The Chinese clone systems SD connect
C4 work OK, but for the W205 you’re mostly
dealing with diagnostic support. There are still things you can
do such as teach-in processes etc, but for
the W205, MB largely disabled support for offline coding
using Xentry (well, not entirely, but effectively) , so
to do any module software updates requires Online
SCN, which needs a dealer login to work. You can do some
of the things you want in Vediamo, but also be wary of
that. Several of the modules in the car are
protected (i.e. locked; e.g. the engine ) and
although you can read data, you won’t be
able to write config bits back unless you have the key algorithm
to unlock it. There are people who will sell you a unlock (most
are session based) and the same holds true for Online SCN coding, but it’s a
shady business IMO.
The following parts are quoted from mbworld.org
PS: you can jump to the last paragraph.
I bought a kit of SD connect c4 just over a year ago. The
hardware & software is far more than just for diagnostics.
There’s parts manuals, repair instructions etc etc. Depending on
the software and how adventurous you want to get there’s also a
Pandora’s box of different ECM things which no dealer would be
willing or generally able to toy with. Of course there’s also the
possibility and opportunity to really screw up your car (Yay!).
Anyway, I thought I’d write up a quick review summary of my own
experience in purchasing a full diagnostics kit – especially in
reference to the W205.
What’s it like, what do you get, what can you do, etc… so here we
go, my take on the full diag suite – get a big glass or wine (or
beverage of choice) and settle in for what is hopefully and
enjoyable and informative read.
What is it?
This kit is a full Mercedes Benz diagnostics system. In a nutshell
the components of a full kit comprise:
A suitable computer (in this case a Dell630)
An Star Diagnostics Connect (SDconnect) 4 multiplexer
Various interface cables
Mercedes Benz Star Diagnostic Software
Rather than clutter this intro, refer to the below sections for
more detail on each component. Do you need everything listed above
to get started? .. no, probably not. In principle you do need all
those parts to perform full diagnostics but you can purchase bits
from various vendors and you may even have some existing bits or
are able to source software from other avenues (let’s not get into
The one thing you do get quite nicely with a kit like this is, out
of the box plug-in and go functionality. No mucking around loading
software, stressing over setups, keys etc. You buy, you get, you
Where do I buy it?
Well.. duh, the internet of course – just making sure you don’t go
into your local MB dealership asking for a kit .. you know .
Who do you buy it from? .. that I cannot fully answer, since I
purchased my first kit and hence have no relevant comparisons to
draw. Arguably the Chinese are the No.1 player in this market. They
are the ones who clone the hardware and are certainly the prominent
purveyors of such kits at a price point which suits the average
One thing I do suggest is that you strike up a conversation with
your potential vendor of choice before handing over your credit
card. Unless you speak fluent Mandarin or Cantonese, it’s handy to
know that your vendor will be able to understand your questions in
relation to support/warranty or other things (and believe me, you
will have questions!).
The second main point is to determine how reliable you feel the
vendor is. I know it’s difficult to judge. Nobody knows who’s who
on the internet. My guiding principles were to look at vendors who
had an established track record in terms of their web presence and
had reviews stretching back several years. Anyway, enough said on
that – do your research and don’t just go looking for the cheapest
So once your order is placed, a very short time later you will
receive a nice brown box like this:
Everything seemed nice and safely wrapped.
Items removed, we had essentially all the parts I listed in the
intro – plus a carry bag for the laptop, a very ordinary USB mouse,
plus power adapter and cable to match your country (which was a
Overall – everything seemed quite OK and arrived safely. The
computer was a tad old and cosmetically damaged (to be expected)
but everything is fully functional.
OK, enough of the package – let’s look at each component in more
The ComputerThe computer of choice for most
vendors is a Dell Latitude D630. There are other options out
there but this is by far the most common. Also on sale with most
vendors is a Dell630 hard drive which is obviously the favored
option if you already have a laptop to suit.
Note that the original computer equipment which MB Techs use
are based on Panasonic hardware I believe (e.g. Toughbook),
providing a touch screen interface. So this begs the question –
why the antiquated Dell hardware? I don’t have a full answer
but what I have determined is that it’s large due to historic
dependencies. The Dell 630 was used for a long time due to the
fact that it had a real serial RS232 serial COM port. With the
previous generation of multiplexer units you needed that port.
With the advent of wireless and network cable connections to
the multiplexer units, there’s no longer a reliance on the
RS232 port and hence you can now find sellers who use IBM
machines or EVG7 slate computers. The Dell is by all accounts
an old reliable war horse which is cheap to get and source
parts for, so it’ll probably be seen for a while yet.
Let’s move onto the interesting hardware – the multiplexer.
4. The SDconnect 4 Multiplexer
“What’s a multiplexer” I hear you mutter .. well, I’m glad
you asked. The SDconnect is the communications interface
between the car and the diagnostic computer system (i.e. the
Dell). The unit sends fault detection data to the host
computer and instructions back to the vehicle. In basic
terms, it’s a tool that enables the diagnostic technician to
examine vehicle functions, perform data coding and update
vehicle software. It knows the communications protocols which
the car utilizes to talk to the outside world. Like wow man!
(hang on, I need to spin the propeller on my cap). Now, let’s
The SDConnect 4 is the previous generation multiplexer used on
Mercedes vehicles. It is now superseded by the SDconnect 5 and
although they are starting to appear in cloned form, the c4 is
still one of the most prominent cloned multiplexers out there.
You can buy a C5 multiplexer if you wish (and for certain new
hybrids vehicles you may have to), but for most W205 variants
the C4 will do just fine. The SDconnect 4 is wireless enabled
(via a plugin card; note not all vendors will sell it with this
included, so buyer beware) or it can be connected via a network
The plastic end parts can be removed to reveal the slot for the
WiFi card, plus the battery compartment and SD Card slot.
Note that the battery compartment holds six AA rechargeable NiMH
batteries to support powering the multiplexer whilst not connected
to a vehicle. My unit shipped without batteries (boo!) which I then
rushed out to purchase separately. Whether you really need to place
batteries into the device is questionable however. There is no
charger which ships with the multiplexer, so unless you use it a
lot, the batteries will go flat quite quickly anyway. OEM equipment
has a charger (which plugs into the RJ45 port) but I’ve never seen
a single Chinese vendor selling one. In my tests I found that the
unit seems to behave exactly the same, whether there’s batteries in
it or not – although batteries do eliminate the “Low battery”
indication which is otherwise shown on the LCD.
On the opposite side you will see the RJ45 network port for
connecting your diagnostics computer (seen below on left with grey
flip cover) and the MB proprietary cable connect (on right) which
goes to the vehicle. For the W205, you will only need the OBD
cable. The kit however comes with cables to suit all older style
cars, trucks etc. as well.
One thing that impressed me with this particular kit was the
quality of the connectors and cables. Everything seemed very good I
Top of the unit has a backlit LCD display, two LED indicators, and
four buttons. The LCD indicates Power Supply status, Connection
Type, and Working Status. The LEDs are used to indicate a variety
of working status signals and the buttons give you the option to
bring up information about vehicle or device battery status,
display network addresses, put the unit into standby and so forth.
Essentially there is not much that the unit does on its own; not
even an OBD scan or the like. It needs to be connected to the car
and a computer to represent any value.
5. The Software
Now this is where the fun and games really start. Boot up your
laptop and you’re soon presented with a Windows XP OS, which has
obviously been customized to the Mercedes Software installed on the
device. An early indication of that is the taskbar which
prominently displays connectivity between the computer, the
multiplexer and associated networks (e.g. internet/server) in the
lower right of screen.
There is a lot to learn here for newcomers. The software changes
very regularly (sometimes monthly) to keep up with the latest
developments. Not surprisingly the vendors from China seem to have
their finger on the pulse quite well in that regard. My kit
contained December 2015 versions. I don’t think there’s any need
for concern with constant updates however. If you can diagnose your
car with the modules on-board then you’re good to go. The Workshop
info will probably be one of the benefactors of regular updates but
most of that service info is already in abundance, as you will see
Without writing the Never Ending Story here, let’s just say that
the software suite is extremely comprehensive and caters for not
only passenger vehicles but also trucks, buses, cranes – and other
large industrial equipment dating back through the ages. To keep
this piece relevant, I’m going to focus, as best I can, only on the
bits applicable the W205.
I also will not go into the various configuration software
components, such as installation, authentication, key security,
registration, connectivity and so forth. If you are curious, feel
free to PM me or do some Googling on the net because there is
adequate information out there if you’re willing to look for it.
Let’s look at the main sub components to the suite that are of
interest to us:
Not to be confused with XENTRY DAS (Diagnosis Assistance
System; which was predominantly used with older vehicles – I
think up to the W204). This is the primary diagnostic suite for
the vehicle and probably the main software you would tend to
use with a car like the W205.Xentry allows you to delve into
each control unit of your vehicle and see configuration data as
well as run a very large number of diagnostic tests. It
provides you with an exceptionally comprehensive diagnostic
tool to see exactly what the various systems of the vehicle are
What is exceptionally nice is that XENTRY also provides you
with a full troubleshooting workflow; meaning that once you
have run a test, found a fault, you can then delve straight
into relevant maintenance references and associated
I’ve always owned workshop maintenance books for my vehicles,
but have to say this system is by far the most well thought out
and comprehensive. Not so say it doesn’t have it’s quirks, but
it is not overly difficult to come to terms with.
As a side note, XENTRY also comes with a simulated variant
(as a learning tool for working the software whilst
disconnected from a vehicle. It allows the operator to
generate simulated fault codes which you can then diagnose in
This is an intranet web server that hosts two important
Electronic Parts Catalog (EPC)
A comprehensive listing of all vehicle parts; broken down
into sub systems. It allows you to quickly build shopping
lists of components (e.g. when needed for repair).
Workshop Information System (WIS)
An extremely comprehensive web information system which
details the functional components of the car (categorized
into sub systems again). It also comes with workshop
instructions for performing almost every type of
maintenance task, maintenance bulletins and a free set of
steak knives.The WIS is also equipped with several
sub-application modules, which although not doubt hold lots
of value in a workshop context, are otherwise uninteresting
for an amateur user:
ASRA – a German acronym (for Arbeitstexte, Standardtexte,
Richtzeiten, und Arbeitswerte). Provides info on work
units and relevant documentation for conducting various
SSL module – another German acronym
(Schadensschlüssel) meaning Damage Code.
MSS module (Maintenance Service System) which displays
maintenance documents relevant to maintenance cases.
WSM module (WIS Service Media). This is probably the only
sub module to WIS to remain of interest to persons other
than MB staff. It contains a web link to a multimedia
library for many maintenance tasks. Very cool.
Daimler AG Price List
This is an Access database for Mercedes Benz European parts
pricing – equal parts scary and interesting!
What can you do? So what’s possible with a
kit like this, you ask. You would see by now, that the software
will provide you with an astonishing array of information to come
to terms with. I won’t say the possibilities are endless, but
they are certainly vast.
From a learning perspective – you have everything you could
wish for. Theoretically you could be satisfied with a copy of
the WIS alone, since that serves as probably the most
comprehensive learning tool for the vehicle.
From a diagnostics perspective – you will be satisfied with
multiplexer and XENTRY. The range of tests which you can run
and actuations you can trigger will let you fully examine each
part of the car. You can generate detailed test reports, seeing
when faults occurred exactly in each of the computer modules –
and believe me, there are a lot of those. The W205 has upwards
of 50 control units with each of those capable of logging and
tracing out detailed errors and fault finding.
From a configuration (Adaptations) aspect, there are some minor
things (often referred to as ‘Teach-in processes’) possible
(e.g. Airmatic level calibration) but it isn’t a treasure trove
for those willing to tinker with the vehicle (see next topic).
One aspect I also didn’t delve into further within this review
is that you can also configure and update module software from
within XENTRY (a process called SCN Coding) which is only
available online for the W205 (i.e. you need an authorized
Mercedes user account to do so). There are Chinese vendors who
will sell you a ‘session’ for online SCN, but it can get
expensive quite quickly. In reality it is not something you
would do other than to perform major update tasks (e.g. after
replacing an ECU or other module) if the car was outside of
7. What can’t you do?
If you’re looking at ways to change significant default
behaviors in the W205 vehicle systems (e.g. allow Video in
motion, disable your start-stop, change variant codes etc. )
then you will probably be disappointed. MB has gone to some
length to ensure that certain changes are extremely difficult
to achieve. Offline coding was to a large extend abandoned with
the W204 to guard against incorrect configurations. That’s not
to say there isn’t a way, rather that these lock-downs are
probably in place to avoid introducing configuration errors
inadvertently during maintenance or by amateurs who don’t know
what they’re doing.
There are more extensive changes possible with a software
product called Vediamo, which is a factory tool used to perform
complex black magic best not brought up in this review (makes
sign of the cross; heck I’m not even religious!). Regardless of
your skills in Vediamo, my research and impression leads me to
believe that most changes also require Online SCN coding, which
leaves you with little room to achieve known outcomes. Given
that people do like to tinker or hack technology I’m sure this
topic will become somewhat irrelevant in the future. Yes,
people will find a way – whether that’s a good or a bad thing,
I shall not judge.
So.. your glass of wine is empty and you’re wondering “What the
the heck did I just read that for!). If you were to ask me
again “Is it worth purchasing a kit like this for your car?” I
would offer you an unreserved “Yes” – although with a
If you are the type of person who shows an interested in
learning the in’s and out’s of your vehicle, then I can’t think
of a better way than to own one of these setups. There is such
a vast amount of content and useful reference material that it
serves as a valuable library to learn more. Whether your goal
is to perform self-maintenance, troubleshoot issues or simply
to see for yourself what is going on inside of your vehicle,
then this is without a doubt the toolset which allows you to do
If on the other hand you would prefer to say “here you go – fix
it”, or perhaps rather be ‘told what’s wrong’ with your car,
rather than ‘know what’s wrong’, perhaps you’re better off
saving your dollars for other toys.
The W205 is undoubtedly a computerized marvel on wheels. Many
of the systems and technical aspects of the car are completely
obfuscated from the regular plebs like us. A diagnostic kit
such as this certainly allows you to delve under the covers and
go as deep as your curiosity wants.
[UPDATE:] This particular kit had a full hard drive failure of
the master boot record (which became corrupted) less than one
month after purchase. The vendor has tried every trick in the
book to avoid fixing the issue by sending a replacement drive.
Often it will be difficult to know who to deal with, but based
on this experience I would advise staying clear of MBstarshop.
They obviously utilize low grade or old components and hardware
which they refuse to back up with proper customer service.
Ecom supports diagnostic
software Xentry, engineering
software Vediamo and
super DTS Monaco, it has a than higher
access right than SDC4.
Ecom supports the CAN/DoIP protocol, which
can be used to diagnose and programming (brushing
& writing) for the new car audio and video entertainment
The Mercedes-Benz engineering database of diagnosis / coding /
retrofit /flashings is using the Xentry database, so the
Mercedes-Benz engineering version depends on the version of Xentry,
as long as the database is new, the V4.00 version can be used on
new models. compact3 can be used.
SDC4 does not support ODX documents. The latest
V5.00 uses eCom to support ODX files. It is recommended
to use Ecom, with DoIP function, the speed is faster
and more stable.