My Mercedes Benz
MB Scanners: Trisco "Palm" Scanner
Trisco Technology Corp has re-designed their entry level scanner with a greatly improved version that can be used for most vehicles including Mercedes-Benz.
Their Palm Scanner is the unit being reviewed here. It comes complete with a black high-impact molded plastic case (picture at right shows the leatherette case) that contains all major elements needed to read MB DTCs from 1988 through 2002.
It tests both MB's analog (1988-1995) and digital (1991-2002) systems
The scanner comes complete with: main unit, 38pin DIAG connector, OBD adapter connector, main interface
cable with external power connection, auxiliary jumper cable with red/black alligator clips to provide power, cables for 8
and 16 pin for use on 8 and 16 pin DIAG connectors.
The version tested had their latest firmware version, 3.1E. The PCMCIA card plugs into the base unit so changing versions is quite straightforward. It is secured when plugged in so that it can not fall out. A nice feature.
As of 11/22/02, Trisco will upgrade the older versions units for $175.00. This includes the new PCMCIA card and OBD adapter. However, as of 1/2010, they no longer offer this upgrade. You will need to find a late model used PS with this upgrade. They are around but owners with early pre-OBDII autos are not selling them.
The 21 page manual, while not overly verbose, provides the user with how-to-use instructions with block diagrams of the LCD user interface. All specifications, procedures and illustrations used in the manual were based on the latest information available at the time of publication (7/2002).
The instruction manual is used to provide the user information on how-to-operate this scanner tool on the vehicle properly. The manual mentions that "Trained technicians are recommended to operate this tool for both safety of the personnel and the safety and efficient operation of the vehicles. The use of incorrect operation procedures and this tool may cause the risk of personal injury and render the vehicle unsafe".
The operation of the unit is fairly straight forward. Depending on the car to be tested, the user selects the appropriate interface; 38pin, 8pin or 16pin.
If 38pin, the unit is configured as shown in the photo. The unit is then plugged into the vehicle's 38pin DIAG connector (X11/4) where all power and needed signals are available.
This scanner differs in that there is no need of a "mushroom" to manually switch input signals; it is all done automatically in the unit, one of it strong features. Thus a potential for operator error is eliminated.
After powering up, the scanner displays some preamble windows indicating that it ready to operate. The operator selects "38-POLE" and presses the "ENTER" key. Next a window with "ENGINE SYS" is displayed from which the operator presses the "ENTER" key. I will not take you through the complete series of windows but suffice to say that it is very easy to proceed with any selected test. If you make a mistake or desire to move to a previous menu, pressing "EXIT" accomplishes that task and moves you back one 'menu'.
The manual details the "pin map" for each DIAG connector; 8pin, 16pin and 38pin. This list is complete and similar to the one contained on my #2 Menu for the 38pin X11/4 DIAG connector.
Another nice feature of this scanner is its ability to read the ECU's internal part number and associated data. It displays the manufacturer, date of hardware, date of firmware. This feature eliminates having to necessarily take the ECU box (F23) apart to simply read part numbers and other data.
MB Vehicles Tested
To date (Jan 8, 2002), the following vehicles were tested successfully;
1) '94 S500 Cpe, W140 chassis: LH-SFI, EA/CC/ISC, BM, DM, DI, ETC, ABS, ASR, SRS --> Digital and Analog
2) '97 C230 sedan, W202 chassis: ME, ETC, ABS, SRS, IC --> Digital
3) '90 300SE, W124 chassis: CIS-E --> Analog
The picture shows the test setup for my '94 S500 Coupe (W140). The integral 'mushroom' plugs into the 38pin DIAG connector (X11/4) located in the F23 module box. By removing the protective cover from the F23 module box, access to the X11/4 is obtained. All of the vehicle's ECUs are located here.
After boot up, the scanner is operated by using a combination of the LEFT/RIGHT or UP/DOWN keys. When the particular menu item of your choice is highlighted by an "*", pressing "ENTER" selects that item.
The picture below shows the results of testing the car's "ENGINE SYS" ECU. The pictures show the results of following the scanner's prompts through the various menus. The ECU is highlighted by an "*". Pressing the "ENTER" key then scrolls you to the next menu selection.
The "DATA STREAM" shows that it's a BOSCH part number with the hardware and software dates as shown. There is
no fault code (DTC).
I was very impressed with this new unit's large capability for such a modest price. The integral 'mushroom' and furnishing of all needed cables/interconnections makes this scanner a great addition to the DIYer toolbox for testing 1987 thru 2002 vehicles. For modern MBs, it's really a necessity!
This new unit (w/ 3.1E cartridge) preformed all tests on my car without a 'hiccup'! Actually found a few codes stored in the CF module but these are typical for a car of that age. Nothing to worry about because all of the key electronics sensors and computers for the engine had no codes. These are the things that turn on the CE light!
Thanks to Technic Tool for loaning me the unit for test.
Technic Tool is no longer selling this scanner as Trisco is not longer making this scan tool. Your best bet is to do a Google search and follow eBay for a used one.
I recently acquired a used PS-411 [Palm Scanner] and find it invaluable. If you are able to find a used one, I recommend you purchase it for your pre-OBDII Mercedes.
If you would like to other units tested/evaluated, please let me know.
Send me with your comments