OBD for early R170 on the cheap - Mercedes Benz SLK Forum

SLK R170 General Discussion SLK 200, SLK 230K, SLK 320, SLK32 AMG

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#1 Old 03-20-2014
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Thumbs up OBD for early R170 on the cheap

I just thought I'd share my experience of getting the On Board Diagnostics working for my early R170, all for next to nothing!

on older R170s the socket is under the bonnet, as pictured:








from eBay I purchased a "MERCEDES 38 PIN OBD to ODB2 16 PIN CAR FAULT CODE DIAGNOSTIC ADAPTER CABLE" or "38 Pin to 16 Pin OBD2 Female Adapter Connector Diagnostic Cable for Mercedes" - or something like that, descriptions vary, but there's one pictured above.

then I bought an Autel MaxiScan MS300 CAN OBDII scan tool, though I actually bought this for a modern car, it appears to work in conjunction with the 38 pin adapter above.

then I bought a "ELM327 OBDII V1.5 CAN-BUS USB Auto Code Reader Diagnostic Interface Scanner" - again several titles are used, which comes with a little CD (which can be a problem, I only had one PC that would accept it). Loading the software on an old Windows 7 netbook was pain free, and you end up with a vaguely amateurish open-source program which displays the data. (I would NOT recommend updating this to a newer version from t'internet, this did not work for me) - oh and the program is sadly incomplete, it has menu items that don't work. Though... you do get the source code too, so if you're software savvy you might be able to DIY!

so, the MS300 gives you a small amount of info, really just the codes and maybe the ability to switch off a check light.

the ELM327 in conjunction with a laptop gives you much more info, and can be used with the engine running to get 'real time' data.

Total cost:
38 pin adapter : 5.69
ELM327 : 7.50
Maxiscan MS300 : 9.99

the only slight worry I have... is that neither actually gave me any codes! Yes, I know, I should be happy... and there's nothing wrong with the car that I know of... but I guess until I see a meaningful code come up I won't know for sure if it's working or not.

Happy to share experiences about this with anyone.
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#2 Old 03-20-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulXLE View Post

from eBay I purchased a "MERCEDES 38 PIN OBD to ODB2 16 PIN CAR FAULT CODE DIAGNOSTIC ADAPTER CABLE" or "38 Pin to 16 Pin OBD2 Female Adapter Connector Diagnostic Cable for Mercedes" - or something like that, descriptions vary, but there's one pictured above.

then I bought an Autel MaxiScan MS300 CAN OBDII scan tool,.
I did also but cannot get it to power up when plugged into the car. The scan tool powers on when 12 v. is applied to the appropriate pins. The supplier sent a replacement adapter cable, but it still won't power up.
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#3 Old 03-21-2014
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Cool

Well, all I can suggest is that it was a bit of a fiddle to get the 38 pin plug to seat properly in the car's socket.

I'm wondering if you're not pushing it in hard enough, though care is needed, it is all a little fragile.
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#4 Old 03-21-2014
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Originally Posted by PaulXLE View Post
Well, all I can suggest is that it was a bit of a fiddle to get the 38 pin plug to seat properly in the car's socket.

I'm wondering if you're not pushing it in hard enough, though care is needed, it is all a little fragile.
Seems to seat well, and it's keyed to go on only one way. Still nothing despite a good amount of fiddling. Will have an auto electrician give it a look. BTW, the dealership got readings on their equipment when I checked out the purchase a few months ago, so the in-car system is OK.
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#5 Old 03-25-2014
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I don't know what to suggest, unfortunately...

however, heads up for UK members!

The April 2014 edition of "Car Mechanics" has a good article on early SLK electronic diagnostics, on a 230, wiring diagrams, all sorts of interesting info.
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#6 Old 03-26-2014
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I have a similar ELM327 ODB2 device.

I was advised not to use the supplied software because "it's bug-ridden and may be a vector for malware". It may be a good idea to uninstall the supplied software and then run virus and malware scans, to be on the safe side.

If you have an Android device, install the Torque Pro application for about 5 from the Play Store.

If you have an iOS device, install the EOBD-Facile application for free from the App Store. There's an in-app purchase option for an improved version, costing about 11.

Both will connect to the ELM327 device via Bluetooth and are be able to pull and clear codes for you. Both also allow you to see real-time data (revs, temps etc).

I'm told that the proper MB Star software is more accurate, but I've never seen a price for it, nor a web site where it can be downloaded. If anyone knows the details, please post them.

EDIT

Also, make sure you unplug the device when not using the car. Some folks on the forum have found that it can flatten the battery within 2-3 days.
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Last edited by ajberrow; 03-26-2014 at 02:17 PM. Reason: Added details
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#7 Old 03-26-2014
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they don't have the OBD-2 port on your cars over there???
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#8 Old 03-27-2014
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Originally Posted by gonzosc1 View Post
they don't have the OBD-2 port on your cars over there???
not on early ones... I don't know when the newer port was fitted, in the foot-well, but I imagine it's post face-lift models?
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#9 Old 03-27-2014
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These cheap obd readers are very cheap and basic .

And may or not work you pays your money and well hit or miss.

Id pay a bit more to get something much more reliable to get codes / re set etc

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#10 Old 03-27-2014
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Originally Posted by PaulXLE View Post
not on early ones... I don't know when the newer port was fitted, in the foot-well, but I imagine it's post face-lift models?
someone correct me if I'm wrong. I think after 95-96 all cars here had to have the ODB-2 port.. may just be a US thing but I don't know..
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#11 Old 03-28-2014
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Originally Posted by PaulXLE View Post

however, heads up for UK members!

The April 2014 edition of "Car Mechanics" has a good article on early SLK electronic diagnostics, on a 230, wiring diagrams, all sorts of interesting info.
Would you scan the article and post it for we non-UK members? Thanks. It's not available on the magazine's website.
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#12 Old 03-29-2014
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Originally Posted by gonzosc1 View Post
someone correct me if I'm wrong. I think after 95-96 all cars here had to have the ODB-2 port.. may just be a US thing but I don't know..
In the US all cars manufactured after 95/9 have to have OBD-2 port, in EU it is from 2001 they have to have EOBD ports.
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#13 Old 03-31-2014
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Cool

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Originally Posted by nz170 View Post
Would you scan the article and post it for we non-UK members? Thanks. It's not available on the magazine's website.
Well... the article is in the current issue, and I think there might be a copyright problem with posting it on the forum!?

nz170, I will PM you later about this...
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#14 Old 09-13-2014
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38 pin to OBD2

Hi,
Nice post. I am trying the same kind of setup, unfortunately I can't establish a link. I purchased a 38 pin to OBD2 from Amazon, along with my Actron scanner which was $100 plus so not a bad one. I have attached a few photos any ideas as to why I can't link?
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#15 Old 09-15-2014
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Originally Posted by slik98 View Post
Hi,
Nice post. I am trying the same kind of setup, unfortunately I can't establish a link. I purchased a 38 pin to OBD2 from Amazon, along with my Actron scanner which was $100 plus so not a bad one. I have attached a few photos any ideas as to why I can't link?
Sorry, no. Well, apart from the fact that the ignition needs to be on for it to work I guess, that's all I know. And as I mentioned before, I did have a bit of bother seating the big round plug properly, I guess you've given it a good old wiggle?
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#16 Old 07-06-2015
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Hi I too bought an adapter from flea bay, and it wouldn't work just a red light on the odb device, I took the adapter apart and there was only 3 wires in it, what a load of rubbish
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#17 Old 07-06-2015
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Question

Has anyone tried one that would talk (Bluetooth) to their phone? (If so, did that seem very useful?)
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#18 Old 10-12-2015
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Originally Posted by allenhh View Post
I took the adapter apart and there was only 3 wires in it, what a load of rubbish
3 wires is all that is needed: ground, +12 V and data.
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#19 Old 10-16-2015
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janil I stand corrected, but it begs the question, what do all the other 30 odd pins do?
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#20 Old 10-17-2015
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Connector design is from era before OBD-bus. There is room for dedicated connection to each separate control module in the car. I think more sophisticated diagnostic systems, like Star, use those pins to access features in some modules of R170, which are not available through OBD.
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