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This DIY describes how to use the Hexcode GS-911 tool for basic scheduled service tasks.
The goals of this walkthrough are to allow you to use the GS-911 to:
- Read any pre-existing fault codes from the various computers in your bike
- Erase from the bike's memory any codes which you feel you have addressed adequately
- Freeze the idle throttle controllers for use during a throttle body sync
- Reset the service date and mileage display to the next appropriate value.
The GS-911 has many fairly sophisticated capabilities beyond this short list of tasks, many of which are specific to certain models in the BMW lineup. What I'm focusing on in this walkthrough is the hexhead standard service procedures, and in particular the R1200RT, because it's the only model I'm personally qualified to comment on. However, the procedures shown here will be essentially identical for any hexhead bike, including the R1200 GS, GSA, R, and so forth, and likely for most other BMWs as well, with only minor modification. For a complete list of the supported models across all BMW motorcycle series, refer to Hexcode's GS-911 home page.
Before any further discussion of the GS-911 begins, I want to elaborate on the standard disclaimer above: I am not an employee of Hexcode (the manufacturers of the GS-911), and I have no affiliation with them, any of their distributors, employees, or other interested parties whatsoever. This DIY was written at the behest of the BMW MOA forum moderators, for no other reason I can ascertain other than the fact that I happen to own and use one, and that I was willing to share my own experience with the device for others to benefit from.
I am also a computer jockey by trade. In the case of the GS-911, unlike most ordinary tools, but very much like most computers, the exact purpose and capabilities of the tool are not immediately self evident by looking at it, and most of its magic occurs at the level of software rather than hardware. As a result, there appears to be a fair amount of confusion in the GS-911 owner's forums, as to exactly what the device is, and is not, capable of. Therefore, I believe it will be useful to begin with a brief and concise list of what this device will and won't let you do.
Based on my own experiences, here's what the GS-911 is:
- A tool that allows you to read fault codes stored within the memory of the various computers built into your bike.
- It must be used in combination with a proprietary software application running on a laptop PC or certain mobile phones. The GS-911 has no built in display and is therefore not useful in a "standalone" mode. The software will generally display the meaning of those codes in fairly intelligible English, but any interpretation of the cause of the fault is up to the user. This is an important point that's worth re-reading. Also see item 1 in the next list below.
- It also allows you to erase existing fault codes from the bike computers' memory. Once gone, they're gone forever. However, if the condition reoccurs, the fault code will show up again the next time the codes are read.
- It can display realtime values reported from the bike's engine computer based on the condition of the engine, and various switches and sensors. For example, if your bike refuses to start because the sidestand switch is stuck, this display is helpful in verifying that sort of condition.
- It can perform some miscellaneous but important tasks associated with routine service procedures, such as resetting the date and/or mileage at which the service warnings will next appear on your bike's display.
- New features are being added to the software by the manufacturer all the time, and the updates have generally been free to existing owners.
What the GS-911 is not:
- A service technician. As discussed above, the GS-911 is only reading codes stored in your bike's computers, which they have generated on their own based on the conditions that they have detected at some point in the past. What those fault codes mean, and what their actual underlying cause is, is up to you to determine. (Or your qualified BMW dealer's technicians). Some codes are self-explanatory, as you'll see in this walkthrough. Some may not be. If in doubt, you should clearly consult with qualified help.
- A bike-computer programmer. It is very frequently asked whether the GS-911 is capable of performing the coding tasks necessary to add new equipment to a bike, or replace defective electronic equipment, such as Alarm systems, instrument clusters, failed ZFE or BMS-K computer units, tire pressure sensors, and so forth. As of this writing, these devices have to be properly "introduced" to the other computers on your bike using BMW's own diagnostic computers and software before they will function, and these are available only to the dealer network. The developers of the GS-911 have stated fairly clearly that these tasks are beyond the realm of uses this device is designed for.