Category Archives: Diagnostics

How to improve your KTS diagnostics capabilities. Part 2: System overview and protocol reports

KTS diagnotics made ‘ESI’ from Robert Bosch.

This regular series of technical articles from Bosch focusses on how to get the best out of its ESI[tronic] 2.0 software, which is used in conjunction with the KTS range of diagnostic tools for vehicle fault diagnosis and service function procedures. Because of the vast range of features available through the software, Bosch’s technical team will be breaking things down into bite-sized chunks, starting at a beginner level and progressing through to more advanced functions. 

In the first instalment of the series we covered the importance of selecting the right vehicle within Bosch ESI[tronic] 2.0 to ensure that you get reliable information from the tool to assist with an accurate diagnosis and repair. In this month’s column we’ll show you a few more features that help to highlight how the Bosch diagnostic system does so much more than just reading and erasing the DTC error memory of an ECU.

‘System Overview’ feature 

We like to think of this great feature as a ‘complete vehicle diagnostic check’. In our opinion it is a good idea to perform this function on every vehicle that comes into the workshop for a service or repair. Firstly it could highlight any intermittent or pending electrical or mechanical problems in a system on the vehicle that the customer may not be aware of. Secondly it is a useful way to check that the vehicle has a clean bill of health when it is returned to the owner after any service or repair work is completed.

In ESI[tronic] 2.0, under the Diagnosis main tab, the System Overview can be performed by clicking on ‘System search’ F12 soft key in the ‘System Overview’ sub tab. The KTS will perform a full ‘Control unit search’ of all communicating systems fitted to the vehicle and then populate a list of ECU’s that are present and the number of fault codes (if any) in each one.

KTS diagnotics made ‘ESI’

Many newer vehicles will now support a fast CAN Bus search of all of the ECU’s on the vehicle system communication network. The results of the system overview can vary from car-to-car due to some vehicle manufacturer differences and, as such, some full diagnostic scans are very fast. Certain vehicle brands can have up to 60 ECU’s that can all be checked in less than a minute, which makes it really quick for the technician to be able to assess the diagnostic state of the vehicle. With some other cars the process may take a bit longer, as the KTS will have to check each ECU one by one for presence and fault status in each group.

When the system overview is complete you will see a list of all ECU systems that are communicating and an indication if any fault codes are present. This can be very useful when analysing a vehicle before any in-depth diagnostic testing as certain faults – such as traction control and ESP problems – can log a DTC in more than one ECU (engine and ABS).

The ‘F3’ save button can be used to store this complete list into the job report (‘Protocol’ – we’ll talk about this later). Then, if the ‘F5’ fault details button is clicked, a specific list of DTC’s and descriptions (where available) is then shown which again can be saved to the job protocol with the ‘Save’ F3 soft key. At this point the ‘Delete all faults’ F7 soft key can be used to see which trouble codes will clear and which ones are static faults at that moment.

Going back to the overview list, if required, any of the system names in the categories can be double-clicked for direct access to the ECU diagnostic functions for further investigation and testing. If the fault code is erased at this point, the overview list will refresh when you return to it, meaning that you can save a ‘before’ and ‘after’ status of the job that you’re working on to show to the customer.

Using the protocol report (described in the next section), it is very simple to use the system overview to produce a professional and accurate vehicle report which can be used to justify any repairs that have been carried out in the workshop to the vehicle owner.

‘Protocols’ feature

This is another great feature in Bosch ESI[tronic] 2.0. Whilst using the diagnostic features of the KTS, if you see the ‘Save’ or ‘Store’ (F2 or F4 soft keys) along the bottom, any data on the screen at that time will be added to the job protocol. This report will show the whole process followed by the technician during any diagnostic fault finding work.

This could include a whole host of information, including the ECU system names and identification details, the number of trouble codes stored and descriptions, which trouble shooting (SIS) repair instructions have been followed and the results of any direct multimeter measurements made from the test plan. Other data includes the erase error memory function, actual value parameters in numerical format or time profile (this consists of a screen shot of the AV graphing) and also which actuators, function tests, adjustments/settings or special functions were performed.

KTS diagnotics made ‘ESI’

The amount of information that is saved in the protocol can be defined to suit your preference under ‘User settings’ in the main menu, along with your garage details that will appear on the report. One of these features is an operation time stamp which could be useful if you’re justifying a lengthy repair process, or it can be turned off, if not needed.

KTS diagnotics made ‘ESI’

Under ‘Main menu’, ‘Protocols’ the list of stored reports can be accessed and, by clicking on ‘edit’ the customer details, job number, technician’s name and vehicle info can be added, along with any advisory comments to be reported to the customer.

KTS diagnotics made ‘ESI’

KTS diagnotics made ‘ESI’

At any point the protocol file can be previewed and saved in .pdf format to another folder or to be printed. The printed protocol report looks extremely smart (especially if printed in colour) and is great to attach to the invoice of a job that involved any diagnostic interaction so that the customer can see what was found and subsequently repaired (if necessary) to solve the problem.

Every time a different vehicle is selected and some information is saved a new protocol report will be generated with the relevant details. This is then added to the list in the main menu. A new feature in ESI[tronic] 2.0 is that you can now continue saving data to a previous protocol in the ‘last 30 vehicles’ list if you return to an unfinished job after working on other vehicles.

KTS diagnotics made ‘ESI’

We hope that these short explanations help you with these great Bosch ESI 2.0 features and if you’re not using them already, what are you waiting for?


How to improve your KTS diagnostics capabilities. Part 3: Trouble-shooting and SIS repair instructions

KTS diagnotics made ‘ESI’ from Robert Bosch.

This regular series of technical articles from Bosch focusses on how to get the best out of its ESI[tronic] 2.0 software, which is used in conjunction with the KTS range of diagnostic tools for vehicle fault diagnosis and service function procedures. Because of the vast range of features available through the software, Bosch’s technical team will be breaking things down into bite-sized chunks, starting at a beginner level and progressing through to more advanced functions.

In last month’s column we covered System Overview and the excellent Protocol report features in Bosch ESI 2.0, which allow you to not only check the complete diagnostic state of a vehicle but also to produce a professional report of all the relevant functions and data to present to the customer. This time around we’ll go through the Service Information System (SIS) and ‘Trouble-shooting’ functions of the tool, which are the ‘crown jewels’ of ESI 2.0 and Bosch automotive diagnostics. We‘ll show you how to get the best results from SIS using the Bosch KTS to help you to understand automotive components and systems and, in many cases, fix them first time.

The SIS trouble-shooting function of ESI 2.0 consists of both a database with extensive Bosch technical content and a direct interface to the multi-meter and diagnostic tester within the KTS unit. By using this system correctly it will reliably guide you, step-by-step, from detecting the symptoms of a problem and any associated diagnostic trouble codes, to the cause of the fault and then on to the rectification of the problem on the vehicle. In most cases all of the information required for fault finding, maintenance and routine service tasks is available on the tool in the hands of the technician.


The amount of data available in ESI 2.0 is dependent upon the subscription level held by the user. The two main ESI subscription types for car and LCV applications are the ‘Diagnostics package’ which has the full features of Serial Diagnosis (SD) and Service Information System (SIS) trouble-shooting.

You then have the ‘Master package’ which also comes with vast amounts of inspection and maintenance data, comfort systems circuit diagrams and technical service bulletins.

On the vehicle, when you read the error memory of an ECU and there are fault codes present you will see the DTC number, description and the status of the fault code – for example, whether it is static or sporadic and often applicable freeze frame data as well. The ‘Instructions’ F8 soft key appears at the bottom centre of the screen when there is a trouble-shooting guided repair instruction available for that DTC and system.

FEB 2012 Apec HPT Ed

Clicking ‘Instructions’ takes you straight into the trouble-shooting tab and the guided fault finding and repair instructions for all of the data that Bosch has associated to that particular fault code. The first page of the guided help info gives you a list of other possible related fault codes and a ‘Show additional information’ link at the top of the page guides you to the functional description of the component to be tested – whether it’s a sensor or an actuator.


FEB 2012 Apec HPT Ed


This could be several pages long and is really useful if you need to know what type that particular part is or how it works and what it is responsible for. This type of information can help you to better understand the system you’re working on and demonstrates the benefits of ESI 2.0.

When you’ve reached the end of a chapter a confirmation pop-up box appears, asking if this section has been processed. Clicking “Yes” returns you to the original page and a green tick is put through the ‘Functional description’ link button.

This helps you to keep track of the progress of the job, especially if you’re interrupted at any point in the process. Also the confirmation adds an entry into the protocol log (if configured) that we covered in the last issue. Wherever any soft key icon buttons are shown in the instructions you can hover your cursor over the button for a ‘tool tip’, to confirm what that button will do.

Clicking ‘Continue F12’ will take you to the next page which usually gives you a picture or a diagram of the wiring connector for the component in question and a test plan to check the power supply, ground connection and signal wires.


The required pin assignments and test conditions will be clearly shown as well as the expected value range if all is well. The ‘Read measured value’ button can be pressed to ‘pop up’ the multi-meter function of the KTS 540 or 570 for a real time measurement.


The detailed instructions will guide you through the process of a complete test plan by checking the relevant values that are critical to successful operation of that component or circuit. Oscilloscope analysis may be necessary, in which case the test connection set-up and correct waveform profile will be shown on the screen.



If by this time you’ve not managed to pinpoint the problem and find the cause of the fault, the instructions will also contain a list of other possible defects to be checked. This whole process should help you through the job from beginning to end and obtain the correct diagnosis of a fault on the vehicle which should lead to a first-time fix.

The usefulness and capabilities of the Bosch ESI 2.0 trouble-shooting instructions extend much further than this, in fact we’ve only just scratched the surface!

ECU selection

You don’t have to enter the guided help files from the instructions button of a fault code to find the information. Maybe the vehicle has a problem and there are no DTCs stored. In this case you can click straight onto the main trouble-shooting tab along the top of the screen and select an ECU from the system group selection list for which you want to find out information. This data can also be accessed if the car isn’t present but you want to research the system.

The menus of the trouble-shooting repair instructions generally follow the same format and layout, whichever vehicle or system you’re looking at. Again, this brings familiarity to the use of the tool and helps you to work smarter and more efficiently by finding the right information fast when fault-finding. A latest feature on the ESI 2.0 is a direct link from the comfort system circuit diagram schematics to the SIS powertrain and chassis circuit diagrams. Previously, the two sources of circuit diagrams for the vehicle were in different locations. Now with the 2015/3 software update customers who subscribe to ‘Master package’ will be able to view and access a complete list of  schematics included in ESI 2.0 within a single list in the ‘Circuit diagrams’ tab, making the system easier to navigate.


The Bosch trouble-shooting information covers many topics for each system including: safety measures, special tools, descriptions, guided trouble-shooting, CAS[Plus] interface links to the serial diagnostic functions of KTS, wiring diagrams, ECU connector pin assignments, component position, removal and installation instructions and diagrams, to name but a few. We suggest, if you haven’t experienced Bosch ESI 2.0 already, that you have a look yourself. You might be surprised!