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Thread: Idea for BMWON: GS-911 column

  1. #1
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    Idea for BMWON: GS-911 column

    There is another thread running here on the merits and dismerits of BMWON. Lots of good comments and suggestions made. I wanted to give visibility to an idea for a monthly column here and see what support it garners.

    Many of us have invested in the GS-911 diagnostic tool. It is a wonderful device with formidable capabilities to assist in troubleshooting and maintaining our increasingly complex machines. But using it is more difficult than it should be simply because documentation and examples are lacking.

    Yes, there is a GS-911 User Forum and even some YouTube videos. Kudos to the contributors. However finding out what you need to know is rather hit and miss. There is no manual per se.

    So I think that there is an opportunity here for someone with some expert knowledge of the device to help the rest of us and deliver some real value through the medium of BMWON. If that someone had a vested interest in the sales of the device I'd personally be fine with that.

    I think that there is plenty of material for many months worth of tech articles. Some suggestions:
    - An introduction to the device, the basics of how it works, what it can do and can't do, differences between the models and generations.
    - "Fault code of the month" (perhaps suggested by readers), what does the fault code mean, possible causes, diagnosis, remedies.
    - Service functions explained. Many of these are total mysteries. What are they? What do they do? When should they be used?
    - Logging of data. How to do it. What is being measured. What's normal. How to interpret the results. Again in installments because there are many parameters.
    - Changes in the diagnostic port as BMW introduces new bikes and to what extent older GS-911s can be used with suitable adapters.
    - New software releases. What's new and how to use the new functionality.

    What do you think?

    Mike

  2. #2
    Registered User RIDERR1150GSADV's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    I'd love to see a series of articles on the use of this device. Perhaps make it available on line as well after publication in the ON??
    Reason is that there is an instant feed back available which could be useful as well. If the debate will be kept to the GS-911 only, I think it will be very beneficial for the home wrenches out there.
    MOA # 108516
    Current ride 2017 R1200RT White
    Past rides '04 R1150RT, '05 K1200LT, '06 R1150GSA

  3. #3
    Back in the Saddle mcmxcivrs's Avatar
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    I look forward to reading your article. I've made good use of my GS911 tool since purchasing it. Only a couple of times for a problem, most of my use has been for service resets and such.
    Ed Miller, Calgary, AB
    2008 K1200GT, 2009 F800GS
    I can't wait to retire and have a fixed income. The one I have now is always broke.

  4. #4
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmwroadsterca View Post
    So I think that there is an opportunity here for someone with some expert knowledge of the device to help the rest of us and deliver some real value through the medium of BMWON. If that someone had a vested interest in the sales of the device I'd personally be fine with that.
    Sounds like a good idea.
    I hope someone decides to take this on.
    Lee
    2016 R1200RS
    MOA # 30878
    Past BMW Bikes: 2011 K1300S, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by RIDERR1150GSADV View Post
    Perhaps make it available on line as well after publication in the ON??
    An online repository - great idea.

  6. #6
    I would like to see the mag have divisions each issue devoted to each of the main groups of BMW's, and have at least one tech article in each group about something pertinent to that group (i.e. airheads, oilheads, adventure, etc.)

    This would be much better for us readers than the trip tours to Mexico or Greenland, or wherever.

    I remember back in the '80's I looked forward with anticipation to the thin, but well informed ON mag. Now? I just take a 5 min glance through, and toss it aside!
    "The difference between death and taxes is that death doesn't change every time congress meets." - Will Rogers

  7. #7
    FUKENGRUVEN SURVIVOR akbeemer's Avatar
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    Okay, it is resolved, we will have a GS911 section in the ON. Now, to decide who has the skills, knowledge and aptitude, available time and will do the work... for free.
    Kevin Huddy
    Tm Pterodactyl MT Outpost

  8. #8
    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akbeemer View Post
    Okay, it is resolved, we will have a GS911 section in the ON. Now, to decide who has the skills, knowledge and aptitude, available time and will do the work... for free.
    Andrewsi did a nice job of getting us going-

    https://forums.bmwmoa.org/showthread...-service-tasks

    OM
    "You can do good or you can do well. Sooner or later they make you choose." MI5
    Mod Squad
    2009 F800GS 1994 TW200

  9. #9
    Sounds like a good idea and I agree with OM, if there is already a start, hopefully it can be built on


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    Brian Hinton
    2007 R1200R
    2007 K1200GT
    1987 K75T

  10. #10
    I have some experience with the GS911, but I don't consider myself an expert. I couldn't program it or anything like that, but I know how to use it.

    I would be happy to work with anybody that is interested in writing an article or even a series of articles on the GS911. High-resolution graphics are an absolute must - photos, screen shots, whatever. Anybody interested can email submissions@bmwmoa.org to discuss it with me.
    --
    - '05 R1200GS - '03 R1200CL(C) - '98 K1200RS + Hannigan Classic sidecar -

  11. #11
    Dress for fall & avoid it AlanColes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akbeemer View Post
    Okay, it is resolved, we will have a GS911 section in the ON. Now, to decide who has the skills, knowledge and aptitude, available time and will do the work... for free.
    Kevin, what I've seen that has worked very well on Forums that I've been part of in the past, is for someone (an Administrator, etc.) from the Forum to reach out to the vendor and see if they would be willing to take part. As I say this has been successful in other Forums.

    I'd suggest that the two most logical requests would go out to both Hex Code (the inventor/manufacturer) and also to GS911USA (BeemerShop) as not only are these two the best sources of technical info, but they have a vested interest in making sure that everyone has a good understanding of and experience with their GS911 units.

    I have seen situations where such resource folks are basically running the "thread section" as well as where they are simply "subscribed" to the Forum section (so they get instant email notification of postings to that Forum section) and have agreed to actively participate in the discussions.

    My experience has been, with proper oversight, everyone benefits and wins.

    So, if this were done on a print basis (Owners News) and then later available online, these could be questions to the person(s) responsible for the Column which could be one of the two mentioned above, thereby requireing very little BMWMOA resources and providing a good and quality platform for both Hex Code and GS911USA.
    Regards, Alan - President BMWONS - MOA Charter Club #097, BMWMOA/BMWRA/BMWONS/Airheads
    Current: '14 R1200RT / '06 Ducati ST3s / '91 R100GS / '86 R80RT / '75 R90S / '73 850 & '70 750 Commando Prev: '04 R1150RT / '81 Honda GL1100 / '77 Suzuki GS750 / '73 Norton 850 Commando

  12. #12
    Registered User roger 04 rt's Avatar
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    The GS-911's Realtime Value logging is one of its most underutilized features. Being able to log all BMSK or Motronic values and then import them into excel for plotting can provide deep insight into what an engine is doing--or not doing. For example, here's a snapshot of my RT at startup (AFR realtime log is from the LC-1):

    motroniccoldstartsequence.jpg

    Below is an outline of what the BMSK realtime logs can tell:

    Quote Originally Posted by Roger 04 RT View Post
    Mart,

    Below are some comments on the attached Excel file that you sent me. Probably the easiest thing to do is to comment on each column in the order of the data log.

    Time: This is the time in milliseconds that each row of data was taken. Divide by 1000 and you get the time in seconds since the start of logging. Your GS-911 is sampling every 0.5 to 0.6 seconds. There is an option in the PC software to control the rate.

    Injection Time: This is the injection time calculated by the ECU (BMSK) using all of its sensors (air temp, oil temp, barometric pressure, rpm, throttle position, etc.). In most of the map and under most conditions, this number should result in an AFR of lambda=1 (14.7:1 for gas without ethanol). Long term trim corrections (additive and multiplicative) are applied to the left and right cylinders separately. These can be logged on certain bikes by using the latest GS-911 software.

    Lambda Control Factors: One for the left and one for the right. The are scaling factors (e.g. 0.95 means 95% of the Injection time number is being applied). The BMSK uses these to fine tune the Injection time during Closed Loop operation. The factors vary between 0.8 and 1.2. If you look at these and see how much they vary moment to moment and left to right cylinder you can appreciate how important Closed Loop operation is to accurate fueling. When the BMSK is in Open Loop operation, LCFs are 1.00.

    Speed: Vehicle speed

    RPM (a primary input for calculating Injection Time): These are the sample by sample values. For example, an RPM of 1357 tells you that the engine was rotating at that speed at the moment the sample was taken.

    Intake Air Temp: Temperature of air entering the throttle bodies. It’s a secondary input used to get the Injection Time close for Closed and Open Loop operation.

    Engine (Oil) Temp: Primarily important for cold starting, it allows the BMSK to calculate extra fuel before the engine is warm enough for Closed Loop operation.

    Cylinder Temperature: The temperature of the cylinder head.

    Ignition Angle: The number of degrees before Top Dead Center that the spark coil is fired. If you map these values, you will see that the BMSK is very active in managing the spark advance from about 5 degrees to nearly 40 degrees.

    Ignition Dwell: (I’m explaining it out of order because it relates to Ignition Angle) This is the time in milliseconds that the coil is charged before the spark is fired. On the R1200 it runs around 2 mS but notice that the coils are charged for 6 mS the first few times the plugs are fired, to get a fat, hot spark.

    Throttle valve position: The percentage that the throttle has been opened by the rider. This is one of the two primary values used to compute Injection Time (the other is RPM). Note that the BMSK uses the Idle Stepper motors to open the throttle for idle so Zero degrees open doesn’t mean that the throttle is fully closed. A value of 15.3 means you have opened the throttle 15.3% of its range. 100% is the max.

    Engine Load: This is a number the BMSK calculates that is the percentage of maximum engine power being produced. Note that at idle, the Engine Load is about 12%!

    Battery Voltage: Just what it says, not that during cranking your battery dropped from 12.78 volts to 9.56 volts, fairly low. Then after the engine starts it takes about 3 seconds (using the Time column) for your alternator to start charging your battery, at 14.4 volts.

    Knock Sensors: I don’t know what the units are but they are used by the BMSK to adjust ignition advance to minimize engine knock (pinging).

    Odometer, Front & Rear Wheel Speed: Odo as you expect, Wheel speeds, I’m not sure of the units.

    Idle Actuator Position (left and right cylinders): These values run from 0 to 256, 256 being the most open. The idle actuators are motors that determine engine idle speed as desired by the BMSK. As the engine warms up, these values go down. Typically the value is around 200 after a cold start and 50-80 when fully warmed up.

    Ambient air pressure: Like air temp, this is a secondary input that reduces the time it takes the BMSK to zero in on lambda=1 during Closed Loop.

    Lambda Sensor Voltages: These are the actual voltage readings of the O2 sensors, one of the most important inputs to the BMSK. It is used to fine tune Closed Loop operation by way of the Lambda Control Factors AND to fine tune Open Loop operation by way of the Additive and Multiplicative Trims (not shown in your log, perhaps the GS-911 SW is an older rev). 450 mV at the start of log is the value read during start up when the O2 sensor is cold. Greater than 450 mV means it sees a richer mixture than lambda=1 (14.7:1 for gasoline without ethanol) and less than 450 mV means leaner. If you saw 900 mV just after starting, that would signal a very rich mixture and is not unusual. During deceleration you often will see 100 mV or less. During Closed Loop operation these voltages vary between about 200 mV and 800 mV, back and forth about every second.

    Following these values is a long list of “binary” values, meaning they are either 1 or 0. These indicate whether a condition is Present or Not Present (On or Off).

    That’s it for now, hope it gives you a start in analyzing the files.
    Roger

  13. #13
    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
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    The best solution to my knowledge only exists in a very few places ...

    BMW Roundel
    Porsche Panorama
    BMW Motorcycle Magazine
    BMW Sport Touring forum

    ... which is regular participation by a currently working (BMW) technician current with the latest models.

    It's no way an insult to these techs to suggest that at times they could use the help of an editor that has some inkling what they're talking about and is willing to actually edit.

    BMW Motorcycle Magazine is a quarterly publication and therefore it's no surprise its technical content is not in question/answer format ... like the other three.

    I've been a member of MOA since the early '80s and I've NEVER seen a question asked and answered in MOA ON by a working dealer technician. (Veering from topic, it's pretty much a rarity to even learn of recalls, service campaigns, technical bulletins, etc. there.)

    For some time there was input from a degreed engineer, which is maybe the next best thing, but it's normally not a close second.

    GS-911 is of course an amateur tool, but if it can help with anything it would still be something a trained tech would comprehend with ease.
    Kent Christensen
    21482
    '12 R1200RT, '02 R1100S, '84 R80G/S

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by lkchris View Post
    I've been a member of MOA since the early '80s and I've NEVER seen a question asked and answered in MOA ON by a working dealer technician. (Veering from topic, it's pretty much a rarity to even learn of recalls, service campaigns, technical bulletins, etc. there.)
    The current Q&A column (Nicht Uber Max) is written by a tech who worked at BMW dealerships for 20 years before starting his own shop. You can send in your questions by emailing techquestions@bmwmoa.org. The column is on hiatus until January while we gather more questions, so you could really help us out by sending in a question.

    The deadlines for the magazine are such that by the time a recall came out in its pages, it would be at least six to eight weeks old. In the age of the internet, it's not unreasonable to think that most people affected would already know about it by then. However, it is a good suggestion to include that material when possible, and I will do my best to keep up with the recalls for the tech section of the magazine and the website.

    Quote Originally Posted by lkchris View Post
    GS-911 is of course an amateur tool, but if it can help with anything it would still be something a trained tech would comprehend with ease.
    Indeed, and in many cases, the GS-911 is the only diagnostic tool available to independent BMW techs. BMW carefully guards access to their diagnostic computers - as well they should, actually.

    My offer to assist in the creation of some GS-911 content remains open. Email submissions@bmwmoa.org to contact me directly and we can move forward at your convenience.
    --
    - '05 R1200GS - '03 R1200CL(C) - '98 K1200RS + Hannigan Classic sidecar -

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by SCBuckeye View Post
    I would like to see the mag have divisions each issue devoted to each of the main groups of BMW's, and have at least one tech article in each group about something pertinent to that group (i.e. airheads, oilheads, adventure, etc.)

    This would be much better for us readers than the trip tours to Mexico or Greenland, or wherever.

    I remember back in the '80's I looked forward with anticipation to the thin, but well informed ON mag. Now? I just take a 5 min glance through, and toss it aside!
    I agree. In the 70s I enjoyed a column by Oak (Oakley?). When he had a falling out with management (my recollection, maybe faulty), I lost interest in the newsletter. Maybe we are an exception, but I really don't have much interest in reading about other people's trips or seeing their photos.
    Will
    MOA #2607 - 2015 R1200R Cordoba Blue
    Previous: 1999 R1100RT Tundra Green • 1987 R100RT Grey • 1970 R60/5 Black • 196? Honda 305 Super Hawk • 195? Sears Allstate 50 cc Moped

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