Backroads Magazine Review: An Innovative Diagnostic Tool for Harley-Davidson®

Posted by Lisa DiFalco on

Written by Tony Lisanti and originally published in the March 2018 issue of Backroads Magazine


The on-board systems on today's motorcycles dwarf the technology available just a decade ago. The current Harley-Davidsons are no exception. The latest models depend on a CAN-Bus system to monitor operating parameters of the various on-board systems. CAN-Bus (Controller Area Network) allows the various controls and monitors to communicate with one another and assists technicians with diagnosing trouble codes in the event of a failure. This is all well and good, but what to do when that engine light comes on during a trip when you may be far from home or your local dealer?

Enter the Motorscan CAN-Bus Smartphone Diagnostic Adapter. This device allows the user to easily read any of the Harley-Davidson error codes, which can help determine the nature of the problem. The Smartphone Diagnostics Adapter is a plug-in device that pairs via Bluetooth to a smartphone. The smartphone app scans your bike's systems and displays any trouble codes. The system allows you to search through all on-board systems and then scroll through the individual components of each. Simply click on a system with an error code and see the description and trouble codes. The app also allows you to save and clear the trouble codes. If the engine light comes on when far away from home, you can email the trouble code to your mechanic. The adapter will transmit and display the various operating parameters of each system live or on a virtual dashboard. Fascinating stuff.

The adapter comes with easy to understand instructions. Simply locate the on-board data link connector, plug in the adapter, download the app, register your vehicle and you're in business. The adapter pairs to your phone (Android or IOS) via Bluetooth connection. Once installed, simply turn the ignition on, enable Bluetooth on the phone, open the app and the system provides you real time information on all the on-board systems. Since the example being used is specific to the latest Harley Davidson OBD system, it has 6 systems to monitor: ABS System, Body Components, Knobs (Hand Controls), Fuel Injection systems, Dashboard and Radio System.

An overall dashboard showing speed (from the odometer), engine RPM, engine temperature, battery voltage, air temperature and oil pressure can be displayed during operation. The display is provided via a page with 6 'gauges' displaying the data. The system responds quickly and with perhaps a one second lag between throttle and the display.

Each of the 6 systems has an expanded menu that allows you to see... 


Read more about Tony Lisanti’s experience with this innovative diagnostic tool by checking out Smart Vehicle Diagnostics, LLC Harley-Davidson CAN-Bus Smartphone Diagnostic Adapter on page 37 and 38 of the March 2018 edition of Backroads Magazine, visiting the Backroads website or emailing Diagnostica for a copy of the review.

More reviews of the Motorscan smartphone diagnostic adapter are available here.


Subscribe to this website's RSS feed using

Share this post

← Older Post Newer Post →

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published.