Review – TOPDON TD300 OBD2 Scanner

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October 12, 2017 by quirkyuncle@gmail.com

TOPDON TD300 OBDII scanner

The TOPDON TD300 OBDII Code Reader is a compact, low-cost OBD2 scanner with a simplified user interface. It performs the basic diagnostic and readiness functions most often needed to maintain your vehicle.



This review contains:


Overview

The TOPDON TD300 OBDII scanner has all the features that you need in a basic OBD2 code reader. It allows you to diagnose problems with your car that have triggered the check engine light, without leaving your home.

The TOPDON TD300 scans trouble codes and determines if your car is ready for emission testing based on information stored by your vehicle onboard computer. It reads both the generic diagnostic codes used by all OBD2 compliant vehicles and some codes that are manufacturer specific. The TOPDON TD300 also allows you to clear trouble codes, to see if have you fixed a problem.

Note: Clearing codes will not fix a problem unless you have done the appropriate corrective action. Clearing codes sets a flag in your vehicle computer that prevents the car from passing emissions tests until the computer recalibrates. You will need to drive the vehicle a certain distance after clearing codes to make sure that no problems are present.

The printed manual provided with the TOPDON TD300 lists the title of each trouble code so you can search for more information online, enabling you to determine the exact cause of a problem and order the correct parts.

You can order a TOPDON TD300 from Amazon.com.


Features

The TOPDON TD300 OBDII Code Reader supports the following features:

  • Reads standard OBD2 and selected manufacturer diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs), both stored and pending
  • Clears DTCs from the vehicle computer
  • Determines readiness for emissions testing
  • Displays your vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • Powered via the OBD2 connection – no batteries required.
  • Fully functional out of the box – no need to register or update.
  • Includes a printed reference manual with operating instructions and DTC codes.

TD300 front view


Preparing for first use

No pre-use preparation of the TD300 is necessary! The TOPDON TD300 is fully functional straight out of the box, without need for a computer connection.


Using the scanner

All scanner functions are available while the TOPDON TD300 is connected to the OBD2 port on your vehicle. The printed User’s Manual has all operating instructions and OBD code reference information.

Scanner controls:

All TOPDON TD300 functions are controlled using the keypad.

TD300 keypad

ENTER/EXIT key
The ENTER/EXIT key confirms a selection or closes a function.
SCROLL key
The SCROLL steps through menu choices or information display.

The two-line screen on the TOPDON TD300 clearly displays the information you need.

TD300 display

To use the OBD scanner

  1. Connect the TOPDON TD300 cable to the OBD2 port on your vehicle. This connector is usually under the dashboard on the driver’s side and might be behind an access panel. The following photograph shows a typical OBD2 connector.

    OBD2 connector
  2. Turn on the vehicle. The TOPDON TD300 receives power as soon it is physically connected to the OBD2 port on your vehicle, but cannot establish communication until the vehicle is turned on. You can read codes with the key in the run position without starting the engine.
    TD300 start

    There are several communications protocols used by OBD2. The TOPDON TD300 will attempt each method until a connection is established. If the scanner is unable to connect, a LINK ERROR message is displayed indicating that you should reconnect the OBD2 cable (see the User’s Guide for additional information).

    Note: If the TOPDON TD300 does not start when connected to the OBD2 port, press the ENTER/EXIT key.

  3. Select the desired TOPDON TD300 feature from those described below.

Navigation and feature descriptions

Operating the TOPDON TD300 is simple. Press the SCROLL key to step through the menu choices; then, press the ENTER/EXIT key to confirm your selection.

TD300 choices

  • 1. DTC

    When you press the ENTER/EXIT key to select 1. DTC, the TD300 scans your vehicle for trouble codes and displays any fault codes that are stored or pending. (Pending codes will eventually become stored codes, if the problem continues.)

    • NO CODES indicates that there are no DTCs stored or pending for your vehicle.
    • If there are DTCs, the display will indicate the number of codes that are stored (FAULT) and pending (PEND).

    Press the SCROLL key to view each detected DTC. Press the ENTER/EXIT key to return to the function menu.

    • Pending codes are designated by a PD following the code number.
    • Numbers beneath the code number indicate the current code number you are viewing and the total number of codes detected.

    The title of each DTC code can be found in the TD300 User’s Guide. More detailed information about DTC codes, including repair methods and parts that can cause the failure can be found on the internet by searching for the DTC code number and your vehicle type. If a code is not listed in the User’s Guide, the diagnostic code is manufacturer specific and you will need to search online for additional information.

  • 2. ERASE

    When you press the ENTER/EXIT key to select 2. ERASE, the TD300 clears all stored and pending DTCs for your vehicle. Clearing codes alone will not fix a problem. Clearing codes will also set a flag in your vehicle computer that will prevent it from passing emissions tests until the system recalibrates. See the User’s Guide for additional information about the ERASE function. Press the ENTER/EXIT key to return to the function menu.

  • 3. I/M

    When you press the ENTER/EXIT key to select 3. I/M, the TD300 indicates whether the vehicle is ready for emissions testing.

    Press the SCROLL key to view the status of each emissions-related parameter. Press the ENTER/EXIT key to return to the function menu.

    See the User’s Guide for additional information about the I/M function and emission parameters. Press the ENTER/EXIT key to return to the function menu.

  • 4. VIN

    When you press the ENTER/EXIT key to select 4. VIN, the TD300 displays your vehicle identification number (VIN), if your vehicle supports this function. Press the ENTER/EXIT key to return to the function menu.

  • 5. RESCAN

    When you press the ENTER/EXIT key to select 5. RESCAN, the TD300 retrieves the latest DTC information from your vehicle or reconnects to the vehicle if the connection was lost. Press the ENTER/EXIT key to return to the function menu.

The printed User’s Guide that comes with the TOPDON TD300 includes the following reference information:

  • General information about OBD2 — what it is and how it works.
  • TOPDON TD300 specifications and operating instructions.
  • A DTC code-to-title reference table providing a short description of each DTC code common to all vehicle manufacturers.


Impressions

The TOPDON TD300 is super easy to use and performs the functions most needed in an OBD2 scanner. Minimal controls and a small display make the scanner less intimidating for novice users while providing enough capability to determine vehicle problems without assistance. The TOPDON TD300 is inexpensive enough to throw one in each car, just in case you run into problems while on the road.


Conclusion

If you need an OBD2 code reader that performs basic functions, the TOPDON TD300 is a great choice. The simplified interface makes it very easy to use. This, coupled with the low price, makes the TOPDON TD300 a great addition to any tool box or glove compartment.

You can order a TOPDON TD300 from Amazon.com.

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Updates:

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