SPS Programming via GM MDI Multiple Diagnostic Interface

Here are some steps technicians can take to assist in completing a successful programming event,  before programming a vehicle control module using the GM Service Programming System (SPS). While the service shop and network environments are different at each dealership, here are a few recommended best practices.

Setup/Configuration
Recommended setup and configuration:
• Place the Techline PC next to or inside the vehicle (if it’s a Techline laptop computer).
• A laptop computer should be plugged in to ensure the laptop battery will be maintained during the programming event.
• Connect the PC to the Internet/TIS2Web via a quality LAN cable or reliable Business Grade Wi-Fi access point.
• Connect the PC to the Multiple Diagnostic Interface (MDI) using the USB cable method.
• Connect a Midtronics® GR8 (Essential Tool EL-50313), set up in Power Supply Mode, or an approved Midtronics® PSC 550 Battery Maintainer (SPS Programming Support Tool EL-49642) or equivalent to maintain proper battery voltage during programming when required.
• To ensure the computer remains active, adjust the Microsoft Windows® “Power Options.” Select the “High performance” power plan and set it to “Never” sleep in either ‘On Battery’ or ‘Plugged In’ modes.

Recommended Process Rationale
During SPS programming, the required data/calibration files are retrieved from the TIS2Web server. They are downloaded completely, verified and cached onto the Techline PC before module programming can begin. When ready, programming continues using these cached files and the required data is then transmitted from the PC to the vehicle module by way of the MDI and DLC.

GM MDI-connection

If an error or connection problem occurs during file retrieval, it may be necessary to restart or recover and carry on retrieving the required files. If a communication error develops while transmitting to the vehicle, there is a risk of damage to the vehicle module that may be unrecoverable. Because of this, a USB connection from the Techline PC to MDI is a best practice.

Trouble-Free Programming
Several factors to consider to help ensure trouble-free programming include:
Dedicate the Techline PC (laptops preferred) — Placing a laptop PC inside the vehicle during programming ensures the PC remains dedicated to that function. This helps to minimize risk of someone accidentally interrupting the programming process by multitasking the PC. Laptops are preferred because their portability permits placement in the vehicle and the internal battery provides additional insurance in the event of a temporary AC power interruption during programming. A power supply should be used at all times.

Prevent PC going into Sleep mode — Laptops are typically configured to conserve power using Power Management techniques. Disable or adjust the Windows® Power Options to prevent the computer from going to sleep during the programming event.

Choosing an MDI connection method for SPS — MDI connections are critical to the success of module programming. Reliability takes precedence over convenience, so keep it simple. Connecting the MDI directly to the Techline PC via the USB cable is recommended in order to maintain an error-free connection between the PC and vehicle module (via the MDI and DLC). This method is simple, easy and eliminates any potential for a network problem to interfere while transmitting data to the module during programming.

Quality/Reliability of shop network (LAN) — Wi-Fi hardware used by dealerships varies greatly and is difficult to qualify. Techline recommends Business Grade hardware for the Wi-Fi Access Points (AP). Hard-wired cable connections to the LAN are considered more reliable than Wi-Fi and may be more suitable if not near a reliable Wi-Fi connection. Beware that cables are still prone to physical damage, such as deterioration of the cable or connector, which is not always visually evident. If a cable is suspect, substitute another cable.

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