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Touchscan OBD2 Scan Tool Software Review

This software platform offers a two week free trial prior to purchase.  It is a product of OBD Software. The company provides excellent and very courteous support. Questions are answered very thoroughly and rather quickly by email. The company has two automotive diagnostic software programs and 1 add on functions package.

The two software programs are Touchscan and OBD Wiz. The functions package is referred to as the Professional module.

OBD Wiz is the version distributed with some scan tools as a free program upon tool purchase. It is unknown if it is full function or crippled in this distribution.

Touchscan is the twin of OBD Wiz according to the company support. It can be purchased and operate on those supported scan tools that are not partnered with OBD Software.

The Professional module adds functions you expect in an automotive diagnostic software platform. A licensed copy of the Touchscan software is required prior to purchasing this add on functions module. It has a nice feature that allows the combining of two parameters to have a unique one that may be easier on the user such as combining Long Term and Short Term Fuel Trim parameters. A purchase of Touchscan without the professional module is a waste of money.

The software interface is very well organized and easy to navigate. The connection interface auto populates the com port and hardware speed settings. This makes it easier on the user that is not familiar with how to set up communications. It has a checkbox that is supposed to “Automatically increase the baud rate” auto populated as well.

            Touchscan com screen

All of our testing is conducted on the same vehicle with a 9141-2 protocol. This protocol by specification is 10,400 baud. The reason we use this vehicle is some scan tools and obd2 diagnostic software programs have problems connecting with this protocol. If they connect and work properly on this they should perform exceptionally well on all other protocols. 

The software had problems maintaining a connection with the ELMScan 5 USB tool. The connection with our 2x80S USB Scan Tool was consistently quick and stable with each attempt. This poor connection of the ELMScan 5 may have been due to the programming differences in the two scan tools. Both scan tools could not achieve a connection speed above the 10,400 baud. This appears to be a program limitation in the software.

During the testing it did auto populate the available supported sensors (PIDs) on the vehicle and preset the polling (speed at which it requests the data). We were unable to get all supported sensors (PIDs) to display data. The most we achieved was 5 PIDs of 17 available. We thought this may have been a “crippling factor” in trial mode, but the company’s support staff assured us that the software was fully functional.

This clearly indicates that connection speeds are inadequate with this protocol. The software may perform well with faster communication protocols like the “CAN protocol” which is used on many late model vehicles.

The software was able to connect with both the PCM and BCM modules, obtain calibration identifications and calibration verification identifications. Upon testing for OBD II Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs) it showed that there were none which was correct.

When the Freeze Frame data was accessed, it auto populated a data screen. This is a large No No! Someone unfamiliar with the software could assume that this data is correct, which could lead them down the wrong path of diagnostics. 

            touchscan freeze frame data screen

When the “clear DTC” function was attempted with the engine running the software was willing to perform this task without any notices to turn the engine off. This “clear DTC” has been proven to harm some PCMs in vehicles while the engine is running. At the very least there should be a warning against performing it with the engine running.

A further review of information on the company’s website for purposes of checking our connection protocol speed assumptions is a little confusing. While viewing the capture screen images (12) of the software in action it was noted that screen 10 information was at best questionable. It contained information showing the vehicle as; vehicle identification number (VIN) 1G1JC5444R7252367, the calibration identification (CID) JMB*36751500, and the calibration verification number (CVN) 1791BC82.

Deciphering the VIN reveals this a 1994 General Motors Chevrolet Cavalier (J body chassis), sub model either a VL or RS, made in the USA, with engine code 4 and Federal emissions. GM was an early adopter of OBD II, however it was not until the 1995 production run and not on lower price / profit vehicles. So this had to be an OBD I vehicle with an ALCL diagnostic connector and not an OBD II connector.

            Touchscan incorrect VIN data

Support was questioned about the ability for their software to connect to an OBD I vehicle using a scan tool like our testing tools with a GM ALCL OBD I adapter cable. They assured us this was impossible.

Perhaps after some more development time in the communications to improve performance with non CAN protocol vehicles, removal of the auto populate freeze frame data when there is no code, and warnings about clearing DTCs with the engine running it could be a great product. For now this OBD2 Scan Tool Software diagnostic program I would NOT recommend.

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Comparing our 2X80S to competitors

 
 
Controls Data Corruption
 
Improved Data Speed
 
Graphing
 
Enhanced Software Included
 
Phone Tablet PDA Capable
 
Multiple PC Applications
 
Multiple Phone Tablet PDA Applications
 
2 Wheel Vehicle Applications
 
Utilities
 
Component Specs
 
OBD Training
 
Legacy OS Support
Legend:
  Yes or Included           No or not included              Some or limited
All above information is based on published information as of 01/2015 or products purchsed to confirm
 

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