Second-Generation On-Board Diagnostic devices -- also referred to as OBD-II tools -- plug into the 16-pin port located under the dash of the vast majority of cars and trucks sold in North America since 1996. They access the vehicle’s onboard computer system, which in turn supplies error and system codes that mechanics and owners interpret to diagnose issues with vehicles.
ProScan and AutoTap are on-board diagnostic device packages designed to connect to cars and trucks to help diagnose mechanical and maintenance issues. Both tools are comprised of OBD-II hardware interfaces and computer-based diagnostic software. Though ProScan and AutoTap are identical in terms of intended use, they differ somewhat in terms of bundled software and pricing.
About OBD-II Tools
AutoTap is available in two different versions -- AutoTap Diagnostic and AutoTap Express DIY. AutoTap Diagnostic is more detailed and intended for the performance enthusiast, while AutoTap Express DIY is designed to aid in do-it-yourself repairs. Features of ProScan and both versions of AutoTap are essentially the same. They include real-time breakdown of information provided by your vehicle’s onboard sensors, as well as emissions reports, on-screen instructions, Check Engine Light analysis and data graphs. ProScan and AutoTap both feature built-in support for major vehicle system tests, including those for the fuel system, misfire, catalyst, evaporative system, secondary air system, oxygen sensors and EGR system.
AutoTap sells four different software applications -- Sensor Guide, Emissions Guide, OBD II Guide and Diagnostic Trouble Code Finder -- each designed to address different information provided by AutoTap OBD-II hardware. All AutoTap software requires a computer with at least a 1 GHz processor, 250MB of free hard drive space, 1GB of RAM, a CD-ROM drive and Windows 2000 or later. ProScan’s software comes bundled in one package that includes a vehicle connection manager, freeze frame data and a diagnostic report generator. ProScan software requires a computer running Windows NT 4.0, Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7.
Packages and Pricing
AutoTap is available in several different packages. Hardware packages consisting of the OBD-II connector and USB hardware interface start around $130 while individual software titles cost around $40 as of January, 2012. The four-in-one automobile diagnostic package costs around $70. ProScan is available with either USB or Bluetooth connectivity, and both packages include lifetime ProScan software upgrades, a J1962M-to-DB9F cable, six-foot USB cable, installation CD and a quick start guide. The Bluetooth package also comes with a Bluetooth adapter. The standard USB version of ProScan costs around $130 while the Bluetooth version costs around $190. All ProScan hardware comes with a three-year warranty and 30-day money back guarantee.