The Traveling Diagnostic Kit

It has finally arrived! Or at least it is finally ready to be delivered!

The Think Traveling Diagnostic Kit is on its maiden voyage to southern California as of December 24, 2015. It will cost $150 per week plus shipping to rent the kit. (But if you are done with it in less than a week, please ship it back as soon as possible.) My time will cost an additional $120/hr. If you’d like to estimate the shipping cost, the package is about 17″ x 12″ x 10″, weighs about 9 lbs, and will ship from Portland, OR zip code 97215, unless we arrange to ship directly from the previous renter. Jim will keep your credit card on file in lieu of a deposit until we receive the kit back and verify the inventory.

Here is a complete inventory of the contents of the kit. It is your responsibility to ensure that everything is there upon arrival because we have no choice but to hold you responsible if it is returned with something missing. So you had better scream bloody murder if it arrives incomplete.

The Kit contains:

  • A laptop with all the pertinent software installed and ready to go.
  • Laptop power supply
  • A PCAN adapter (includes a serial to DLC cable)
  • A SIADIS cable with serial to USB adapter
  • The Think 3G VCI (aka Vehicle Interface Module or VIM)
  • Two orange “blind plugs” (not pictured)
  • (The ruler is only in the picture for scale; it is just over 1 foot long. It is not included in the kit.)
  • Custom foam padding (but please still handle with care)



Turn on the computer, and log in as ThinkOwner. No password is required. (The battery in the laptop is pretty good, so you should be able to use it for quite awhile without the power supply provided the last user properly shut down the computer and charged it before shipping it back.)

I think that all of the most commonly used programs for Think service have shortcuts on the right side of the desktop.

If you are receiving the kit to reflash your PCU to the latest firmware, please see this post:
(You need the SIADIS cable to reflash the PCU.)

If you are performing diagnosis on a Think, I would recommend starting with Think TechCentre, recording all of the fault codes (i.e. on paper with a writing instrument), then clearing them, then seeing which ones reset. But alas, it is not so simple. Please see the post about using Think TechCentre:
(Use the Think 3G VCI, aka VIM with Think TechCentre. Only start the program after the VIM is connected.)

And then there’s CommTool:
(Use the PCAN adapter for CommTool.)

Under some circumstances it might be beneficial for me to do some of the pointing and clicking. If I ask you to send me an invitation for Remote Assistance, here is what you do:

  1. Connect the laptop to a local area network. (If you have any trouble with this step it’s probably best to seek IT support locally rather than have me try to help over the phone. Please do not do any web browsing with this machine! It runs pretty well for what we want it to do, and I don’t want it to get any more viruses than it might already have.)
  2. Double Click the link in the middle of the desktop to request Remote Assistance.
  3. In the window that opens you should see an option to save the invitation as a file– that’s what you want to do. I would recommend saving it to the desktop. (If there are old files named “RAInvitation” already on the desktop you can delete those if you want.)
    • At some point you will have the option to select how long the duration of the invitation should last. Pick something reasonable; I would suggest erring on the side of too long because I doubt that the invitation will really put the laptop in much danger of being targeted by a hacker, and we would be really annoyed if the invitation expired while I was working on it.
    • You will also be asked to enter a password which you will later have to relay to me. I recommend making it something simple, like “Think” because it’s going to expire anyway. We’re not doing any banking on this computer.
  4. Now open Mozilla Thunderbird. There is a shortcut on the desktop right next to the Remote Assistance link. (Thunderbird is just an email client like Microsoft’s Outlook or Apple’s Mail, but it was created by the same non-profit that created the Firefox web browser.)
  5. Thunderbird is configured to automatically open the email account for hawthornethinkowner[AT] You should see a message in the inbox from me, john[AT] Reply to this message (or just compose a message to john[AT] (I’m subistituting [AT] for @ in the hope that web-bots will not see these email addresses and send me more spam.)
  6. Attach the Remote Assistance Invitation that you just created to the email message. You can include the password in the body of the message or relay it to me over the phone.
  7. When I receive your email and open the Remote Assistance invitation, you will be asked whether you want to allow me to view your screen. Please do allow me.
  8. Then you will be asked whether I can take control of your machine. Please allow me to do so.
  9. And we’ll go from there.