What's the TestBook?

Above: This is the genuine Testbook

Since some years and partly due to legislation in some markets, Landrover was forced to built more and more electronic systems in their new models. Those "brains" come in quite a variety, adapted to the tasks they can fullfill. In themselves they are not very likely to go faulty nor are they extremely sensible to environmental conditions. However some sensors they are connected to ARE sensitive.

The ECU as those "brains" are called help for diagnosing and even setting up a vehicle IF AND ONLY IF you have the right equipment. Landrover has developped a notebook computer to which they refer as TestBook. It can be connected to the main diagnostic plug. On the new Td5 Defender this is just beside the drivers seat base.

However Landrover is not too keen to sell their computers to people not belonging to their dealership and so the vital software is kept between their dealers. Understandable but no good news for weekend mechanics like most of us. Hmm, I bet in some time some crook will surely post this software somewhere on The Net. DO YOU HEAR ME? IT'S ILLEGAL! DON'T TELL ME WHERE IT IS!

But what was a problem is now going better. A company called Automotive Logic Technology has developed it's own software and diagnostic tool (picture below), available to anybody wishing to spent a load of money. (I have no idea of the price but the system looks professional -and expensive)

The software covers the 200/300 Tdi's, the 2.5 BMW diesel, the 3.9 to 4.6 EFI Rover V-8's. Surely soon followed by Freelander and new Discovery programs. The system consists of a Panasonic laptop and the vital connectors. It can monitor realtime datas, reset the ECU and fault codes and generally do everything the factory TestBook can (according to the manufacturer). An hot line has been set up and new updates are mailed to owners as soon as new vehicles are introduced. Of course you need a decent knowledge of computers and mechanics to operate it. Ask the manufacturer about details.

You may think it's not worth the trouble to get it. But in a two years the first Td5'2 and Freelander come out of their warranty and then small garages will NEED this stuff. Even the 200 Tdi uses the TestBook for engine management and security.

The unit is available through ALLMAKES, a specialised supply group in Great Britain. They can be contacted at (+44) 1235 821122 or contact the maker ALT at (+44) 1865 858408

If anyone gets closer info I'd be interested in the connectors and software. The laptop is nothing special nor are the signals coming to it from the vehicle- they all fall between standard signal specs.. The secret lies surely in the interpreting software and a bit of knowledge wich connector on the plug has to be connected to which computer pin. For us amateurs a small package conatining those parts would be more interesting than the whole system.