Foxwell NT510 Scan Tool used on BMW Mini_R58…Feedback on pros and cons

I have a BMW MINI R58 and I bought Foxwell NT510 scan tool. Given that it’s $179, I thought I’d do a good deed and maybe help somebody out.

I’m going to cover a few topics:
1. outlook and package
2. Procedure and Performance

3. Features I’ve tried (pros and cons) 

Part 1: Foxwell NT510 outlook and package

Put Foxwell NT510 scan tool on my hand, it seems well constructed. Has a rubberized surround that looks like it’ll survive a drop or thirty. The cable leading to the OBD plug is about 42″ long, which for my Coupe is enough to bring the tool just outside the door, when the door is shut. Not a problem to use inside, at either seat. There is a port on the bottom for a mini-USB cable, and a microSD slot on the left side. (It came with an unbranded 4Gb class 6 card)
NT510 includes a zippered case with an embroidered foxwell logo. It’s OK, I guess. It’s marginally padded and seems to be made of the same material my old gradeschool backpack was. Includes an elastic strap to hold the scanner and a pocket on the flap for the USB cable and the microSD reader also included. I’m nonplussed, nothing particularly special about it.

The first thing I actually did with it was plug in the included USB cable and see what happens. (I used my Windows 8.1 laptop) It powered on quickly.

foxwell nt510 scanner menu-02

Update and register: The only thing that may be of concern is there are free updates from 18 months from the time of tool registration, then, they cost. Additional brands can be purchased up to a total of 5 different brands for a retail of about $70 ea.

Compare with BMW INPA:

INPA is a diagnostic tool typically used with a laptop and a special OBD2 cable. It can be tricky to set up (I have used it on my R58 and an R50) but it’s capable of an amazing array of diagnostics and controls.
Foxwell NT510 scanner is SO MUCH EASIER to use than INPA.

Part 2: Procedure and Performance:

Plug in the NT510 scanner and it’ll turn on, bringing you to the main screen. Speaking of screen, it is not a touch-screen. Navigation is done using the soft-touch buttons, which feel like… one of those universal TV remote controls with the comically large buttons. I had no issues navigating; all button presses react quickly and there’s no lag that I can detect.
Once it’s on (again, takes maybe two seconds to turn on) you choose your model (in this case, MINI – it also does BMW, and, inexplicably, Rolls Royce) At that point, you get the VIN, either through an automatic scan (my preference), entering it manually, or “manual selection” (which I haven’t tried).

bmw mini info-03

With the scan complete, you can scan for active modules, (Auto Scan), directly select your control unit, or enter the Service.

The auto scan polls a list of options your car may or may not have, and it takes a while. I think the full manual-select list has 39 control units; my car had 12 units respond – it takes a short while to scan since each unit is polled for response and any errors.

bmw mini info-04

bmw mini info-autoscan-05

If there is a fault reported, it will tell you how many and you can read the error, such as these in my TPMS system:

foxwell-nt510-fault code-06

You can also do a “quick erase” which goes through all control units and eliminates all codes. This includes stored codes, which other scan tools won’t see.

Each control unit has its own menu:

foxwell-nt510 function menu-07

Here’s my ABS pump:

foxwell-nt510-fault code ecu info-08

Part 3 – features I’ve tried (Pros)

The procedure is the same for any control unit with an option to activate. First, you have to drill down to your component and choose “component activation”. I think it can be accessed more quickly using the manual control unit selection, but this time I used the automatic scan and selected the unit that way. Either way works, and it’s nice to be able to skip the scan if you know which unit you want to try. (a touch I appreciate)

Some control units have several layers deep worth of control, while others may have only one. For example, the ABS unit has like one option, whereas the radio has at least 6 top-level options and several levels below most of those options. It depends on the complexity of the control.

foxwell-nt510 component activation-09

I chose it because it is an example that has lots of options. Let’s poke it…

foxwell-nt510-audio system controler-10

Here’s a sample of what you’ll get when you select “Turn On Radio”:

foxwell-nt510 switch on radio-11

There’s more to cover, including CBS resets, interval control, and engine parameter trimming Also, you can reset the oil and inspection intervals with the scanner Able toreprogram some factory modules back to stock (like for module replacements) possible in the future with more updates from foxwell.


One warning, though – DON’T activate the PDC beeper. Even if your car doesn’t have PDC (parking distance control) it can still make the noises. If you activate it, it will stay on until you finally find the option to turn it off, and it will annoy you. It won’t even turn off if you remove the key from the ignition. (this could be easily patched, I think, by adding a “deactivate” option to the PDC-activate option. All that’s there now is “Activate”)

Cannot change the service intervals range from what I found. But it will reset the CBS and the other service intervals.

Wont do all the codings that one could normally do with NCS and a laptop, like disable key chime, one-touch sunroof open and close, disable bulb-out warnings