Features and Limitations

CASCADE provides virtually all of the functionality of the original device, including communication using non-standard protocols or CAN bus, and it even has features that the original device is missing:

  • Saving and loading of the device state allows you to quickly access frequently used functions. You won’t have to wade through several layers of menus if you always diagnose the same make or model of car.
  • Recording and replaying of diagnostic sessions. When you have to deal with a particularly puzzling problem, you will be able to review the session in its entirety, and perhaps spot stuff that you missed.
  • Special hints that make connecting to problematic control units easier: CASCADE tells you if data is being transmitted, what communications mode and speed is currently being used, and it gives you hints on when to turn the ignition on and off.

There are, however, a few limitations as well:

  • No support of oddball communications standards. Occasionally, the diagnostic software tries to use extremely low baud rates (around 20 Bauds) or “bitbanging” to communicate with ECUs. These modes are not (well) supported by FTDI chips and will thus not work when used with CASCADE.
  • No baud rate measuring. The original device is capable of determining the transmission speed of a K/L diagnostic session automatically (although I have doubts as to how well that works in practice), but with CASCADE you will have to set the speed manually if the default doesn’t work. That means that in the worst case you have to try a few times until you can connect to the ECU.
  • No automatic pin switching. The original device’s diagnostic interface is able to connect to ECUs with the K line on pins other than 7 on the OBD connector. The low-price USB interfaces used with CASCADE do not have that capability, so it may be required to physically modify the USB interface in order to be able to connect to such ECUs.
  • The oscilloscope functionality does not work.

 

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