Jeff Frazier distributor and Tom “The Programmer” Huynh of San Jose, Calif., together provided a review of the Launch Tech Pad II.
Jeff Frazier began selling scan tools in 1989. To stay up-to-date, he helps facilitate corporate scan tool training sessions for technicians in his electronics and diagnostics network, not just on his route.
Frazier likes that the Pad II is compact and efficient. For Frazier’s purposes, the Pad II comes packaged with all necessary connectors.
To setup the tool, Frazier used the quick-start guide and spent time exploring. He says, “I found it to be easy to use once I became familiar with the Android operating system.” Frazier also says that the Android navigation offers a smooth learning curve.
According to Frazier, if the technicians using the tool spend time in a “low-pressure setting getting to know the many capabilities of the Pad II, they won’t regret the time invested.” He adds, “It will save them valuable time when under pressure to perform later.”
Frazier likes that the scan tool “boots up smoothly and quickly, and navigation is a breeze.” He says that smooth diagnostic workflow is important –getting from “point A to point B without interruptions.”
Huynh, owner of an independent mobile programming company that services dealerships and repair shops, used the Pad II to diagnose codes for implausible rear wheel speed sensors on a 2009 Toyota Prius. After traveling at a speed of 25 mph, the ABS/traction control light would come on. Once this occurred, the vehicle was not able to travel above 40 mph. With the Pad II, Huynh graphed data stream on all four wheel-speed signals, which confirmed smooth data for acceleration and deceleration. According to Huynh, “This indicated that signals generated from all four wheels were in healthy condition.” This gave the reviewers confidence to replace the skid control electronic control unit (ECU), which fixed the issue.
Huynh also used the Pad II on a 2012 Honda Accord with a damaged engine control module (ECM). The Pad II was able to perform powertrain control module (PCM) replacement under the immobilizer menu and write the correct VIN to PCM under the engine's special functions menu. Huynh says, “This worked better than the factory Honda HDS because the Pad II was able to perform the task without asking the PCM for a password.”
As a third example, Huynh used the Pad II on a 2010 BMW 328i. After having been parked for a few months, the ignition would turn on, but the engine wouldn’t turn over. The BMW was pulling digital motor electronics (DME) / electronic drive-away protection (EWS) manipulation codes. Huynh says, “Using the Pad II, we connected to the vehicle and under ‘Engine/Special Functions.’ We performed DME/EWS alignment and the vehicle fired right up.”
As a tool distributor, Frazier has watched scan tools evolve from the early 80s. He says, “The most beneficial capability is the ability to level the playing field by providing diagnostics that you can get paid for by capturing results with ‘Launch Screenshot.’ This enables you to date stamp and save the actual test results electronically (i.e. read codes, cleared codes, controller ID, recorded data from test drive, etc.). You did the work, now you can get paid for it,” he says.
Frazier also likes that the Pad II offers technicians the capability of working remotely with customers via GOLO. He says, “I expect that as shops come on board they will experience more customer loyalty and profits using this system. The telematics is targeted at the many customers who use Android and iOS smartphones to stay in communication with their shop. You can also text and speak to your customer through the Pad II GOLO interface.”
Frazier has used five previous models of the Pad II, he says, beginning with the X431 standard. “The number of functional tests throughout the years has grown exponentially with each model. He likes the Android platform that the Pad II offers for users of ‘all levels.’
There is nothing that Frazier would improve on the Pad II, but he says, “(Launch is) usually receptive when I email in suggestions from customers.”
Launch Tech offers a feedback feature that allows the customer to submit issues or suggestions directly to engineering, right from the tool.
Because of this, Frazier gives the Launch Pad II an eight out of 10. “The Launch products continually improve and they keep raising the bar.” He adds, “The Pad II goes deeper than most.”