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Old 12-14-09, 07:29 PM   #1
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Just thought I’d update the community with some TPMS finds. Did a search and it seems like I may have something to add. For those that don’t like to read long posts, see the synopsis below.

For those of us with TPMS and multiple sets of tires/wheels, we have discovered that Subaru did not utilize a system designed to be friendly to the end-user. According to the tech manual, you have to have both a TPMS reset tool and the Subaru Select Monitor to reset after wheel changes. This means a trip to the dealer as 1) the SSM costs $2700 and you’ll still need a TPMS query tool part J45295 ~$300, and 2) Subaru claims you have to be a dealer to purchase the SSM.

My dealer didn’t charge me for the TPMS resets which is nice, but the last time I visited I got a lot of eye-rolling when I pointed out that they have not charged me before. I also find going to the dealer inconvenient and I have much better things to do with my time.

I’ve been researching our TPMS and how to program it. It seems our problem is not limited to Subaru, but common to many late model Asian made automobiles with the CANbus system. The major issue is that one has to push the TPM Control Module (TCM) into a learn mode electronically through the OBD-II port and then forward the TPMS sensor ID numbers to the TCM. Many domestic models have an end-user way to put the TCM into the learn mode and then you just need a more simpler (and cheaper) tool to ‘wake up’ the sensors and the rest is automatic.

There are a number of devices available that will trigger awake or query the TPMS sensors in the wheels and get the ID code as well as other data (pressure, battery life, temperature, etc), but less available that will interface with the TCM via OBD-II and put it into a learn mode.

I did find three all-in-one devices that can both query the TPMS sensors and push the data directly to the TCM. They seem to be marketed to tire shops and dealers for working with TPMS systems that require an OBD-II connection. They boast a list of supported vehicles and sensors that span the market from American to Asian and European automobiles.

First is the Bartec Tech 400. USA and UK company with a base in Michigan. The MSRP is $2700 but it retails for about $1900 online, with some vendors selling as cheap as just under $1400. I called Bartec for some pre-purchase questions. They pointed out to me that they would not support the product purchased from an unauthorized vendor (i.e.: the cheaper ones) and that any support (including upload of Subaru modules which don’t seem to be included with the device) would be at a cost of $349 per year. Purchasing from an official vendor would include the initial uploads and upgrades for a year. I found that a little obnoxious. The software is Windows PC based 32 bit and it plugs into the USB port.

Second is the ATEQ VT55 OBDII. ATEQ is a multinational company that is based in France with an office in Michigan. This device retails for about $1200 and I could only find it for sale through their specific referenced vendors. It looks to be very similar to the Tech400 and has the same features. The software is also Windows PC based 32 bit and it plugs into the USB port. I was very close to purchase when I found something else. Looks like a nice device and sells for $700 less than a fully supported Bartec.

Last is something from OTC tools (SPX) that is called the Genisys Deluxe. There are also the Nemisys and the ABS scan tools and they look to have some overlapping features (TPMS and others). The main kit looks like it does much more than the Bartec or ATEQ with a more complicated scan tool. It runs between $2000-$3000 and I didn’t look very much into it. I found the information on their site a bit lacking and they had many devices/packages with nearly the same name but vastly different features which was confusing.

It seems that there is a device made also by ATEQ that is not well advertised on their websites. it is called the ATEQ QuickSet. It retails for about $150. The link that I provided goes to an ATEQ recommended vendor - as said not much on the real ATEQ site. They have all over the box, but that link seems defunct. Supposedly TireRack also has had it available and for sale for ~$130, but a recent query to them came up with nothing. This device is much less robust than the above mentioned products, but may be just the ticket for the end-user with only a few cars or a few sets of wheels to swap at the change of seasons. Others have posted success with it in Honda, DSM, Toyota, and even Subaru forums. I couldn’t find anything here or on NASIOC about it.

The Quickset connects to the OBD-II port and pushes the TCM into the learn mode and then sends in a set of TPMS sensor ID codes. The codes need to manually entered into the device through a software interface on a PC computer (again PC Windows 32 bit only). The Quickset does not query the sensors like the other devices above. The device connects to the PC via USB.

There’s a bit of a rub to this. You need to know the serial numbers of your TPMS sensors mounted on the wheel so you can manually enter them via the software interface. The Quickset will pull the last ID numbers off the TCM’s memory, so in theory, you only need the numbers from the new wheels you are mounting. If you can get them when the tech mounts them then you’re golden. I bought my winter set from TireRack and they didn’t know my sensor IDs. Bummer. Another option would be to get the dealer or a tire shop to use one of their TPMS query tools to get the numbers and record them for you. I chose to purchase a (relatively cheap) device that gets the sensor ID data figuring it’d be a nice toy to have around. Cost is about $100, but what the hell. I got the Autel MaxiTPMS TS301. Nice little Made in China device that will save 16 ID numbers in memory and covers all devices available (good if you have multiple cars from different manufacturers). You certainly can do without this, but it will require you to be proactive to record those numbers before you go to use the Quickset.

I got the Autel device last week and it worked as advertised. Just turn on, push a button, and point to the valve stem. I got the ID numbers of the sensors as well as the pressure of the tire. I didn’t get battery life or temperature - just N/A where these values should have been. I guess our Schrader sensors don’t support that feature.

On to the Quickset. I mounted my winter set a couple weeks ago and the a$$-crack warning light came on within about 10 minutes of driving. I’m not a fan of having a lit warning light on my dash. Got the Quickset delivered today. It’s a pretty simple device. Just a small black box with an OBD-II port on one side and a USB port on the other. It comes with a small extension cord to the OBD-II side which I discovered is not really needed. There are two membrane type buttons on the front - one marked with a sun for the summer set and one marked with a snowflake for the winter set. There’s a small status LED. An installation CD comes with it and once you load up the software it automatically checks for updates and updated itself with the latest modules. Subaru Impreza 2008 and 2009 were there.

The software interface looks like it was written by a 6 year old, but it is functional and the instructions are pretty self explanatory. You initialize the device via USB, download the old sensor IDs from the TCM via OBD-II, download your computer via USB, manually enter the IDs for your second set and a couple clicks later both sets’ IDs are loaded on the device. You plug back into the OBD-II and push the snowflake or the sun depending on what set you want put in memory. I pushed the snowflake and voila, the a$$-crack light goes out.

I did encounter one issue with the software interface that took me a few times to figure out. The hexadecimal ID numbers came off in six digits from my Autel query device. The Quickset wants you to enter the ID with 8 digits - I had to put two zeros in front of the number to get the device to accept it.

I took the car around the block and the light looks like it is off for good. We’ll see on the morning commute if it really works out, but I’m pretty confident that the upload was successful. EDIT - The warning light remained off during the morning commute. Quickset works.

FWIW, all these devices seem pretty simple in what they are able to do - just upload new sensor ID numbers to the TCM. Some have posted here the need or want to re-program PSI settings for the a$$-crack warning light to trigger. I couldn't find that any device, short of the Subaru Select Monitor, that will actually reprogram the TCM.

The quick synopsis:
1) Yes, you can reset the TPMS at home
2) You can buy what looks like a nice stand-alone device for as little as $1200. The competition ranges from $1900 (supported) to excess of $2000.
3) You can buy a different device, the ATEQ Quickset for $150. You’ll have to manually enter the ID codes on your computer before you plug into the OBD-II port. The only quibble with this device is that you need to know your sensor ID numbers.
4) None of these devices have Linux or Macintosh support - only MS Windows 32 bit - bah, humbug.

EDIT - Troubleshooting items mentioned later in this thread:
1) Make sure the QuickSet software is the most current version which is at the time of this posting. There seems to be a bug in a prior version. Call ATEQ support if you have a problem. They seem to be ready to help if you need it.
2) When you use a query device like the Autel TS301 to trigger the sensor, aim the antenna towards the sensor through the tire (the rubber part), not through the wheel (the metal part). You'll see why.

UPDATE 3/19/10:
see post 113 TPMS Reset Tool for issues regarding changes with software update
it seems like my original statement that the software looks like it was written by a six year old is holding true with the software updates. Unfortunately, I think I know some six year olds who can do a better job

FWIW, I have not updated my ATEQ Quickset since this original post. Once you connect to your PC it holds both a summer and winter set of tires in its flash memory. When I mounted my summers a week or so ago, I just plugged into the OBD-II and pushed the summer button and everything worked well. No a$$ crack warning light.

UPDATE 4/30/11:
I've now gone through several swaps now and have had no issues with the Quickset device. No need to reprogram once you have the codes for two sets of wheels in the device.

I did run into an issue with the Autel sensor query device. I've discovered that while it works fine with my Subaru/Schrader TPMS sensors, it does not read the TRW sensors on my Toyota. Bah. I tried to get some software support and none to be found. As others have pointed out, the device was sold through Amazon but does not seem to be a USDM device, or at least not supported in the US. I tried emailing and calling Autel and get no replies. Amazon does not seem to carry this anymore and the reviews for support have been poor.

I looked around for another sensor query device and it seems my choices are as in the original thread - devices from Bartec, ATEQ, and OTC/SPX. Costs run from ~$200-$700 for a query device.

I went ahead a purchased an ATEQ sensor query device, the ATEQ VT30 . I purchased through a vendor mentioned on the ATEQ website for about $240. This device works as advertised with both the Toyota/TRW and the Subaru/Schrader sensors and without a hitch. What's more, the software update seems to work and the ATEQ support seems to be good as others have mentioned.

Now for a requisite picture:
QuickSet Tool

Last edited by Slimey; 04-30-11 at 03:24 PM. Reason: Added update regarding the Autel query device.
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Old 12-14-09, 07:35 PM   #2
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Default Re: TPMS Reset Tool

OMG what a post! This should be stickied if confirmed to work by others...
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Old 12-14-09, 07:50 PM   #3
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Default Re: TPMS Reset Tool

i agree awesome info. I'll buy the quickset when i order my track rims in a couple months.
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Old 12-14-09, 08:27 PM   #4
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Default Re: TPMS Reset Tool

Slimey, you're the man! I've been wondering if this was possible ever since I purchased my car...
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Old 12-15-09, 06:35 AM   #5
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Default Re: TPMS Reset Tool

Great info!

So I can get the current sensor S/N's from the current memory? And, if I buy sensors standalone (prior to being mounted), is the S/N labeled on each sensor, or is a query tool pretty much required to get that info?
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Old 12-15-09, 06:56 AM   #6
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Old 12-15-09, 08:20 AM   #7
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Default Re: TPMS Reset Tool

great detective work. looks like i'll be getting the ateq and the autel. merry xmas to me!
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Old 12-15-09, 08:22 AM   #8
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Default Re: TPMS Reset Tool

Originally Posted by Mind View Post
So I can get the current sensor S/N's from the current memory? And, if I buy sensors standalone (prior to being mounted), is the S/N labeled on each sensor, or is a query tool pretty much required to get that info?
curious on this also.
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Old 12-15-09, 08:23 AM   #9
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Old 12-15-09, 08:51 AM   #10
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Default Re: TPMS Reset Tool

Why don't they use similar systems to BMW? It's crazy. I can reset my tpms on the steering wheel stalk.
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