The Crescent USB OBD2 Auto Scanner is a tool for electrical engineers and avid car owners to check retrieve their engine data in real time. It can read diagnostic trouble codes (manufacturer-specific and general) and display their definitions on a PC or laptop. It has over 2000 error code definitions in its database. You can also use it to clear error codes and turn off the Check Engine Light (CEL).
Is this the right car diagnostic tool for you?
The answer is, it depends. If the words Linux, RS232, hardware interface, USB port, and C++ sound familiar to you, then yes it could be the right diagnostic tool to buy. If, however, those words sounded like gibberish to you, then it’s not the one you should buy.
Unlike other auto scanners, like the Actron PocketScan or Equus Diagnostic Tool, the Crescent USB OBD2 Auto Scanner cannot work as a stand-alone device. It is specially designed to be used with a computer. To use this auto scanner you need to plug it into the car’s diagnostic port and plug the other end into the USB port of your PC/laptop.
You also need to install the device before it can be used. It works for Windows, OSX, Linux and other operating systems. One minor problem during installation is you have to assign the right port for it. Nothing too difficult once you open the device manager but still it must be noted that this device is not entirely plug and play.
In the included CD you can find all the software you need to get your job done. You can read and reset the error codes with ease with a few clicks. The CD also has some good and functional open source software. And if that’s not enough, you also get the complete source code in C++ so you can make your auto scanning application.
The main downside of this tool is that the cord is very short. In the end, you’ll have to buy an extension cord which costs about $20 to offset it.
All in all, the Crescent USB OBD2 Auto Scanner is a good software-based auto scanner for the price. The very fact that it gives you the source code to tinker with makes it a very good choice for those of you who enjoy making your custom application.