Hi folks, its time for another installment of RATE MY SCAN TOOL.
Recently I spent some quality time with the rep from CAS of New England, John Matas who really took me into the stratosphere with some new products that just blew my mind! I wanted to share some of my new found knowledge about a scan tool that I just recently became aware of.
I have been looking around for the best all around scan tool I could find for less than 5 grand. Now five grand sounds like a lot of money, but after looking at what the average automotive tech needs to have to be fairly contemporary, plus the type of equipment needed to chase down the most pesky problems, consider what your going to need. The average drivability tech now a days needs a scan tool with a lot of PID information. If your in an IM240 state, you need to be able to see whats going on if a car does not pass an emissions test. You will also need a competent scope, and DVOM. Your scope had better be able to do secondary ignition patterns as well as low voltage, analog sine wave and hall effect digital. Now having the ability to look at tail pipe emissions is also a big plus. Up until just a few years ago, Genisys and Modis was really the only show in town. Now, like the American automotive industry, OTC and Snap-On has sat on their hands and allowed the rest of the world to not only play catch up, but is now offering far better coverage for less money.
So now you know that I have not fallen for the "buy American at any cost" bull, lets talk about diagnostic stuff that makes the tech's life easier and is affordable. I laid my hands on the Hanatech Ultrascan and let me tell you......I am totally impressed! After being horribly disappointed with X-431 from Launch and its horrible software problems and the terrible update system they use, I was not going into my test with Hanatech with a very open mind. Being a Korean made unit, I was a skeptic to say the least. I want to share with you some of my experiences with the Hanatech Ultrascan in the areas of:
Speed of boot up and application changes
Ease of operation and user friendliness
Fairly inexpensive updates in real time and EASY to do!
Data Link Locator
I just programmed a security key today!
The unreal case! Its like a piece of Samsonite luggage!
KEY PROGRAMMING? COULD IT BE POSSIBLY THE BEST SCAN TOOL IN THE WORLD?
The first thing I noticed about this unit was how fast it booted up. It literally took a second from "on" to menu. Each screen change was as fast as the boot up. Immediate operation! This is a new one for me. Compared to Modis or Genisys. I fired up my fairly new Genisys (with the red button) that has system 3.0 and the boot up time (assuming I dont get one of those pesky "checking filing system prompts) is about a munites. If it throws you into that file checking mode from improper shutdown your going to be there as long as 5 to 8 minutes. The Ultrascan takes exactly 2 seconds. Screen changes are just as fast.
All prompts are numbered and you get a full key pad. No fumbling or bumbling around on the screen to get to prompts. The LCD screen is back lit and can be used in direct sunlight. All prompts are numbered so you dont have to scroll up or down, simply hit the number you want for the function or car line or model and off ya go. Cant find the DLC? Just hit the locator and it will show you where the connector is.
This thing covers every dam car that could every be found on American roads. It has all the coverage of an X-431, but the software actually works. It covers OBD I, OBD II, VAG, EOBD, and CAN coverage is exquisite! It comes with all the Euro-connectors and no external CAN module, its all self contained. Also, it has TPMS software that interfaces with the Bartec TPMS unit for diagnostics. You can also access TPMS datastream (PIDS) through the scan tool to check and validate tire pressure monitor operation. It provides access to PCM, BCM, ABS and Transmission control modules and controllers on most applications. It allows the user to get as close to a dealer level scan tool as I have ever seen in a generic unit. Let me put it to you like this, its kind of like having a X431 only all the software actually works. If for some reason, you have a coverage problem, you simply get on the phone, call CAS, and it gets resolved. CAS is here in the USA, not in China.
Hanatech posts updates as they become available. No waiting for the next quarter for updated software. Once your initial update subscription times out, its like $700.00 to update ALL car lines for another year. Hell, you would spend double that to update just domestic, asian and european software on Genisys. It takes all of about a minute to get updates, unlike the hassle of screwing around pulling cards in and out in Genisys and X-431. To update Hanatech, simply plug it into USB, fire up the program, hit the connect button, and it does the rest. You can downdate if there is a problem without throwing the unit into a tail spin. A complete update session takes as long as it takes for your PC to boot up. No removal of memory cards or anything, simply plug and play. I hooked up the unit for an update one week after getting the unit, it installed about twenty minutes of updates on about half a dozen car lines and the TPMS function as well as the operating system.
This unit is built to take punishment! It has a hard rubber boot on it and a sealed membrane key board. Drop it, kick it, spill stuff on it, its all sealed up and very well protected. It weighs about half of what a fully complemented Genisys weighs and unlike Modis or Solus which is hard plastic and breaks very easily, is very rugged and durable.
It comes with a 4 channel lab scope with un real resolution, glitch capture and a DVOM for no extra cost. You can opt for a 4 gas unit as well. The scope is scientific quality with real time resolution. The lab scope has a single connector tree that connects into the base of the unit so you can run both the scan tool functions along with the scope. The DVOM is full function with volts, amps, ohms and Hz. The unit is CAN enabled, however, the older unit requires the need for an external CAN module. ALso, the earlier units came with 128 mb of memory, currently the new units have built in CAN and a 512 mb removable memory card.
Now the best part. IT IS BI-DIRECTIONAL! It will do ABS functions, deployment, lighting and dashboard functions on a lot of the applications. I have not found one that did not allow di-directional communications. I hooked it up to my 03 S10 and got 52 PIDS, BI-Directional functions for the dashboard, ABS, and about 7 channels for emission controls and actuators. It has a data recorder for recording in flight information as well.
Folks, I know I sound like one of their sales people but let me tell you, I am thinking that I am going to sell my Genisys units. After spending some quality time with the Ultrascan, I cant imagine ever going back to that Genisys. Please take the time to do some research on this unit, It has been a mainstay in European repair circles for a long time. I have received so many emails from folks asking me who makes the best overall scan tool and I have to say, until I see something better come along, this is my choice. Check out Hanatech on line and see for yourself. Ebay wont let me post the link but just type in Hanatech dot net and you will likely find it.
This unit comes as close to a dealer level scan tool with bi-directional functions for most car lines as they come. I am going to strongly suggest you check this unit out. I have no been able to find a unit with this level of application for this kind of money.
Today, I programmed a security key for a Nissan with Hanatech Ultra scan. Try doing that with a Modis or Genisys! Now I am getting information from my vendor that Hanatech software named YesKey is coming! YesKey will allow Hanatech users to program keys on automobiles with software that is resident to the scan tool. You say you dont beleive me! Well check this out, when I logged on to update my scan tool tonight, Hanatech already has a trial version of YesKey software on its update site. I am being told that YesKey is less than a month off for full application, maybe a little more, or less. Just think of it! A scan tool that can do diagnostics, bi-directional, and PROGRAM SECURITY KEYS and IMMOBILIZERS! Well move over everyone else, as far as I am concerned, Hanatech has stolen the show!
OK, so your asking "It sounds too good to be true! Whats wrong with it?" Well there are couple things I am not too happy about:
Too many connectors! There are about 30 connectors and wires in addition to the basic DLC cord and OBD II connector. Its not like Genisys or Modis where you have a set of personality cards or chips instead of having to change to a different connector. Of course, it comes with all the connectors you could need for OBD I and OBD II Domestic, Asian and European vehicles.
Too many useless car lines. I dont get to work on too many TaTa, Great Wall, Lada, or Proton cars.
Its made in Korea. Sure, Modis and Genisys units are built with crap from everywhere, but I really hate the thought of sending any of my money into the Korean economy.
One color screen, no color screen available (yet). Color would be cool!
No on board battery. Not that most are worth a damn anyway, but I like self powered units. Of course, having a DLC locator is kind of useless without a battery. How would you be able to power up the tool to use the locator if you had to plug it in first? DUAH!!!!!
The DLC connector at the vehicle end is kind of bulky and long. On many car lines where the DLC points straight down, you are going to need a 90 degree DLC adaptor to be able to drive the car with the scan tool plugged in. Unfortunately, among the 40 or so connectors, there is no 90 degree DLC adaptor. Most American tech's would find 70% of the connectors that come with this unit useless, but the one that would be very useful, it does not!
Lastly, HOW MUCH DOES IT COST? Well, the Ultra Scan with all the bells and whistles (no 4 gas unit) is about 4 grand. Typically, you get a free year of updates but CAS gives 2 years. Now if you dont need a lab scope, you can buy the pro scan that does not have the lab scope for about a grand less. Updates, like I said earlier, come complete for all car lines and firmwire and cost about 7 to $800.00 a year. Before you start crying about the cost of updates, how much does it cost to update Genisys or Modis with domestic, Asian, and European as well as operating system updates? Last year we spent $900.00 to update our Genisys from an extremely slow unit to a slightly less extremely slow unit with half the coverage and almost NO bi-directional on most car lines. In addition to the costly updates of application, look forward to OS updates for the next couple years as the outdated Genisys unit struggles to keep up with the demand for capabilities to work on cars flooding our country from Korea and China. Anyone who does not think that its going to happen, try to remember, Toyota started out as a manufacturer of Farm tools!
If you would like to check out the Hanatech in action, go to:
Double u, Double U Doublu DOT petroject.co.nz/hanatech-scan-tool-demo
Its Austrailian, but hey, they got cars too!
I appreciate all the feedback from my guides and have learned a lot from folks on Ebay. Please feel free to email with questions or comments. I will be adding information as I get deeper into this unit.