It really is an unusual picture, such a small laptop (see above figure) in front of a gigantic truck. Even crazier, is the fact that the laptop can trigger any number of functions in the truck. Thus, it can possibly, bring the engine up to maximim RPMs, brake an individual wheel etc. Of course, these abilities are not built into the laptop, but are in the individual control devices of the truck, they are only activated by the laptop. Nonetheless, the notion, that one connects a small computer to a (large) vehicle and is thus, supplied with an overview of the functional abilities of several systems, is fascinating. It can even act as a watchdog, reproaching the driver for not having had a defect repaired, even though he had been informed of it in good time.
These can be computers, laptops or other intermediate devices. In each case a scanner connects, via cable- or radio-communication, to the control devices and/or to a CAN-Bus in the vehicle. Should difficulties appear, the mechanic is helped to success by additional texts and above all, also illustrations. Should the correct cable not be available, it is even possible, using a universal cable connected to the plus- and minus terminals, (if necessary on the battery) to search for the data-cable yourself using the trail-and-error method. As a rule, three cables are sufficient. Even when the manufacturer, the vehicle model and the available control devices are unknown, it is still possible to allow a search for the available hardware. It only takes a little longer. If, after a lengthier search, the programm is successful, then the identification and e.g., the error memory, are at your disposal. However, not all the connected scanners offer the same functional variety. Devices which are authorised by the manufacturer sometimes get substantially better results. Should an error be found, sometimes it helps a lot, to read out the measurement values, (also during the trip). These can be, in very short time intervals, around 100 various values. In this case, the software helps a great deal to specifically analyse or also transport the data (e.g., to the factory). The actuator diagnosis is also interesting. Instead of checking the individual cables/plugs or the functionality of the actuators, basically pushing a button on the computer is all that's needed. The
function is audibly triggered. This has the additional advantage, that underneath all the various casings, the component can be more easily found. Although, if the component reacts, then it may not have to be replaced at all.