This is the online User manual of GS-911. At the moment it is very basic, and we are expanding it as we go along!
1. Getting Started
What you require, where to get it and how to install it correctly. This manual pertains mainly to the Windows PC Release version 1303.
1.1. Downloading the software
how to download your GS-911 software
The GS-911 software should be downloaded from the downloads section of the http://www.hexcode.co.za/products/gs-911/downloads website. You will use the GS-911downloader application to do this (found on the downloads page).
You do NOT need a username or password for the HEXCODE website. Here are the steps you should follow:
- Do NOT plug in your GS-911 device into the PC/Laptop USB port until prompted to do so.
- Download the GS-911downloader, from the Downloads page. This is a Windows PC based utility application that ONLY runs on a Windows PC Operating System. You use this application to download ALL versions (including mobile versions), to your PC, from where you can redistribute them to your mobile device. (You can also use the GS-911downloader to email the installation links to Blackberry and Android phones)
- Once downloaded, run the GS-911downloader utility. The GS-911downloader utility will instruct you when to connect your GS-911 interface to the PC (after it has installed the correct driver), after which it will connect to the server to determine which versions are available for download. A browser window will be opened automatically and list the GS-911 interface details and appropriate download links.
- If your GS-911 interface has not yet been registered (typical for a new GS-911), the server will initiate the registration page as a first step, prior to listing your downloadable links. This registration process is required and is a once-off process.
As a helpful guide, we have provided this useful video on downloading and installing the GS-911 PC application. Click on the picture to navigate to the video section of our website.
For this User Manual we will be concentrating on the Windows PC. A small section will be dedicated to the mobile verison. More information on the installation instructions for Windows Mobile, BlackBerry, Java mobile and Android versions, please see the relevant HowTo documents under the HowTo section!
1.2. Installing the Software
This details the installation of the GS-911 software and USB driver
This section covers the installation of the GS-911 software (Windows PC version) for Windows XP SP2, Windows Vista and Windows 7.
Once you have downloaded the GS-911 install pack (see previous section), ensure that you have administrative rights on your system and run the GS-911 installer.
NOTE: Install the software before you plug the GS-911 interface into your PC.
As a helpful guide, we have provided this useful video on downloading and installing (2nd portion of video) the GS-911 PC application. Click on the picture to navigate to the video section of our website.
For Windows XP, please see the related HowTo:
For Windows Vista & Windows 7, please see the related HowTo:
1.3. Connecting your GS-911 to your BMW motorcycle
This shows a graphic representation of how to connect the GS-911 to the BMW motorcycle's diagnostic connector.
First you would like to know what to search for... You are looking for the round 10-pin diagnostic connector. This link also shows some of the various locations of the 10-pin diagnostic connector.
Once you have located your diagnostic connector, remove the Cap of the diagnostic connector.
- Make sure your interface is the correct side up and the connector ring twisted as far left as possible. Make sure the ignition is OFF at this point and the USB cable preferably not connected to the GS-911 interface at this point.
- Align the receptacle correctly (with the red tab at the bottom), and insert.
- Finally, twist the connector ring as far right as possible, to lock it in place.
- Connect the USB cable, if using USB.
The procedure to disconnect, is the reverse of the above steps.
2. The GS-911 application
This section describes the GS-911 application, it's general layout as well as it's general use.
2.1. Introduction to GS-911
This depicts the general screen layout of GS-911
The GS-911 basic screen layout
GS-911 is designed with simplicity in mind.
The Menu bar
The Menu bar consists of File, Tools and Help
- Exit : to exit the application
- Setup : choose connection type, unit selection (Celsius/Fahrenheit and km/miles), as well as Test and get information on your GS-911 interface
- Options : Setting units, and Service reminder defaults
- Printing header : setting the print header, margins etc.
- Send Logs : Send debug logs when we ask for them
- View License : Views your GS-911 End User License Agreement (EULA)
- Online help : Links to the Manuals section on the hexcode.co.za website (internet access required)
- About : shows information about your GS-911 version, your interface details (serial number, firmware version and whether your interface is Bluetooth enabled), contact information of your Reseller, and the VINlimit list (only for the Enthusiast version). See the About dialog section for more details. Also includes the "check for updates" function
The Navigation bar
This shows your current navigation position within the application. See the example below of finding yourself in the "Special Functions" section of a K1200GT:
The Navigation pane
This is where all the fun stuff happens - from this pane you control your GS-911 application. See the "Navigating the GS-911 software" section for more details.
The Status bar
The Status bar shows general status. Here you will find continuous feedback. If you are wondering what happened or t seems nothing is happening, see what your status bar says...
The Voltage status and communication indicator
This shows the Battery voltage (Vbat) and Ignition voltage (Vign) as measured by the GS-911 interface on the Diagnostic connector of the motorcycle. It should be noted that not all of the motorcycles have the ignition voltage available on the bike's diagnostic connector. In these cases Vign will show 0.0V.
When there is communication between the interface and the PC, this is shown by a alternately blinking red/green indicator button.
Quick links to information on the website
These point you to the Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.), User Manuals and How-To sections, respectively.
Version and link to Website
Once you have started the GS-911 application, a mere glance at the Contents window shows you what version of the software you are using.
2.2. The Setup screen
This page describes the [Setup] function button in more detail
The Setup screen can be found under Tools, in the Menu bar. This window will also be shown by default, after a new installation (including upgrades). This allows you to test and set up the connection to your GS-911 interface, as well as configure the units of measurement.
The Setup window has 2 functions:
Select connection method
- This is USB by default, and we recommend that you keep it that way. The only reason to choose a COM port, would be to set up a Virtual COM Port for your Bluetooth connection. Please Note that although we give you this ability, connecting the PC-based GS-911 application to a bluetooth enabled GS-911 interface is NOT officially supported. The reason for this is simple - there are a myriad of bluetooth drivers, and most of them are very buggy, and we just don't have the spare time to support any or all of these drivers! However, if you are a power user and have the ability to set up a Virtual COM Port, then it is a formality to get it connected to the GS-911 application - just choose the correct Virtual COM Port!
[Test interface] button
- This connects to your GS-911 interface via the connection method you chose. If the connection method is correct, then it will show you something similar to the following:
- the first two entries are the name and email address that the user submitted during the GS-911 registration process.
- This is your unique GS-911 Serial number.
- GS-911 comes in two versions, GS-911blu that supports USB and Bluetooth connectivity, and GS-911usb, that supports only USB connectivity. If your interface is of the GS-911blu type, your "Bluetooth support:" will show "Yes"
- The Firmware version running on your GS-911 interface
- This shows the build date of the current Firmware version.
- This is the date on which you interface was licensed by us, and has absolutely nothing to do with your one year period of upgrades.
USB Library and Driver versions:
- These show the information of the USB driver installed on the PC
- Upon this Test, the diagnostic wiring is tested for shorts to both battery positive and negative (ground). A short on either of the data lines will most definitely inhibit the communication between any control module and the GS-911 interface. Should any or both communication lines be shorted, it will be stated as thus, allowing you to fault-find the harness! Such a short has to be corrected before any communication can take place between the GS-911 interface and any control unit.
Battery and Ignition Voltages:
- One of the pins on the Diagnostic port is the motorcycle's battery voltage, and the GS-911 interface measures this. This is a good indication whether the interface is correctly plugged into the motorcycle, and of the battery status. Keep in mind that most control units will NOT communicate over the diagnostic bus if the battery voltage is low. Some motorcycles have an Ignition pin wired on the diagnostic connector. On these models the Ignition voltage can be shown. On other models that do not have this pin, the Ignition voltage will always read 0.0V
2.3. The About screen
This sections details the About screen
You will find the About dialog under the Help in the Menu bar. If you did not have the interface connected, connect it now and then press the [Interface information] button to retrieve all the information. If you have a GS-911 connected, you will see the following:
The About screen shows:
- the GS-911 software version,
- the datapack version
- the serial number
- the Firmware version
- whether the connected interface supports bluetooth
- the name and email address details used during the GS-911 registration (sign-up) process.
This is also where you can check for software updates, by clicking the [Check for update] button.
An Enthusiast version will also list the 10 VIN slots - in our case above you can see that all of them have been filled. If you have a Professional version, you will not see the 10 VIN slots and it will clearly state Professional Version in bold letters. For more information, see the FAQ: How do the Professional and Enthusiast versions differ?
- The VIN list : very importantly, it shows the VIN numbers that have been associated with this interface, and thus the amount of free slots (more VIN numbers that can be added - zero in the example above, as all 10 VIN slots are populated). This is the VIN limit, that the Enthusiast versions are subject to. The VIN limit ONLY comes into play when using service functions - thus service functionality on Enthusiast versions is limited to 10 motorcycles. This has NO impact on the so-called "Emergency Functionality" which is the reading of ECU information, Reading and Clearing of ALL fault codes as well as real-time values of Engine Control units. Read more on the VIN limit.
With an Enthusiast interface, besides the VIN list (10 VIN slots) you will also find a button that will enable you to upgrade your interface from an Enthusiast version to a Professional version.
- The [Upgrade to Professional version] button : this is how you upgrade your Enthusiast interface to a Professional version at ANY time after you have purchased it! simply click the button, and it will take you to the payment gateway that will facilitate the payment of the upgrade fee. Thereafter simply follow the clear instructions... read more on the upgrade information page.
2.4. Using GS-911
This section elaborates on the basic functions of your GS-911 software
Probably the first thing you want to do after you have connected the GS-911 interface to the motorcycle, is to perform an AutoScan. The AutoScan automatically identifies the control units in your motorcycle and generates a report that lists the VIN number, mileage and I-Levels, as well as the Controller information and fault codes for each control unit.
The report results can be saved or printed. As the report lists the VIN and mileage, we recommend saving these reports for future reference and comparison.
Selecting a Series and Model
From the main screen, select a Series (R, F, K, G, C or S), followed by specific model within the Series you selected. As example, let us assume you selected the R-Series, then you will be presented with the following Model selection:
For the sake of the demonstration, we are going to use the R1200GS Adventure as example in the sections that follow. It should be noted that functions are dependent on the model and type of Control Unit, for instance the F650GS/Dakar will not have exactly the same real-time values, as the F800GS and the Service & Maintenance functions will differ too, as these have very different Control Units!
Once you have selected the R1200GS Adventure, you will be presented with a list of it's possible Control Units. Once again, it should be pointed out that this does NOT necessarily mean that your model has ALL of these Control Units fitted!
On the same Navigation pane that all of the possible Control Units are listed, you might find an entry termed "Special functions". These are generally Service & Maintenance functions that either do not belong a a single Control Unit, or that one would want easier accessible (rather than navigating through all of the Control Units. These "Special functions" are highly dependent on the Model, Series and type of Control Unit. Some "Special functions" are listed below:
- Service reminder (allows you to set the date of your motorcycle, the date of the next service due, and the Odometer reading of the next service due)
- Distance to valve check (for all CAN-bus K- and F-Series models - not really used anymore, since BMW did away with the special check, and incorporated it on the fixed service intervals again)
- Brake wear check (only for the CAN-bus K1200GT model - checking and resetting the Brake-pad Wear Indicator)
Resetting the Service Reminders is a one-button-click procedure. Clicking this button will set the next service values to 365 days on and 10,000km (or 6,000mls if miles are selected as units for distance in the Options section) from the current odometer value. The service reminder will automatically be canceled (after the ignition is cycled) if the new "distance to next service", is more than 1000km from the current odometer reading, and the "date of the next service" is more than one month in the future.
The Service Reminders have 2 variables. The one is the date of next service and the other is the target odometer value. The service reminders will be activated for whichever of these two is reached first.
It should be noted that the date of the motorcycle should be correct. The motorcycle date is automatically compared to that of the PC and if they differ, a warning will be raised. The date of the motorcycle can be set under the special function section too.
Looking at the screen capture above, it shows the current motorcycle information and 2 buttons. Under the current motorcycle data one finds the following:
- Odometer reading of the motorcycle, currently 11,861km in this example
- Motorcycle date as it is saved in the motorcycle's Instrument Cluster. It is critical that this date is correct. The GS-911 software automatically compares this date to that of the PC and raises a warning if they differ.
- Next service due date : This values shows the date on which the next service is due, 09 October 2013 in the example above.
- Next service due at odometer : This value shows the target odometer reading at which the next service is due, 19,298km in the example above.
General (Emergency) functionality
Most Control units follow similar structures. These generally are :
- ECU information
- Read / Clear Fault codes
- Real-time values
- followed by Control Unit specific Service & Maintenance functions that include adaptation resets, calibrations, output tests and models specific functions, such as Idle Actuator Calibration (IAC) and Throttle Body Synchronization as shown in the example screenshots that follow.
The ECU info, Read/Clear Fault codes and Real-time values, are seen as the General functions, and are also referred to as the Emergency functions. Independent of whether you have the Professional or the Enthusiast version of the PC software, these Emergency functions can be used on an UNLIMITED number of motorcycles. Only the Service & Maintenance functions are limited for use on a maximum of 10 motorcycles when using the Enthusiast version (unlimited for the Professional version). The "Professional version" section later on in the User Manual, has more information.
Let's take a closer look at the General/Emergency functions (once again using our '10 R1200GS Adventure as an example).
Read ECU information : shows part numbers, version numbers etc. See the screen capture below for the ECU info of the Engine Control Unit for F800GS example:
Read Fault codes : reads the fault codes and displays their number and meaning in clear text. See the screen capture below for a typical Fault code readout of the Engine Control Unit for the R1200GS Adventure example. Some control units support "Fault code history" as shown in the example below.
Clear Fault codes : this function is used to clear fault codes. It should be noted that fault codes are again read after the command to clear them was successfully issued. This then shows any fault codes that could not be cleared. If any codes are shown, this means that the Control Unit detected that the specific fault was still present in the system (fault was NOT rectified), and the Control Unit could NOT clear the fault. There are NO codes that cannot be cleared... however some have to be rectified (fixed) before they can be successfully cleared... quite obvious... if you think a bout it...
Real-time values : This function shows the "live" data for the Control Unit. Once again this depends a lot on the type of controller as well as the model and series of the motorcycle. See the screen captures below for the real-time values of the Engine Control Unit of our '10 R1200GS Adventure example:
Although the screen captures above depicts only "Input signals" and "Output signals", generally the control units also have "Digital outputs" and "Switch positions". At the top of the Realtime data pane, are 3 buttons, namely logging to CSV, plotting O2 (Lambda) and Plot values. The first one will allow you to log a .CSV (please note this file is semi-colon (";") delimited) file of ALL of the real-time values, so that you can manipulate, graph and study these to your heart's content.
The "Plot O2" button, graphs the Lambda (O2) sensor voltage in real-time. This is a fantastic way of evaluating the function of your Lambda system. Please Note, that the functionality of your Lambda system should ONLY be evaluated once the engine is at operating temperature (around 80 degrees Celsius) - there is absolutely NO point in making conclusions about your lambda system's functionality if the engine has not yet reached operating temperature! Quite the contrary, you will most probably make an incorrect conclusion when evaluating it during it's warm-up phase (Note to the interested reader - there is no harm watching the plot during the warm-up phase. Please feel free to do so, and you will see first hand why one cannot evaluate this functionality during warm-up).
A functional Lambda control system will show a graph that varies around the green reference lines (typically having turning points lower than 200mV and higher than 650mV to 700mV). As our example model has 2 Lambda sensors, you will see both as they are plotted at the same time. This makes for a good comparison between the Lambda sensors. A typical functional Lambda graph is shown below.
Some points to note on evaluating your Lambda graph:
- The higher the value, the richer the mixture.
- Contrary, the lower the value, the leaner the mixture
- a flat line at any level (at operating temperature) depicts a faulty Lambda operation
- jumping from approx. 200 mV to approx. 650/700 mV depicts a correctly functioning Lambda control system
As the Boxer engine of the CAN-bus based R1200 has a Lambda sensor in the header pipe of each cylinder, this can be used to evaluate the functionality of the individual cylinders. For this purpose, we graph the O2 sensor voltages for both cylinder 1 and cylinder 2 on a single graph. Using this method, relative offsets can easily be detected. Below is the screenshot of our R1200GS Adventure.
Service & Maintenance functions
As of (release) version 904, we have introduced Service & Maintenance functionality. This functionality will be enhanced in each future release. To see what functionality is supported in any current release, you should study the Function Chart (linked from the "quick links" section of the website).
Besides the "Special functions" detailed in an earlier section, current service functionality is quite extensive. The functionality depends on the control unit. Naturally a single cylinder F650GS BMSC controller and a CAN-type R1200 BMSK engine controller have vastly different functions. It should be noted that these Service and Maintenance functions do not only pertain to the Engine Control units, but to all other control unit families.
For the BMSK-family Engine control unit on our '10 R1200GS Adventure, the additional service functions (above and beyond the already listed special functions) are:
- Output tests This section allows one to activate various parts that are controlled by the ECU, like the injectors, Fuel pump, Idle actuators, Exhaust valves etc.
- Adaptations The section calibrates, resets or views the adapted values for various parts or sensors. When replacing certain parts or sensors, the previously learned (adapted) values, need to be cleared and in some cases relearned (such as gear position sensor). The software guides the user through these simple procedures.
- Idle Actuator Calibration (for all CAN-bus R1200 models - sets the zero position of both idle actuators, and is one of the requirements to correct poor idle on these specific R1200 models)
- Engine (Throttle body) Synchronization
- Full Service functionality for ABS-N (fitted to single cylinder F650 and C1 motorcycles). This includes Brake Bleed tests for both front and rear circuits. (Support for other ABS systems will follow - see the "GS-911 Roadmap")
Various screenshots are shown below as examples of the Service & Maintenance functions on the Engine controller of our '10 R1200GS Adventure model.
Starting in 2009, we are adding Service & Maintenance functionality to GS-911. Along with this we are differentiating between a GS-911 Enthusiast version and a GS-911 Professional version.
Comparing the Professional and Enthusiast versions
For an up to date comparison between the Enthusiast and Professional versions, see the Professional vs. Enthusiast Comparison table.
The only limitation that the Enthusiast version has, is that the Service Functionality is limited to 10 motorcycles - this is done using each motorcycles unique VIN. This DOES NOT apply to the pre-2009 "General (Emergency) functionality" (Reading ECU info, Reading/Clearing Fault codes and Real-time values). These, you can run on as many motorcycles as you wish.. without the VIN limitation coming into play at all - We don't want to prevent you from helping your stranded buddy at the roadside...
The Enthusiast/Professional differences only affect the PC/Laptop software, as the Service & Maintenance functionality is added ONLY to the PC/Laptop software (i.e. the Mobile software will remain an "Emergency Diagnostic Tool" with the current reading of ECU information, the reading and clearing of Fault codes and Real-time values) and thus remain status quo ( and if that was not clear enough yet.. There is NO VIN LIMIT on the Emergency functionality, hence you can use it on a gazillion motorcycles... ;-) )
For more information on the VIN limitation, please see the VIN limit page.
Upgrading an Enthusiast version to the full Professional version
While the Professional version is of course, aimed at the typical repair shop, the Enthusiast version is clearly aimed at the motorcycle owner who wishes to maintain one or more personal motorcycles, with very little chance that he or she would ever need to maintain more than 10 individual motorcycles. However, the Enthusiast version can be upgrade to a Professional version at any point in time, by clicking the [Upgrade to Professional version] button on the About page of any Enthusiast version and following the clear upgrade instructions.
For upgrade options (from Enthusiast to Professional version) and clear instructions, please see the upgrade information page.
2.5. Staying up to date
This page describes the "Check for Update" functionality as well the GS-911 forum and Announce lists
GS-911 is continuously evolving, adding support for more models, support for additional Control Modules and additional functionality to already supported Control Modules.
Keeping your GS-911 software up to date
To be sure you get the best service from your GS-911, you should make sure that you are current with the latest releases. You can always download the latest Beta or Release version using the GS-911downloader, found in the downloads section of the website. Alternatively you can check for updates with your GS-911 application by clicking on the [Check for updates] button on the About screen.
The prerequisite for this of course, is that you are connected to the internet, and your GS-911 application has the necessary firewall rights (if applicable) to connect to the internet! This function will either tell you that you are using the latest version, or that a New update is available for download...
Updating the Firmware of your GS-911 interface
Your GS-911 interface is a highly advanced unit, with sophisticated computational power, and the ability to be updated in the field. As new features and functionality are released, from time to time it will become necessary to update the Firmware of your GS-911 interface. This means that your interface has the ability to be updated as new functionality is required, making it as future proof as possible.
This is automatically done (if required) once you click the [Test interface] button in the Setup window after installing an updated PC version of the GS-911 software. Retrieving the firmware also requires an internet connection.
Can I be notified of updates?
Of course! Release notifications are posted on both the GS-911 Discussion Forum, as well as the GS-911-announce group. Both are email-based and Google hosted.
- GS-911 Discussion Forum : If you wan to receive and/or take part in general GS-911 and BMW motorcycle diagnostic discussions
- GS-911-announce : Subscribers to this group will only receive announcement pertaining to GS-911 software releases and product update notifications
If you are subscribed to the GS-911 Discussion Forum, then it is pointless to subscribe to the GS-911-announce group, as all of the announcements are posted on the GS-911 Discussion Forum as well!
You can subscribe to either of these on the Support Forum page, under the GS-911 products folder in the Navigation tree of the GS-911 website.
3. Help and Support
This section details the various support avenues for GS-911.
3.1. Needing support, where to find it
This page details the support structure for GS-911
Help, I have a question!
There are some very good Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) section under the Support tab on the GS-911 website. Try them first - chances are your question would be answered there!
Help, How do I...
There is a detailed under the Support tab on the GS-911 website! There you will find detailed instructions raging from installing software and drivers to finding your diagnostic connector on your motorcycle...
Help, my question is not answered in the FAQ or HowTo section
If you have carefully studied the FAQ and HowTo sections on the GS-911 website, then it is time to call in the big guns...
- if you purchased from a reseller, try contacting the reseller first
- if you want to contact us directly, do so using the support@ email address on our "contact us" page
When contacting us, be sure to give as much detail as possible. This would include, but is not limited to the following:
- Your full name/surname
- Your GS-911 serial number
- Your version of the GS-911 software
- The operating system / brand / model / mobile device you are using
- A detailed description of the problem you are having.
Please Note: The above is for technical support pertaining to the GS-911 software or hardware, and not for general maintenance or repair support. That is what the GS-911 Discussion forum is there for!
Help, where do I go for general maintenance and service support
The GS-911 Discussion Forum is the right place to ask for help and to discuss service, maintenance and general discussions that are related to BMW motorcycle diagnostics.
You can subscribe to the email-based (Google-hosted) GS-911 Discussion forum, under the following link:
You will also find a link to this Discussion Forum page under the GS-911 products view in the navigation tree of the GS-911 website.
Contacting Hex Code
Please consider our time. Every minute is precious, and the more time we can devote to the development of GS-911, the faster new features will be seen!
Help Desk email:
firstname.lastname@example.org (always supply your complete GS-911 Serial#)
Telephone and Fax:
Postnet Suite #355
Private Bag x15