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$90 Thinkdiag OBD2 Scanner allows activations and coding on Porsche (at least on 987 and probably all)

908 Views 22 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Davesrave
About a month ago I purchased on Amazon the ThinkDiag Bluetooh OBDII Scanner. I bought it to try activating a feature on my RV (Mercedes chassis). It was a well regarded scanner on the Mercedes Sprinter forum where I also hang-out. I figured it would be cheaper and less hassle to do the coding myself rather than deal with the clowns at the Mercedes dealership who will probably say it can't be done and would want to charge a minimum diagnostic fee as well as a min hour labor.. The ThinkDiag communicates via Bluetooth to the app which is installed on my phone. It easily did what I needed on the Mercedes and more. Plus I figured I'd have other uses in the future.

Last week I was wondering how well it would support coding on my 987.2. I remembered long ago wishing I had a Durametric Pro (IIRC about $500 at that time) to activate some neat stuff on my 987.2 Cayman. There were some P-9 threads over 10 yrs ago that explained some default features that the Pro could modify via coding. But I just couldn't justify the extra expense so instead I bought a used Durametric Enthusiast cable for about $200. The Enthusiast could be used for only 3 VINs and mine had one used when I bought it. I tend to think the market price for a used Enthusiast is roughly (#of remaining VINs x $100). And the enthusiast did all sorts of things very well (it is designed specifically for Porsches)- except for activations (coding). I used it to scan for and clear Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs) and reset service reminders. The Durametric was all the functionality I needed for diagnosis and maintenance.

So I now had this $90 ThinkDiag coding scanner that came with licenses for 1 year for up to two manufacturers. I only used one manufacturer and only the Porsche had some potential I was interested in unlocking. More 1-year licenses could be purchased as needed for about $40 each per year, per manufacturer. All you had to do to activate a manufacturer was connect to the car's OBDII port. and download the manufacturer-specific software module. No cable needed since it all runs over Bluetooth on your smart phone or tablet (or even your Android based head unit). While I find their price scheme confusing and a little annoying, I think you are not limited by how many VINs - the licences seem to be per manufacturer.

So I went back to find those old P-9 threads on activating/modifying 987 features. Use Google and you'll find lots of them on P-9 and other sites. I only found a couple "features" I wanted to try and maybe a few I'd like to play with. There are more that would be nice if I had a 987.1 but not needed on my car.
1- dip the windows when the hatch is opened (and raise after it is closed)
2- option to open/close both windows using the key fob when unlocking/locking by holding the button a few seconds longer

There are are a few more mentioned in various threads - like:
  • enabling front side markers to act as turn signal indicators. Not needed on 987.2 since that is how they normally work.
  • dip the passenger mirror in reverse (also not needed on my 987.2)
  • You could also mess with some settings like locking the doors when moving (on per key basis)
  • some DRL settings
  • disabling seatbelt chime

Most of those I wasn't interested in or were not applicable to my car. The first problem I had was the Durametric instructions I found in threads didn't map very well into how the ThinkDiag menu structure was organized. So I spent a lot of time just navigating through the options to find something that matched the desired settings. Some descriptions were very cryptic and I recommend staying away from changing anything that you don't understand. I even found some settings that were not even translated from German.

Note: the following has been re-constructed from my obviously defective 74 yr old memory. I'm sure I am missing steps. Also, the eventual positive results happened after trying some things that didn't work. Who knows if there was some cumulative effect of the failed attempts. I wasn't going about this in systematic, scientific manner like a good engineer.

I decided my first attempt would be to do the "windows dip" trick when the hatch was opened. Something I always wished I had. So I plugged-in the ThinkDiag and fired-up the app. You need to have the ignition ON to get into the vital stuff but for the things I was interested the engine did not need to be running. BTW, I have a newly installed Android head-unit (ATOTO A6PF) which could install and run the app, and I think the licenses would be valid on more than one host, but I decided not to bother at this time. An added benefit of using the phone was mobility - running diagnostics and activating some things while walking around the car was cooler. Sort of an "out-of-body experience". I even found I could turn on a single headlight or marker light, honk the horn's dual hi/low tones individually (weird I know). That set-off the trusty Dog Alarm!

Anyway, on the ThinkDiag app (actually called ThinkDiag+ but calls itself ThinkCar) I started by trying to automatically scan for my VIN - which failed for some reason. So I had to enter it manually. Then I had to tell it my year, make, model, and it downloaded the Porsche module(s). It restarted itself a few times during this process. I then ran a full scan ("All Systems Diagnostic") which picked-up some communication problems caused by my missing CDR30 radio. Durametric does the same thing.

Then I started browsing around. I didn't make notes at the time so forgive (for now) that I can't give menu titles or navigation instructions. I also think that this app was written by non-English speakers and some names and titles are oddly translated. Anyway I navigated around until I found a list of categories organized by area/functionality. I eventually found one called "Driver's Door". Opening that I found a list for displaying and testing many related things. I finally found what I wanted in the section oddly named "Brush Hidden/Modified" Paging through the items I found one mentioning "Window short stroke by lugg. comp operation". IIRC it had no current setting and opening it I found the option to change it to "Release". Then I pressed the "Write Code" button at the bottom of the page. It is my best recollection that this was all I did. But I won't swear to it. Anyway, I backed out of the app and used my key fob to pop-the-hatch. What da ya no! The driver's window dropped a couple inches!!! Don't forget to make the same coding change for the passenger door.
By that time it was getting past my bed-time so I declared success and closed-up shop.

More to come. Anyone else with ThinkDiag experience please chime-in. While my post is 987 orientated, I don't mean to limit discussion to that model. Initially I wasn't sure where to post this but it seems to fit better here than in a 987 specific sub-forum.

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I may try clicking around since my HomeLink buttons are dead, and I have heard they sometimes need to be reactivated
Yes, I did see a homelink activation setting in there somewhere. I believe its choice was Installed or Not Installed, or something like that.
I found that all of the coding items that I wanted to do on Durametric Pro are available on ThinkDiag. But since Durametric designed their software specifically for Porsche, it seems easier to navigate. On ThinkDiag they are buried so you have to go hunting in the logical places for the system you want to tweak. I just wish somewhere at the top they told you where you are in the menu tree. Then if you found something useful you could note how to find it again.
So far on the 987.2 Cayman I've coded:
  • drop the windows when hatch opens and raise when closed
  • capability to lower both windows from key fob when unlocking (and raise when locking)
  • capability to lower windows with the key (just for the hell of it) - had to disable an alarm setting to keep it from going berserk.
  • changed the HOME setting (on HL switch) to use fogs.
  • set audible Locking BEEP BEEP (but turned it off cause it was too annoying)
  • enabled DRL but again turned it off. I think I can set it to use the fogs instead. Wish I could have those little LED bars work as DRL
There are some other things that would be useful for Boxster and 987.1 owners.
GREAT find! The software is an annual subscription?
Their marketing is kinda aggressive and they have some bizzare point scheme - I guess to earn credits to be applied on renewal. It doesn't make much sense to a casual user. It probably is to attract pro independents. I haven't tried to make sense of of it. The way I understand it - with the purchase of the scanner you get 2 manufacturer licenses included. There are several renewal packages such as $40 per year per manufacturer. I found out that some people just buy a new scanner each year. I also think they occasionally have sales at a discount or special bundles. Currently, they have a two year deal with access to all the manufacturer packages for $199. That's aimed at pros. The $90 purchase price I used was Amazon, you can probably find it cheaper if you look around. I actually only wanted this to do some coding activations on my Mercedes. So $90 was less than paying the dealer. Any other use I get out of it is gravy. Trying it on the Porsche was just an afterthought and I was pleasantly surprised.
can our Chinese head units connect to it so Torque can run on
This won't work with Torque. These guys make their money on the licenses. BTW, Torque came pre-installed on my ATOTO A6PF and they sell a BT OBD2 device. I got it free from them for posting a review on Amazon. So I've got it set to load my gauges on startup. The OBD2 plug looked like all the cheap ELM327 mini clones. Amazon has a similar one for about $13
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I don't know if coding works on a 981, even with a Durametric pro. I haven't been following that issue. I thought I'd heard its settings were encrypted. That would mean only PIWIS could be used for coding a 981. I hope someone who knows steps in.
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I have a battery drain issue on my 981 Boxster S. It came up with one code - 000603 Load switch-off but I've no idea how to troubleshoot that, whatever it is. If anyone has any ideas, I'm all ears.
I'm noexpert on these devices but I it possible you ran the scan with just the key in the ignition but not in the Acc position? The scanner would have power but not all systems would be activated. That 000603 isn't a DTC code, it is some error caused by an unexpected condition.
Thanks, I'll try again tomorrow and let you know.
Sorry, I mispoke. I meant to say in the Run position. Better yet to have the engine running. But then you won't be testing for a phantom drain. Really a scanner doesn't seem like a good tool for this problem. Someone more familiar with a 981 could suggest a better way to test for drain. It could also be a bad battery.

Yah, my biggest dislike is that it is impossible to know where you are in the menu structure, even as you back out. So when you go exploring and find something interesting to try, it is a challenge to get back to it.
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