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Audentes Fortuna Adiuvat
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Discussion Starter #1
Good day, all!

Pretty much as the subject line says.
I do technical documentation and videography for Hexcode (the South African manufacturers of the GS-911 and ezCAN).
We're in the early stages of starting up an online technical academy. The aim is to teach GS-911 owners, BMW enthusiasts and journeyman mechanics how to do BMW Motorrad-specific vehicle diagnostics and, in the process, fully exploit the capabilities of their GS-911.
Our curriculum is not exclusive to GS-911 owners. However, since it is GS-911-centric, you will only get the full benefit of it if you own a GS-911.

We're planning on presenting a range of four technical courses (running the gamut from 'Beginner' to 'Expert').
The aims are to A) make each enrolee a competent diagnostic technician, familiar with every feature of the GS-911 and able to use it to solve any relevant problem, and B) build a like-minded community of vehicle technicians who enrich the BMW Motorrad community with their knowledge and experience.

I want feedback from every mechanic, tinkerer, technical enthusiast and weekend bodger who reads this:

  • What technical aspects would you specifically want to learn from this series of courses, and
  • Bearing in mind that what's being offered is a complete technical curriculum in four parts, what would you be willing to pay for that curriculum? (Unfortunately, the answer can't be 'Nothing'... hundreds of hours are being put into creating and developing these courses.
I look forward to hearing from you all!

Nicholas
 

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This is a great idea for someone who has an independent shop, where expenses such as tools, and training are tax deductible and part of being in business.

For me a home tinkerer I agree with the previous post that after purchasing a unit basic training should be freely available.

Having said that, I do find what HEX presently has on their website for FAQ and video's suffices for my needs.

brian
 

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I've been using it for some time now and it's never seemed that hard to use. Post this over on the K1600 forum. A lot more people over there.
 

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I agree with the posted comments.

I've had mine now for a few years and the ONLY thing I needed was a detailed list of error codes, what they mean and their significance...and that seems pretty impossible to find, ie a detailed all-inclusive list. Lists posted seem to be truncated and fault codes that show up on mine are nowhere to be found, even on Hexcode's forum.

On a somewhat related note (or not) the main thing I would like with the GS911 is the ability to turn on the flashing brake light function that is ava in Europe, but not in USA. I've requested that functionality and have been told that was not a priority for Hexcode.

A course on how to use it might be useful for someone running an independent non-BMW shop, but I suspect that number is a small subset of GS911 owners.
 

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Audentes Fortuna Adiuvat
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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Just my .02, but I feel like when I pay $300-400 for a GS-911, that should buy me at least an introductory level of instruction, leaving the higher levels for pay. This might also be an incentive for others when they're on the fence between buying a GS-911 or a (much) cheaper alternative.

A system of free introductory levels will more than likely be on the cards. :smile2:

Yes, there are cheaper devices around. But no other manufacturer has yet been able to match GS-911's overall capabilities and consistency of performance. Given that GS-911 now has twenty years of development behind it, even if a newcomer were able to match the accomplishment, not one would be able to do it and sell their product for less money.
The ultimate worth of a diagnostic tool is in the hard results it is able to deliver. I've read plenty of euphoric threads evaluating cheaper alternatives to GS-911. But all of them seem to peter out at the point the user starts struggling with compatibility issues, a cryptic UI, or a tool that simply doesn't do what was advertised. :(


For me a home tinkerer I agree with the previous post that after purchasing a unit basic training should be freely available.
See above.



I've been using it for some time now and it's never seemed that hard to use.
and

I do find what HEX presently has on their website for FAQ and video's suffices for my needs.
and
A course on how to use it might be useful for someone running an independent non-BMW shop, but I suspect that number is a small subset of GS911 owners.
Bear in mind, almost none of the Academy content will address basic GS-911 operation. That topic will be the subject of the revamped GS-911 User's Manual (due for release later this year).

I've had mine now for a few years and the ONLY thing I needed was a detailed list of error codes, what they mean and their significance...and that seems pretty impossible to find, ie a detailed all-inclusive list. Lists posted seem to be truncated and fault codes that show up on mine are nowhere to be found, even on Hexcode's forum.

It's much harder than it sounds to compose a list like this, although it's something I do want very much to address. Watch this space.


On a somewhat related note (or not) the main thing I would like with the GS911 is the ability to turn on the flashing brake light function that is ava in Europe, but not in USA. I've requested that functionality and have been told that was not a priority for Hexcode.

Operational mods to the rear running/brake light are technically possible to do, but were decided against for legal reasons.
If a user overrides the factory functions, thereby causing the light to malfunction, and an accident results from that, it is possible that the agency responsible for offering the tweak could be held liable for the accident.
Hex also make the ezCAN accessory manager. Using this, it is possible to have auxiliary brake lights, and have them flash in just about any legal configuration you want - including according to the urgency of your braking, and even by just backing off the throttle.
Check it out at https://www.hexezcan.com/.
 

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snip
Operational mods to the rear running/brake light are technically possible to do, but were decided against for legal reasons.
If a user overrides the factory functions, thereby causing the light to malfunction, and an accident results from that, it is possible that the agency responsible for offering the tweak could be held liable for the accident.
Hex also make the ezCAN accessory manager. Using this, it is possible to have auxiliary brake lights, and have them flash in just about any legal configuration you want - including according to the urgency of your braking, and even by just backing off the throttle.
Check it out at https://www.hexezcan.com/.
first, thanks for responding, and I think what you are seeing is users who are happy with the GS911, as I am.

This flashing brake function is the normal function in most parts of the world. It is disabled in the US and other places (UK?) It is already there, and as you say it is technically possible to change that switch to allow it to function. BMW advertises it. To my knowledge, this is NOT reinventing the wheel stuff. Wouldn't that worry you expressed apply really to anything the GS911 does? That argument could certainly be made.

Yes, there are extra cost solutions to make the brake lights flash with braking, and there are no disclaimers or legal worries among the vendors who sell these devices, including Hexcode.
I've already added such a device as many on this board and other BMW boards have. I trust Hexcode has the ability to sort out any "unintended consequences" of such a function activation.
Again, constructive criticism, for an already excellent device.
I look forward to a real listing of error codes. A simple solution is to respond, on the GS911 forum, or via email, to user's questions about an error code they've encountered. In my experience, such questions go unanswered and even unacknowledged.
Thanks
 

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basic lesson

I rely on the basics of my GS911 and probably never use it to it's full potential I'll inform our independent mechanic though
 

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I look forward to a real listing of error codes. A simple solution is to respond, on the GS911 forum, or via email, to user's questions about an error code they've encountered. In my experience, such questions go unanswered and even unacknowledged.
Thanks
As a do-it-yourself owner, I would appreciate a code list too as most Clymer/Haynes manuals do not list them. YouTube can help sometimes bit not always.

So far your product has saved me a couple dealer trips which is as much a time savings as a cost savings. Thanks for all you are doing to keep our bikes in tip-top shape.
 

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first, thanks for responding, and I think what you are seeing is users who are happy with the GS911, as I am.

This flashing brake function is the normal function in most parts of the world. It is disabled in the US and other places (UK?) It is already there, and as you say it is technically possible to change that switch to allow it to function. BMW advertises it. To my knowledge, this is NOT reinventing the wheel stuff. Wouldn't that worry you expressed apply really to anything the GS911 does? That argument could certainly be made.

Yes, there are extra cost solutions to make the brake lights flash with braking, and there are no disclaimers or legal worries among the vendors who sell these devices, including Hexcode.
I've already added such a device as many on this board and other BMW boards have. I trust Hexcode has the ability to sort out any "unintended consequences" of such a function activation.
Again, constructive criticism, for an already excellent device.
I look forward to a real listing of error codes. A simple solution is to respond, on the GS911 forum, or via email, to user's questions about an error code they've encountered. In my experience, such questions go unanswered and even unacknowledged.
Thanks
I agree with Strangeglove.....you decided against the brake function because of legal issues but then went ahead and put the same function in the Hex Ezcan??? Its the same thing isnt it? the legality would come here also.
I use the Hex Ezcan and I feel its a beautiful piece of equipment......
 

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Audentes Fortuna Adiuvat
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Discussion Starter #11
Hi again everyone!

This is a generic reply, so you are likely to see it on other biking sites. Reaching out for feedback through multiple forums comes under the heading of research and due diligence. This kind of thing needs to be done before putting together technical courses that take a lot of time in research, compilation and administration.

Secondly, to clear up confusion on the subject of what I do and what my position is:
- I DO NOT directly represent Hex or any of its subsidiaries.
- I represent a joint undertaking between myself and Hex.
- My ultimate aim is to greatly extend the knowledge base that allows BMW riders to do effective diagnostics.
- I'm a dedicated rider myself. I own two running BMWs and three more in various stages of assembly. Coming from that perspective, I want everyone who reads this to be able to spend less time doing diagnostics, and more time riding their bikes.

I've noticed some of the same questions coming up multiple times in different forums. I'll try to explain as best I can:

Regarding concerns that the Academy will simply 'teach a user how to operate the GS-911':
The Academy content will not address basic operation of the GS-911. That topic will be the subject of the revamped GS-911 User's Manual (due for release later this year).
The Academy will aim to teach users how to exploit GS-911's capabilities to do advanced diagnostics and troubleshooting, with emphasis on hard-to-solve problems such as intermittent electrical faults.

Regarding concerns that the information gathered by GS-911 cannot currently be compared to lists of known baseline values:
This is an area I'm aiming to address.
Bear in mind that it is a Herculean task. The only entity that has immediate access to that information is BMW Motorrad. For obvious reasons, they will not simply hand it over.

Regarding concerns that the fault codes gathered by GS-911 cannot currently be compared to an exhaustive list of known fault codes:
As I mentioned above, no one but BMW Motorrad themselves have access to their source code.
For that reason, it's harder and more time-consuming than it sounds to compose a list like this. Much of it would involve A) attempting to simulate every possible failure mode on every compatible bike, and B) decoding code streams that may be unfamiliar - sometimes with no fallback other than educated guesswork.
Regardless of that, this is another subject I want very much to address. Watch this space.

Regarding concerns that no actionable steps are currently given for fault codes and fault conditions:
This is exactly the problem that the Academy aims to address.
As I said in my OP, the whole point is to teach learners how to do BMW Motorrad-specific vehicle diagnostics, with emphasis on hard-to-solve problems.

To those who responded to my original post with suggestions and constructive criticism: Thank you!
You are helping to make the difference between 'Can't be done' and 'Did it last week', and every suggestion will be taken into account going forward.

Nick
 

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Audentes Fortuna Adiuvat
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Discussion Starter #12
This flashing brake function is the normal function in most parts of the world. It is disabled in the US and other places (UK?)

There are three main issues:



1. If you modify the functionality of the factory brake light without supplying a backup light, you introduce the possibility - no matter how remote - that your code may cause consequences you hadn't forseen.
Worst-case scenario: you brake suddenly to avoid a crash while someone's tailgating you - and instead of flashing, the brake light fails to activate at all.
Doesn't really bear thinking about. :eek:


2. To modify the functionality of the standard BMW brake light, you may have to re-flash the relevant control module with new firmware.

Overwriting device firmware is risky at the best of times. If Acme Accessory Corp puts that prerogative in the hands of an impatient owner who hasn't read the manual, you may be looking at a bricked ECU.
Who bears the blame?
- The owner? "I did everything the instructions said - prove me wrong. Acme Accessory Corp is to blame."

- BMW? "The motorcycle owner's manual clearly states that the vehicle must not be modified in any way that is not expressly approved by BMW. The owner and Acme Accessory Corp are to blame."


3. If the ezCAN is connected according to instructions, and it fails? Redundancy. You still have an unmodified factory brake light available to cover your back, and:

- Your chances of surviving Mr. Tailsucker immediately swing in your favour.
- If Mr. Tailsucker hits you anyway, Acme Accessory Corp rests easy in the knowledge that it wasn't responsible for an avoidable accident.
Win/win. :smile2:



ezCAN passively intercepts control signals, and interprets them to produce pre-set outputs. It does not send any control signals of its own, and therefore poses no risk to a bike's networked electronics.
 
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