This was my first scantool (kind of like "My first Sony"). I was based on an 8032 with 32K RAM and ROM, with a keypad, a 16 digit alphanumerical display and the capability to record over 15 minutes of information. The data could then be transferred to a PC for evaluation and storage with a Windows 3.1 program. A backup battery kept the data intact even if the power was turned off.
I built a few of these for some friends, but this design was too expensive to build, because it used lots of hard-to-get Maxim parts, like voltage converter, reset controller and RS232 interface chip. Well, those parts were not exactly hard to get, but I would have to order for a minimum of $60 or so, and prices for single chips are high. You get the point.
Omitting recording facility and switching from 3V batteries to a 9V block enabled me to delete those IC's, plus the Lithium cell and RAM. The look of the unit remained the same. The final addition was the support for 87/88 Fieros. Yes, you read correctly! Since this one is the only scantool with an extensive amount of EPROM, the previously unsupported 87/88 ECM could only be added to this one. For those lucky ones who have one, here is a little program to convert the ECM-files to something Excel can hopefully read, namely a CSV-file.
The worthy successor to my first scantool was FieroScan, with a display like the DashScan I. This one looks like my first scantool, only a lot smaller. It is also basically a "one-chip" solution, and is operated using only one button and features a backlit LCD display. The button cycles through all supported scan positions. The scantool works with both 84-86 L4 and the V6. But the display was too expensive and hard to get ($40 a piece and minimum quantities), so this design is buried too. Oh, the $5 note is only to give you an idea of the size... ;-)
One of my latest projects was a "DIY" scantool for you all. Yes, you read correctly, I have published the schematics and you can build it yourself. I called it FlexScan, so go check it out! You've all mailed me with questions on how to build your own or if mine are for sale, so I thought it would be a neat idea if I designed a handheld tool that you can build yourself. I've considered using the ScanConverter chip for data decoding and designing a second chip that controls the ScanConverter chip and displays its signals on an LCD display, but I have decided against it. Instead I am using a "big" micro and make it truly universal: it works with Fieros and other engines too! So it will work with the 87/88 (non-distributor) four cylinder engines as well! It even has provisions for a Class B (J1850) interface on it, so you can play around with newer vehicles if you want to. The CPU has a ScanOS built in, which will be a fully documented "operating system", and has a socket for a 32K EPROM carrying an "application program". The operating system will offer functions for reading keyboard, printing data on the display, selecting different ECM data formats and capturing data, and displaying it in various formats. The catch? Well, you have to write the "application" yourself. I will provide an application for the Fieros, but for any other vehicle you're on your own. But with a little tinkering you should be able to decipher your car's data stream (if you don't though, don't blame me!)
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