Coach & Bus Week, June 2017 - A Diagnostic Conundrum

A Diagnostic Conundrum

One of the most challenging and time consuming problems for workshops and service technicians maintaining multi-make fleets is the ever growing diversity of electrical equipment on bus and coach, in addition to the numerous OE imports, and body and chassis combinations. All of which impacts the efficacy of continuing vehicle repairs and maintenance, and the diagnosis of faults.

In response to this, over the past 20 years ACTIA has been at the forefront of designing integrated system solutions that optimise vehicle hardware, thereby reducing the need for bolt-on systems, controllers, and ECU interfaces. By combining off-board tools and services through a series of comprehensive diagnostic tools and systems, workshops are empowered to improve capabilities and reduce all-important vehicle downtime.

Comprehensive Solutions

Having developed the first electronic diagnostics in the 1980s, ACTIA’s diagnostic tools support numerous vehicle systems, such as Multi-BUS, Acti-MUX, Aladin and Kibes, and for Optare, Alexander Dennis, and Plaxton, as well as the optional support for Cummins, Allison, and Voith, thereby making them some of the most widely used, and valuable, solutions on the market.

ACTIA’s three core diagnostic tools – Multi-AID, Multi-MUX, and Multi-DIAG – provide complete solutions to meet the many needs and requirements of multi-make workshops.

By offering 2-way communication with the vehicle from an embedded system level, technicians receive a fast diagnosis of performance and faults, including body electronics, engine, transmission, brakes and suspension, thereby providing a thorough maintenance and preventative solution.


With its focus on UK manufactured buses and coaches from ADL, Optare, and Plaxton, Multi-AID offers extensive access to the Multi-BUS Multiplex electrical system to identify stored faults, view and control I/O status, adjust parameters, and download, configure and view network layouts.

In addition, optional remote access is available for ACTIA’s Multi-BUS system through its telematics platform. As if connected by cable, bus operators can monitor the electrical status of their vehicles, and even fix problems from their offices.


Multi-MUX provides similar diagnosis functions by integrating with the next generation Acti-MUX electrical system, but new developments to Multi-MUX will include the ability to obtain system software updates direct from the OEM via the internet and Cloud-based downloads.

When Multi-MUX is connected to the internet, a simple click of the ‘download update’ button on the interface’s home screen scans the Cloud for recent updates and then downloads any that are ready for installation when next connected to the appropriate vehicle. Once complete, this will allow the operators to confirm their fleet is running on the latest software at the click of a button during the routine service schedule.

The next phase for Multi-MUX will then see the development of the J1939 Scan-Tool, which will al- low new access to real-time sensor data and diagnostic trouble codes.

The Multi-MUX diagnostic tool supports a significant range of vehicles and systems, including Optare and ADL Euro 6 vehicles running the Acti-MUX system, Cummins Engines via Cummins Insight, Alison Transmissions via Alison DOC, and Voith Transmissions via Voith Diag.

Via a single communications interface and a suitable laptop or tablet PC, Multi-MUX links with the vehicle’s major systems and again removes the need for several ECU interfaces.

And if your ADL Enviro 200, 400 or 500 has the VDO Kibes system, you can also utilise an ADL Kibes bolt-on, which enables diagnostics of the electrical system through the Multi-MUX platform.


To complement Multi-AID/Multi-MUX, ACTIA designed Multi-DIAG Bus & Truck, a multi-make solution which allows more time-efficient fault diagnosis of the main vehicle system for all major truck, bus, coach and trailers.

Quickly and efficiently review the status and performance of the injection, ABS, EBS, EDS, gearbox, brakes, suspension, retarder, dashboard, airbag system, Adblue faults, and so on. With integrated technical documentation and wiring diagrams, the user is guided through diagnostic operations step-by-step.

Key service and repair functions include read / erase faults, actuator testing, parameter reading, ECU configuration, calibration, and coding for injectors and electronic valves.

The Multi-DIAG bus and truck kit comes complete with a Bluetooth vehicle communications interface with built-in CAN multiplexer, OBD diagnostic cable, pinout kit, USB cable, and a hard- wearing carry case. ACTIA also provides three DVD updates per year to ensure optimum levels of diagnostic functionality and performance, regular Multi-DIAG news, and technical helpdesk support.


ACTIA has also developed the PassThru+ XS 2G kit, which is a VCI that assists you to communicate and reprogram a vehicle’s ECU according to the J2534 and J2534-1 specifications, and is fully compliant to J2534-1 and J2534-2 and EURO 5 compatible.

PassThru+ is a beneficial, time efficient, and cost effective solution when it becomes necessary to reprogram ECUs to regulate and repair cars equipped with OBD systems. Until now, the ECUs reprogramming capabilities were integrated within OEMs specific diagnostic tools, meaning a consumer had to rely on the car manufacturer’s dealership. Any non-franchise dealership would have to invest in obtaining specialist tools (one per brand) to be able to perform the ECU reprogramming, thus placing the freelance dealership in a non-competitive position and impacting on the consumer’s freedom of dealership choice.

Combine PassThru+ XS 2G with the car manufacturer’s own software application, which can be provided via the internet or on a CD according to each manufacturer, and you have an effective communication and reprogramming solution.

Connecting by cable or wireless, PassThru+ offers parallel communication with three different protocols, custom pinout via multiplexer, adjustable programming voltage, and analogue voltage measuring.

A Helping Hand

ACTIA customers benefit from a technical Helpdesk providing telephone helpline support for their extensive range of products, with remote and even on-site support if required. The Product & Customer Support department also offers training sessions for users to make sure they are getting the most from ACTIA’s products and solutions, which again illustrates the company’s determination to help empower workshops and technicians and thereby reduce vehicle downtime.


ACTIA was founded in 1986 and, with subsidiaries in 16 countries, is a market leading specialist in electronic diagnostics and garage equipment for repairing and testing vehicles, and onboard systems for buses, coaches, trucks, and other commercial vehicles.