Thursday, April 14, 2011

Make ADS interface work with PCMCIA-Serial adapters

PROBLEM: The ADS diagnostic interface for BMW cars is infamous for requiring a "real" serial port and not working with PCMCIA and USB adapters. Serial ports are quite rare on modern laptops.

ANALYSIS: The ADS interface uses a driver that bypasses Windows settings and targets the default hardware address of COM1 directly. Virtual serial ports have a different hardware address (or in case of USB an entirely different access mechanism) - therefore they don't work.

SOLUTION: A tool that patches the driver. Here you go: download AdsPort tool (requires .NET framework 2.0)

The tool will patch your ADS driver to target a different COM port address - this means that it can be used with standard PCMCIA adapters, but not USB adapters.

To see the hardware address of your virtual COM port:
- open the Device Manager window
- right-click on your virtual COM port device
- select Properties
- go to the Resources tab (if there is none, the device probably doesn't have a hardware address and you are out of luck)
- write down the first number from the I/O range (something like "03F8")

Please let me know if the tool works for you in the comments. I have only tested it on a couple of PCMCIA cards, a single notebook and INPA ...

user reports:

- works with INPA + E36 '93, E38 '99, E38 '00
- works with TOOL32 + E39 IKE

Labels: , , , ,