When it comes to diagnosing faults in the many electronic control units in modern vehicles having a high quality scan tool has become a must in any automotive workshop.
The humble scan tool has come a long way since being merely a code reader. It must be able to reset service functions, read live data, carry out actuations and transfer coding when replacing components. With a vast range of scan tools available on the market it can be hard to choose one that suits your business needs. Most scan tools these days have become diagnostic platforms that are able to be integrated into workshop business systems giving both the technician and customer access to information that was not previously available.
Snap-on is a name that is synonymous within the automotive industry and has been a trusted brand ever since it patented interchangeable sockets back in the 1920’s. The automotive landscape has changed quite a bit since then and Snap-on tools have evolved to meet the changing needs of the modern automotive workshop.
It has to be said that I haven’t been a big fan of Snap-on scan tools in the past. Whilst they are obviously made for the American market, they have always felt a bit lacking when it comes to vehicles here in Australia, so I was eager to test out the new Solus Legend from Snap-on to see if it could change my mind.
I met up with Dino Vasquez OEM & Strategic Accounts Manager and James Morris, National Diagnostics and Equipment Manager for Snap-on Australia who demonstrated the inner workings of the Solus Legend diagnostic scan tool.
The Solus Legend is the next step up from the Ethos Edge. It is a stand-alone automotive and motorcycle diagnostic scan tool with an 8’ high-resolution, colour touch screen, expandable memory via a micro SD card and has an embedded SMX operating system for fast and reliable operation.
“THE SCREEN LAYOUT WAS EASY TO READ – DIDN’T APPEAR OVERCROWDED – AND THE SMX SPEED WAS AMAZING.”
The speed of the SMX operating system was evident as soon as the tool was turned on with boot up time just five seconds. The opening menu was easy to navigate and I jumped straight into the scanner function. Vehicle details have to be entered manually as the tool doesn’t support VIN recognition.
For this test the Solus Legend was put through its paces on several vehicles.
The first test vehicle was a Suzuki Swift. Connection to the car was confirmed via LED lights on the OBD II cable as well as the vehicle battery voltage being displayed on the home screen. This quick reference is a great way to easily confirm communication between the Solus Legend and the vehicle, and the optional OBD II cable incorporates a handy LED light to assist in locating those hard-to-find OBD II sockets.
The menu allows for pre and post scans but for this test I was after some values for the electric power steering system to see what information was available. The Solus Legend was able to communicate with the control module with several values displayed. The values were easily graphed with custom graphs available. I also had the option to set trigger points for recording purposes. The screen layout was easy to read – didn’t appear overcrowded – and the SMX speed was amazing.
I noticed the value for the steering angle sensor wasn’t available so Dino made a quick phone call to the Snapon tech support hotline and in a few minutes it was confirmed that the steering angle sensor value wasn’t available on the Suzuki software. Dino explained that vehicle software is purchased directly from the manufacturer and then re-imaged and uploaded onto the Snap-on platform so the functionality is the same for every manufacturer. As this takes time, updates are limited to twice a year.
Other diagnostic tests carried out on a KIA Cerato and a VW transporter showed that the Solus Legend had the range and functionality to diagnose faults in a range of control modules as well as coding functions for replacement components. As the Solus Legend is a diagnostic tool, service resets are carried out by accessing the control module through the scanner function and selecting ‘special functions’.
During testing the battery life lasted approximately five hours which is quite good. With such a quick boot up time I would recommend turning the unit off when not in use to extend the battery life. Re-charge time is quick and the battery is easily replaced.
As the Solus Legend caters for both light vehicles and motorcycles I tested the motorcycle function on a Suzuki GSXR 600. To do this I required an adapter cable to suit the Suzuki diagnostic plug. Luckily, Dino had brought along a box of adapter cables to suit various bikes. As with the automotive menu, the bike make and model are entered manually. The engine control module was accessed and I was able to read codes and actuate the steering damper through the ‘functional tests’ menu.
The Solus Legend also incorporates the ShopStream application. This application allows you to connect to your PC via a USB cable and transfer files from the Solus Legend to your PC for storage. This application is not necessarily user friendly and took me straight back to the old style Snap-on scan tool platforms.As an alternative, you can have a faster and easier shortcut by creating a Snapon Cloud Account using the ALTUSDRIVE application to send vehicle reports by email or text to customers.
Whilst no scan tool covers all bases, I was pleasantly surprised by the local car coverage and functionality of the Solus Legend and it may have just changed my view on Snap-on scan tools.
Thanks to Dino Vasquez for his time and knowledge and the sneak peek into some of the new intelligent diagnostic platforms on offer from Snap-on.
For more information visit www.snapontools.com.au