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The winning trio for the reprogramming of automotive ECUs

Since the Euro V law of October 2009, all car repairers have access to manufacturer data in order to reprogram the ECUs of the vehicle they are working on. In professional jargon, this is referred to as Passthru for ECUs reprogramming. In practice this is not so simple. Reprogramming the Euro 5 and 6 ECUs is the new technological challenge facing an entire profession. What solution does an equipment manufacturer like ACTIA offer to garages? How does ACTIA’s Multi-Diag, VCI Passthru and PRP (Passthru Remote Platform) trio of tools provide a solution for mechanics to reprogram ECUs?

Access to manufacturer data: not so simple

What is Passthru?

Passthru and Euro 5 standards have led manufacturers to offer their diagnostic solution to all independent mechanics.
The Passthru or SAE J2534 standard is available for all light vehicles approved in Europe since the EURO V regulation (October 2009). The implementation of the Euro V standard made it mandatory for car manufacturers to make information required for the repair, maintenance and reprogramming of their make of vehicles available via an online portal. In general, the Passthru standard is a process that updates the vehicle’s ECUs without the need for a manufacturer’s diagnostic equipment.

With the Passthru standard, the diagnostic functions multiply. Mechanics can carry out more extensive repairs, regardless of the make of vehicles that enter their garage.

Vehicle Communication Interface : Passthru for ECUs reprogramming
Passthru vehicle communication interface

The complexity of ECUs reprogramming

Downloading ECUs is not easy. The repairer must connect the electronic core of the vehicle to the manufacturer’s server to download the contents of one or more ECUs and restore their functions.

To do this, the repairer must of course have an electronic diagnostic tool, but above all, access the manufacturers’ after-sales sites and be legitimate: meet all access conditions.

Repairers often have to:

  • – download specific software;
  • – apply for accreditation by meeting the criteria specific to each manufacturer;
  • – allow sufficient time to access the databases and methods of download.

All these steps can take time, sometimes several weeks. In addition, these procedures may change depending on the vehicle make.
In terms of cost, installation time, download, and familiarisation with each procedure, it is clear that the operation is no longer profitable for an independent mechanic.

When do ECUs need to be reprogrammed?

The most recent vehicles sometimes include up to a hundred ECUs! Their frequent updates must be accessible to the entire auto repair profession. Mechanics must reprogram a computer when replacing it, or when disassembling it results in a software update.

Here are some cases that require reprogramming of the ECU:

  • – during maintenance;
  • – in the event of ECU failure;
  • – when replacing HS ECUs;
  • to unlock the Security Gateway;
  • – following an intervention on the vehicle option (e.g. mounting of trailer box);
  • – in the case of an intervention on functions secured by the manufacturer (e.g. key reprogramming, etc.).

The ACTIA platform widens possibilities for mechanics

The fastest and most cost-effective service on the market

The ACTIA PRP platform allows an expert technician to connect remotely to a Passthru interface communicating with the vehicle in a garage. In other words, it is a remote control platform on the Passthru VCI connected to the vehicle to update one or more ECUs that have been repaired or worked on.

How does it work?

The mechanic submits a request and prepares the vehicle by turning on the ignition switch and connecting the VCI.  After that, the ACTIA expert takes control of the vehicle and performs all the steps to reconfigure the ECU: update or configuration.

Advantages of the ACTIA PRP platform

Given how complex it is for mechanics to access the manufacturer’s portal themselves, the ACTIA PRP has multiple benefits:

  • – Firstly, it provides an immediate solution liberating mechanics from the time constraints often imposed by the manufacturer’s procedure.
  • – The platform can be easily and intuitively installed on the mechanic’s tool like the Multi-Diag. It comes in the form of a web page.
  • – Like the tool, the platform covers 100% of the car fleet marketed for a limited investment.

The services of the PRP platform associated with Multi-Diag and its Passthru VCI increase the mechanic’s scope of action tenfold. There are no brakes to slow the progress of their repairs any more. Vehicle downtime is shorter for greater customer satisfaction. Its services are perceived to be efficient and responsive by customers. Mechanics establish their expertise and customer loyalty!

ACTIA: passthru VCI precursor

2007: first VCI meeting Passthru VCI standards

ACTIA has over 30 years of experience in electronic diagnosis and maintenance. The company is leading the multi-brand tool market with its flagship Multi-Diag product. This was the first multi-brand diagnostic tool on the market to offer a VCI (Vehicle Communication Interface) that meets the Passthru standard, 100% compatible with the J2534-2 standard.

This allows workshops to use the computer download modules developed by the manufacturers. The EURO PASSTHRU compatibility means that the Multi-Diag tool is predisposed from a hardware and software point of view to the “PASSTHRU” standard. It is validated by the majority of European manufacturers.

2010: EURO 5 directory

ACTIA is at the forefront of the new standards, anticipating the evolution of the standards of automotive maintenance and repair and participating in the definition of these standards in international working groups. Being one step ahead benefits the Multi-Diag range. In 2010, ACTIA introduced a portal to all EURO 5 brands. It displays the specifications required for each brand and the link to the manufacturer’s site.

2016: Multi-Diag 360

Multi-Diag was the first diagnostic and repair tool. In 2016, the tool underwent a major overhaul which made it ultra-intuitive and connected to adapt to the reactivity and performance requirements of workshops.
Need we remind you that Multi-Diag covers 100% of the vehicles being marketed?

The complete range of services are organised into four main services that boost the tool’s performance:

– practical cases of troubleshooting;
– a step-by-step guided method;
– technical documentation;
– direct connection to the spare parts catalogue.

The mechanic thus has a tool that is comprehensive, simple and fast, which contributes to workshop profitability.

2020: Passthru Remote Platform

Finally, in 2020 ACTIA developed a platform (PRP) to connect with manufacturer Passthru Euro 5 solutions remotely. This platform provides access to the manufacturer’s diagnostic scope for independent repairers, revolutionising the field of spare parts and repair.

ACTIA’s Passthru Remote Platform (PRP) is designed primarily for mechanics equipped with ACTIA’s Multi-Diag and Passthru VCI. With this combination of tools, mechanics no longer have to struggle when it comes to reprogramming of ECUs, whatever the method used by manufacturers. Using the expertise of ACTIA, mechanics are no longer bound by the constraints of ECU updates and remote coding. There are more diagnostic functions and fewer limits.

Visit Diag & Repair website
ACTIA and the Passthru chronology

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