Tips on buying Star C3 C4 C5 Xentry DAS diagnostic tool

Time to order my STAR system, but have no idea which STAR diagnostic to have, Star C3 with an HDD need to get a dedicated laptop. C5 version that runs through wi-fi and can run the Xentry software on any Windows 10 computer for about $100 more, so no need to get a dedicated laptop. However, you do have to buy the software separately, which is only like $20 or so. Question is any practical guide to follow? Anyone can help?

Let me see if I can help.
The Dell D630 is the latest PC that has a COM1 port, which is no longer available on most PC’s.
The COM1 is required for the C3 system cable.

The sdconnect C4 multiplexer (MUX) uses a LAN cable, so any PC with LAN will work.

MB sdconnect C5 uses the wifi, or LAN, and again any PC will work.
Most use Windows XP or 7 as the operating system to start the Star software.
Any VIN can be input into the Star software, and you can use as many VIN as you want.

The difficulty is getting the Star to install to perform on the PC.
There is special coding keys required, like you would use to install Microsoft operating systems, and any change to hardware requires a new code.
Guide on How to active MB SDCONNECT C4, actually this guide is placed on the desktop of Xentry software.

There is also a special communication setup for the WIS and EPC and C3/C4/C5 communication that requires setup.
This is the ‘additional setup fee’ that the sellers address with their software. I would recommend this, as it can be a daunting process for a newbie.

I run the D630 PC on a C4 MUX, and aside from the long startup (3-4 minutes), it performs just fine on the LAN cable once the PC boots up.

One last thing…I recommend getting the Star software with ‘Developer Mode’ which allows removing speed limiters and other in-depth features not available in the ‘standard’ Star software.
Any of the below C5 /C4 comes with ‘Developer Mode’.
sdconnect c5
sdconnect c4

Need a diagnostic tool for 03 BENZ SL500
It’s true that the simplest way to get it to work on my 03 SL500 would be just going with C3 that comes with the hard drive set up for the Dell. COM1 is the serial port required for the C3 MUX.
Someone confirmed: You DO NOT need a laptop with COM1 but just a USB adapter. — This is the serial adapter I have been using over 6 years and through a virtual machine with a C3 mux
tips on buying star

Personally, I’d go for the C4 MUX with LAN cable for forward compatibility.

Post a link for a c4 MUX:
You need 3 things for Star SDS, and they can be purchased together in a kit or separately:
1. MUX (multiplexer: C3, C4, C4 plus or C5 etc.) and cables
2. Software (typically sold already installed on a hard drive (HDD) with the operating system, and everything)
3. laptop/PC to run it

you can buy a kit which includes all the software pre-installed on a Dell D630-compatible hard drive, all the necessary cables, and a C3 multiplexer.

Regarding buying a laptop separately, prices can vary by condition and depending on whether it includes a good battery and or power supply (power cord and transformer). Pricing also varies by memory (I suggest 4GB, but 2GB is probably fine), and the operating system and size of the HDD. However, if you are going buying an HDD with pre-installed software as suggested in the kit above, you won’t be using the HDD or operating system that comes with the laptop anyway, you will use the HDD (and operating system) that comes with the kit, and you could probably buy a D630 cheaper without a hard drive or operating system…

Regarding getting everything set up: swapping/installing the HDD is easy (check youtube for a video on how to do it if needed). However, even though the HDD in the kit is preloaded with software, you still need to generate keys that are unique to the laptop hardware. This can be difficult and confusing (software tools to generate what is needed are typically installed on the HDD, but it still can be confusing and there will likely be no instructions). However, the seller in the link above includes TeamViewer installed on the HDD, and they will log in to the laptop and get everything set up (I suspect others will also do this). Communication with sellers in China can be difficult and time-consuming because of the time differences, but ultimately can work out just fine.

If the set up sounds too difficult (it can be confusing), take advice and buy a complete system including the laptop with everything pre-configured and set up.

One more note…the “virtualized” copies generally don’t need licensing. The license is based on the MAC address of the Ethernet port on the computer. With a virtual machine, they can set the MAC address and pre-license to that address. That can be a slower way t run SDS, but only if you run it from an external drive. If you copy the VM to the internal drive on the laptop, it runs reasonably fast. In my garage, I have a Dell D630 with 8GB, Windows 8.1 and a 256GB Samsung SSD. As a general laptop, it runs pretty well. It’s not going to be a gaming machine, but would work find for web browsing, streaming video, or using MS Office. The SDS VM is on the HD so I just fire up VMWare player to run it. It works as fast as any “live” copy of SDS I’ve ever used.

When use sdconnect C5?
For 03 BENZ SL500, you DO NOT need a C5 mux and is only needed for some newer cars with DoIP protocol like W222.

Please enjoy.

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