Tested! TechnoResearch Vehicle Diagnostic Scan Tool - Standard (VDSTS-S)2008-02-29 18:19
This tool can be a Godsend, or the end of your ECU if you're not careful. For a mere $195, Michigan's TechnoResearch Inc provides you with a dongle (a wiring harness with a hardware key) that lets you connect a laptop, PDA, or PC to your motorcycle's ECU.
We tested it on our 1098 - once connected you can mess with all sorts of settings that could really bugger up your Qwack, but there is one very important feature that this unit does offer, and this is why we're testing it. With the VDSTS-S you can reset the "service" indicator nag that you get on some late model sportbikes, say - like the one you get when you're due for your quarterly fleecing from your local Duc dealer. You know, the same Dealer that didn't read our article about lower Ducati maintenance costs. For this one feature alone we highly recommend this product. If you're looking to "pair" a Ducati ECU with a different bike (to bypass the immobilizer) this unit will not solve your problem.
When we received the Vehicle Diagnostic Scan Tool - Standard (VDSTS - S) we discovered that it only came with an RS232 interface. Since this isn't 1892, we couldn't find a RS232 serial interface on any of our laptops. This sent me down to my local Best Buy to purchase an RS232 to USB adapter. Adapter in hand, we had nothing but trouble trying to connect with the VDSTS - S and the 1098. Frustrated, we went to TechnoResearch's website where we discovered that their gadget only works with a particular USB adapter made by Keyspan (and of course TechnoResearch sells it). Rather than waiting for more stuff to come in the mail, I went into the basement and dug out my really really REALLY (and I mean really) old "Thinkpad"... a 486 something or other about the size of one of those university library Oxford dictionaries that's usually bolted down in the reference section. It may be large, and only runs Window's 95, but it did have an RS232 interface.
After waiting for about a half hour for the old machine to boot up (I believe that was fast way back in 1892) I did manage to successfully connect to the 1098 using the VDSTS-S and the Scan Tool software.
The Scan Tool software interface TechnoResearch provided us with (as tested) is horribly dated. Pre-internet, it goes along very nicely with the old RS232 interface and is obviously from the same era. Rustic as it is, it did work as promised, however the clunky old low-res interface did little to instill confidence in the software's ability to make potentially ECU-life altering changes safely.
TechnoResearch has updated their software and has made a newer version available (they claim with an improved graphic interface) for download on their website, however we haven't had the opportunity to try it. This doesn't change the fact that even with glitzier software you'll still need (and you really do NEED) their compatible USB adapter when you buy this gadget - without it the VDSTS-S pretty much useless and we hope TechnoResearch bails out of the RS232 thing altogether.
We'd love to show you more photos or screenshots of the Scan Tool software, but our ancient laptop's bios died shortly after our test. Now it's gone back to its old job - holding our garage door open.
We do recommend the VDSTS-S. Once up and running you'll be free to change your oil and reset your service nag without a visit to the dealership, however the VDSTS-S is next to useless without the correct USB adapter, and shouldn't even be sold without it in out opinion. TechnoResearch sells the adapter for an additional $45 ... honestly it should be included for free in our opinion.
It's 2008, everything is USB and nothing is RS232.
TechnoResearch offers several other gadgets for getting yourself into areas of your bike's computer that are probably locked for a very good reason. For more cash they'll sell you a version of the VDSTS that can get into more than one model, and also more than one make of bike.
TechnoResearch can be found online at technoresearch.com
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