For the past two years, dealers have been encouraged to support the Multiple PC Initiative (MPI), which calls for having one PC for each two technicians. A special thanks to all the dealers who have made the necessary investment; the results are very impressive.
Because dealers have taken that important first step, Service Operations can now take the next step -- to provide low-cost programming capability at each of those PCs. An added bonus is that diagnostics will soon be available at each PC as well.
There has been speculation for years about the "Tech 2 replacement." Plain and simple, the Tech 2 is not being replaced in the near future, but there is a new piece of equipment coming out to work alongside the Tech 2. The new equipment takes advantage of all those new PCs installed in the service bays under the Multiple PC Initiative, and it is important news.
The GM Multiple Diagnostic Interface (MDI) EL-47955 is being shipped to NAO dealers during the second quarter of 2007, one per dealer (fig. 1).
TIP: Additional tools can be ordered by calling 1.800.GMTools, using prompts 1 or 4.
What is the GM MDI?
The GM MDI is a compact communication module that manages the transfer of data between a vehicle's onboard ECU network and a PC.
The EL-47955 MDI is a kit of components (fig. 2):
A GM MDI
B J1962 Diagnostic connector
C USB cable
D Ethernet cable
E AC adapter/power supply
Operating software for the MDI will be downloaded from the TS2WEB website.
The GM MDI allows the user to perform Pass-Thru programming procedures using software running on a laptop or desktop PC.
TIP: Any PC can be used, so long as it meets the PC Hardware Specification located at this link:
(in Canada, review GM Dealer Infrastructure Standards located on the GM infoNET).
Benefits of the GM MDI
Today, the dealer cost to equip a technician to diagnose and reprogram vehicles is $2880 USD (Tech 2 and CANdi). When software coverage on the GM MDI is fully operational, all diagnostic and reprogramming for GM vehicles globally will be supported with this one piece of hardware at a dealer cost of less than $800.00 USD.
The GM MDI offers faster programming speed at a lower cost. Depending on vehicle architecture (protocols/modules), the GM MDI can be 20-70% faster than the Tech 2. This helps alleviate vehicle battery drain problems during programming.
Using the GM MDI for programming also frees up your Tech 2 for diagnostics and other tasks.
No additional PCs are needed. PCs that have been installed under the Multiple PC Initiative (MPI) meet the PC Hardware Specification when using the GM MDI.
What Protocols does the GM MDI Support?
For immediate use -- At present, vehicles have two buses on the 16 pin connector (high speed and low speed GMLAN). The GM MDI communicates using all of the existing GM protocols, the same as the Tech 2:
- Class 2
- GMLAN (CAN)
For future use -- Global architecture coming in July 2008 for MY 2009 will use a total of 4 GMLAN links. (This is a limited rollout in MY 2009.) Global architecture adds a medium speed bus and an expansion bus. The Tech 2 and CANdi module can run only low and high speed, and won't work on the 4 GMLAN link system for diagnostics or programming. The MDI will have this capability.
How is the GM MDI Connected?
The GM MDI will be connected between the vehicle and the PC using the DLC and cable.
Connection between the GM MDI and the PC can be accomplished several ways.
- using the supplied cable to connect the mini USB port on the GM MDI and the USB port on the PC
- using a standard CAT5 cable to connect the Ethernet port on the GM MDI and the Ethernet port on the PC
- using the WLAN card built into the GM MDI to communicate with the PC through the dealership's wireless network
MDI connections -- bottom (fig. 3)
A Trigger switch connector
B Vehicle Interface connector
C Power connector (AC adapter)
MDI connections -- top (fig. 4)
A Mini USB connector
B Ethernet connector
The GM MDI is powered through the DLC when connected to the vehicle. In addition, it has 4 AAA batteries for backup. The unit can also be powered using the provided AC adapter plugged into any 120V AC electrical outlet.
Detachable port covers protect these connectors:
- Mini USB
- Trigger switch
What are the Features, Controls and Indicators of the GM MDI?
The GM MDI has an easy to grip, comfortable, rugged enclosure. Rubber end covers offer extra shock resistance.
MDI controls (fig. 5)
A On/off switch
B Status LEDs
C Vehicle Interface cable
A row of LEDs is located adjacent to the on/off power button to provide information about status and operation.
How Will the GM MDI be Used?
The GM MDI is initially being introduced with Pass-Thru programming capabilities only. It can be used to perform Pass-Thru programming on all vehicles built since 1993 and will support all vehicles into the future.
The GM MDI will be required to perform diagnostics on selected NAO vehicles for model year 2009. Diagnostic software is scheduled to be released for the GM MDI during the fourth quarter of 2008.
When diagnostics are introduced, the MDI will also get a remote data record capability. This permits recording data during a road test, similar to the Tech 2 Snap Shot function. A trigger switch connector is provided for this purpose.
Regulations require programming procedures to be compliant with SAE Recommended Practice J2534. The GM SPS is compliant with SAE Recommended Practice J2534, and the GM MDI is compliant with the portions of SAE J2534 that are applicable for GM vehicles.
The Future of the Tech 2
The Tech 2 remains an essential tool through at least the 2010 model year. The GM MDI will not support past models when its diagnostic capabilities are introduced. And, the Tech 2 will continue to be needed to diagnose all vehicles from previous model years.
Remote programming with the Tech 2 will continue to be supported for use on all 2007 and previous vehicles.
Additional information will be supplied in future TechLink articles and dealer communications.
- Thanks to Mark Stesney
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