The Actron CP9690 is a professional standard diagnostic scan tool that is built with the workshop in mind. Actron are one of the most respected names in the diagnostic scanner marketplace, and this Actron scanner is just one of their excellent scan tools that aim to save mechanics time and money when conducting their vehicle check ups.
This Actron CP9690 review will give you a comprehensive overview of the scan tool’s functionality, key features and design. We’ll give you our verdict at the end of the review, and let you know whether or not this scanner and code reader is the right device for you and your workshop.
Diagnostic scanners are ideal for the modern repair shop. They complete vehicle service checks and can reset check engine lights and error codes in a fraction of the time that it would otherwise take. Although they sometimes seem like a high initial investment, the time and money that these clever scanners are likely to save more than covers the initial cost.
The first part of this Actron CP9690 review will be a general product overview, highlighting the features that have really impressed us, and ultimately laying out the pros and cons of this scan tool. We’ll then take an in depth look at the vehicle compatibility offered by the CP9690, its functionality and key features.
Actron CP9690 Product Overview
The Actron CP9690 is a compact scan tool that manages to pack a surprising amount of features into its pocket-sized walls. As with all great diagnostic scanners, this scan tool is an effective code reader, that can really help you get the bottom of what is causing your check engine light to illuminate for example.
However, the Actron CP9690 takes this further with its CodeConnect technology. CodeConnect is a comprehensive database of over 26 million confirmed repairs and fixes for various error codes that cause the check engine light and the ABS and airbag warning signs to illuminate. This is a really useful feature and one that isn’t offered by most other manufacturers.
An outstanding feature of the CP9690 is its ability to work with both OBD II and OBD I compatible vehicles. OBDII compatible vehicles are from 1996 and newer, whereas OBD I vehicles are those built in 1995 or earlier. Having the capability to work with both these variations of vehicles is actually quite rare, and it’s a big selling point for the CP9690.
Often mechanics are forced to buy two scanners, one for the OBD II 1996 and newer vehicles, and one for the OBD I, pre-1995 vehicles. Being able to use this scanner for OBD II and I is great feature for the professional mechanic, who deals with a variety of different cars and can cope with whatever drives into the workshop.
The scan tool can also report live data, allowing you to isolate problems with the car, and know where to look for issues. The live data reporting is supplemented by Actron’s Freeze Frame technology, which provides a snapshot of vehicle data reading at the time of the vehicle fault. This is particularly useful, and allows you to see the overall effect that a problem is having on the rest of the vehicle. Freeze frame technology is something that you’d usually expect from a much higher priced device.
The CP9690 Actron scanner is a very easy to use and user friendly scan tool. It features a large, color LCD screen that is very clear and bright. This makes the color screen really easy to use and read data playback. Having a bright, durable screen is essential in a workshop, where you might be working in different light levels throughout the day. The color screen is high quality. This is also a trilingual OBD tool, which operates in English, Spanish or French.
The overall design of the CP9690 is well constructed with quality parts. The large navigation buttons are sufficiently spaced out so that you’re not pressing two at once, and are suitable for use with mechanic gloves. The scan tool is easy to turn on via the large power button at the bottom of the device, and the menus are navigated by the big buttons above. The design is rugged, and you don’t need to be wary about dropping this device on the floor, it will hold up well, thanks to its solid plastic and rubber construction.
The bottom line is that this is a great addition to the Actron scanners range, and is an excellent choice if you need an affordable OBD II elite scan tool that you can rely on in the workshop. The next part of this Actron CP9690 review will go through its vehicle compatibility and more in depth information about this elite autoscanner functionality.
- OBD1 and OBD2 compatible
- Easy to use and intuitive design
- Offers live data reporting for lots of car models
- Software Updates usually take around 30 minutes
- Often overlooked by consumers
This Actron scanner is compatible with a range of car brands, and both OBD II and OBD I compatible vehicles. The CP9690 covers all car brands and their vehicles from after 1996. These are the OBD2 compatible vehicles, and whether the vehicle is from the European, American or Asian market, the Actron CP9690 will be able to be used with it.
As for OBD1 vehicles, the CP9690 still has great coverage, but with a more limited number of car brands. Compatible brands include GM, Ford, Toyota and Chrysler. The CP9690 comes with OBD1 cables to connect to these vehicles, so there’s no need to buy any extra gear.
The fact that the Actron CP9690 works with OBD2 and OBD1 vehicles is a really great feature. Not having to buy two separate scanners for the two vehicle types is a big advantage and will obviously save mechanics a lot of time and money. The whole point of a diagnostic scanner is to simplify servicing jobs, and you can’t get much simpler than this all in one OBD1 and OBD2 scanner.
When buying any diagnostic scanner, vehicle compatibility and coverage should be a big consideration. You really want as wide a coverage as possible, you never know what car is going to drive into the workshop yet. Having a versatile scanner will mean you can take on as many jobs as possible.
The CP9690 scanner Actron offer has a lot of surprising and fantastic features that you might not usually expect from a device like it. In this section we’ll go through a few of the main ones, and some special features that make this elite autoscanner stand out from the crowd.
Oil light and battery reset – The Actron CP9690 has the capability to reset the oil light and turn off the battery light on most of its compatible vehicles. This is a useful feature since it means you can turn warning lights off after you’ve finished a repair. You don’t want the customer to be driving around with their warning lights still on, even though you have repaired their vehicle. Moreover, the customer wouldn’t know if their car develops a problem in the future.
The scanner can also turn off the check engine light, which is useful for exactly the same reasons as above. The capability to turn off a warning light is a common feature in OBD2 scanners, but the Actron CP9690 does this particularly well.
CodeConnect Technology – This unique and clever feature is one of our favourite things about the Actron CP9690. Essentially CodeConnect is a huge database of fixes and repairs for DTCs (Diagnostic Trouble Codes) that have been verified to be effective.
So when you plug in the CP9690 and it reads an error code, the scanner automatically directs you to relevant parts of the CodeConnect database, allowing you to find repairs that you can trust with ease. Lots of customer reviews report the CodeConnect to be the feature they use the most with the scanner, and would buy it again just for the CodeConnect technology. This is popular on all Actron Scanners.
Charging System Monitor – A unique and innovative feature of the CP9690 is its Charging Systems Monitor. This unique function checks your battery charging systems, and ensures that it’s working correctly. It does this by monitoring for voltage drops, and then confirming whether or not the system is charging or not. This is surely going to reduce frustration when dealing with battery charging issues.
Freeze Frame Data- The Actron Cp9690 is able to ready and display freeze frame data. This is a snapshot of vehicle data at a particular moment in time. This is great for isolating and identifying vehicle problems.
Live Engine Data – This CP9690 elite diagnostic scanner also has a live engine data feature. The device can record, playback and graph live engine data, so that you can really get to the bottom of an engine issue. Live Engine data playback is an excellent inclusion at this price point, and is likely to prove a valuable feature for your repair shop.
Large color LCD screen – The CP9690’s large LCD screen is bright and clear. This makes reading data and graphs much easier. The color LCD screen displays all the data received from the car’s systems in an easy to use manner. The device isn’t touchscreen, and is instead operated by a few large and rugged buttons below the screen. This is more reliable than a touchscreen, and also has the added benefit that you can wear gloves whilst using the device.
Rugged Design – The fantastic color LCD screen is surrounded by a solid and well built housing. This housing is constructed out of durable plastic, with rubber sections to help with grip and extra protection. You don’t need to worry about being too careful with this device. It will withstand drops to the floor and accidental run ins with spanners etc.
ABS and Airbag Functions – This Actron scanner is also able to scan and report on ABS and Airbag problems, whilst also removing their warning lights from the dashboard. Anti lock brakes and airbag systems have a lot of common problems that the CP9690 will be able to find with ease, and then direct you into the CodeConnect database to help you find a fix for the issue. The device will read and reset ABS codes.
OBD1, OBD2 vehicle coverage – As we’ve already said, this scanner is compatible with almost all vehicles produced after 1996 (OBD2) and also a select number of OBD1 vehicles. This dual compatibility is quite impressive, and you might not get this from other similar scanners.
Actron CP9690 Trilingual Scanner – The Actron CP9690 is effectively a trilingual OBD scanner. Specifically the device can be put into either English, Spanish or French to suit yourself and your workers. Having a trilingual menu system is just another feature that makes this OBD1, OBD2 scanner a great tool. The Actron CP9690 trilingual feature is a great addition
Updates – The Actron CP9690 updates with a USB cable that can be used to keep the scanner updated with the latest firmware. Each update ensures that the CodeConnect feature is kept fully up to date, and that the scanner is working with all the latest vehicle makes. It also includes regular bug fixes to keep the device running quickly and accurately. The updates are completed via the device’s USB port.
Warranty – Actron throws in a one year warranty with the scanner so that you can buy with that extra peace of mind. The warranty covers all defects in device materials and workmanship. If you do receive a defective device, or defects become apparent after use, your CP9690 will be replaced for free, in line with the one year warranty.
Battery – The Actron CP9690 elite does not need a power supply when its plugged directly into a vehicle.If you want to use it when it’s not plugged in, the device takes 4 AAA batteries. When powered by batteries the scanner allows graphing and live data playback, and you can also send data directly to a printer if you want a hard copy. Suign batteries also means you can play back vehicle information at any time.
The final part of this Actron CP9690 review will outline this Actron CP9690 trilingual scanner’s best and key features:
Actron cp9690 Key Features
1 CodeConnect Technology
Actron’s CodeConnect technology, which makes an appearance on the CP9690, is undoubtably one its best and most impressive features. This is a database of over 26 million confirmed repairs that the Actron CP9690 can recommend when you run into an issue. Even better, the scanner reads the error codes and automatically directs you to the correct fixes for your problem. Much easier than delving into the manufacturers manual, or trawling through online forums to find a verified repair.
2 OBD1 and OBD2 Vehicle Coverage
The Actron CP9690 elite diagnostic scanner has the capability to work with both OBD1 and OBD2 compatible vehicles. All the necessary cables are included for linking up to each type of vehicle. It’s worth checking before you buy which car brands the CP9690 is compatible with. It covers nearly all OBD 2 vehicles, but not all OBD1 vehicles. OBD1 coverage includes GM, Ford and Chrysler, amongst others. This is to be expected, but we still recommend you head to Actron’s website before you buy in order to get the full specs about vehicle coverage.
3 Portable Design
The CP9690’s compact and portable design is another key feature, and sets it apart from other scanners. The device measures 4 x 11 x 15 inches, so is truly pocket sized. In addition, it weighs under 2 pounds, which only increases its portability. This portable nature makes this an ideal device to take out on call to deal with breakdowns on the go. The fantastic color screen is also great for all light levels.
4 Charging System Monitor
A special feature of the Actron CP9690 is its Charging Systems Monitor function, which runs a review of the battery charging systems, in order to find any faults or drops in voltage. You are unlikely to find this feature on a lot of similarly priced devices, so having it on the Actron CP9690 is definitely a big plus.
The one year warranty that Actron include with the device really makes this purchase worry free, and you can rest easy knowing that the device can be replaced if it shows any defects.
Overall, we highly recommend the Actron CP9690 Elite, as you can probably tell from this review. It has all the features that you’d expect from an OBD II elite scanner, and includes some fantastic additional features. The Actron CP9690 trilingual nature means the device is suitable for Spanish, French or English speaking mechanics, and the wide coverage is impressive.
The bottom line is that this code reader and OBD2 scanner is a great option for you and your workshop, especially at its very competitive price point. Check the review above for more details about the scanner and why we think it’s great.
How do I use my Actron cp9690?
The scanner includes different cables to connect to both OBD1 and OBD 2 compatible vehicles. Once you’re connected up, the device will walk you through the next steps. This OBD2 scanner is really easy to use, but if you do need extra help, definitely refer to the instruction manual.
Our review above will also tell you more about the scanner’s great features. Just scroll up to read the rest of the review.
How do I update my Actron cp9690?
Updates are completed via the device’s USB port. Simply follow the instructions on Actron’s website to download the new firmware, then plug your scanner into your computer to update. Check the review above to find out more about the scanner’s update features.