BMW Service Technology – The Evolution of Diagnostic Equipment

Not just has BMW electrical architecture changed throughout the last decade, but so gets the equipment to service them. The apparatus is different, the interfaces have changed as well as the complexity of setup and make use of.

Early tools

Within the 1990’s, the gang Tester One (GT1) was introduced. There was several versions, like DIS Plus (stationary setup), however the GT1 is easily the most common and is also what is going to be referenced here. The GT1 is a portable device which contained a chargeable battery. It has a touchscreen display screen for straightforward use. It contained software for Diagnosing as well as had software called TIS (Technical Information Display) which is Service & Repair Information. Early versions of Diagnostics also contained software called Coding, Programming & Individualization (CIP). So in the same tool, you can Diagnose the situation, research the way to switch the component after which carry out the needed initializations for your new part. Two interfaces were utilized: EDIC (yellow interface) as well as the OPS (orange interface). Later versions of the OPS were called OPPS, since they carried additional diagnostics for that Byteflite system and they were also yellow, but much bigger compared to the EDIC. Authentic GT1s take presctiption the portable touchscreen unit. There are many “cloned” units on the market, adapted to be effective over a PC. Either genuine or cloned, the interfaces work exactly the same and correct with an Ethernet port.

Later versions with the GT1 software removed CIP, and moved it to some separate computer (for storage), but nevertheless accessible from your GT1. This new software was called Progman (short for Program Manager). This new software contained all the CIP functions and added new features like multiple car programming and dual channel programming for each and every car (DIAGBUS and many bus simultaneously).

Third Generation equipment

Fast forward to about 2008 if the Third Generation (3G) of kit was released: ISIS. The contents of ISIS are so large, that server colocation are set up at the dealership. A web-based version can be obtained towards the aftermarket for a small charge, called OSS. It may be available at video archive. Using the introduction of ISIS comes a new interface, called ICOM. Previous interfaces (EDIC & OPS) won’t work with ISIS. ISIS includes a few parts, since it completely replaced GT1 & Progman. The key section of ISIS which is used inside the shop is called “ISTA”, which can be further divided into a double edged sword: ISTA/D for Diagnosing vehicles and ISTA/P for Coding, Programming & Individualization.


GT1s can be found just about anywhere, including eBay for really cheap. BMW remarked that the tool was easily cloned and sold worldwide. Many amounts of security have already been put in the roll-out of ISIS to avoid this, in both resident servers an internet-based versions. This makes it more difficult for non-dealer shops to work about the newer cars. One would feel that because the GT1 was discontinued last year, you can keep using for a number of more years before the newer system became more available, however, BMW stayed a stride ahead! Every time a car is programmed using the new ISTA/P, it upgrades the program at night amount of what Program can recognize. Meaning, after a car has been updated with ISTA/P, you cant ever use Progman onto it again, rendering the “cloned” versions useless on that particular car. Also, when a new module is installed, the program that’s pre-installed on that module can also be newer compared to what Program can recognize, which could steer clear of the entire programming process, forcing the automobile being programmed by ISTA/P.

So what does that mean for your BMW owner? Due to the newer systems, many BMW owners cannot repair the cars themselves. Many aftermarket shops may also be sending the cars to dealerships as a result. However, don’t assume all aftermarket shops have fallen behind. There is a select few of BMW specialty shops that remain on surface of manufacturer technology, to ensure that no car is beaten down! When searching for a spot to service your BMW, make sure they could do Every aspect of repair, including Diagnostics and CIP!

One particular shop is Auto Specialties of Lake Norman: Auto Specialties of Lake Norman. If you are looking at a potential shops website, look for signs which they have the latest equipment. BMW Repair centers that can’t “do it all” could cause increased time and cost once they discover everything has been incorrectly diagnosed or parts installed now need programmed or initialized.
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