The priorities I personally set when choosing a diagnostic tool, are:
- Technical Support. What if I face technical problems? Will the developer support me?
- Software Support. Is it getting updated regularly?
- Is the tool universal? How many different engine manufacturers does it support?
- How much will it cost me? Do I have to pay one-off costs? Is there a subscription involved? If yes, what are the levels? Will I get my money’s worth?
Buying a diagnostic tool license.
Buying a licence and an adapter for a diagnostic tool like eg. Cummins Insite and Cummins Inline WILL NOT automatically solve all of your problems. You need to pair it with certain workshop tools that will COMPLIMENT the diagnostic software.
Due to the complexity of modern engines and the need to monitor many systems, sensors or actuators at the same time, I often use the diagnostic software, a good multimeter and definitely a high-quality oscilloscope with more than 2 channels.
Sometimes you cannot buy a diagnostic tool directly from the manufacturer, especially if you are an enthusiast or back-yard mechanic, or even a small repair shop.
To buy a Cummins Insite license for example, you need to complete a training course first and then buy a license from your local Cummins distributor. However, they reserve the right to deny your training request, making it impossible for you to buy a license and do your job!
How much does a Cummins Insite License cost?
An Insite License costs around $1100-$1500. It depends on the type of license (Insite Pro, Insite Lite, Insite Industrial Pro, etc.) and if your business is eligible for special discounts.
Buying diagnostic tools from third-parties
My go-to choice when it comes to diagnostic equipment is Diesel Laptops. You can pretty much find anything you need there and their prices and support are superb.
Here are my suggestions:
Cummins Insite (the diagnostic software) – Annual Subscription
Cummins Inline 7 Datalink Adapter (the hardware) – One-Off cost
Complete Cummins Insite/DieselLink Adapter package (comes with a Diesel Laptops rugged Laptop!)
TEXA makes a good tool with a modular license structure. If you only work on cars, you buy the car version, if you work on machinery, buy the off-highway version. If you support cars and machinery, you buy the two licenses plus the hardware.
It might be expensive, but it is truly universal. It will save you money on the long run.
TEXA CAR Automotive Diagnostic Tool (comes with Tablet and adapter)
TEXA Dealer Level Truck Diagnostic Scanner Tool with Laptop (literally all you need in one package!)
NexiQ USB Link 2 Adapter. The manufacturer of Cummins Inline 7. Same tool, different sticker, lower price. Don’t forget the diagnostic software!
Just getting started? Don’t want to break the bank?
Heavy & Medium Commercial Truck Diagnostic Starter Kit (Entry-level. Comes with laptop, adapter and software)
For me, this is a monopoly. PicoScope. End of the story.
Diesel Laptops offer their branded PicoScope version. Same thing and functionality. It comes in a neat yellow color too!
All kits include the newest 4-channel oscilloscope, high-quality cables, a current clamp for non-invasive testing and a carry bag. Just add a laptop!
Standard Oscilloscope Kit (extra current clamp and fuse extension leads to measure current)
Advanced Oscilloscope Kit (same as standard kit plus an extra current clamp, WPS500X Pressure Transducer and some other goodies! – My kit of choice)
I prefer to use Fluke multimeters. Easy to use and high-quality. Can’t go wrong here!
Use a refractometer to test AdBlue, Antifreeze or Battery electrolyte.
Invest in German-made, quality tools. KC Tool is America’s #1 German Tool Distributor. Have a look on their sales page too!