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

890 Views 21 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Aeneas137
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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@RSchwerer - GREAT find! The software is an annual subscription? That's the only downside I see. The other question is - can our Chinese head units connect to it so Torque can run on them?
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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
Too bad it won't. I guess it doesn't support the basic functions that Torque uses? I have one of the Amazon $13 OBD2 dongles - works fine with Torque on my phone, Torque on the Chinese headunit - no dice, can't connect to it with Torque. I can however connect to it with another generic OBD-II Android reader app, so it's not the hardware.

Here's the one I got from Amazon, it specifically mentions Torque:

Is there any identification on the OBD2 device ATOTO sent you?

Update - I went looking at the questions (608 of them) about the device, and one of them I found addressed what possibly was the issue:
Amazon Question said:
I got it to show up in available devices. It paired with my phone with code "1234". But, it would not let me connect to it after pairing. I opened Torque on my phone and it would not connect. I tried a number of times, rebooting phone, unpairing, pairing, etc.... Finally, I looked at the directions and find that you have to actually choose that adapter in Torque. Just open the "Choose Bluetooth Device" section and your OBDII device should be listed if you paired it. Then close Torque, reopen it and it should connect to the OBDII dongle just fine.
Maybe I'll have time to play with it later tonight (or tomorrow..) I spent today reorganizing my 6,400 music tracks to try to eliminate duplicates.
Maybe I'll have time to play with it later tonight (or tomorrow..) I spent today reorganizing my 6,400 music tracks to try to eliminate duplicates.
That worked. Torque can talk to the OBD-II dongle I had. Tricks were - turn off Bluetooth on my phone. Go to the "Bluetooth" app - which is actually the phone app. Click on the "link" icon, and tell it to look. It found the OBD-II dongle, didn't need any password/code to connect - it just connected. Downloaded Torque again, setup a Boxster profile, it defaulted to the OBD-II connection (it announced it would), and things were off and running.

I'll have to document this in the thread about that headunit. Thanks for encouraging me to solve the issue.
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