I'm sure this question has been asked a thousand times but........................
I'm relatively new to this forum and have found it to be of great help so far - if I could ask for a little more please. However, I think it would be appropriate to give a little background first:
I began taking engines apart at 11 years old and at 16 begain my apprenticeship as a mechanic. I spent the best part of 25 years in the motor trade although not long after passing my apprenticeship, I moved on to bodywork...................lol. I always kept my hand in to a degree on the mechanical side although things were changing fast. Following a fairly serious car crash I decided on a change of career. Around 15 of my years in the motor trade were self employed running a small to medium sized repair business with a parner who handled the mechanical side. When I left the trade I hung up my overalls and swore I'd never pick up a spanner again. I've paid people to service and repair my cars until now.
Well that was some time ago and finding myself with time on my hands, I'm sort of back in the game again only this time its a hobby but things have changed massivley. I look under a bonnet and I'm searching for the distributor and coil.............lol.
Right, I hope I've established that I'm not a complete dunderhead on the spanners but I've got a lot of catching up to do. Moderrn (well since I packed up) cars are full of what I call electrickery and it seems you need the right tools to make sense of all that.
A google search throws up all sorts of devices and differing opinions on which to use. Some cost thousands - some a few quid. One that keeps on cropping up is Carsoft. There appears to be plenty of people selling this stuff but even more opinions on which works and which doesn't. I've seen Carsoft advertised for under £50 but there was no mention of the software just a bunch of cables and plugs.........sorry 'interfaces'. Surely there's some software needed, I doubt I can just plug my car into the laptop and be presented with an array of technical date.
So, bearing in mind my background - not a dummy but some catching up to do - is there a system to suit? If so. what would the spec of my laptop need to be and what operating systems is it compatible with (I'm still on XP). I'm not stuck on Carsoft - it just cropped up a lot when searching on google. I'm reasonable with computers but in no way a techy so I'm hoping there's something available that doesn't need Bill Gates to install it and BMW's chief technician to read it. I don't want to become an expert but I do want to carry out all my own repairs now.
One thing puzzled me, I saw a demo of Carsoft on Youtube and although it was an English language posting, the diagnostic reports were all in German - surely there's an English version?
My current motors by the way are a 97 325 TDS and a 96 328i Coupe. This maybe asking too much but I also have a 2005 Golf diesel so it would be nice if the system could also handle that.