GM Bosch Vetronix HP Tech 2 with CANDI

General Motors Repair Technicians use a hand-held computer called the “Tech 2” to diagnose and tune modern vehicles.   It is called the Tech 2 because there was originally a Tech 1, and this is the update.

GM Tech 2

Tech 2

The Tech 2 is like a scan tool on steroids, with some additional tuning options thrown in.  As a scanning tool, the Tech 2 excels.  While an off the shelf scanner will read the Engine Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs), the Tech 2 will read and report information from all the car’s systems, including ABS, Air Conditioning, Air Bags, and other systems a standard scanner will not read.  For example, in my CTS Seat experiment after the seat was replaced the Tech 2 must be used to run a Passenger Presence System relearn.  There is no other way to run this tuning step other than with the Tech 2.  Similarly some vehicle customizations or radio resets require a Tech 2 to perform.

Bosch has this informative video on the Tech 2: Bosch Tech 2 Video

Vetronix made the Tech 1.  The original GM Tech 2 was made by Hewlett Packard and used Vetronix software.  Vetronix purchased the Tech 2 manufacturing rights from HP.  In 2003, Vetronix was acquired by ETAS, a supplier of standardized development and diagnostic tools for electronic control units. In 2006, the Vetronix Aftermarket division merged with Bosch Automotive Aftermarket, responsible for supply, sales and logistics of automotive parts for service of the vehicle.  So today the Tech 2 is ‘made’ by Bosch.

The Tech 2 is used for GM Vehicles from 1992-present.  It is kept up to date by updating the 32  MB Pcmcia memory card with the latest diagnostic software.  Current cars with the CAN bus require the CANDI interface for the Tech II to communicate with the vehicle.

A Tech 2 costs — pick a number.  New models appear to cost as much as $4K, and the retail price is shown as even higher — as much as $8K or $9K depending on the site.  Discount new units are available for as low as $2300 on ebay for example, and used units run a bit less.  There appears to be a market in Chinese clones for the Tech 2 and software, although I am opposed to piracy of intellectual property.  My impression from shopping is that you should budget around $2K for an authentic Tech 2 in good condition with all accessories, 32 MB card, and CANDI module.

In the future GM appears to be moving to a laptop based scanning and diagnostic tool using the GM Multiple Diagnostic Interface (MDI) EL-47955.  The GM MDI will replace the Tech 2 for diagnostics in the future, but will not replace the Tech 2 for 1992-2009 vehicles.

The GM MDI is a compact communication module that manages the transfer of data between a vehicles onboard ECU network and a PC.  The GM MDI offers faster programming speed at a lower cost. Depending on the vehicle architecture, the MDI can be 20%-70% faster than the Tech2.  The GM MDI allows the user to perform Pass-Thru programming procedures using software running on a laptop or desktop PC.   Any PC can be used.

Re: GM Saving $10.7 Billion Means Cash for Trucks, 2010 Profit Goal

Businessweek has a nice opinion piece about GM’s plans: GM Saving $10.7 Billion Means Cash for Trucks, 2010 Profit Goal – BusinessWeek.

Overall theme?  GM has cut the budget and is spending the money on improved products (good).

I found this opinion a good sign going forward but very sad looking back:

GM has come to the realization that customers are more perceptive than the old GM used to think,” said Eric Noble, president of CarLab, an Orange, California-based automotive consultant that specializes in product planning. “The only way to win is to gain an advantage in product quality.”

Here are the details of interest to me:

  • Truck redesign to include more efficient engines and lighter materials (Including Cadillac Escalade)
  • Cadillac XTS planned for production, perhaps to be in showrooms by 2013
  • Cadillac XTS will probably include a plug-in hybrid

All of this seems like good news that GM and Cadillac are on the right path — hopefully 2010 will be a shining year for execution — good production, good sales — that will lay the ground work for continued development and future products that we can all enjoy.

Cadillac still needs to solve the equation of how to sell their current sedans.  It is terrific that the SRX is such a hit, but it puts in even greater contrast the sales performance of the sedans.  Yes, the CTS Coupe will sell well when it arrives this summer.  BUT they need to get the DTS and CTS sales moving or it will be a long year.

Ask Patty what’s cool and high tech? Chevrolet Volt

Quick note that Ask Patty included the Chevrolet Volt in their blog

More Choices than Ever Before – The Alternative Cars of the Future

The New Volt Takes You Farther
General Motors celebrated its 100th birthday this month with a new Extended-Range Electric Vehicle (E-REV), the Chevrolet Volt also displayed at the Santa Monica AltCar Expo. Aerodynamics was one of the key motivations for the design of the Volt, especially since it plays a big role in driving range.

The 16-kWh lithium-ion battery provides electricity for trips up to 40 miles. The battery works with a gasoline/E85-powered engine generator that sustains charge. When the battery is depleted, it can extend the car’s range for hundreds of miles so consumers do not have to worry about running out of electricity. Because of its charging technology, the Volt can be charged in less than three hours on a 240v outlet. Moreover, GM estimates that the unique system only costs two cents per mile while under gasoline- and emissions-free battery power. The Volt is scheduled for production at the end of 2010.

All good, all correct, and exactly the type of facts that GM and Chevrolet need for real people to know. The Volt is a revolutionary automobile.

Compare:  I paid $3.45/gallon of regular unleaded today.  If I got 20 mpg city that would be $0.1725 per mile.  The Volt will cost around $0.02 per mile for the first 40 miles of electric charge (all the range most people use in a day).  At today’s gas prices that will cost the same ($3.45/.02) as if the Volt got 172 mpg!