Starting a GS-911 Academy - What do you want to learn, and how much would you pay? - K-Bikes.com - Excellence in Motion
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old Jan 17th, 2020, 7:02 am Thread Starter
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Question Starting a GS-911 Academy - What do you want to learn, and how much would you pay?

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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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old Jan 17th, 2020, 2:26 pm
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Rant mode on!

I used a GS-911 ($250 pre-owned) plus an IBM laptop (free from a pal) when my bike ran poorly. It was a greatly frustrating experience, see my thread on the HexCode forum under the same username. No one on the HexCode list would indicate what correct operational values were... surely HexCode knows. I was referred to a thread with real-time values, which was known to contain bad values, but no one revealed what was wrong. I got flamed for expressing my frustration and left.

Hexcode produce several diagnostic devices that are not difficult to use, but the readouts are COMPLETELY UNACCOMPANIED by any indication of what "normal" readings should be. WTF is a blind man going to do with a hammer? This is compounded by BMW Motorrad treating technicians as parts replacers, acting only at the direction of the factory, so even the techs don't seem to be aware of correct parameter readings (at least, the one I spoke with didn't, or wouldn't, tell me). The 'net doesn't produce hardly any info... i-bmwr is gone... here we are. The factory rep-rom (have one of those too) is excellent for replacing parts but devoid of operational values or description.

Who knew the bike ran an alpha-n fuel system? What is the correct fuel pressure range and should it vary, and if so, when, how, and to what values? How is it controlled? What are the sensors on the bike that inform the ECU, where are they, how are they tested, what are normal values? The online parts diagram calls many of them only "sensor" without naming them or what they report. Crude and poor, BMW, but this presents a market opportunity for an outside source.

Thus: course materials should include a summary of the operational characteristics of all the bike's systems. Making that material readily available to the user community should earn Hexcode some considerable regard, and possession of that information/ understanding is a requisite item BEFORE any diagnosis is attempted. The owner (even if not mechanically inclined) should have the opportunity to understand how the bike is supposed to run, before trying to diagnose something that isn't running right, or having it towed to a $dealer. Relying on online advice cost me just over $600 for a set of non-returnable ignition coils that turned out not to be the problem.

The value of such materials, and the user course(s), will be evaluated and determined by their technical depth. Given no current source for this information, it should be regarded as essential to any wedge engine bike owner.

Using a GS-911 is not difficult but the device has little value without the underlying operational info. Your proposed online course would be not of much value without the knowledge base being present beforehand. Get the info together first. There's nothing else on the market or 'net where this how happens. Then we can evaluate what it's worth. Hint: Haynes, Clymer and Bentley make illustrated diagnostic and repair manuals at prices from about twenty bucks up to a hundred twenty.

The cost of providing the basic technical information should be absorbed as supporting marketing for your tool(s).

Bring it on, HexCode, and let's see what you got.
Douglas M and Capt howdy like this.

Last edited by Honolulu; Jan 17th, 2020 at 2:32 pm.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old Jan 18th, 2020, 12:18 am
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The EU requires manufactures to share data that you mentioned to all dealers. I agree it all should be in the Service DVD. This information is valuable and I would pay for it. Go try to buy a Subaru or VW factory manual, they cost money. :
This is the total document but the section below mentions this.

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-cont...LEX:32013R0168

CHAPTER XV

ACCESS TO REPAIR AND MAINTENANCE INFORMATION

Article 57

Manufacturers’ obligations

1. Manufacturers shall provide unrestricted access to vehicle repair and maintenance information to independent operators through websites using a standardised format in a readily accessible and prompt manner. In particular, this access shall be granted in a manner which is non-discriminatory compared to the provision given or access granted to authorised dealers and repairers. This obligation shall not apply if a vehicle has been approved as a small series vehicle.

2. Until the Commission has adopted a common standard, the information referred to in paragraph 1 shall be submitted in a consistent manner that can be processed by independent operators with reasonable effort.

Manufacturers shall also make training material available to independent operators and authorised dealers and repairers.

3. The information referred to in paragraph 1 shall include as a minimum all of the following:

(a)


an unequivocal vehicle identification number;

(b)


service handbooks including repair and maintenance records and service schedules;

(c)


technical manuals and technical service bulletins;

(d)


component and diagnosis information (such as minimum and maximum theoretical values for measurements);

(e)


wiring diagrams;

(f)


diagnostic trouble codes, including manufacturer-specific codes;

(g)


the software identification and calibration verification numbers applicable to a vehicle type;

(h)


information concerning, and delivered by means of, proprietary tools and equipment;

(i)


data record information and two-directional monitoring and test data;

(j)


work units.

4. Authorised dealers or repairers within the distribution system of a given vehicle manufacturer shall be regarded as independent operators for the purposes of this Regulation to the extent that they provide repair or maintenance services for vehicles in respect of which they are not members of the vehicle manufacturer’s distribution system.

5. The vehicle repair and maintenance information shall always be available, except as required for maintenance purposes of the information system.

6. For the purposes of manufacture and servicing of OBD-compatible replacement or service parts and diagnostic tools and test equipment, manufacturers shall provide the relevant OBD and vehicle repair and maintenance information on a non-discriminatory basis to any interested manufacturer or repairer of component, diagnostic tool or test equipment.

7. For the purposes of design and manufacture of automotive equipment for alternative-fuel vehicles, manufacturers shall provide the relevant OBD and vehicle repair and maintenance information on a non-discriminatory basis to any interested manufacturer, installer or repairer of equipment for alternative-fuel vehicles.

8. When applying for EU type-approval, the manufacturer shall provide the approval authority with proof of compliance with this Regulation relating to the information required under this Article.

In the event that such information is not available, or does not conform to this Regulation and the delegated and implementing acts adopted pursuant to this Regulation, when applying for EU type-approval, the manufacturer shall provide it within six months from the date of type-approval.

The Commission may adopt implementing acts in order to lay down a template of a certificate on access to vehicle OBD and vehicle repair and maintenance information providing such proof of compliance to the approval authority. Those implementing acts shall be adopted in accordance with the examination procedure referred to in Article 73(2).

9. If such proof of compliance is not provided within the period referred to in the second subparagraph of paragraph 8, the approval authority shall take appropriate measures to ensure compliance.

10. The manufacturer shall make subsequent amendments and supplements to vehicle repair and maintenance information available on its websites at the same time they are made available to authorised repairers.

11. Where repair and maintenance records of a vehicle are kept in a central database of the vehicle manufacturer or on its behalf, independent repairers shall have access to such records free of charge and shall be able to enter information on repair and maintenance which they have performed.

12. The Commission shall be empowered to adopt delegated acts in accordance with Article 75 laying down the details of the requirements with regard to access to repair and maintenance information, in particular technical specifications relating to the way in which vehicle repair and maintenance information shall be provided.

Mount Vernon, WA.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old Jan 18th, 2020, 9:17 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Honolulu View Post
The cost of providing the basic technical information should be absorbed as supporting marketing for your tool(s).
I agree... many of us spent $400 or more(for pro version) for the GS 911. Now Hex code wants more money out of us to show us how it works?
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old Jan 20th, 2020, 8:09 am Thread Starter
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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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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old Jan 20th, 2020, 5:07 pm
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Nicholas:

Thanks for your response above, this lays things out in more detail than post #1. Apparently you are somehow close to HexCode but not one of them. We assume for the moment as I think we're intended to, that you have intimate technical knowledge of the functions of their tool. Going not too much further, this would imply you know the components, functions and values of BMW bike systems. Some form of compilation of that knowledge is what, I think, most of us desire. It would greatly enhance the value of a GS-911, and market the tool much more efficiently. See above, blind man and hammer.

It's my understanding (correct me if wrong) that HexCode have somehow reverse engineered Motorrad code to deduce the function of various components, rather than starting from prior knowledge provided by Motorrad. If given no assistance by Motorrad, the software functions extents may remain fully or partially unrecognized. Thus, how deep is the knowledge from which the Academy proposes to offer?

Until we have some reliable understanding of the depth of knowledge offered by the Academy, I'm thinking like Clint Eastwood: "You've got to ask yourself one question. Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya...?"
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old Jan 22nd, 2020, 7:39 pm
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The GS-911 is just a diagnostic code reader.
Interpretting the codes and code combinations is in the diagnostic flowcharts.
Odd cases are better discussed in a forum like this.
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