Innova Code Reader first try

Hyundaitech please copy.
Here's what happened with the Innova code reader that I bought last week. It's on sale right now at Kragen and affiliated stores
for $100 (USD) after the rebate.
I opened the package and read the documentation last night. Three separate books are provided, one each in English, Spanish, and French. The manufacturer isn't a cheapskate: three AAA batteries are packed with the unit, they're not cheapo batteries but are instead alkalines of a brand that I recognize.
The documentation is especially good. The history and reasoning behind the OBD II (On Board Diagnostics, 2nd generation) system is explained in everyday language. The test procedure is described quite well. The documentation is exceptionally good -- it's almost a model of how manuals should be written and edited. My only complaint is that apostrophes are misused for plurals of acronyms -- a growing trend that I dislike because it confuses readers. A multi-page table of universal codes and their explanatins are presented. Additional proprietary code sets are provided for five popular makes of autos -- Hyundai isn't one of them. The proprietary Ford codes are very extensive; the Toyota list is very short. Among the Ford codes, I spotted very simple matters that are easily nailed with old-time instruments, or just his eyeballs, by any mechanic with half a brain.
A short backgrounder: Today's cars employ sophisticated diagnostic systems that monitor performance of a number of emissions and "runability" components and sytems. Since 1996, the US Government requires that all cars must share standard code reader hookups and code designations. This standardization allows the use of a single code reader with any auto sold in the United States today. Professional "Scan Tools" work the same way, but are more sophisticated -- these instruments are too expensive for the home user.
The vehicle's computer constantly monitors these devices and makes adjustments that ensure the best efficiency and cleanest output from the tailpipe under the changing conditions of any road trip. When one of these systems does not perform according to specifications, a trouble code is generated by the computer and stored for retrieval. The seriousness of a trouble condition is evaluated by the computer and action is taken, sometimes immediately, sometimes after a few repetitions of the event. If attention is warranted, the computer lights the "check engine" lamp, either steady or flashing.
The code reader connects under the dashboard via a cable to a mating socket. Pressing a button on the reader instructs the car's computer to download any stored malfunction codes; these codes are presented on the screen of the code reader in about five seconds.
The Innova Owner's Manual explains the different states of code storage, and what the various screen indications mean. Individual systems are tested by the car's computer; each system is tested using its own special program -- a routine that may require the car to be driven either casually, or in a specific way, in order to store the results in the computer for evaluation. Each of these routines is named a "monitor." All monitors on a given vehicle are polled by the code reader; all results are displayed, regardless of the seriousness -- and the seriousness also registers on the screen. For example, a glitch that's not critical may be stored in a state named "pending" -- that is, pending repetition of the stimuli to see if the malfunction will happen again. If there are more than one stored code, the user can scroll through the results. A "pending" code won't trigger the "check engine" light, but it'll be shown on the code reader's screen.
I searched for my 2000 Sonata's socket for about two minutes before finding it exactly where Hyundaitech said it was. The socket is straight vertical, just to the right of the steering column, just behind the bottom edge of the dashboard. It took a bit of work to get the plug aligned correctly with the socket. Once connected, I had the report on my car in less than a minute. The result was "zero," which confirmed that the car that I bought two weeks ago is free of troubles in these major systems -- it should therefore pass a smog test with flying colors, as it did three months ago.
All monitors that have reported were indicated with solid characters. But two of these characters were blinking, indicating that their corresponding test data was missing in the car's computer. The word "done" was missing from the reader's screen, showing that all available monitors had non been accounted for.
**** Here's where I'd like Hyundaitech to comment: Two of the monitors were not run (the blinking ones). These were the Catalyst Monitor ("C") and the Oxygen Sensor Monitor ("O"). What do I need to do to run the tests in order to obtain the data that the computer needs to report on these two components? Also, if they're on the Hundai technical web site, how do I find the information?
If any of you are interested in buying this device and live near a Kragen, Schucks, or Checker store, the sale is on, I think, until March 26th. It may also be available on their web site -- I don't know. Note that there's a different, smaller code reader on sale at the same time for less money. I can't comment on it; I've already had experience with an earlier Innova (Equus) code reader, and it was a winner.
Could the documentation be better? Of course. It's a little confusing, but most things should come clear in a few read-throughs. However, the book is so vastly better than the instructions with most products that Innova deserves special commendation for doing such a user-centric job. The four buttons on the reader make a cheap, ratty sound when you release them. No matter -- I like this gizmo.
Thanks, Hyundaitech.
Richard
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Basically, the fact that the monitors haven't run means that the computer was cleared relatively recently and the computer hasn't finished running the tests. What's necessary to get them to run is to drive the vehicle. The catalyst and O2 monitors typically are among those requiring the longest drive time.
In my location, many emissions tests are done just by plugging in a tool similar to yours and checking to see if the monitors have run and that there are no codes. I had a customer who drove her vehicle such short distances that I had to test drive the car home and back overnight for the monitors to run so she could pass her emissions test.
Oh, and btw, I also really hate the fact that so many people don't seem to know the difference between plural and possessive. It's everywhere.
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| Basically, the fact that the monitors haven't run means that the computer | was cleared relatively recently and the computer hasn't finished running | the tests. What's necessary to get them to run is to drive the vehicle. | The catalyst and O2 monitors typically are among those requiring the | longest drive time. | | In my location, many emissions tests are done just by plugging in a tool | similar to yours and checking to see if the monitors have run and that | there are no codes. I had a customer who drove her vehicle such short | distances that I had to test drive the car home and back overnight for the | monitors to run so she could pass her emissions test. |
This is what puzzled me. This past Monday, I drove a fairly long distance, much of it along a winding coastal California road, some of it on freeway, and some on city streets -- with a handful of stops along the way. My driving the following two days was mixed, but mostly freeway, with the code reader download the morning after. So, I'm a bit confused. From Innova's instructions, I got the impression, as you said, that a bit of driving was required in order to run these monitors. So, what I'm thinking now is that a few short hops can erase a prior data set from a long run -- in other words, new data will push old data out of the buffers. Otherwise, I don't understand why I was missing these two monitors.
Since this is a public forum, I've been explaining a bit -- sharing my process with this gizmo for others to follow. If there are no objections, I'll be happy to keep it up.
One of my motives is this: with the recent advances in computerized engine controls, older mechanical knowledge has got to be enhanced with knowledge of the new systems, as well as diagnostic methods. That's been a lot for mechanics to chew on, despite all the self-diagnosis. We've got a whole bunch of new terms, and unfortunately, many of these terms are a long stretch when it comes to the sensibility of the names. (I recall "Key On Engine Off: KOEO." But why isn't KOEO "Key Off Engine On?" Better would be something like "Power Up Engine Running/Power Up Engine Stopped." I'm into very clear technical terminology -- terminology that eliminates potential confusion.
With this technical revolution has come a new problem for the consumer: the driver is helpless if there's a road breakdown, and sometimes at the mercy of a preditory mechanic far from home. Being able to read one's own codes on-the-fly gives the customer important knowledge is such a situation.
| Oh, and btw, I also really hate the fact that so many people don't seem to | know the difference between plural and possessive. It's everywhere. |
I know. I like clear writing. Plural/possessive confusion with apostrophes muddies things up, like the use of "insure" for "ensure." I really appreciate good technical writing -- it can be a pleasure to read.
Richard
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Well, I'm not really sure why the monitors haven't run, then. Perhaps it's a difficulty with the tool reading the monitor on your specific car, but I doubt it. I wouldn't worry much about it, either. If you've recently passed emissions and the check engine lamp is not on, there can't be much wrong. What sort of emissions test did they do on your vehicle? Was it tailpipe, treadmill, or OBD-II (read codes and monitors)?
I definitely agree about the knowledge. There are many people who don't understand anything more than the fact their car is broken and the price to repair it. As a result, conclusions as to rip-offs, etc. get made solely on the basis of price. At least with a little knowledge, you can probably tell whether someone is handing you a line of b.s. to separate you from your money.
Oh, and if you ever find any of that good technical writing, let me know. There's no way it can't be better than the ridiculous things I read every day.
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| Well, I'm not really sure why the monitors haven't run, then. Perhaps it's | a difficulty with the tool reading the monitor on your specific car, but I | doubt it. I wouldn't worry much about it, either.
But the issue is that I want to read all the emissions codes because one of the reasons that I bought the reader is to be prepared for a smog test in advance. And also, of course, to keep the car tuned up. So, It's important to me to have perfect readout of all monitors. The present situation is bothering me.
I re-connected the reader this afternoon, and got the same result as yesterday -- no report on the catalytic converter and the oxygen sensor. So, I went out this evening and left the reader connected -- it retrieved codes every 15 seconds during a 25-minute drive, a 10-minute drive, and the last one, 12 minutes. No change.
If you've recently | passed emissions and the check engine lamp is not on, there can't be much | wrong. What sort of emissions test did they do on your vehicle? Was it | tailpipe, treadmill, or OBD-II (read codes and monitors)? |
Good questions. I bought the car 2.5 weeks ago. California requires that the car be smogged upon title transfer -- three months prior test is fine. The car flunked a smog test, was repaired, and then passed -- all in December. I do not know what work was done.
Around the same time, the seller took the car for an oil change at a franchised tuneup shop. It's the only receipt that I have for the vehicle. The slip says that he was charged $25 to reset the "check engine" light. So, I assume that all stored codes were cleared at that time, too.
I'm fairly certain that the smog test was run with a dynomometer -- folks in the Central Valley have been screaming bloody murder that they have to breathe all our smog, which blows to them over the mountains. Thus, about two years ago, the treadmill test was added for the SF Bay Area.
I'll assume that the test station also reads the OBD II monitors and codes -- after all, if you wanted to ensure that your air was as free of junk as you could make it, and that people didn't game the smog test (as a mechanic, you know about that, right?) you'd want to do this, too, because you might nab some lurking problems. I don't know this for a fact, however. So far, I've been pretty impressed with the Air Resources people, but the whole thing can be a pain. Still, we've all got to breathe, and we've got a lot of folks with asthma right around here -- near a couple of refineries and belching diesels on the freeways and also at the transcontinental railroad terminals; it's the tsunami of goodies from China coming to enrich our lives.
| I definitely agree about the knowledge. There are many people who don't | understand anything more than the fact their car is broken and the price | to repair it. As a result, conclusions as to rip-offs, etc. get made | solely on the basis of price. At least with a little knowledge, you can | probably tell whether someone is handing you a line of b.s. to separate | you from your money. |
Yes; I direct the reader's attention to the line above where I said that a person was charged $25 to reset his "check engine" light. That's a 2-minute task with the code reader that I just bought. The scenario that I presented earlier on this board in which the driver pulls into a small town, his car a'knockin' and a'belchin,' nervous and desperate for a repair, and gets hustled with what I'll call the "We'll have to connect your car to the computer" gambit. "That'll be ninety-five dollars for the hookup -- it's very complicated." And, "We won't be able to connect it until Friday -- we're real busy, backed up you know." And, "You can stay at Ed's Motel down the street until I can get to your car."
I presented this scenario to my friend yesterday, and he replied, "That's it! That's exactly what happened to me in Lone Pine! We didn't get out of there for three days." There's a lot of really fine mechanics out there. But there are those rascals, too.
| Oh, and if you ever find any of that good technical writing, let me know. | There's no way it can't be better than the ridiculous things I read every | day.
Yes, I know. Most of the automotive stuff is really awful regardless of where it comes from. A long time ago, I was really inspired by the house writing style of Eastman Kodak. I don't know if they've retained it, but it ran throughout almost all of their publications. Their materials were incredible. Once you see good technical documentation, the usual stuff will have you screaming and cursing a whole lot, because then you'll know how beneficial it can really be and how the stuff you've been suffering with has been messing up your life.
There are a number of reasons why most technical documentation is poor. I won't go into them all right now; this would get rather long. But let's just say that there are some people who could do a much better job at empathizing with the guy who has to use the stuff. Writing isn't adequately budgeted; writers are brought onto projects way, way too late by managers. The writers aren't allowed the time that it takes to get to know the product, yet they have to describe it! Product managers just want to shove the product out the door -- which is understandable because it's probably barely on deadline. Documentation is often regarded as a pain in the neck. The wrong writers are hired -- many tech writers don't have a good feel for what they're documenting. I think that it's very important for the writer to be able to put himself in the user's shoes and write completely from that space. Unfortunately, it's mostly the opposite: the writing is done top-down, from the viewpoint of the engineer. There's no doubt of one thing: good documentation costs money. And it's worth it.
That engineer designs the oil pan, but he does not know what it's like to be lying underneath a car with oil dripping into your eyes, trying to feel with your one free oily hand whether the wrench is a 15/64 inch or a 192/256 inch. And that's assuming that you've guessed the size of that damn bolt correctly! And neither does the writer! And the writer got his information from that engineer. I'll stop here, OK?
If there's something I need to know about running these two nagging tests, please let me know. For example, is it neccessary for the car to be run at a sustained speed for a given period of time? I'll check in with Innova on Monday about the code reader and report back.
Good chatting with you.
Richard
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Richard,
One of my pet peeves is the misuse of the work "breaks" as it pertains to car brakes. It is one of the worst on USENET---
Ferdy

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| Richard, | | One of my pet peeves is the misuse of the work "breaks" as it pertains to | car brakes. It is one of the worst on USENET--- |
Chill out, Ferd; they could spell it "break's" (and I'll bet they do).
Richard
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Richard Steinfeld wrote:

The difference between plural and possessive forms isn't always clear. Words that don't have a specific plural form are supposed to be written with an apostrophe between the word and the added "s" at the end, which makes it look like a possessive form. Names are a good example of this. Is the plural of "Hyundai" supposed to be "Hyundais" or "Hyundai's"? Either could be correct, but I'll bet it's the latter.
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As far as improper English goes, my all-time favourite from a national Canadian newspaper ad was in a car's description: fan fare here please ........how about 'radio tires'! BCin BC

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B Crawford wrote:

This from a labor contract negotiation at our company:
Shop Steward, pounding fist on table: "We demand the hourly rate increase specified, and we want it made radioactive!"
Jim
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| | The difference between plural and possessive forms isn't always clear. | Words that don't have a specific plural form are supposed to be written | with an apostrophe between the word and the added "s" at the end, which | makes it look like a possessive form. Names are a good example of this. | Is the plural of "Hyundai" supposed to be "Hyundais" or "Hyundai's"? | Either could be correct, but I'll bet it's the latter.
Beg pardon, but I don't agree with the "supposed to be" part of this. I say that it's wrong, and it's the writer's and editor's job to use their craft in order to avoid the confusion.
"Hyundai's bumper:" correct. "A bunch of Hyundai's:" wrong, wrong, wrong.
This is the second time in which I've recently found a person claiming that this butchery is correct! What is happening to us?
Go here: http://www.angryflower.com/aposter.html
Here: http://www.apostrophe.fsnet.co.uk /
Try this: http://www.users.bigpond.com/J_fersOffice/sample.htm
Many people have been apostrophizing acronyms for plurals. It's the lazy way out. Look at this: Plural of ATM: "ATM's" How about "ATMs?" Which one is clear? Which is confusing?
This awful transgression had inflicted the railroad publishing industry -- the cause was a locomotive on the Pennsylvania Railriad that was named the "K4s." In order to be able to deal with this, the editor of Trains Magazine decided to twist the entire English language instead. Plural became "K4s's," However, professional consistency dictated that other locomotives were now "Alco's."
Applying a bit of work to this solves the problem: Instead of "K4s's" (or "K4s'"), we can write, "The K4s engine class," or "A group of K4s locomotives." With acronyms, clearing this up is surprisingly easy, because all we have to do is to write the acronym itself in upper case (which is normal) and then put the trailing pluralization in lower case like this: ATMs.
A good writer and a good editor should always work for clarity and eliminate obfuscation -- that is, unless we're writing mystery novels.
Clear now? I rest my case.
Richard
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On Sat, 19 Mar 2005 10:21:25 -0800, "Richard Steinfeld"

    S25
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I recall learing (in High School English, I believe) that acronyms were the only allowable (but not required) use of the apostrophe to indicate plurals. The purpose was to make a separation from the acronym and the letter "s," making it clear that the s was not part of the acronym. I still favor the capital acronym - lower case s, though.
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hyundaitech wrote:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q ronym+plural&btnG=Google+Search
Jim
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| I recall learing (in High School English, I believe) that acronyms were the | only allowable (but not required) use of the apostrophe to indicate | plurals. The purpose was to make a separation from the acronym and the | letter "s," making it clear that the s was not part of the acronym. I | still favor the capital acronym - lower case s, though. |
The interpretation that you mentioned makes some sense, but it reinforces the practice of tossing in an apostrophe when you don't know what else to do. And this dilutes the meaning of the punctuation. The guiding principle for my own writing is that when in doubt, I always aim for clarity. And when it comes to ambiguity, "head 'em off at the pass." In other words, shape the writing to ensure that ambiguity has been sucked out of the text.
Whenever we use the apostrophe to pluralize a word, we put confusion into the reader's mind, and make the reader search the rest of the sentence or paragraph for the context in order to clarify the meaning. I believe that it's the job of the technical writer to deliver clear descriptions and clear instructions to the end user.
Technical writing is the opposite of fiction -- fiction is an art, in which we (hopefully) encourage the readers to make connections within their own minds -- ambiguity can be a wonderful part of this process. And ambiguity is often an essential part of comedy -- where the comic spins a yarn involving a word, and suddenly changes the word's context, and therefore its meaning, to create the punch line.
Technical writing is a craft, a craft in which the writer can be an artful practitioner. You know when you read good technical writing because you get a picture of the job at hand while reading it -- that sense of "I've got it!" Have I been clear about this?
Another misuse of punctuation that's become rampant is quotes to set off something and make it important. You'll find this one most often in the supermarket, as in "Peaches" 39 cents. There's a vague history regarding this vagueness -- I recall the logo of The Delaware and Hudson, an American railroad, which signed itself "The D&H", probably from before 1900. The reason is lost in the fog of antiquity, where it probably made as much sense as it does now. Imagine if the badge on the back of the car, instead of saying Hyundai, said "Hyundai". It seems absurd, but that's what some people do when making their signs. You may notice that I've intentionally omitted some proper punctuation and changed the usual order of it, to be clear about punctuation itself. Like I said, there's an art to this craft.
Here's an entertaining book by Lynn Truss about punctuation. http://eatsshootsandleaves.com / I've heard the lady on the radio and I found what she had to say very interesting. She's from England, of course; when conversing with people on the internet, I've noticed that the misuse of the apostrophe is quite rampant in the UK. The book has a forward by Frank McCourt, whose American Irish English may be worth the price of the book all by itself.
Here's a page about ensure, insure, and assure. http://www.randomhouse.com/wotd/index.pperl?date 960916
I'll repeat the apostrophe web site addresses again: http://www.angryflower.com/aposter.html http://www.apostrophe.fsnet.co.uk / http://www.users.bigpond.com/J_fersOffice/sample.htm
Richard
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