Reverse engineer the K1200LT's diagnostic connector (K-/L-line, ISO9141 bus/protocol) - BMW Luxury Touring Community
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post #1 of 11 Old Jan 3rd, 2019, 3:01 am Thread Starter
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Reverse engineer the K1200LT's diagnostic connector (K-/L-line, ISO9141 bus/protocol)

Hi folks!
Before posting this, I researched a bit the existing threads (some from quite a while ago) and hope I don't duplicate.

I'm planning to take on challenge to reverse engineer the k1200lt's ECU/ABS diagnose bus and protocol which is supposed to implement the ISO9141 interface (similar to RS232) since I don't want to spend the $399 for the GS-911 tool, and I already dislike its marketing/sales asking double the price for the "professionally" unlocked version of the product. The ISO9141 is well documented and since this is a serial protocol over two signal lines which is not even that fast (10.4kbps) I believe this is nothing that an Arduino Nano cannot handle with a little bit of tinkering with the physical interface and electronics. If need be, I can go with Due or even a Raspberry Pi 3 (and other options).

My questions to you, brave riders:
1. Does anyone know of any deviation from the ISO9141(-2) standard that BMW implemented. I know BMW likes to block access to non-BMW mechanics to their diagnose interface, but the ECU/ABS units should be from BOSCH and quite standards compliant as even BMW cannot afford to go proprietary if they want to be able to switch suppliers. My car is already monitored with a $20 OBD2 adapter and my smart-phone.
2. Does anyone have more info on this topic? I know that BMW has switched to OBD2 due to E.U. requirements on newer bikes, but I believe there are enough bikers out there still owning these babies and their siblings with similar electronics, which may benefit from DIY tutorials and save the money for the OEM parts.
I know, the folks at HEXcode combing the forum for such posts won't like this, but hey, I'm doing it for fun. And I also believe Schumpeter's thinking to be sound. ;-)

Thanks a bunch!
Alex


PS: I recently decided to get into the world of large street-worthy luxury oil-tankers and got myself an affordable 2005 k1200lt with 49K on it. BMW came into question because of reliability reputation. I still own a 17 yr old 330ci conv I bought in 2002 with 200K+ miles on it over 8 countries, 2 continents and the thing is still running day-in, day-out.
The k1200lt I got is running well, it is not in pristine condition, but still looks good and as far as I can tell, aside the "cowbell" thing (which I will fix soon, have the part), and some needed getting used to its "character", it is in good functional condition. Now I ALREADY got attached to it (damn!!!) and want to start a more ample project of restauration.
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post #2 of 11 Old Jan 3rd, 2019, 11:51 am
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Re: Reverse engineer the K1200LT's diagnostic connector (K-/L-line, ISO9141 bus/proto

Welcome to the forum Alex. Good luck on your diagnostic interface project. If memory serves, there have been possibly more than one recent thread on a less expensive alternative to the GS911 but my memory does not allow instant recall for what it was called. Searching on GS 911 in the forum may provide that thread. The GS911 provides far more than the typical code reader/reset device like the oh so common OBD-2 devices available for a pittance by comparison but I expect you know this by now.

I have been restoring my 01 LT since the day I got it 5 years ago even though it had no immediate issues. I really do like riding it. If they haven't been done yet, your first bit of restoration should be to replace all the OEM rubber brake lines with some braided stainless lines like Spiegler makes. The rest like issues with the Final Drive, internal fuel lines and some specific trans and engine seals that can ruin your day you will be able to read about and decide if you want to wait till they fail or hit them preemptively as I did. I like the bike well enough that it was worth my time and money to get them out of the way before getting stranded.

Hopefully you do not have an immediate issue you need a diagnostic tool for but if you do, let us know. There may be someone close to you with one ready to lend a hand or it may be something that can be diagnosed without one just from the knowledge pool which is considerable on this forum. It doesn't take long to become " attached" to an LT.

Gordon
Sugar Hill, GA
2001 K1200LTI Champagne (current ride) Lazy Susan
1998 R1100RT Never should have sold it
1974 Yamaha TX 750 Twin. Omni Phase Balanced


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post #3 of 11 Old Jan 3rd, 2019, 11:45 pm Thread Starter
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Re: Reverse engineer the K1200LT's diagnostic connector (K-/L-line, ISO9141 bus/proto

Hello Gordon!

Thanks a lot for the advice! Yeah, this will become a project now.

Regarding the need for diagnosis, it arose from me being confused by the flashing "Brake Failure" light before starting to roll. I was not aware the bike is running the ABS test every time and that it is ok to see that. So being used to having my little OBD2 helper in my car (an E46, 3L, stick-shifter), I wanted immediately to check error codes and whatnot instead of reading the owner's manual. D'oh! So I started to look for documentation on the connector and found a bunch of stuff on the GS911 device. Was somewhat surprised by the price, but more than that, by the fact that given the high price, they have chosen to "lock" features on it. As an open source type of engineer, I'm easily provoked by manufacturers that lock otherwise available features on their sold devices to force customers into "obedience". I can see why they do that, otherwise one could use a single device to service all his friends' bikes. Kind'a see the problem. But ISO9141 protocol is an industry standard, and like with all standards, there is nothing that prevents development of cheaper DYI tools if someone's interested. I know the problem monopolists have when they are confronted by that. Is what happened to Apple when Android came along, to Intuit when the IRS played with the idea to create a free for all service to let people file directly with them, so the few "oligarchs" in the field lobbied for a compromise that has them offer a limited functionality, free version of their product for all tax-payers that don't have complicated tax returns and/or have low income, in exchange for IRS not supporting by default free-filing for those that have complex tax returns, although by all means, IRS can develop such a solution any time and it would even be fiscally justified. It is done in many countries in the European Union. No TurboTax there. I do believe that the GS911 is a mature and very capable tool. But I believe that people could use a less capable tool just to see what's wrong before they panic and take the bike to an expert mechanic. Sometimes it may be a DYI thing.

I will go through all the stuff you mentioned. The previous owners did stuff too, the brake lines may be already from Spiegler, however, they seemed to not care a lot about the "cowbell" thing. The bike actually spent many years parked at a dealership in LA, then a CHP policeman rode it privately, then it went to an experienced rider that fixed important things (e.g. completely replaced the hydraulic central stand and other things), and was about to fix the cowbell too, he sold me the bike with the parts prepared, I already put the rear brake-pads on, need to find some time this weekend between going skiing while it is cold and being a dad and whatnot to replace the disk too. And the front tire, and oil-change, and, and :-)

Thanks a bunch for the welcome and the advice again!

Cheers!
Alex
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post #4 of 11 Old Jan 4th, 2019, 12:43 am
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Re: Reverse engineer the K1200LT's diagnostic connector (K-/L-line, ISO9141 bus/proto

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Originally Posted by alexs View Post
Hello Gordon!

Thanks a lot for the advice! Yeah, this will become a project now.

Regarding the need for diagnosis, it arose from me being confused by the flashing "Brake Failure" light before starting to roll. I was not aware the bike is running the ABS test every time and that it is ok to see that. So being used to having my little OBD2 helper in my car (an E46, 3L, stick-shifter), I wanted immediately to check error codes and whatnot instead of reading the owner's manual. D'oh! So I started to look for documentation on the connector and found a bunch of stuff on the GS911 device. Was somewhat surprised by the price, but more than that, by the fact that given the high price, they have chosen to "lock" features on it. As an open source type of engineer, I'm easily provoked by manufacturers that lock otherwise available features on their sold devices to force customers into "obedience". I can see why they do that, otherwise one could use a single device to service all his friends' bikes. Kind'a see the problem. But ISO9141 protocol is an industry standard, and like with all standards, there is nothing that prevents development of cheaper DYI tools if someone's interested. I know the problem monopolists have when they are confronted by that. Is what happened to Apple when Android came along, to Intuit when the IRS played with the idea to create a free for all service to let people file directly with them, so the few "oligarchs" in the field lobbied for a compromise that has them offer a limited functionality, free version of their product for all tax-payers that don't have complicated tax returns and/or have low income, in exchange for IRS not supporting by default free-filing for those that have complex tax returns, although by all means, IRS can develop such a solution any time and it would even be fiscally justified. It is done in many countries in the European Union. No TurboTax there. I do believe that the GS911 is a mature and very capable tool. But I believe that people could use a less capable tool just to see what's wrong before they panic and take the bike to an expert mechanic. Sometimes it may be a DYI thing.

I will go through all the stuff you mentioned. The previous owners did stuff too, the brake lines may be already from Spiegler, however, they seemed to not care a lot about the "cowbell" thing. The bike actually spent many years parked at a dealership in LA, then a CHP policeman rode it privately, then it went to an experienced rider that fixed important things (e.g. completely replaced the hydraulic central stand and other things), and was about to fix the cowbell too, he sold me the bike with the parts prepared, I already put the rear brake-pads on, need to find some time this weekend between going skiing while it is cold and being a dad and whatnot to replace the disk too. And the front tire, and oil-change, and, and :-)

Thanks a bunch for the welcome and the advice again!

Cheers!
Alex
The cow bell is nothing more than an annoyance that will tear down your confidence that you are riding a superior machine every time it clangs around a group of Harleys and everyone looks but it won't affect braking and be wary as you look for new pads that fully sintered pads are not recommended for the front or rear on the LT. They are too hard for the metal stock used and will destroy the rotors fairly quickly. If you have the new rear EBC rotor in the original packaging, there should be a warning about that included. The organic pads are just fine.

Some of the finer points of the 911 are lost on the LT like resetting service reminders as it has none but there is still plenty it can do in assisting with diagnosing sensors and what not. If you do get one to hook up borrowed or otherwise, there is always one error for the hall effect sensors that as long as the bike runs OK, you can generally ignore. If the engine isn't turning, it logs an error for that. I too see the need for limiting the VIN's as they did make an investment to produce a quality product and continue to upgrade their software and need some return on that to continue. 10 VIN's is probably good for most owners to never exceed it as we BMW owners are all old farts by the time we can afford them or feel we need to " upgrade our ride" and the LT will never use any slots. I have slots for a few of my close friends to help them save a few $$ but will reserve some in case I find a deal I can't refuse on a RT or GS to add to the garage but my LT fits the bill for now.

Gordon
Sugar Hill, GA
2001 K1200LTI Champagne (current ride) Lazy Susan
1998 R1100RT Never should have sold it
1974 Yamaha TX 750 Twin. Omni Phase Balanced


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post #5 of 11 Old Jan 4th, 2019, 2:16 am Thread Starter
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Re: Reverse engineer the K1200LT's diagnostic connector (K-/L-line, ISO9141 bus/proto

Hi Gordon!

You certainly are a great source of advice for a newbie like me. Deeply indebted! And, ... my list of todo's grows by the day :-)

I did notice that the breaking is quite... great :-). One or two times I tapped a bit heavier on the pedal and the monster bolted itself to the asphalt. Currently the bell doesn't bother me at all. It does sound funny and it worries me that something's wrong as it sounds when I ride over hops, but I knew about the "cowbell" when I bought the bike.

Regarding HD riders I cannot care less about those who look "down" on me, I'm learning the bike and knowing what I know about BMW engineering from my E46 with 200K+ on it, I could comment on their rather nice looking engines, yet bizarre old tech for that matter, but I'm a friend to all bikers from 50cc automatic scooters to the mighty 1800 GW's (except a to few idiots I experienced over the years, including the most idiot of them all, a Hungarian that passed me on the grass line doing a wheelie at 95mph on some crotch-rocket, because he was pissed that I was correctly passing a 40t rig on the freeway, both car and truck minding their business and obeying the law :-). So let them look, that means they find something to look at, and if it makes them feel better, why not. That is, until I fix it. Btw, didn't "Bruce" once said, "I could use a little more cowbell"? Request honored! :-)

Thanks again sir!
Cheers!
Alex
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post #6 of 11 Old Jan 4th, 2019, 8:13 am
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Re: Reverse engineer the K1200LT's diagnostic connector (K-/L-line, ISO9141 bus/proto

Hey Alex welcome to the forum.

I bought the very first GS-911 back when you had to order it from South Africa (2006). I then sold it and got the blue tooth unit at an MOA rally for 100 off the price. It looks like they no longer produce that version as the newer bikes need the different service port starting with the K1600s.

The VIN deal is only for bikes that have a service reminder, I have used my 911 on dozens of LTs. The VIN count is maintained in HW while the SW is the only difference for the pro version I guess they code it to ignore the VINs that are stored. That would be a worth while hack on their SW.

I too enjoy an E46 covertible. Enjoy the LT!
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John
2009 K1300GT Red Rocket
2009 R1200GS (Gone)
2005 K1200LT Ocean Blue Blue Wizard 110 K and counting...
2006 Bushtec Turbo+2 Spell
2004 330 Ci Convertable
K4AN

Have ridden a Motorcycle in all 48
But lack DE, MA, RI and CT with the 2005 LT

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post #7 of 11 Old Jan 5th, 2019, 11:13 am Thread Starter
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Re: Reverse engineer the K1200LT's diagnostic connector (K-/L-line, ISO9141 bus/proto

Hi John!

Thanks for the welcome!

Based on what I've read, I believe you're right, the difference between the pro and enthusiast GS911 is the limit to the number of VIN's serviced, that is 10. Probably they require to see a business license for the pro or something. Don't know. I was thinking to try buy a used device, but right there's the risk, the previous owner may have used it on more bikes and how do you price that? The hassle to try get the money back for a "spent" device would be too ample. Currently I don't think there's something that requires me to buy a new one (one can never know until proven), so I'm going to use the $400 for more stringent things. I believe that hacking the device could be quite difficult, if they're at least as careful as I am about commercial software I make (for others), they would put as many barriers as possible. My guess, they use a secure chip with encryption on it. That would be very difficult to break into, one would need leaked keys or a very sophisticated setup with supercomputers and an electronic lab that can remove the chip encasing and access its bowels with probes and whatnot. We're talking NSA level gear :-). I also believe, one should be nice to colleagues. However, working on an interface using a standard protocol is legitimate work. Nothing wrong about that except, of course, loyal business competition. But that's nature. :-) Mind you, I don't have a GS911 to capture it's dialogue with the ECU/ABS units ;-), but go the old fashioned way, reading, programming, soldering, breaking things, retrying (folks at HEXcode already ROFL), then open source my work if of any value. Not confident, I'm going to make it though. It is time consuming.

Yeah, the E64 conv with the 6 inline is an amazing horse. Expensive new, not impossible to DIY, and boy what a ride! Mine survived a water pump failure followed by expansion vessel explosion and driving with the red light for another 1/2 mile or so to exit a construction area with no shoulders on the busy M3 somewhere between Nuremberg and Regensburg.

Cheers!
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post #8 of 11 Old Jan 5th, 2019, 12:41 pm
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Re: Reverse engineer the K1200LT's diagnostic connector (K-/L-line, ISO9141 bus/proto

Quote:
Originally Posted by alexs View Post
Hi John!

Thanks for the welcome!

Based on what I've read, I believe you're right, the difference between the pro and enthusiast GS911 is the limit to the number of VIN's serviced, that is 10. Probably they require to see a business license for the pro or something. Don't know. I was thinking to try buy a used device, but right there's the risk, the previous owner may have used it on more bikes and how do you price that? The hassle to try get the money back for a "spent" device would be too ample. Currently I don't think there's something that requires me to buy a new one (one can never know until proven), so I'm going to use the $400 for more stringent things. I believe that hacking the device could be quite difficult, if they're at least as careful as I am about commercial software I make (for others), they would put as many barriers as possible. My guess, they use a secure chip with encryption on it. That would be very difficult to break into, one would need leaked keys or a very sophisticated setup with supercomputers and an electronic lab that can remove the chip encasing and access its bowels with probes and whatnot. We're talking NSA level gear :-). I also believe, one should be nice to colleagues. However, working on an interface using a standard protocol is legitimate work. Nothing wrong about that except, of course, loyal business competition. But that's nature. :-) Mind you, I don't have a GS911 to capture it's dialogue with the ECU/ABS units ;-), but go the old fashioned way, reading, programming, soldering, breaking things, retrying (folks at HEXcode already ROFL), then open source my work if of any value. Not confident, I'm going to make it though. It is time consuming.

Yeah, the E64 conv with the 6 inline is an amazing horse. Expensive new, not impossible to DIY, and boy what a ride! Mine survived a water pump failure followed by expansion vessel explosion and driving with the red light for another 1/2 mile or so to exit a construction area with no shoulders on the busy M3 somewhere between Nuremberg and Regensburg.

Cheers!
Alex, if you could find a totally or mostly spent one for cheaper, the LT does not use a VIN slot so unless you plan on getting a bike that would need that functionality for reminder resets, as long as it worked, you would get every benefit of a new one as far as what it provides on the LT so there is value in even one with no vin slots available.

Gordon
Sugar Hill, GA
2001 K1200LTI Champagne (current ride) Lazy Susan
1998 R1100RT Never should have sold it
1974 Yamaha TX 750 Twin. Omni Phase Balanced


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post #9 of 11 Old Jan 6th, 2019, 12:12 am Thread Starter
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Re: Reverse engineer the K1200LT's diagnostic connector (K-/L-line, ISO9141 bus/proto

Hello Gordon!
Thanks a lot for the hint. Didn't know that detail.
Will look around!
Cheers!
Alex
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post #10 of 11 Old Jan 6th, 2019, 10:03 am
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Re: Reverse engineer the K1200LT's diagnostic connector (K-/L-line, ISO9141 bus/proto

Quote:
Originally Posted by alexs View Post
Hi John!

Thanks for the welcome!


Yeah, the E64 conv with the 6 inline is an amazing horse. Expensive new, not impossible to DIY, and boy what a ride! Mine survived a water pump failure followed by expansion vessel explosion and driving with the red light for another 1/2 mile or so to exit a construction area with no shoulders on the busy M3 somewhere between Nuremberg and Regensburg.

Cheers!
I too have had a t-stat failure (failed open not so bad) then the aftermarket T-stat failed closed but I was able to get right off the hiway. Later on my Baer expansion tank (replace with BMW OEM) split as well. Towed home both times. These are known weak points and it is best to just change out all cooling system parts every 100 K. I have 170 k on mine.

John
2009 K1300GT Red Rocket
2009 R1200GS (Gone)
2005 K1200LT Ocean Blue Blue Wizard 110 K and counting...
2006 Bushtec Turbo+2 Spell
2004 330 Ci Convertable
K4AN

Have ridden a Motorcycle in all 48
But lack DE, MA, RI and CT with the 2005 LT

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post #11 of 11 Old Jan 9th, 2019, 12:00 am Thread Starter
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Re: Reverse engineer the K1200LT's diagnostic connector (K-/L-line, ISO9141 bus/proto

Yeah, in my case it was the coolant pump's rotor, they took it apart and showed it to me, it was shattered. I think the expansion vessel is meant to "explode by design" to save more expensive components and the piping. I understood that if the coolant pressure exceeds a certain threshold in any engine, it can penetrate the cylinder head gasket which would basically irreversibly damage the engine. They ran some tests with an indicator gas to see if gases from the cylinders made it into the coolant galleries and luckily everything was fine. The service desk guy and the mechanics there saved my butt there for only EUR600 and some change. Took my car in immediately at 7:30am, fixed it the same day. AND they replaced a recalled passenger airbag w/o me even asking, although the recall was from years before that, I didn't know, the car was purchased in the U.S. and bound back for it. By 2pm I was out the door. It could have been way worse. Don't know if they do M/Cs, but they're sure worth the money. Professional and honest: BMW Nuermberg, Regensburgerstr.
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