Review: MB STAR C3 XENTRY/DAS Windows 10
Like many others I had a long, long struggle getting my XENTRY-DAS setup working and thought I would share some of the learning to the forum.
There are many non-factory setups available with prices generally ~$600 for a C3 Multiplexer, cables, Dell 630 (built-in RS232 port), already loaded HDD. I didn’t want to spend that much and shopped on-line acquiring an external USB HDD with 05-2015 software and VMWare loaded. I acquired the Mux from NaHai Tech. Apparently these Multiplexers are Actia derivatives with the same serial number (6511100299), Part D4. I got the RS232 and OBD cables separately from other vendors as well.
I am using a Dell Inspiron 15 laptop with Windows 10.
VMWaredoes nicely run the XENTRY/DAS software on the virtual desktop through the external USB HDD. A variety of keygens are on-line, or through the forums here to get the necessary keys for WIS/EPC/Xentry. (Just having WIS is a blessing!)
Optimistically I connected it all up to the car (2004 W220.170, S430) but did not get the green “Connected” icon in the desk band. Rats. However the SDConnect Toolkit showed the Mux as “Part D” but “no connection”. So at least the computer sees the Mux.
I had read all the caveats on the forums about RS232 cable type, setting COM Port 2, setting low serial bit rate, fake RS232-RS485 modules on the serial cable, and that C3 Part D is unsupported post 09/2014.
I started troubleshooting with the USB RS232 cable and tried one with FTDI and one without. To be certain they were communicating through VMWare I connected each to the serial input of an old IBM w/ serial port and used serial bus comm software to send/receive data from each computer. So I know either cable will work (if sometimes temperamentally). My version of VMWare Workstation (10.0) requires a “Removable Device” (which can be a thumb drive if you want to import data, or the DVD drive, or USB cable) be selected from a “VM” menu drop down. Its imperative that VMWare recognize that you want to disconnect from the host and put a check-mark by the device listing after the dialog comes up asking permission. Likewise when if you switch to the host (ie Win 10 in my case) the device (i.e. USB serial cable) won’t be available unless you disconnect VMWare’s use of it.
So the problem must be in the Mux itself or a cabling issue beyond the serial cable. After much screwing around and getting nowhere I finally contacted the vendor through their AliExpress contact portal. They were quite responsive and helpful. The HDD came with TeamViewer and so one night in the wee hours I setup the system and after several hours (arg!) the Chinese tech operated Teamviewer and evidently changed some Config settings. The green comm light came on the deskband!! Eureka. Short lived. When I restarted VMWare nothing worked again. NaHai said it must be a software problem, to purchase a plug-in HDD from them. With so much time invested I decided to get another C3 Mux and RS232 cable, fromMBStarTool.com this time, the problem must be with one or the other. Shipping was quite fast actually and in a week or so I had the new setup ready. While waiting I investigated the Mux internals for bad solder joints and mapped the pinouts of the serial cable. I’ve worked with RS232 and RS485 in the past and this wiring is non-standard, to my head scratching.
With the newC3 Mux and new RS232 (but theirs comes with a converter box RS232-RS485, and it has internals) I connected it with my VMWare setup and it works! I can operate Xentry and diagnose the problems with my car – and there are several.
I tried the original Mux too and it works fine as well.
Patience pays. The supplier’s directions for setup and operation of this complex system is lacking. And it is, as everyone has commented many times, a very complex set of electronics and software!!! But anyone with an older Benz and limited budget (i.e. why not buy a new Benz if the budget isn’t limited!) will treasure the XENTRY/DAS‘s abilities and save a lot more money in the long run.