Support of J2534 (Pass-Thru) adapters in FORScan v2.2.*

Discussion about adapters and connections - usage, problems, solutions

Support of J2534 (Pass-Thru) adapters in FORScan v2.2.*

Postby FORScan » Thu Jan 15, 2015 5:04 pm

Majority of our users have ELM327 or compatible devices. The ELM327, with all its known advantages, is an amateur level adapter designed for OBDII family of protocols. It was designed so good so can be used more widely, but this doesn't change the fact it is an amateur level device, that has lack of some features that are very desirable or even mandatory to work in full with modern Electronic Control Modules (ECUs). This statement above is generally applicable to the "derived" adapters, such as OBDLink MX or ELS27.

But some part of our users are professionals in diagnostic and prefer to use professional tools, that are J2534 Pass-Thru adapters. Although this category of users is not numerous, we value them highly as they help us to better understand diagnostic tasks and objectives. So we have added the PassThru support mainly for this category of users. We believe that support of J2534 devices may be also interesting for other categories of users, such as Ford and Mazda enthusiasts, clubs etc.

It should be counted that for now the support of J2534 adapters is rather experimental and gives no drastical advantage to user, except much better performance (up to 2 times faster than any white-label adapters like OBDLink MX and ELS27, and 5-20 times faster than fastest of china clones). But the potential of J2534 devices will be explored in future versions of FORScan.

Let's list all the advantages of J2534 Pass-Thru devices:

1. Performance. In contrast to ELM327, with its text-based interface designed for serial port communication and limitations of AT-commands based protocol, J2534 Pass-Thru devices are initially designed for high performance and flexibility.

2. Protocol features and flexibility. "Native" vehicle protocols require more than OBDII family of protocols. For example, "long" CAN requests (sending a lot of data per single request) - ELM327 is not able to do it. Another example are so-called "presence" requests that should be sent to ECU in precisely fixed time intervals. Another example is MS-CAN support. This is not a full list. FORScan and other software (ELMConfig, Focccus etc), have to "emulate" such kind of things, and sometimes these emulations are reallly a work of art, often more complex that the ECU programming itself.

But there are features that cannot be emulated in ELM327 at all. For example, support of programming voltages, required to reflash some ECUs.

3. Reliability. J2534 Pass-Thru are intially designed for dangerous operations (ECU reflashing) and professional usage. So in general case their reliability is higher (although it depends).

What are drawbacks? Most significant is their cost. Cheapest of Pass-Thru adapters and china clones cost at least $200-300, known brand solutions cost $500-1500 and higher. Another problem is that not all of Pass-Thru devices support MS-CAN. Because MS-CAN support requires part 2 of J2534 standard (SAE J2534-2), and J2534-2 devices are usually more expensive (CanTieCar and china clones are an exception)

Let's briefly review J2534 usage in FORScan.

If Connection type is set to Auto, FORScan looks for J2534 devices first of all. If none is detected, FORScan looks for WiFi, FTDI, COM etc. So Pass-Thru devices are the priority.

If more than one J2534 device found in the system, FORScan shows a dropdown box with list of J2534 devices:

J2534box.png
J2534box.png (61.79 KiB) Viewed 39031 times


This computer has Openport 2.0 and CanTieCar v3 devices installed.

User can set the connection type to J2534, and select a specific J2534 device to select a preferred device.

Let's look at J2534 adapters we used for testing, Openport 2.0 and CanTieCar v3.

A. Openport 2.0

Advantages: Cheapest of branded J2534 adapters ($170 at the moment we purchased it). Can communicate with HS-CAN and Ford ISO modules, works good with them.

Drawbacks. Doesn't support SAE J1850 !!!, although this protocol is claimed everywhere on their site (see screenshot above as an example). Also doesn't support J2534-2. So in case of Ford, Mazda, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles is applicable for CAN vehicles only (Ford/Mazda after 2002, and may be for Mazda 1996-2002 too, we had no chance to check). Also, it seems the Openport project is not developed anymore or developed extremely slowly.

Resume: not fully applicable for Ford, Mazda, Lincoln and Mercury, but can be partially used for new vehicles (partially - because no MS-CAN support) if there is no other adapter.

B. CanTieCar v3

Advantages: Quite advanced adapter, developed intensively, with multiple non-standard features, in addition to J2534 and J2534-2 features. Can emulate other devices. Relatively cheap (just slightly more expensive than Openport 2.0), but in terms of functionality can compete with (and win) many of professional (and much more expensive) devices. Very good and responsible support (much better than, for example, Openport, ELS27 and Scantool one).

Drawbacks: the product is actively developed but not tested (so in fact tested by users). So bugs are very possible (we helped to fix several ones just implementing support of this adapter).

Resume: probably the best choice in terms of price/quality.

The above devices are 2 ones we tested on. But the J2534 functionality is designed in the way it should work with any Pass-Thru device. And this design works - in one of our external tests (happended already after the version 2.2.1 was released) we were really very surprised to find out that FORScan perfectly works with china clone of Ford VCMII (purchased for $300 or so on aliexpress), including MS-CAN/J2534-2 functions.

We will update this article together with corresponding FORScan functionality.
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Re: Support of J2534 (Pass-Thru) adapters in FORScan v2.2.*

Postby erikfrog » Sat Jan 31, 2015 5:41 pm

Hope that support SAE J2534 will open doors to advanced and dangerous operations as read/save config data from BCM and IPC...
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Re: Support of J2534 (Pass-Thru) adapters in FORScan v2.2.*

Postby Ecmbuster » Mon Mar 16, 2015 6:04 pm

I find this an interesting post. I can help test J2534 devices. I have four to test:
CarDaq Plus
Vetronix ES6510 (working with Ford VODU)
DrewTech Mongoose MFC (may not work with all Ford models)
Actia XS

I live in the North American market and have been using FORScan for quite some time. I works very good with the ELM (modified CAN-H and CAN-L)
The ELM works with everything tested - Ford - Mazda - some Jaguars (Ford controllers)

Also to add into this discussion, the CarDaq Plus, CarDaq -M, Mongoose MFC and Actia XS works with some versions of OBDII software. That I find interesting.
I hope that some day, the development of FORScan can also be adapted with J2534 tools that is able to "program, adapt and reset adaptations with Ford and some day, with other manufacturers. A complete manufacturer scan tool would be scan platform would be a fantastic tool.

When I have more specific results, I'll post links to images.
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Re: Support of J2534 (Pass-Thru) adapters in FORScan v2.2.*

Postby FORScan » Tue Mar 17, 2015 4:14 am

Ecmbuster wrote:CarDaq Plus
Vetronix ES6510 (working with Ford VODU)
DrewTech Mongoose MFC (may not work with all Ford models)
Actia XS


FORScan should work with any J2534 devices, so if all the above devices support J2534, FORScan should be able to work with all of them. CarDaq Plus is some kind of ethalon for J2534, however this tool is quite expensive so we had no chance to obtain it for testing. We would be glad to get a confirmation it works. As for the other devices, it would be interesting to get the tests results too.
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Re: Support of J2534 (Pass-Thru) adapters in FORScan v2.2.*

Postby Ecmbuster » Mon Mar 30, 2015 1:38 am

Here is what I tested when I had at least three J2534 devices.
Drewtech Cardaq Plus (failed)
Drewtech Mongoose MFC (failed)
Vetronix ES6510 (connected)

The only one that worked was the Vetronix ES6510

More testing later with the Actia XS but if there are adjustments or settings required to the Drewtech products, let me know.

My pdf file is 2.2 MB, therefore can't post it unless the attachment size is increased.
Regards
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Re: Support of J2534 (Pass-Thru) adapters in FORScan v2.2.*

Postby Automate » Sat May 09, 2015 9:41 pm

The China clone VCM II are down to $178 with shipping on e-bay. Anybody tried one of these and can confirm they work?
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Re: Support of J2534 (Pass-Thru) adapters in FORScan v2.2.*

Postby mikeluscher159 » Wed May 20, 2015 2:21 pm

I've got a clone VCM II
I'm gonna try it one of these days back to back with a OBDlink MX.
USDM 2006 Ford Taurus using a OBDLink MX

Willing to beta test
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Re: Support of J2534 (Pass-Thru) adapters in FORScan v2.2.*

Postby satria_wr » Mon Jun 29, 2015 4:24 am

I will try using my VCM2 clone to connect it between forscan and ecosport :D
2014 Ford Ecosport Titanium
1.5 Ti-VCT Sigma (Remapped using PCMFlash)
PowerShift
2016 Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Limited
2.4 4N15 DiD (Remapped using New Genius)
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Re: Support of J2534 (Pass-Thru) adapters in FORScan v2.2.*

Postby FORScan » Mon Jun 29, 2015 7:41 am

Yes, please try. We tested FORScan with VCM2 and it worked fine, some other user tried as well and said it works. However more stats is good.
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Re: Support of J2534 (Pass-Thru) adapters in FORScan v2.2.*

Postby satria_wr » Mon Jun 29, 2015 9:15 am

FORScan wrote:Yes, please try. We tested FORScan with VCM2 and it worked fine, some other user tried as well and said it works. However more stats is good.

It would be better if you can also add "as build" modifying parameter too for Ecosport. With IDS v94 it can only modify the asbuilt for mk7,5 fiesta. Ecosport still not available.
2014 Ford Ecosport Titanium
1.5 Ti-VCT Sigma (Remapped using PCMFlash)
PowerShift
2016 Mitsubishi Pajero Sport Limited
2.4 4N15 DiD (Remapped using New Genius)
8-A/T
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