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Created: 22 Aug 2007
Last Updated: 29 Dec 2007
Version 1.2 28th August 2007
This document describes the Mercedes Star Diagnosis system. In Germany this is known as 'Star Diagnose'. Star Diagnosis is also known as SDS or DAS by Daimler Chrysler, although the acronym DAS is also used for the electronic key system.
It briefly covers the J2534 system that Mercedes make available in the USA for updating and configuring the emissions related systems on Mercedes vehicles
Star Diagnosis (SDS) is a complex system that consists of various parts
Over time it has been available in various forms, each new release containing faster/better hardware.
The two ranges of Star Diagnosis are known as the 'Basic' range and the 'Compact' range.
The Star Diagnosis Basic range has essentially a much lower specification ruggedised PC, and thus is not sold with the ability to interface to the MT system to have WIS, or to use the latest wireless multiplexer.
The current 'Star Diagnosis Basic' system is known as the 'Star Diagnosis Basic2', and the current Star Diagnosis Compact system is the Star Diagnosis Compact 3W system.
Hardware details: -
Basic 1 - Ruggedised PC made by IME Actia with Celeron 400Mhz processor, 128MB memory and 20GB har drive with Windows NT 4.
Basic 2 - Ruggedised PC made by IME Actia with Mobile Celeron-M 600Mhz processor, approx 512Mb memory and 60GB hard drive, 10.4" XGA screen, with Windows XP. It has USB 2 serial ports, the pen is tied to the system and its a blue colour as oppose to the grey Basic 1 system
Compact 1 - IBM laptop PC in special metal cradle
Compact 2 - IBM T20 or T23 PC, in special metal cradle. Windows NT
Picture of Compact 2, out of its docking station with extra power adapter.
Compact 2 Station MT - A compact 2 with MT measurement system (see later) and printer in a nice workshop trolley.
Compact 3 - Tablet PC with 15" XGA touchscreen, With Windows XP, 1.1Ghz Pentium M, 512MB Ram, 60Gb hard drive
Compact 3W - Same as Compact 3, but with integegrated Wireless LAN, possibly with larger disk and more memory.
The latest system brochuers are available from www.startekinfo.com click on 'MB Workshop Systems' and then 'SDS'
The multiplexer is the interface between the PC and the car's diagnostic port. The current multiplexer connects to the PC with a cable and is made by I+ME Actia and is called the Part D3 multiplexer. It then connects to old and new Mercedes models using different cables.
Picture of Part D multiplexer.
The Part D multiplexers have serial numbers in them, and if the DAS software detects a stolen/unlicenced one, apparently it locks them out, possibly for good (possibly by flashing duff software into them).
Picture of the multiplexer connector on a SD Compact 2 cradle
Daimler Chrysler are shortly releasing a wireless multiplexer called 'SD Connect' - it will connect to the PC wirelessly, and only to vehicles with the 16 pin OBD-II port. (anything after, but not including the W210 E class / W208 CLK / W202 C)
Picture of SD Connect wireless multiplexer
Star Diagnosis will support a number of other multiplexers, included is the I+ME Actia Part-X multiplexer, although absolutely no information is available on how that works or how to make a normal Star Diagnosis system connect to them. There is also a Part-Y multiplexer that is also apparently used within DC research / factory environment.
Details of the I+ME Actia Part-X can be found at I+ME Website
Part X Multiplexer picture
Before the Part D3 multiplexer there were Part A, Part B, Part C and other Part D multiplexers with different functionality - I have never seen them
If you have any information on these or the Part-X or Part-Y i'd be very interested!
MT Measurement System
The MT measuement system is basically a re-packaged Hermann HMS-990 digital oscilloscope. The latest versions connect to the Compact 3 via USB. In the Compact 2, a PCMCIA card was supplied that plugged into the docking staion.
There are litterally hundres of different connectors that connect the HMS990 to the vehicle, the MB brochure for MT cables is here. Note that prices are rather out of date.
Various cables are needed for the Part D multiplexer.
Picture of PC to Multiplexer cable
Picture of 16 pin OBD-II Cable
Picture of 38 pin older vehicle cable
The part numbers below often have to be prefixed with Z to order them - these are European part numbers, and sometimes US part numbers differ for the same parts)
6511 3500 99 Compact 2 Docking Station
6511 1002 99 D3 multiplexer - there are other part numbers also
6511 1106 99 5M Cable between PC and multiplexer (US part 963 589 11 06 00)
6511 1650 99 Cushion to turn airbag off when SDS on front passenger seat. (US Part 963 589 16 50 00)
Picture of SDS Test/Car charging cable, used to charge the Basic/Compact units from a car and for testing the diagnostic port on the system.
Older Diagnostic Systems
Before Star Diagnosis, Mercedes dealers used to use something called 'The HHT' or Hand-Held-Tester. There is a software version of this built into Star Diagnosis for talking to older control units in various cars (such as ABS).
J2534 Diagnostic System
In the USA legislation was passed about 3 years ago forcing automotive manafactures to make systems available for sensible cost that could re-program and configure emissions related control systems.
In order to keep costs sensible, a standard called SAE J1962 was created by the SAE which defined a software interface to a generic multiplexer to connect a normal laptop to all recent (US) vehicles. This included facilities to 'flash' (replace the program) running in the control units that affect emission (such as engine control and gear box control). The interface standard is commonly known as 'PassThru'.
All major manafacturers then released software for a relatively low charge to run on a PC that would then talk to the car.
The Mercedes system is called, rather blandly, J2534 and will only program the emissions related units. It is in fact a cut down Star Diagnosis systems, and informations and manuals are available on the Mercedes startekinfo website, under MB Workshop Resources and then J2534. If you look at the user manual there, you will find the screenshots look just like the full Star Diagnosis system.
Buying Star Diagnosis
Many dealers will let you order the cables using part numbers above. You can not order the actual Star Diagnosis machines or Multiplexers from a dealer.
Because of European and US competition rules, all vehicle manafacturers must now make diagnosis tools available to any workshop - so you can buy the systems, but they are far from cheap.
If you are in the USA, you can purchase systems via www.startekinfo.com
If you are in Europe, you can order systems via Daimler Chrysler Workshop AfterSales.
You can, of course, purchase a number of cloned multipexers and other Star Diagnosis equipment from eBay. Here is an eBay UK search that will find most of them, and Here is an eBay USA link that is good for outside Europe.
You can download the German HMS 990 (MT) brocuhure here.
The current(ish) system brochures (Compact 3 and Basic 2) in English are available from www.startekinfo.com click on 'MB Workshop Systems' and then 'SDS'
Here is a link to the now superceeded English Compact 3 brochure
Here is a link to the latest English Compact 3W brochure
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