Here are some of my thoughts of the Foxwell NT510 for Porsche:
http://www.obd2diy.fr/wholesale/francais-foxwell-nt520-pro-multi-systme-scanneur-full-systeme.html (now it’s NT520, but the same in Porsche actually)
There is a lot more to diagnostic tools than just “code reading” and OBD2 is an open standard (for emissions) which is why there are OBD2 dongles (that sometimes even work) on ebay for under $20. All systems that are not emissions relevant (motor and automatic transmission if fitted) such as ABS, HEVAC, BPM, etc are not open standards and the diagnostic tool manufacturer needs to reverse engineer each system to provide functionality. And aside from fault reading and clearing, on each system you have live values, control I/O (for testing), configuration settings (often referred to as programming), etc. That amount of reverse engineering requires a lot of work – and each platform is different (986/996 vs 987/997, etc). There is a reason Durametric costs as much as it does. There is nothing as frustrating as spending several hundred $$$ on a diagnostic system, trying to solve an issue, and navigating through multiple long menus only to find that the function you need is either not there or doesn’t work properly (par for the course on Launch products). And I have seen vehicles “bricked” through the improper use of cheap diagnostic tools when changing configuration settings (programming). Repairing something like that often costs more than even professional diagnostic tools.
I work at an OEM and have 12 years experience with OEM programming, testing, and diagnostic tools. (multiple architectures and brands) I have spec’ed custom tools as well as debugged them. However I am not a programmer. The key learn procedure is pretty finicky even in the plant on some architectures. However I know that if a firm were to get a hold of a module specification and security key\ algorithm files it would take less than a day for a programmer to get it to work if they already can communicate to the module. By law manufactures have to provide information to 3rd party diag companies…with how much detail I don’t know as I don’t work on that end of the process. I am about ready to just buy one through Amazon and return it if it does not work.
Some more info from my digging:
I have attached a document that I have received from Foxwell. The obd sites I looked at were results from searching “foxwell NT510 porsche key programming”
I have been in contact with a NT510 vendor and he happens to have a 2004 C4. He stated that he was going connect a NT510 and see if it looked like it worked. He originally stated that it did not but he seemed curious after I sent him the Foxwell document.
I have also been in contact with another reasonably priced diagnostic tool vendor and they are working on key programming functionality which should be ready this summer. I also asked them if they could include toggling the “Child Seat Occupancy” setting as my car has the seat bar installed along with the “CSO” set to active. They said they would look into that as well.
Looking at the repair manual that can be found on line I just need the Key “learning code from IPAS” if I can find the right diag tool.
Foxwell NT510_Porsche_Functionlist-V1.00.pdf (121.9 KB, 69 views)
Manufacturers are required to provide this info, but not for free. Last I checked, the Land Rover diagnostic database was upwards of $20k – and that is for very basic diagnostic information albeit on all vehicle systems, not just emissions related OBD2. This is the information that specialized tool manufacturers use when building diagnostic systems (such as Snap-On, Autel, etc), but if you do not do any reverse engineering, you will not be anywhere near dealer level diagnostics. And this includes specialized, highly proprietary functions such as key programming. If you find a cheap key programmer anywhere, it will have been reverse engineered (we allow key programming on LRs, for instance).
In looking through the functions list for the Foxwell, it shows a lot of fault read/clear on various systems and the rest is pretty ambiguous. This is exactly what I was saying: you will likely get a device that performs very basic functions (which is def better than nothing, btw), but you will not get anything near comprehensive diagnostic functionality (“diagnostic” is a complete misnomer, btw. Key programming, for instance, has nothing to do with diagnosing anything. I just continue to use the term the way it is used by everyone else).
By all means, invest the money – especially if you have nothing else. $180 is not much, and if you can clear an Airbag light after working on the steering wheel, etc without having to go back to a dealer, you’ll have over 50% of the purchase price back immediately.
Just don’t expect miracles.