BMW INPA E36 OBD OBD2 and ADS interfaces explained

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  1. BMW INPA E36 OBD OBD2 and ADS interfaces explained 
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    If you are here you are trying to talk to your EU/US E36 with INPA and don't know what adaptor to buy and why they are different. If you are not looking for an explanation of the interfaces as described in the thread title and are looking for an INPA quickstart guide go to this thread by dailydoggy.


    Your E36 has a 20 pin socket under the bonnet. It is enabled with OBD1 for all models globally. If you have a US 96+ car, post 09/99 EU Z3 or compact you additionally have a mixed OBD1/OBD2 interface on pin 17 in the 20 pin socket. With the 20 pin cap in place, the 16 pin OBD2 socket under the dash is connected and ready to use. You will not use OBD2 16 pin port for INPA, 20 pin has more modules.

    First the software.

    Please disconnect in your mind the adaptor and the software. It is the software that issues commands in any langauge it feels like, and the adaptor, OBD2 sticker or otherwise, simply converts from PC compatible signals to car compatible signals.

    INPA speaks a language called D2 (aka DS2) to your E36, for all models; globally. It is more advanced in the number of commands it supports than OBD2.

    Heres a simplified example:
    OBD2: There is a an ABS Error
    D2: There is an ABS error on speed sensor 3, measured 5 times, speed was 30 MPH, sticky reading 50% lower than other wheels, intermittant fault.


    The program EDIABAS is the translator for INPA. It allows several programs to share the COM port. It converts messages to D2 ready for broadcast to the car. It handles the oddties of the adaptor you use. It can support several adaptor types, including LAN.

    In summary: The software speaks an advanced language called D2 that all E36 globally will respond to. Whilst it might send out the odd OBD2 message to check for general fault codes, it is not exclusively OBD2, no matter what E36 you connect to.






    Second the adaptor.

    There are two types. Both have the same job. Convert PC compatible signals (serial over RS232 or USB) to car compatible signals (K line, 12V idle, 0V active). Baud is set by EDIABAS.

    USB-OBD2 adaptor (£6 eBay) with 16 to 20 pin adaptor (£6 eBay). This contains one USB to K line tranciever. The only thing OBD2 about it is the shape and that it does 12V/0V on pin OBD2.7.

    ADS adaptor (£55). This contains one RS232 to K line tranciever, plus a switch to route K line data to the L line based on the DTR line (+12V/-12V) of the RS232 port.

    Why are there two types?

    Old tech in the car. 80% of E36 modules need one bi directional k line (TxD), just like the modern cars. Others (KOMBI, ASC/ABS) need a seperate RxD and TxD becuase they are old.

    So what?

    With a USB OBD2 adaptor you get the K line interface to talk to 80% of modules, including DME, airbag, PDC, ZKE. If you want the other 2 or 3 modules, you need to go old school with ADS.


    So you want every module don't you?

    Well to use an ADS adaptor you need a laptop with a proper harware serial port. Why? Because of the DTR line support, and because of a quirk in EDIABAS that means the Interface = ADS* adaptor must be on COM1/IRQ11/3F38h address. Some laptops might allow you to enter into BIOS and change a PCMCIA adaptor IRQ and address (mine doesn't), but windows XP onwards overides those settings (!), and you must disable ACHI to regain control, which requires a format and OS install.


    So you have bought an adaptor, and you have installed the INPA software, what do you change in EDIABAS?

    In c:\ediabas\bin is a file called ediabas.ini

    You can see the options for the different adaptor

    Interface = STD:OBD
    Interface = ADS

    Why do you need to change this?

    If you use ADS, there is a D2 echo that comes back on the Rx path when DTR is -12V. EDIABAS gets upset if it sees this echo with STD:OBD and throws errors.





    I hope this clears up the two adaptor types for INPA on E36, and helps you to ignore OBD2 - the language and OBD2 - the socket; and focus on the K line transciever that resides in the adaptors. That should be the focus of your purchasing.






    [Note ADS adaptors also offers +12V igniton sensing on the car. This simply lights a black circle in INPA, and performs no further functions. It is not essential to have this feature because if the ignition is off, modules will not respond to any command at all.]

    If you want to read more about the software installation and configuration, read here.

    Given time and inclination, it may be possible to use USB-RS232 with ADS. The probelm to solve would be the COM port address and D2 echo. Making changes to obd.ini it may be possible to use COM2 in ADS mode. This will allow newer laptops without a serial port to use ADS adaptors. I will update this thread if that does prove possible.


    All E36 94-99 with unmodifled VAGCOM cable (Interface=STD:OBD Hadware = USB or OBD) plus 16 to 20 pin adaptor you can access

    DME Joylove Yes 1997 328i Anon Yes 1995 328i
    ZKE Joylove Yes 1997 328i Anon Yes 1995 328i
    PDC Joylove Yes 1997 328i
    HVAC Joylove Yes 1997 328i
    KOMBI Tonyday - No 1999 323i Joylove No 1997 328i
    ABS/ASC Tonyday - No 1999 323i Joylove No 1997 328i IanS- Yes 1996 EVO
    Cabrio module Can't remember
    Airbag Can't remember Tonyday - Yes 1999 323i
    RAD Joylove No CD43
    OBC Never tried
    EGS (Auto cars) Never tried

    Not tried any other modules.

    *EDIABAS.ini Interface = OBD and in the OBD.ini file Hardware=ADS & Port=COM1,2,3... is supported for USB->RS232->ADS connections.

    Related posts:
    Software installation
    ADS detailed in technical terms
    How to use a Resler interface with INPA
    What adaptor should I buy for INPA
    INPA Idiots guide
    Last edited by joylove; 21-05-2012 at 20:01.
     
     

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    can i suggest a simple idiot proof cutdown version of this? most members on here wont get the above at all, theres too much perplexing jargon and nerdy language for the average DIY'er...

    sure we can come up with summat simplistic between us all for the INPA virgins on here...
    330i sport a big chunk of berlin...

     
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by dailydoggy View Post
    can i suggest a simple idiot proof cutdown version of this? most members on here wont get the above at all, theres too much perplexing jargon and nerdy language for the average DIY'er...

    sure we can come up with summat simplistic between us all for the INPA virgins on here...
    OK

    I want everything: ADS adaptor.

    I don't need the KOMBI/ABS/ASC: USB OBD2 adaptor.
     
     

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    more over like a simplistic guide to combinations of what will work and how and on what in which settings etc etc..

    you talk as though everybody is at your level of knowledge on the subject, most members don't even know what INPA is till they come on here..


    just a thought like..if ya want i can have a go at an idiots guide and you can be the chief editor to polish it and refine it???
    330i sport a big chunk of berlin...

     
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by dailydoggy View Post
    more over like a simplistic guide to combinations of what will work and how and on what in which settings etc etc..

    you talk as though everybody is at your level of knowledge on the subject, most members don't even know what INPA is till they come on here..


    just a thought like..
    I had aimed this at people who knew what INPA was, and were aware the E36 was a sort of crossover car, and were confused as to OBD1, OBD2, ADS. I did put that in the title and the first line.

    It's difficult to say to someone "you need that" and then not to back it up with why. eBay links die, sellers disappear, new adaptors come along, people get error messages and misguiding advice - the US forums are the worst - telling everyone to use OBD2.

    Yes this is technical. I didn't want to skip the body text, the technical reasons around why some adaptors work and some don't. I wanted to explain what they were buying and why. I didn't want them to spend £30 on a USB OBD2 adaptor with BMW in the description when they can be had for £6. I didn't want them to have confusion over ADS interfaces. I have 2 RS232 interfaces that claimed to be 100% E36 compliant and they are not, over £120 wasted.
     
     

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    fair enough...

    il have a go at a basic idiots guide at some point in the future and il leave it to you for final input on it...
    330i sport a big chunk of berlin...

     
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by dailydoggy View Post
    fair enough...

    il have a go at a basic idiots guide at some point in the future and il leave it to you for final input on it...
    yep thats what this idiot needs
     
     

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    Me too,got inpa software courtesy of doggy and now need the right leads for my Vista laptop and then I can go from there

    Mine is a 1995 e36 328i coupe

    I have usb and a serial port also

    Cheers andy
     
     

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    Do we need the black box ?

    I have the leads and software but not the black box.

    Thanks Button Below, Be a Sport...
     
     

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    Anyone want to know how to make a BMW interface out of a VAG KKL cable? Jokers are selling 5 quid cables that they modify and sell on for between 25 to 30 quid on ebay
     
     

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