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Tech2 Clone, an amateur's review [long]
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Posted by bobc [Email] (#473) [Profile/Gallery] (more from bobc) on Sun, 3 Feb 2019 13:21:13 Share Post by Email
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As a long time SAAB owner I’ve always dreamed of owning a Tech2 but the cost, reportedly ~$4000 put it beyond my reach. Over the years I began to hear that Tech2 clones were becoming available. I’ll state up front that I’m generally strongly opposed to purchasing clones/knockoffs/counterfeits since they hurt producer of the genuine article. I had a bit of a crisis here and it was not an easy decision for me. I think everyone needs to make that call for themselves … and in my case I decided (rationalized perhaps) that I was not hurting SAAB.

My primary motivation for getting a Tech2 is for diagnosis. I’m currently trying to solve an ABS fault and finding that I needed some serious diagnostic power to make any headway. But the Tech2 also offers us the ability to program, customize, marry/divorce components. As our cars age we need this functionality more and more.

Pictures are here:

Google it up

So, having decided that I would get a Tech2, I turned to google and began searching. I will note that these days it’s really hard to know what is genuine and what is a clone in anything. Many legit sources carry clones without even knowing it. So, FWIW here was my process

$650 ($1000) - Vetronix. Genuine? Seems to be legit and the original manufacturer At $650 this is quite a deal compared to the rumored original cost of $4000. It comes in the genuine case with all of the cables, modules and software. I found that this model comes with stickers and serial numbers, not attached, just like the clones.
$390 - Amazon. Dealing with amazon *used* to give me some comfort but no more. Amazon is positively flooded with counterfeits. It’s not just Tech2s, it’s everything. Here is one, clearly counterfeit, with poor reviews: I passed.
$350 - ebay. The sellers on ebay are generally well behaved but of course there are plenty of bad apples out there. This one was upfront about the condition and the fact that it’s a knock off. This seller is clearly a “reseller” getting the unit from china, marking it up, and selling it in the US. It’s a reasonable business model and based on comments and reviews he legitimately stands behind the product.
$250 (or so) - Alibaba/Aliexpress - I say $250 “or so” because the price varies frequently +/- $40. There appear to be a lot of sellers although they could all be the same guy. I don’t know. I chose this one: , free shipping, good reviews, right price.

Paying for it:

Ok so I got over, rationalized, accepted the fact that I was buying counterfeit merchandise. But still making a credit card purchase over the internet to a seller in China creeped me out more than a little. I used BofA ShopSafe. It’s a feature that BofA offers, they generate a custom CC number and CVV and you specify your own credit limit and expiration date. I felt safe using this “Virtual Credit Card”.

Seller experience:

So I hit the “buy now” button and promptly received an error. I was flustered and made the classic rookie mistake and hit “buy now” again. Same error. I checked my orders and found that I had ordered it twice! Turns out that Aliexpress was not playing nicely with Chrome so even though the order went through the browser was reporting and error.

I emailed the seller and explained the issue. Next day all was resolved and one genuine clone Tech2 was being prepared for shipment. The seller had difficulty with english (I only communicated via email) but he appeared honest, was prompt, courteous and mostly understandable.

I received a DHL tracking number in a day or two, and within 5 days the package had arrived at my door. DHL wanted a signature but provides alternative on the website. I did not have be present, and when I got home the package was there.


It arrived in a “regular old cardboard box”. Well packed and taped securely. The components were not professionally packed but they were indeed carefully packed. The contents were well cushioned and safe from all the manhandling it would receive on its trip across the world.

Everything was included. All cables, additional power connections, a hand-made PCMCIA Card with SAAB software, CANdi module, etc. There was a ziplock bag with TIS2000 software and stickers. There were no instructions or documentation other than what was on CD.

I pulled it out, freed it from it’s bubble wrap and for the first time in my life held a Tech2 in my hands! The thing is huge. The cables are huge. The CANdi module is … not huge … but it has two huge cables on either end. This thing is a monster.

First impressions

Bear in mind I have nothing to compare this too.

The Tech2 unit itself it large but not heavy. It feels mostly empty, and looks like a classic ‘80s government issue diagnostic unit. The kind of thing you’d plug into an Apache Attack Helicopter to check the operation of the APU.

The quality seemed quite good to me. The plastic seemed high quality. The housing was rigid, tough and without mold defects. The buttons all had a solid feel. The display is straight out of “War Games” but it is readable and backlit. The display was covered with protective film. I would really like to take it apart and see how it looks inside, but I didn’t.

It seemed brand new, there was no evidence that it had ever been used.

The cables all seemed quite high quality, well made and with excellent materials. Same goes for the connectors, and there are lots of them.

The stickers seemed high quality with metalized backing. And strangely serial numbers were included too, one for the Tech2 itself and one for the CANdi module.

First use:

Task #1: Patient is a ‘99 base model, no codes or lights but I wanted re-program ACC and door locks. I wanted the ACC to use single zone mode when there is no passenger present. And I wanted the door locks to operate all doors with one push rather than one push to open the drivers door only, and a second push to open the others.

Hooked it up, and fumbled around in the menus, found the options I needed and made the change. Worked perfectly.

Task #2: Patient is a ‘01 Aero with ABS christmas tree illuminated. Hooked it up, and read the ABS code (“wheel sensor rear right. No Signal”). Exactly what i needed to know! Then I set it to graph the data from the two rear wheel sensors and went for a drive. Sure enough the left sensor was reporting varying data as speed changed and the right side was flat-lined. Very nice! (you can choose all sorts of live data to plot and capture)

Task #3: Patient is an ‘08 SportCombi with an SRS light illuminated. Hooked up the CANdi module to the Tech2 and plugged the works into the car. Read the code: “Drivers seat belt sensor circuit, open circuit or short to ground/B+”. Oh boy that one will be fun to track down.


Well, these clones don’t come with a case like the $650 Vetroix “legit” model. I considered buying a nice aluminum case for it with foam cutouts. But in the end I used an old tool box. Of course I want to protect it and ensure that it lasts at least as long as my cars do. I’m pretty careful with things, but I do wonder how robust the electronics are inside. Time will tell.

I was really happy with the purchase process, and I’d recommend the seller 100%. I’m glad that I have this very powerful diagnostic tool and this will surely help me keep my fleet running,

_______________________________________ '08 9⁵ 2.3T SportCombi, Polar White '01 9⁵ Aero Midnight Blue (benched) '00 9⁵ Aero Midnight Blue (rescued) '99 9⁵ Base model, Cosmic blue '00 9⁵ Aero Silver (RIP - transmission )

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