Although ECU Flash programming has been
around for over a decade, only recently has it become
accessible, popular, and necessary for independent repair shops
to use J2534 ECU Flash programming tools. After several years in
development, the J2534 standard was published in 2002 and
legislated by the EPA and CARB. The legislation required all
automakers to offer software that would allow aftermarket users
with J2534 tools to flash emissions-related ECUs. Since that
legislation, several different companies have developed and
marketed J2534 tools. This document will outline the key
advantages of the Drew Tech CarDAQ-Plus over competing devices.
The CarDAQ-Plus is a descendant of the
original CarDAQ. The original CarDAQ was the first J2534 tool to
ever be produced, and was offered to the public in 1999. Since
that time the product has gone thru several improvements leading
to the CarDAQ-Plus. The CarDAQ-Plus was designed for use by
engineering and manufacturing groups at the automakers, with
features and durability that are uncommon in other J2534 tools
sold to the aftermarket.
Drew Technologies is also active with the
SAE J2534 standards and has participated in development of the
original and current specifications. That participation and
commitment to J2534 has led to better products.
Features to J2534
All J2534 tools are designed to meet the minimum
standards of the J2534-1 specification for reflashing ECUs. This
specification states the requirements for reflashing
emissions-only related ECUs. Because the CarDAQ-Plus was
designed for use at the automakers, it required many protocols
and features that are not required for J2534-1 tools. These
additional protocols will benefit aftermarket customers in two
1) It will allow the user to reprogram more
ECUs in the vehicle. Many non-emissions modules use special or
proprietary protocols that are not specified in J2534-1, but are
supported with the CarDAQ-Plus.
2) The extra features in the CarDAQ-Plus
today may not be necessary for servicing current model vehicles,
but could be required for future vehicles. The CarDAQ-Plus is
used by automakers for new vehicle development, and those
customers require features on the CarDAQ-Plus that the
aftermarket will not see in production vehicles for years.
ECU reprogramming requires the user to
connect a PC or laptop to the J2534 tool and the car. In some
cases, it is more convenient to have the PC a significant
distance from the vehicle. USB is great for plug-and-play has a
distance limitation of 16 feet. The automakers also have
distance issues at the manufacturing plant, so the CarDAQ-Plus
came equipped with Ethernet. Ethernet allows the user to span a
distance of up to 300 feet from the PC to the vehicle. In
addition to Ethernet, the CarDAQ-Plus also has USB and optional
802.11 Wireless. No other J2534 tool offers so many connection
A common misconception is that all J2534
tools perform the same. A wide variety of factors ranging from
the PC interface to the processor and memory on the J2534 tool
can effect how fast a reprogramming procedure takes as well as
the overall reliability of the process. The slower tools have a
higher likelihood of failing to reprogram a newer vehicle that
has high-speed ECUs.
CarDAQ was designed to accommodate vehicles
that are still in development at the automakers, and has a very
advanced architecture. It has more processing power and memory
than any other J2534 tool available to the aftermarket. In
independent tests conducted by trainers, the CarDAQ-Plus has
proven that no other J2534 tool match its performance.
Reliability and Validation
Although J2534-1 is a published standard,
not all tools and automaker programs work the same. Drew
Technologies has been selling J2534 tools for over seven years,
and has learned the best way to assure reliability is to work
directly with the automakers and continually test. Testing is an
important measure to prevent problems at the user level. The
more testing that can be done, the less likely a user is to
experience any problems with the tool.
Each automaker has at least one CarDAQ to
test with and validate against. Every automaker that
offers ECU reprogramming to the aftermarket either recommends or
has tested a CarDAQ. No other tool can claim this. The user
needs to know that they can reflash a car when it comes in for
service, and we can say with confidence that the CarDAQ-Plus
will work with all J2534 compliant automakers.
Most competitors also have a CarDAQ to test
their own tool against. The CarDAQ has been called the golden
standard by automakers, trainers, and competitors alike.
Drew Technologies offer free technical
support with all of its products. If a customer has a pre-sales,
installation, or product use question all they have to do is
contact Drew Techs support line. Support representatives have
easy access to engineers within Drew Tech and the automakers. In
many cases, incidents can be escalated back to the automaker and
receive a response within minutes. Drew Techs location in Ann
Arbor Michigan allows locally connecting with engineering groups
from many of the automakers.
The CarDAQ-Plus from Drew Technologies is
the most featured, accepted, and tested J2534 product on the
market. It is competitively priced for its features, and the
users highly value the usability and reliability of the product.