Chrysler Motors DRB II Diagnostic Unit Cartridges Cords Case | eBay
This is an interesting DRB II on eBay right now. Does anyone know what the Chrysler development cartridge is? It looks like a DRB based rom programmer of some sort. Any comments? It looks like it has a rom chip as well, it'd be interesting to know whats on it.
Furthermore there is a cartridge marked 98 Ultra V1.2 7-24-97 $CB56 53-200-9243. With a date of 97, I'd be interested to see what that cartridge does.
Lastly, it looks as if a DRB II based OBD-II connector is included with this. That seems illogical since I don't think the DRB-II was designed for anything OBD-II.
Any comments on what is in this auction?
I took a look at it.
That is a DRB-II Super Cartridge 1983 - 1993 (V7.0)
I could always be mistaken because its blurred.. but I have the version 4.0, 5.0, 6.0 Cartridges and [1983 - 1994 Super Cartridge V8.0] and it doesn't look like any of those. The closest in appearance is the 6.0 Cartridge.. but I think that picture has "red stripes" and that only appears on the V7.0 Super Cartridge.
The Adapter included is for the Jeep/Eagle which had a different communications system. The Adapter bridges the differences so that the DRB-II can be used with a Jeep/Eagle vehicle from that era.
As far as I know that Adapter will not connect to a Chrysler Motors Corporation vehicle with the mandatory ODB-II connector (the SBEC generation).
The DRB-II was originally designed to connect to the SMEC which was the previous generation simpler computer which had two sides to its motherboard. One side had the Ignition circuitry for driving the spark coil, the other side had the sensor/relay computer. When they combined them in one package they called it the SMEC. The next generation they put all the parts on a single motherboard and called it the SBEC. "Single Board Electronic Controller" and that was the first computer that had to support the ODB-II connector and standards as layed out by the California Air Board (CARB) which more or less created the ODB-II standard.
When ODB-II became mandatory on all vehicles designed in 1994 and delivered after 1996, Chrysler had to come up with a new adapter so that they could continue using the DRB-II with vehicles.. one that cost less than a whole new DRB-II.. so they invented the 16-Way Adapter. They even patented it. And you can find most of the circuitry and parts list in the US Patent for the device.
The Jeep/Eagle and the Mitsubishi "adapters" were created when Chrysler bought, merged or sold Jeep/Eagle, Mitsubishi vehicles. Those vehicles didn't have as sophisticated controllers.. but so they could have one DRB-II to support them all. Chrysler created new "Adapters" so you could plug into their "pre-ODB-II" communications lines and get the equivalent of pulling their "Codes". It was apparently a really great cost saver for the shops.. they bought one expensive device and bought a cheaper adapter and upgraded cartridge to support more and more vehicles.
The "Big" difference for Chrysler vehicles though was even if it "had to" plug into an ODB-II connector through the 16-way adapter.. the DRB-II knew the "Secret commands" for making it do things the ODB-II standard did not require, like switch on and off relays or solenoids for performing special maintenance procedures. But the DRB-II was specific to Chrysler Motor Corporation vehicles.. so unlike the OTC-4000 or Matco or other diagnostic tools.. it did not support Ford, GMC and other makers vehicles.. only Chrysler vehicles.. or those Chrysler made special adapters for.
I don't know if we should comment on going prices for a DRB-II these days but 300-400 seems about the going rate as of 5/2015. The DRB-III is the next generation and will support older vehicles with the right PCMCIA card and cables to connect to them. Instead of Cartridges (which was so 1980's style) the DRB-III used PCMCIA cards (which was so 1990's style) for computers. The going rate for a DRB-III is about ten times as much as the DRB-II these days. The "key" was these things had to be rugged for "shops" where things got kicked, stomped on, tugged, pulled thrown against a wall, dropped.. you get the picture.. no hard drives or floppies allowed.. no moving parts inside. That they have lasted for 26 years tells you something.. they could have sent these things to Mars and they'd still be alive and kicking.
Something that's really important to understand is the Cables for a DRB-II and DRB-III were considered "consumables" or "throw away" when they were damaged or suspect. They got "mangled" quite a bit in the shop and tore apart under use. So they are a lot "rarer" than you might think. People just didn't keep them and they haven't shown up too often on eBay since I've been looking (roughly six months).
They don't make the Cables for the DRB-II any more.
Books, guides and user manuals are increasingly hard to come by, but generally if you got a good cable you can plug it in and read the screen and figure it out. Chrysler released special "diagnostic" manuals for specific vehicles .. for "powertrain" "body" "transmission" for this vehicle or that "Neon", "Spirit", "Ram Truck" ect.. and in those manuals you would find directions for "using the DRB-II" in a specific way.
There are a couple very generic thin, short manuals just on the DRB-II but they are only 15 pages or so, or maybe 50 pages long. They are very old now and just not what you'd expect from a modern computer manual.
After acquiring a couple I discovered the "manuals" that are useful are not the ones about the DRB-II, but the ones about your vehicle and the powertrain (aka "the engine") or about the transmission or about the body or the abs. But it has to be specifically for your vehicle and your year of vehicle.. any other year.. any other vehicle just won't apply in your situation.
I should also mention that "make your own" Cables is what a lot of people are doing these days. OTC who made the DRB-II also made their own diagnostic box that looks very similar called the OTC-2000, OTC-4000, OTC-4000E and OTC-4000 Enhanced. These support the Chrysler vehicles as well as Ford and GMC vehicles from way back then (before ODB-II connectors became "mandatory"). OTC also made cables for their boxes and of necessity those cables have the same connectors for connecting to the engine, transmission, ect... you can still find OTC cables on eBay and they are still available on Amazon. But beware! Those cables are meant to connect to the OTC devices not the DRB-II so you either have to make your own "adapter" which connects to the DRB-II 8-pin DIN connector or build one from scratch (not recommended). The OTC cables and connectors brand new can be expensive from Amazon (think up to 100.00 for a long one) but the same cables can be found on eBay for a lot less from time to time (as low as 25.00).
Pin "outs" for each of the connectors for the DRB-II are not easy to come by, but are generally correct. Searching images.google.com for DRB-II will usually find them.
I made an engine cable and powered up my DRB-II but have not attached it to an engine yet.. later I got very lucky and got an actual engine cable in pretty good condition... I plan to test it and document its connections when I get the chance.