Here are views of popular heavy duty truck diagnostic tools or adapters, including pros & cons and tips & tricks.
DG Tech DPA4 or 4+ or DPA5: #2 Choice Metal case makes it durable (must use original USB cable to take advantage of USB port protection)
DPA5 is better than the DPA4+ in that it supports OBD-II protocols other than J1850VPW and CAN, it also has the long range bluetooth and comes with a bluetooth dongle for your PC. It has a metal case, rubber shock caps, secure USB and long diagnostic cables unlike the 6″ Nexiq cables. It is dual CAN, has a large buffer and works well with any application.
Nexiq USB-Link: #1 Choice can also be used with toyota techstream and isuzu IDSS (Must be very careful to not break the usb port on older style)
Having ever used the Nexiq USB Link or Nexiq USB Link 2, I can’t say I really prefer it so much as until fairly recently I didn’t even know there was so many other options as those two are almost the entirety of what I ever see. Only after recently purchasing a Nexiq USB Link 2 did I begin to realize that so much else (aside from OEM ‘boxes’) was even available.
So far I’m still pleased with the Link 2, but had I done a bit more digging prior to buying it I certainly would have compared it to the DPA5 and might have gone that route just given what I’ve found out about them so far.
About the only complaints I have with the Link 2 so far are the increased price of the adapter cables vs the original (or even other current models) and that connecting via Bluetooth is quite the chore for some reason compared to other (in general) devices. Given how long the USB cable is though, I’m not terribly concerned with the Bluetooth connectivity.
Nexiq Magikey: Was the best back in the day (Need a PC with printer port to connect)
Nexiq LiteLink: Works with Snapon Modis (older J1708 Data Bus only)
Movimento/Navlink: Only way to connect to TCU via IDS on Ford/Int LCF/CF Trucks??? (Freezes using servicemax on some laptops)
Navistar IC4: Small durable adapter (Bad customer support, hard to find drivers, USB cable is part of adapter)
Older PF-Diagnose adapter (B&B Electronics): Small durable adapter (serial cable connection)
Eaton Wireless: Long wireless range (intermittent data loss even at close range)
Noregon DLA: #3 Choice alternative to Nexiq and Dearborn (Large size/odd shape)
Caterpillar II: Only way to connect to some offroad equipment with CDL data Bus (Need PC with printer port)
This is just my opinion on the adapters above based on personal use. There are other adapters available and other peoples results/opinions may differ.
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