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A few little questions about buying STAR.

Discussion in 'Electrics, Vacuum, Ignition and ECU' started by Conor, Oct 9, 2019.

  1. Conor

    Conor Senior Member

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    I have decided that I am going to buy a STAR diagnostic kit from an online seller.

    That said, I have a few questions about the versions available, if somebody could help out that would be awesome, please..

    My understanding thus far
    The hardware component is a multiplexer that is required to use the software. There are designations such as C3, C4, C5 etc.. these relate to the hardware component and the biggest difference is that the more recent versions use wifi instead of cable, with WiFi being problematic.

    The compatibility with your vehicle is not determined by the hardware really, but more about the software you use. i.e. a 2019 model year car will probably need the latest software, but older model years may not.

    A connection to SCN is required if you want to perform some programming tasks on the car, this service protects you from bricking the ECU.

    With that in mind, I want to purchase a C3 Multiplexer with some software to support my 2004 R230 and 2010 S212.

    Is the above correct - is there anything else I am missing?

    I already have a iCarSoft MB V2.0 scanner, which is great but I want to get a bit more functionality. I feel like the R230 is really going to demand it.
     
  2. Wighty

    Wighty Senior Member

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    Can't help but think maybe you should wait until you exhaust the full capabilities of the icarsoft ? I'm presuming Star will cost hundreds which is a lot of Indy Star sessions .
    You may not need to use Star at all ?
     
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  3. LostKiwi

    LostKiwi Senior Member

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    If I were buying I'd probably go for the C4 or C5. Easier to store and easier to use (no cable trailing all over the paintwork).

    Yes you need later software for later cars (mine won't work with W205s for example as it's too old).
     
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  4. V6Matty

    V6Matty Senior Member

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    Plus one on the C4/5 option, my C3 (bought from a member here 2nd hand) has decided to throw a wobbly, error in pin 30 when launching xentry and diagnostic, so I have a feeling it’s a bent pin or possibly a broken wire inside the cable (could even be the com port as I have a feeling my wife dropped the laptop when helping to clear out the garage a bit).
     
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  5. mersum1es

    mersum1es Senior Member

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    I have been looking reliable source of c4 mux long time, but more I read more doubtful I am. Original components are obsolate and chinese are replacing them by cheapo and wrong voltage spec ones... which cause hardware to fail after a time...
     

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  6. OP
    Conor

    Conor Senior Member

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    True, but what happens when I have surpassed the number of visits and I end up paying more than the STAR cost + the hassle of booking and travelling to garages. And also the fact that they might try and pull the wool over my eyes....I don't think I will ever forget that time the Indy tried to charge me about 1200 to replace two NOx sensors...

    I have two cars now so the payback should be less. I actually considering flogging the ICarsoft and just buying two OBDII dongle to read codes via my phone... because I know, i'll be sat in one car and have the ICarsoft in the other when a MIL lamp comes on.. I reckon I could get 100 or so for the ICarsoft and covert the cost of two good quality Bluetooth dongles.

    In London, a STAR session will cost about 60+ GBP along with booking and logistics headache. A STAR for £500 shared between two cars isn't too bad I think.

    I also want to see if I can prototype sending the raw, unmultiplexed signals to the multiplexer over the internet via a smartphone and a simple bluetooth/serial dongle. It would be insane if somebody could have an operator run a full STAR session remotely by using a simple bluetooth dongle and smartphone app.

    Thanks for clarifying.. do you know if the WiFi Muxers need a standalone WiFi router or is a P2P connection between laptop and Muxer?

    Yea, it's so hard to know.. One place did make reference to voltage regulators and that the design meant the unit should not be left powered on for a long period of time. I'd punt on that if I could get a recommended source.
     
  7. LostKiwi

    LostKiwi Senior Member

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    I definitely would not do this.
    The iCarsoft should live in the r230. The most feared issue with a 230 is SBC and a Bluetooth dongle will be useless if "ABC visit workshop" appears on the dash.
    Sometime ago I had exactly that, bluffed in the iCarsoft, it suggested the right front height sensor was at fault. A 2 minute spray with WD40 and the issue never came back.


    I believe the C4/5 creates a point to point link.
     
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  8. OP
    Conor

    Conor Senior Member

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    Yea that's fair enough I guess.. You've set me straight ;)
     
  9. Botus

    Botus Senior Member

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    I don't think STAR is going to help the amateur much, these things need training to use appropriately, you could end up getting the car in far more of a pickle if you go charging in and play with stuff you don't understand

    a grenade is very safe, but imagine if no one told you what happens 5 seconds after you remove the pin.... for a little while nothing changes then its a very different story. and just like playing with a grenade, you won't then won't be able to drive the car to get help....

    I've posted before but check the story about doing his car

     
  10. OP
    Conor

    Conor Senior Member

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    I think if being the operative word here.. and breaking things when you don't know what you are doing applies to just about everything in this world.

    I don't plan on charging in. The reason I want STAR is for the diagnostics (read) part and not necessarily the programming (write) component. Sure, if I want to do some simple programming and I have had some decent instruction then I will go ahead.

    It will be just easier to have the diagnostics at home.
     
  11. V6Matty

    V6Matty Senior Member

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    But by changing or resetting a value in STAR you can do exactly that, you can think your just clearing an error when your actually cleaning part of the coding of a SAM
     
  12. alexanderfoti

    alexanderfoti MBO Forum Supporter Authorised Forum Supporter

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    Wifi aspect is p2p or ap mode.

    MB will come down hard on any remote diagnostic service, they fiercely fight their IP.

    C3 will do all you need for your cars.

    How will the app work if the customer needs the mux?

    The mux is just a massive switch box, moving communications across different pins, or protocols. It's all encapsulated in IP to the windows machine.
     
  13. OP
    Conor

    Conor Senior Member

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    Oh I don't doubt it.. if a product were to be created like this it would need close inspection by IP lawyers.. My feeling (IANAL) is that it is just diagnostics as a service, similar to driving into a garage, or a mobile guy coming to your home. It's just happening over the internet. You would be sharing the software with anybody, but rather be operating the session from a longer distance. Imagine you ran a cable from your garage to a customers home about 10 miles down the road. Same thing.

    Thanks, I was thinking the same, I might need something basic.
    I'm not 100% certain, but if you think about it this way. There are signals coming from the OBDII port (TTL, or some kind of encoding protocol..) my thinking is that these could be just relayed over the internet and exposed to another OBDII port on the other end of the connection, which the STAR Mux would plug into.
     
  14. OP
    Conor

    Conor Senior Member

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    Ok, fair enough. But to be honest, I wouldn't really do much without getting some kind of help from online anyway.

    Sure, I may break something, but I don't usually let that stop me. If I do break something then i'll pay the price.. which is incentive to do more thorough research in the first place.

    I think resetting codes with STAR isn't on the complex end of the spectrum of activity anyway, and there should be plenty of guide online on how to do this.
     
  15. alexanderfoti

    alexanderfoti MBO Forum Supporter Authorised Forum Supporter

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    Your issue will still lie with MB. Their terms, after you buy the 15k license key and kit, will preclude you from reselling or carrying out supply as a service IMO
     
  16. OP
    Conor

    Conor Senior Member

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    Yea true.. but it's a legal thing really I guess. For now it was more of a technical challenge to see if it was possible, as, you have to admit, it would be pretty cool if it worked.

    You'd want to be well capitalised to take on the big OEMs in court.
     
  17. alexanderfoti

    alexanderfoti MBO Forum Supporter Authorised Forum Supporter

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    We have multiple muxs connected to the workshop network via WiFi, the only issue is I can see is the bandwidth available would make diagnostics slowwwwww. And its not exactly fast when on the same network.
     
  18. OP
    Conor

    Conor Senior Member

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    Hmm.. If it's already slow then I doubt it will get much slower because there is already a bottle neck.. It won't compound..

    It depends on if its your network or if the mux adds a lot of latency. It's also serial so mac speeds are much lower. I would be surprised if the Internet introduced more noticeable latency.

    For example a contactless payment can be made by tapping a reader on the payment machine and relaying over the Internet to another reader with card present.. And they have strict timeouts etc. I would work. On the same principal.
     
  19. alexanderfoti

    alexanderfoti MBO Forum Supporter Authorised Forum Supporter

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    It would be significantly slower. The bottleneck is the bandwidth of link on the mux not the comms with the car. They are still slow when used on a p2p link but xentry makes lots of individual requests so the latency will add delays on each connection. Still try it and see, only way.

    Play with one and you see what I mean.
     
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  20. OP
    Conor

    Conor Senior Member

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    Fair enough.. I get you.
     

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