Best reasonable ODB reader for Prius and other non hybrid vehicles

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Accessories & Modifications' started by 06_PriusDriver, Mar 11, 2014.

  1. 06_PriusDriver

    06_PriusDriver Junior Member

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    Hello all I am still fairly new to this great forum. However I am on the hunt for an ODB reader that will read all the codes on my Prius along with any or almost any other vehicle makes. I have read on here a few months ago about the $15-$30 techstream laptop based readers and had put some serious thought into investing in one of these. I am sure that they will work with my car but I really want to invest in something that is going to be more versatile than just the straight up techstream.

    However I did do research and came across one called TOAD Software (Total OBD & ECU Diagnostic Software). Has anyone looked into this? I tried to but the only reviews I could find were on their site and could not find anything helpful searching Bing.com. If not then what would be the best reasonable priced reader to get?

    Thanks
     
  2. FreydNot

    FreydNot Member

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    If you have an Android phone, the Torque App paired with the OBDII to bluetooth adapter is a good choice.
     
  3. 06_PriusDriver

    06_PriusDriver Junior Member

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    Okay well it so happens I do have an Android. So alright I will look into that thank you FreydNot.
     
  4. Mr.Electric

    Mr.Electric Member

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    Does torque read prius hybrid codes or just engine codes?
     
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  5. jdcollins5

    jdcollins5 Senior Member

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    There are PID's that can be configured to read Prius specific hybrid codes.
     
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  6. 06_PriusDriver

    06_PriusDriver Junior Member

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    I am still a bit new to this but when you say there are PID's that can be configured to read Prius codes. How does one do the configuring? I really do not want nor can I afford to throw my money away on junk. This Prius is doing just fine with that lol. Anyways........ Yea so could you be so kind to share this tid bit of information please?

    Thank you
     
  7. jdcollins5

    jdcollins5 Senior Member

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    This thread should help you understand the Torque app and using PID's.

    Gen2 Prius: Custom PIDs for Torque (Android App) with formulas | PriusChat
     
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  8. 06_PriusDriver

    06_PriusDriver Junior Member

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  9. jdcollins5

    jdcollins5 Senior Member

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    You are welcome. By the way PID stands for Parameter IDentification.
     
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  10. Britprius

    Britprius Senior Member

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    If you want a code reader that will read not only all the Prius codes, but most other vehicle codes I am afraid your going to need a large bank account to take care of the cost. Although the OBD2 engine codes are supposed to be standard the actual connectors are not, and the coding for other systems "transmission, body, air bags, ect" are very manufacturer, and vehicle specific.
    Snap on make a reader for most vehicles at around £2000, $3200, but even then add on units are needed for different manufacturers at extra cost.
    The mini VCI will read all the codes for most Toyota vehicles, and engine codes on most other manufacturers cars providing the OBD connector is the same. For those that use different connectors adapters are available cheaply ($5). These are typically for German cars, Mercedes, BMW, but are not limited to those.
    You will often find reference here on PC about retailers that will read vehicle codes free of charge, you will also note these readers often give only part of the code, no code or even codes that do not exist. They have also been known to cause problems with the car. This is because they are not scanners specific to the Prius.
    This is not just a Prius, or Toyota problem, but a problem with manufacturers using there own individual systems and codes.
    I am not saying the VCI is the best reader. I am saying it is the best reader by far at it's price and above, for a Toyota. If you need a device that will read all codes on most cars be prepared for the cost involved.

    John (Britprius)
     
  11. 06_PriusDriver

    06_PriusDriver Junior Member

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    Hmmm alright well this is a bit frustrating!! I am still researching the net and I looked at the ones suggested here in this thread but I did come across something I could purchase right here on Canadian soil. It is $130.00 CAN and the specs say that it covers CAN, J1850 PWM, J1850 VPW, ISO9141 and KWP2000 protocols. Would something like this pick up on any of the hybrid trouble codes? Or should I just say to heck with it and just buy the cheap tech stream? I really do not have bucket loads of money to lay out since the Prius has been a huge drain on the wallet already which I am really not too impressed about and is a story for another thread. Anyway like I said I looked into this ODB 2 bluetooth and the torque app for Android and I am not really in need of a monitoring system and I am also a bit skeptical if this app would pick up on the Hybrid trouble codes.

    I have never heard of one retailer or dealer doing any type of diagnostic testing for free here In Ontario, Canada. Last diagnostic test I ever had done on a vehicle cost me $250.00 and that was a small ouch to the wallet.

    But anyway I am not paying the Toyota dealer that lied to me to do a reading on this car. They have lost my trust.
     
  12. Britprius

    Britprius Senior Member

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    The protocols you mention are the methods of communication, and not the actual coding used within those protocols by the manufacturers.
    As stated previously the engine coding "basically anything that affects emissions" should be standard by agreement on all cars from around 1998 on, but there was or is no agreement on a standard for other systems. These being specific to manufacturers and in some cases different vehicles by the same manufacturer.
    The version of the VCI being sold in the UK supports all the protocols you list, and more.
    In the UK I do not know of any parts supply stores that read codes free of charge, but there may be some. In the US "from reading these posts" I understand companies like Sears do carry out this service. Again being in the UK I do not know if Sears operate within Canada.
    As previously stated if your budget is tight the VCI is the way to go providing you have a suitable computer. This does not have to be a laptop, but obviously a laptop is more convenient.
    If you read carefully the ads for most of the hand held scanners they only talk about engine trouble codes.

    John (Britprius)
     
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  13. Justdidit

    Justdidit LVNPZEV

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    This is what I'm running...

    Modding My 2008 Touring...."JustDidIt" | Page 8 | PriusChat

     
  14. Britprius

    Britprius Senior Member

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    I too have the ELM 327 device, and a great piece of equipment it is for extra monitoring on the dash as Justdidit shows.
    I also use the same device with a laptop and the free program "Priidash" that will give virtually every parameter available from the Prius on one screen along with recording of vital information. By courtesy of OP "A Wimp DIYer".

    The VCI is not the tool for the above capabilities, "apart from recording information". It does however not only give the ability to read all!! the Prius DTC's, and sub codes, what they mean, and clear them. It also gives the ability to do all the service tasks, and program any programmable features such as lock timing, lighting, seat belt and reverse beep, register key fobs, and more.
    To sum up. Two different pieces of equipment that are capable of different functions with some overlap.

    John (Britprius)
     
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  15. 06_PriusDriver

    06_PriusDriver Junior Member

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    Hi John, Yea Sears is no longer doing automotive repairs in Ontario. My uncle used to be a mechanic for Sears up untill they closed up the shop. Anyway I was actually out at the car today and fired it up and it seems the inverter is still doing it's job thank the holy banana. Ha ha ha but I did some listening under the hood after the ICE shut down and there is a high pitch noise along with the sound of an older computer hard drive looking for data lol. To me it sounds like it is coming from the throttle position solenoid. Obviously a regular odb reader would pick that up if it were the problem correct or am I wrong? If I am that is cool. Anyways John do you know anything about these Toyota Techstream readers that run for about $15.00-$40.00? Or is that the VCI that you are mentioning? If so then maybe I will just have to bite the bullet and but the Techstream. But I think I am about ready to bang head of the sidewalk lol no not really more like pull my hair out. Anyway I am sure it's a bad sensor some where that is making all the lights freak out. Here is a pic of the warning lights I have currently and if your going to ask if I changed the 12 volt battery I am going to tell you that yes I did and it did nothing to fix my problem so I returned the battery. The car has been sitting all winter so it's a bit dirty. Now as you can see I have the screen set to the charge on the hybrid battery and that battery according to this screen is still charging fine. It does not stay in the blue for very long maybe a couple of minutes. 2006_Prius_1[2].jpg 2006_Prius_2[2].jpg
     
  16. 06_PriusDriver

    06_PriusDriver Junior Member

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    Looks great there Justdidit but I just want to fix this piece of crap and get rid of it. I am not happy with Toyota and their lies about this car. When the car was starting to show signs of a problem arising I ask them to look it over when I took it in for it's last dealer service for warranty purposes and all they did was a valve clearance test and said the car is fine. I had my doubts but no way to figure it out on my own accord.
     
  17. Britprius

    Britprius Senior Member

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    As you are aware you have a problem. The Mini VCI with Techstream (comes with the VCI) will tell you what the DTC is and guide you to the problem "gives a list of possible causes for the DTC (s)" and will clear it or them.
    I have the equipment myself and honestly believe that anyone that has a Toyota particularly a Prius should buy one. One trip to the dealer for DTC reading will pay for the device x4.

    John (Britprius)
     
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  18. Justdidit

    Justdidit LVNPZEV

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    While i was dabbling with the custom CAI, as well as my last issue which everyone thought it was my battery causing the car not to start - My continual Prius problems lately | PriusChat - Using the Torque app and ELM327 helped in telling me the DTC codes and clearing them for further troubleshooting.
     
  19. Britprius

    Britprius Senior Member

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    Please do not blame the car for problems that a lousy service department fails to fix.
    Over the last 50 years I have had more cars than I can remember, non have matched the Prius for reliability.

    John (Britprius)
     
  20. 06_PriusDriver

    06_PriusDriver Junior Member

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    Yep been aware of this for a better part of a year and have been about ready to sick some TnT in it an blow it up on Toyotas lot lol. But in any event I guess I should just bite the bullet and buy the Techstream VCI. Heck maybe I might be able to make a few extra bucks helping other Prius drivers in my area. Thank you so much I appreciate all your help guys!!
     
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