TECH 1 / TECH 1A

Performance Vauxhall - - TECH -

This is where the se­ri­ous kit starts! The Vetronix Tech 1 is a deal­eris­sue di­ag­nos­tic and pro­gram­ming tool suit­able for Vaux­halls with an OBD port (ve­hi­cles built be­tween the mid-1980s and the mid-1990s). Com­pris­ing a ro­bust hand­held de­vice with LCD screen and key­pad, the sys­tem is car­tridge based, mean­ing you load the car­tridge ap­pli­ca­ble to your car into the Tech 1 in or­der for the unit to speak to the ECU. A mass stor­age car­tridge (MSC) ex­ists for en­tire fam­i­lies of pop­u­lar Vaux­halls and their elec­tri­cal sys­tems, al­though there are car­tridges spe­cific to mod­els pro­duced in low num­bers, in­clud­ing the Lo­tus Carl­ton.

“Wri­ta­ble car­tridges en­able you to load all soft­ware into one place,” says Marc, ac­knowl­edg­ing the ben­e­fit of not hav­ing to con­stantly swap car­tridges when work­ing on dif­fer­ent OBD-loaded ve­hi­cles. “They also en­able to you to take a snap­shot of your car’s ECU and elec­tri­cal sys­tems, which is great if you’ve spent time tweak­ing and tun­ing, but fear los­ing all your hard work through some­thing as sim­ple as dis­con­nect­ing the bat­tery.”

Tech 1A is the later ver­sion of Tech 1, boast­ing ex­tra fea­tures, such as an RS232 se­rial port for con­nect­ing to a printer or PC. It’s also worth not­ing that you can buy an OBDII in­ter­face for Tech 1 or Tech 1A, al­low­ing you to use the unit on early OBDII-com­pli­ant ve­hi­cles, in­clud­ing the Omega B (which has its own ded­i­cated car­tridge). This fea­ture en­abled deal­ers in pe­riod to use out­dated di­ag­nos­tic equip­ment to carry out ba­sic work on the elec­tri­cal sys­tems of the first gen­er­a­tion of Vaux­halls loaded with OBDII se­rial ports.

As you’d ex­pect from dealer level di­ag­nos­tic equip­ment, Tech 1 (and Tech 1A) can per­form pro­gram­ming, ac­tu­a­tor test­ing and scan­ning func­tion­al­ity on ev­ery­thing from en­gines to au­dio equip­ment. It’s a fan­tas­tic bit of kit, but it doesn’t come cheap. Keep ‘em peeled and you might bag one from a Vauxhall fran­chise ad­ver­tis­ing their work­shop equip­ment on eBay af­ter chang­ing their fo­cus to the out­put of a dif­fer­ent man­u­fac­turer. You’re more likely to end up with a com­pre­hen­sive set of car­tridges and con­nec­tors than if buy­ing from a fel­low owner, but hold tight, shop around and there are bar­gains to be had (un­less you want a Lo­tus Carl­ton car­tridge, which can fetch more than the cost of the Tech 1 it­self!).

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