanners use a magnetic barcode scanner for the codes and OBD commands. Others, such as the Topdon Artisan 500 series and the HP iMediterranean series, use a RFID technology for OBD commands.
Most modern OBD scanners use a fixed data acquisition system that can generate diagnostic reports and trouble codes remotely from a computer. The fixed data acquisition system is capable of generating diagnostics on all makes and models of vehicles. Some scanners can also do the same thing using radio wave, radio frequencies, and infrared. With the help of a wireless card reader, you can connect to your scanner and read the codes from a remote location. If your scanner has onboard diagnostics capabilities, it is recommended that you send your vehicle’s maintenance records to your computer for storage in your computer or external memory. This will help you track your maintenance records and codes for future reference.
When searching for a handheld scanner for your car, you should look for those that have the latest update and are designed to work with the latest version of the Windows operating systems. Check the manufacturer’s website for download instructions and compatible scan tools. The handheld scanner you are planning to purchase should have a memory card, USB connector, and cord with standard USB connections. Look for a scanner that can capture OBD codes for diagnosing engine problems in cars and also for troubleshooting LCD screen. The handheld scanner for your car diagnostic tools must have an LCD screen that displays values in the standard format for easy identification and interpretation.
Scanner for OBD2 error codes that can be used with your scanner includes Real-Time Data Acquisition (RADI). The Real-Time Data Acquisition does not require any special cables or interfaces. It works with any Windows-based computer and can display diagnostic data from an OBD probe. For advanced users, the Real-Time Data Acquisition can be linked with other computer programs such as Windows Mobile Studio andysoft imaging products.