337 Jary Road
RD1 Ohaupo, 2452
International contact numbers
++ 64 7 823 6582 (sales & inquires)
++ 64 7 823 6592 (fax)
Contact via E-Mail
For sales information, orders or general inquires: email@example.com
Product review performed by
Bruce Bonebrake Managing Editor at BATauto
Here is a product that will really amaze you when you see it in action. In the USA, since 1996 when OBDII was mandatory on all passenger vehicles sold here, most pc and handheld scanners and code readers will not cover OBDI vehicles. Well, here is a system that will!! The Rennacs folks have designed a simple to use unique code reader for OBDI vehicles. Since the system will read the MIL light or the LED(s) mounted on the vehicle computer the ABS, SRS and other systems can also be checked with this system. Outside the USA, the vehicle manufactures have different emission standards. Some countries are still pre-OBDII, or have just recently added the system to the vehicles. Since we are all located in the World Wide Web, at BATauto, we want to try and bring products that will benefit everyone. The Rennacs Limited company is located in New Zealand and these folks are really focused on vehicle diagnostics. They are in the process of adding the OBDII diagnostics to the systems. The system tested in this review is for Asian Imports, and for an example of the supported vehicles, click here. Since the system is not model specific, there may be other models that are covered but not listed. European vehicles will also be added to the system in the near future.
We have had numerous people ask us about testing pre-OBDII vehicles for fault codes and also the various other on-board computer systems such as ABS, SRS, Transmission. We may have found an answer with the Rennacs Code Reader PC System. The company also offers this system for use with a handheld. Using the unique configuration of the Handspring handheld, there is also the Code Reader Handheld System. I am reviewing that system also. To give you an idea how both sytems work, I have reviewed them both on the same vehicle with the same problem. Bascially the same vehicle was tested with the Code Reader PC system, and then the same tests with the Code Reader Handheld system. Let's get started by looking at what the Code Reader PC system consists of...
The Code Reader for PC system comes in an organizer style nylon carrying case.
The outside compartment houses all of the connectors and jumpers needed to testing the vehicles, as well as a bottle of water, a shield and a magnet.
Inside the carrying case are the remainder of the testers components. Rennacs even added a foam cushion inside the case to protect the contents.
Above is the sensor that will read the warning indiactor lamp. If you notice, the sensor even has a black hood attached to it to stop stray light from interferring with the operation of the sensor.
The literature included is the user guide for the system, the invoice that will contain the unlock codes for the software, charts and the warranty information. The charts are even laminated to provide years of use.
Above is the printer port adapter and the PC-to-vehicle cable. This is a LONG cable that will allow the system to be connected to a PC. If you have a PC in your shop or garage there is no need for a laptop.
The PC requirements for the Code Reader system are very minimal. I am using a Toshiba Satellite laptop. With the long PC cable supplied with the system, you can use a desktop PC. The laptop I am using is a 486-50Mhz, 20MB RAM, 200MB hard drive. This laptop is running Windows '95. The Code Reader software is for Windows and a DOS version is also included on the floppy disc. To install the software, insert the program floppy disc in the 1.44MB floppy drive.
Contents contained on the diskette. For a DOS install, click on the DosSetup icon. We are installing the Windows version, so we'll click on the WinSetup icon.
The CodeReader installer will give the directions for the installation. We start by clicking the Setup CodeReader System button.
Fill out the garage name, address and phone number and click the Install button
Click Yes on the create the folder question.
The file installation will only take a couple of minutes to complete.
Installation complete. Read text in box and click Ok to close the install program.
Contents of CodeReader folder. Place mouse pointer on the CoderReader icon and Right click the icon. Select Create Shortcut..
With the shortcut created, drag and drop the shortcut onto the desktop.
With the shortcut on the desktop, we simply click the icon to open the program.
When starting the program, you can click the Minimize button on the window to make it display full screen.
Before we can use the CodeReader system, the system will need to be unlocked. The package will contain the unlock key code. Simply enter the code and then press the Enter key.
The system is fully installed on the laptop, and the models that the system will test are listed. We need to stop now and connect the laptop to the vehicle.
The screen above will appear if you attempt to continue with the program without connecting the cable to the system. Also, since the cable attaches to the laptop/pc printer port, if the port is improperly configured, this screen will display. There is a help file that can be accessed by pressing the letter P key.
Locate the Check Engine light. Our test vehicle, a 1992 Honda Civic, the Check Engine light is directly above the Seat Belt light. We want to turn the Seat Belt off so we will receive an accurate reading. To turn the light off, all I had to do was fasten the drivers seat belt.
Next we will attach the CodeReader sensor. There is a protective cover over the sensor that will need to be removed.
Apply a drop of water to the suction cup on the sensor. The CodeReader system even comes the water bottle just for this task!! Once the water is applied, attach the sensor over the Check Engine light.
With the sensor in place, the dash is covered with the attached black hood. The object of installing the hood is to keep any stray light from affecting the sensor operation.
Attach the sensor cable to the pc cable. The plug and socket configuration allow for the sensor to be connected only one way.
Attach the pc cable to the printer port on the laptop.
I am also installing a 12V DC adapter to the laptop to supply power needed for the test.
System menu screen. You can select the system that you want from the menu. In our case, the EFI system, so we press the number 1 key.
The next screen lets you choose whether or not your application is gas EFI or diesel. In our case, we press the "Enter" key for gas EFI.
The vehicle menu screen will show all of the supported vehicle manufactures. Also on this screen you will see the option to Backup Files, Load File and display Warning Info. You can also select the Esc function to return back to the Main Menu.
I selected the "O" for Honda and the next screen that appears is the customer information screen. You have the choice of entering the customer information or skipping that step.
The two screens above show the code retreival in progress.
The trouble code stored in memory is a code 7 throttle valve switch or circuit.
The screens above show the "Save" option. Once saved you can refer to the test at a later date and print the report for your customer or for your record.
The screen above is handy if you would have a problem while performing the fault code reading. There are help screens throughout the program along with the printed material that comes with the CodeReader system. Now let's take a look at the vehicle and see if we can find the problem.
Following step 1, I referred to the Reference Chart that came with the CodeReader system.
The reference chart directed me to the passenger front kick panel area. It described the plug and the color of the two wires that would need to be jumped in order to place the ECM into the diagnostic mode. The CodeReader system includes various jumpers such as the one I used shown in the image to the left. With the ECM in the diagnostic mode, next we turn the ignition to the on position.
The images above show the problem that caused the Check Engine light to come on and caused the Fault Code 7 to set. If you look at the top picture you will see that the throttle postion wiring harness connector is partially unplugged causing the fault. The fuel filter was brand new. I called the customer and asked when the problem started and also when the fuel filter was replaced and he told me as I suspected, the Check Engine light came on right after he had the vehicle serviced. I disconnected the connector to inspect it for damage. The connection looked fine as does the latch that secures the connection together. Somehow during the service the Throttle Position was either unplugged or distrubed. The repair was simply reconnecting the connector.
To erase the codes is explained above. This information is within the CodeReader system for the specific vehicle. The Honda instruction screen (shown above) while on that screen, if the letter "E" is pressed the Erasing Code Instruction will display. On our vehicle, we could remove the Hazard fuse located in the main fuse panel for 20 seconds and the code/memory would be erased. I disconnected the negative battery cable which is an alternate method. The reason I decided to remove the battery cable, was because the battery cables and the top of the battery needed to be cleaned. Once the code was cleared, as you can see in the image above, the Check Engine light is off.
Product review final comments
I want to thank you for taking the time to read my review. I know that there were alot of images that may affect the load time, but I felt they were necessary in order to completely explain the CodeReader system. I also want to thank the folks at Rennacs for designing such a quality tool. Here are my final remarks how I personally rate this system:
PACKAGING: ........................................Excellent. Plenty of room for expansion.
PC REQUIREMENTS...........................Minimum..will work with DOS or Windows
PRODUCT DESIGN..............................Very well designed!! Careful attention to every detail!!
EASE OF USE........................................Very user friendly with excellent help within the program
and in the included manuals and charts.
PRODUCT VALUE...............................Good value for the cost of the system. There are several
ways the system can be purchased. For pricing and
to purchase the system, CLICK HERE
I was amazed at the overall design of this system. The ease of use and the minimum pc requirements make this a system that is a must have for OBDI and ABS, SRS and Transmission code retrieval on Asian vehicles. The upgrades are free downloads on the Rennacs website. You need to make sure that you have purchased the software to be upgraded, which will come with the required UNLOCK codes. For a list of available upgrade downloads, CLICK HERE. We appreciate your comments so take a moment and let us know what you think by using the link below.
I want to extend a special thanks to the folks at:
This repair information system was used on the repair of our test vehicle.
Thank you for reading my product review!! For a list of available product reviews and technical articles, please visit our:
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