Introduction: Introduction to the Haynes PFCR (Professional Fault Code Reader)

About: I'm not a professional. I try to learn as I do, and writing up my experiences seems to be useful to myself and hopefully to others as well.

Portions of this text are taken from my previous instructable, here. I figured I would elaborate on what I have already said regarding this specific device. I can only give information on what I have though.

The Haynes PFCR (Professional fault code reader) was a consumer fault code reader for early onboard diagnostic featured cars, prior to the introduction of OBD2. The reader was introduced in the late 90s and a starter kit cost just over £400.

This device consists of a handheld unit with buttons and a screen (figure 1). In the back of this unit is a cartridge slot (figure 2 & 3) into which are inserted "pods" (figure 4) which contain the software to read the codes of various makes and models of car. There is also an 8-pin mini-DIN socket on the top of the unit (figures 5 & 6) into which plugs the desired cable for the model car under test.

Power is provided by the diagnostic port itself or battery crocodile cables (connected to the specific cable via banana plugs), depending on the model under test. Various views of the PFCR are shown in the figures.

Haynes pods

Each manufacturer had a pod that would be purchased separately (along with the correct cables and manual pages) which would fit into the PFCR to allow it to read codes for that particular manufacturer's vehicles. Along with manufacturer specific pods, there were available "Mega Pods" with multiple manufacturer's software on them. Without a pod the device will not switch on.

Using the PFCR

These instructions are general and will likely vary for the specific car under test. Generally it is safe to follow the guidance given by the device and manual (if available).

  1. Insert the correct Pod into the back of the PFCR.
  2. Ensure the ignition is off.
  3. Connect the test cable to the PFCR and to the DLC connector, remembering to connect the battery leads if necessary.
    • Once power is received by the PFCR it will power on.
  4. Using the up (↖) and down (↘) arrows navigate through the Pod and software version information.
  5. If using a pod with more than one manufacturer, scroll through the manufacturer list to the desired manufacturer.
    • Press the tick mark (✓) once the desired manufacturer is selected.
  6. Select the engine management type or system type and press the tick mark (✓).
    • You may also be asked to select the type of cable connected. Do so and press tick (✓).
  7. The PFCR now displays "Turn Ignition On". Turn the ignition on but do not start the engine.
    • If the car under test has a keypad or other non-key based immobiliser, this must be disabled before any codes can be read. Once this is done press the tick mark (✓).
  8. Select the function required and press the tick mark (✓).
    1. Commonly available functions include:
      1. Read faults.
        1. Wait for the PFCR to read the faults. If the car is a flash code only car there will be quite a wait, especially if there are many codes. The PFCR will display "Searching..." and tick as it does so. It will then show "Reading faults" and continue to tick.
        2. The PFCR will then display "X Faults Found", press the tick mark (✓).
        3. If there are faults then select "1. View Faults" and press the tick mark (✓).
        4. If there are no faults press the (X) and then confirm the "Are you sure" by pressing the tick mark (✓). Turn off the ignition and disconnect the PFCR or continue to other functions if desired.
        5. If there are faults pressing (X) will allow you to return to the function menu or delete the codes.
      2. ECU type.
        1. The display will show the type and details of the computer. Press (X) to go back to the function menu.
      3. Reading live data.
        1. Using the up (↖) and down (↘) arrows navigate through the various parameters and available components.
        2. Press (X) to return to the function menu.
      4. Testing actuators
        1. Using the up (↖) and down (↘) arrows navigate through the various actuators.
        2. Press the tick mark (✓) to select the desired actuator test. Press any key to abort the test.
        3. The test will run for several seconds and the actuator can be heard operating if you get close enough.
        4. Press (X) to return to the function menu.
      5. Printing (if a printer is connected).
        1. Live data parameters will be sent to the printer.
        2. Press (X) to return to the function menu.

To exit the system, press (X) and then confirm by pressing the tick mark (✓).

Turn off the ignition and disconnect the PFCR.

Online manual

A full manual for the PFCR is available for download here. Including vehicle specific information. Bear in mind, this may have subtle differences depending on the age of your own unit and pods available.

Step 1: Haynes PFCR Harness Diagrams, Cable Layouts and Test Sockets

In this section I will show the connectors and (measured) wiring diagrams for Haynes PFCR cables. These were found using a simple multimeter test between pins.

The cables here are the only ones I have, there are others available for these manufacturers and for other manufacturers, but I do not have these cables.

These cables are quite simply assembled and could be made by someone in need without too much trouble. However it should be noted that care must be taken and an understanding of what you are doing is required to prevent damage.

Figure 1 shows the PFCR end of the cable, this is a standard 8-pin mini-DIN plug.

Peugeot/Citroen (PSA) 2-pin connector

Figure 2 and 3 show the car end of the cable and figure 4 shows the wiring diagram for the cable.

Rover 3-pin connector

Figure 5 and 6 show the car end of the cable and figure 7 shows the wiring diagram for the cable.

Ford 3 and 5-pin connectors

Figure 8 - 10 show the car end of the cable and figure 11 shows the wiring diagram for the cable.

Vauxhall/Opel 10-pin connector

Figure 12 and 13 show the car end of the cable and figure 14 shows the wiring diagram for the cable.

Step 2: Inside the Haynes PFCR and Pods

I am not an electronics specialist so can't provide more than the most rudimentary commentary on the design of the Haynes PFCR. Consequently, these pictures are only for those who may be interested in what is found in these units. If anyone wants more detailed pictures I can provide them or any information on request. Bear in mind I am not on here very often, so a reply may take some time.

Haynes PFCR unit

The main unit of the Haynes PFCR appears to serve mainly to interpret the code in the pods and signals from the car. As well as allow the user to choose options, run tests, display the results of tests and fault code reading.

A Hitachi HD64F3334 microcontroller is the brains of the unit.

Figures 1 to 6 show the back and front of three versions (issue 2 to 4) of PFCR unit.

Haynes PFCR pods

I have 2 different types of pod hardware.

The first (figures 7 & 8) is the simplest version and is used with the Citroen/Peugeot, Vauxhall, Rover and Ford pods. This contains only one memory chip and three logic chips.

The second (figures 9 & 10) is a more complicated version which seems limited to Megapod use. This contains a location for more than one chip holder however I only have one chip in the megapod 1 and 2. There is also a couple of CMOS chips which I assume are for logic purposes.

The chips used for storage appear to be AMD AM29F040, which have 4 Mbits of storage.

The pods seem to contain all of the operating software with the device itself only used for processing, user input and displaying information. This fits with their advertising which says the device is future proofed due to the pod system, this is also how other fault readers and scan tools behave.

Step 3: Thanks

Thanks for your attention and I hope this was useful for you. If you have any questions then please ask, I don't come here very often, but I will answer if I can when I can.

The figures are scans of a Haynes brochure for your information.

All the best and take care.