Concept BMW Service Technology – Evolution of Sophisticated Diagnostic Equipment

With the car equipment has changed, and the interface has also changed and also the complexity of the settings and usage. Back in the 1990s, Group Tester One (GT1) was introduced. There are several versions, such as DIS Plus (stationary setup), but GT1 is the most common and this is what will be referenced here. GT1 is a portable device that contains rechargeable batteries. It has a touchscreen display for ease of use. It contains software for Diagnosing and also software called TIS (Technical Information Display) which is Service & Repair Information. The initial version of Diagnostics also contains software called Coding, Programming & Individualization (CIP). So from the same tool, you can Diagnose the problem, figure out how to replace the component and then do the initialization needed for the new part. Two interfaces are used: EDIC (yellow interface) and OPS (orange interface). The OPS version is then called OPPS, as they carry additional diagnostics for the Byteflite system and the color is yellow, but much larger than the EDIC. The original GT1 is in a portable touch screen unit. There are many “cloning” units out there, customized to work on PCs. Either the original or the cloned, the interface works together and is connected via an Ethernet port.

Then the GT1 software version deletes the CIP, and moves it to a separate computer (for storage), but remains accessible from GT1. This new software is called Progman (short for Program Manager). This new software contains all the CIP functions and adds new features such as dual car programming and dual channel programming for each car (DIAGBUS and PAL MOST simultaneously).

Third generation equipment

Fast forward around 2008 when Third Generation (3G) equipment was released: ISIS. Content ISIS is so big, dedicated server installed at the dealer. The online version is available for the aftermarket for a fee, called OSS. Can be found on the BMW technology site. With the introduction of ISIS comes a new interface, called ICOM. The previous interface (EDIC & OPS) will not work with ISIS. ISIS consists of several parts, because it completely replaces GT1 & Progman. The main parts of ISIS used in the store are called “ISTA”, which can then be split into two parts: ISTA / D for Diagnosing vehicles and ISTA / P for Coding, Programming & Individualization.


GT1s can be found almost anywhere, including eBay at very cheap prices. BMW realizes that the tool is easily cloned and sold to the world. Many levels of security have been incorporated into ISIS creation to prevent this, both on resident servers and online versions. This makes it harder for non-dealer shops to work on new cars. People will think that since GT1 was discontinued in 2009, you can continue to use it for several more years until newer systems become more available, but BMW is one step ahead! Whenever a car is programmed with the new ISTA / P, this software upgrades the software beyond what the Program level can recognize. That means, once a car has been updated with ISTA / P, you WILL NEVER use Progman again, making the “cloned” version useless in that car. In addition, when a new module is installed, the software pre-installed on the module is also newer than the Program can recognize, which can stop the entire programming process, forcing the car to be programmed by ISTA / P.

So what does it mean for BMW owners? As a result of the newer systems, many BMW owners can no longer repair their own cars. Many aftermarket stores also send cars to dealers as a result. However, not all aftermarket stores are left behind. There are several BMW specialty store options that stay on top of the manufacturer’s technology, so no cars are turned away! When looking for a place for your BMW service, make sure they can do ALL aspects of the fix, including Diagnostics and CIP!

One such store is Auto Specialties of Lake Norman: Autos Lake Authentic Norman. If you look at potential store websites, look for signs that they have the latest equipment. Repair BMW Repair workstations that can not “do everything” can often lead to increased costs and time after they know things that have been misdiagnosed or the part that is installed now needs to be programmed or initialized.

Posted by at July 25, 2017
Filed in category: Repair Diagnostic, and tagged with: ,

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