I wanted to review this particular OBD II scanner, because when I ordered it I did all sorts of searching on this particular scanner and came up with nothing.
OBD II is the format for the on board diagnostics on every car sold in the US, 1996- and newer. Even though OBD II is a standard, they have different protocols, so not all OBD II scanners will do everything. In my search for an OBD II scanner I required live data, I want to be able to see exactly what each sensor is feeding back to the ECM.
I came across a cheap solution that claims to do all OBD II formats (CAN Bus, ISO-9141, ISO-14230(KWP2000), J1850-VPM and J1850-PWM) and pulls live data, on eBay for 40-60, depending on how well you do in the auctions. The TopTak TP180-CAN:
I tried to research it some and came up with nothing, other than that this scanner is sold by a handful of different companies that re brand it, and it appears that a similar design scanner is sold by a larger company with some modified software.
So I opted for a buy-it-now auction and picked this up for $65 shipped. Right on the cover of the box there's a typo, but the seller had 6000 positive feedback no one complained about the scanner.
So I've tried this on several cars now ranging from 96-07 so far it has connected to all of them without issue, just as the ad claims. It gives code numbers and descriptions. The descriptions seem to be poor English translations in some cases, or maybe someone relying to heavily on spell check, but either way its easy to figure out. It reads codes, and clears them without any problems.
It also pulls I/M monitor status which tells you the status of different systems on your vehicle, however there hasn't been a point yet where I've found this a handy feature on any scanner I've used. Either way it works fine on every vehicle I've tried so far.
The third option is Freeze Frame data, which is will pull the data of what the sensors where reading at the time a code was set. I found this feature marginally useful on all scanners I've used, normally its either nothing useful or its full of bogus data that's not useful. So far this TP180-CAN scanner has pulled freeze frame data fine.
The fourth menu option is the option for live data. This is the only point where I was a little disappointed with my budget scanner. It claimed to do live data. I'm used to "real" scanners that actually pull live data. When you hit live data, it pulls the data from the car at that very moment, and displays it. The data however does not change on the screen, its just freeze frame data essentially. Its better than nothing, but not by much.
The last option is Vehicle data, which displays the VIN number of the vehicle, which I'm still a little unsure of why this would be useful?
Overall for the price, its a handy little tool, despite not really pulling live data, I still feel I got a good deal.
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