GS911 BMW Diagnostic Tool
I love riding off-road on my BMW R1200 GS. Over the years I’ve learned it can sustain significant abuse and still power through the rest of the trip with a few zip ties, some duct tape, and a little JB Weld. However, the advancement in BMW electronics design has brought us the CAN bus system, which added limitations that continue to challenge trailside repairs when electronic faults occur. So, when a CAN bus feels more like a “Can’t bus,” you will be glad to know there’s an app for that!
Introducing the GS-911 wifi, a portable diagnostic tool that plugs into the 10-pin diagnostic connector on a BMW motorcycle. When connected, you can link the device to a smartphone or computer to enable interaction with the motorcycle’s on-board control modules and electrical components. The associated interface allows you to run diagnostic scans, test and calibrate components, and log live sensor data. It also allows you to reset maintenance reminders, clear fault codes (after fixing the issue), and access a wide range of other interactions with the ECU.
In 2014, HEX Code rolled out this second generation model, extending their lineup of BMW diagnostic devices. It adds compatibility with the new water-cooled engines and solves an iPhone incompatibility issue with previous versions. The wifi design was a smart move for the company, opening up access to a wider range of devices by avoiding incompatibility due to Bluetooth pairing protocols.
The device offers two main groups of functionality:
1. Service Functions are primarily for use in the shop, and
2. Emergency Functions offer the basics that will help you in a pinch.
The full-featured interface requires Windows to access the service functions; however, interfaces for iPhone, Android, and Mac are available to perform all the emergency functions like viewing ECU information, following real-time sensor values, and clearing fault codes. The good news for non-Windows users is that HEX Code plans soon to release a cloud-based interface that will extend the service functionality to any platform as long as there’s an immediate connection to the internet while using the device.
The GS-911 wifi is compatible with all BMW models that have the round 10-pin port. The service functions for the newer liquid-cooled models are still limited but all emergency functionality is available, making this still a very useful tool to have in your kit. HEX Code plans to continue releasing updates that will unlock more features for the wetheads.
My GS is a liquid-cooled model, so I additionally tested the device on an F800GS. As expected, there were noticeably more features for the F800 via the service functions; namely, you can cycle components and run a series of tests and calibrations that are not yet available on the R1200GS LC. Trailside, I used the mobile interface and did not notice a difference in functionality between the two motorcycles. To verify consistency between interfaces, I tested the software on an iPhone, a Samsung Galaxy, a Mac, and a Windows PC. Every interface operated the emergency functionality as advertised, but the Windows version was definitely more comprehensive with the added service functions.
There are two versions of the GS-911 wifi —the Enthusiast and the Pro. The Enthusiast model only allows up to 10 unique VINs while the Pro offers an unlimited number of VINs. You can actually buy the Enthusiast model first and then upgrade to the Pro later by paying a $350 upgrade fee. Unfortunately, once an available VIN slot is used on the Enthusiast it cannot be undone, so pick your friends wisely.
Experiencing this device for the first time was empowering. I was amazed at the amount of information available and the extent of diagnostic checks the user can initiate. The interface was very intuitive and grouped operations into categories that were easy to navigate. When uncertain where to start, I realized you could always start by initiating a full scan to target trouble areas. Bottom line: The GS-911 wifi is a beneficial tool regardless of wrenching skill level. If you ride a BMW you will want to add this device to your tool kit. MSRP: $399 GS911USA.com
|▲ Allows access to tons of dianostic info||▼ Limited features for newer LC models|
|▲ Enables the DIY mechanic|
|▲ Trailside trouble code scan and clear|