After rummaging around on forums for some time, talking and communicating with several folks from this forum and elsewhere, I concluded that I would try a Chinese clone MDI setup if I could nail the complete thing down for $300 or less. One of the goals was to not have to buy a subscription to any services. My purpose was to have a MDI dealer-level system for diagnosing and 2-way testing/service functions – I was not interested in reflashing or programming modules.
What I ended up buying was a refurbished HP Elitebook laptop (8 GB memory, 500 GB hard drive, Intel I5 dual core), and a VXDiag VCX GM (VCI, SAE J2534 compatible, for GM GDS2 and Tech2Win) which came with software and drivers. These things are all over Amazon and elsewhere.
First, this setup duplicates the Tech 2 functionality, and is called Tech2Win, and appears to be the same software GM uses. The last model year the Tech2(Win) is used for is 2013, with some earlier model years excluded due to going to the newer MDI. The Tech2 functions on Corvettes up throuh and including model year 2013. The Tech2Win application runs on native Windows 7 or 8. Some have claimed it runs on later versions of Windows as well. The VXDiag people indicate Windows 7 or 8 only.
Second, the product also provides MDI/GDS2 diagnostics, very similar to what the dealer uses but without the module reflashing/programming. The Nano comes with drivers for Tech2Win and MDI, and has a ‘cracked’ version of GDS2 which runs as a VMWare virtual machine with XP. They provide a copy of the free VM Player to run the cracked software on any Win 64-bit platform, including the above Win 7 /8 machine, and I have confirmed it also runs as a VM on a Win 10 machine.
Not the easiest to install and get running. The Tech2Win setup in Native Windows was pretty easy and the interface on the PC looks identical to the native Tech2.
The video can be used
Getting MDI/GDS2 to run using VMware was more difficult. VXDiag provides a VM player, and the WinXP/GDS2 virtual machine file. Should be pretty easy to load and go, but I could not get it to work with the provided VM Player. Another forum member noticed my comments about this in the C6 forum and worked with me to get to a slightly altered setup using a copy of VM Workstation Pro Player instead of the provided VM Player. With a few tweaks to settings we got this up and running. I would still like to get this running on the original player as it is freeware and the one I’m using is good for a trial period only, but I’ll work on that in the near future.
I spent an hour today poking around in the brains of my C7 with the MDI/GDS2 software. It’s indeed impressive the amount of data and access the tool offers. Well worth the cost ($295 total) and effort in the end.
Seeing that the Nano is J2534 compatible, I believe if one had a GM subscription to accomplish reflashing and programming new calibration files, this device would work in place of an actual Bosch MDI VCI – it appears that several folks have published Youtube videos doing exactly that.