Nexiq has also changed the contents of the package. The USB Link 2 no longer comes with any installation media, but this actually makes sense. Since Nexiq appears to update drivers every 60 days or so, the CDs that used to come with the original unit were often outdated by the time the customer received the unit. To force the customer to download the latest versions from their website isn’t a horrible thing, and it also makes sure that customers will always install the most recent version.
Beyond the USB port redesign, the shape is obviously different as well. The new USB Link 2 has the black plastic grabbers on the side, and is a more “boxy” shape that all the vehicle interfaces seem to be going towards. The adapter also has indicator lights for power, traffic, Bluetooth, and faults.
Perhaps the largest design change is where the cables attach to the Heavy Duty Diagnostic Tool USB Link 2. The original USB Link used a standard 15-pin connector, and life was good. There were a ton of aftermarket cables available, all of which sold for under $40. This included replacement 6/9 pin cables, OBDII cables, Volvo 8-pin & 14-pin, Cummins 3-pin, and many more. With the new adapter, Nexiq has changed to a 26-pin connector as shown below. While we can’t find a reason for this on the Nexiq website, we can only assume that this is to handle the new CAN2 protocol standard. Since there are no aftermarket cables available for this, it means the “extra” cables got very expensive — Over $200 for most of them! Until there is a good aftermarket solution, there won’t be much that can be done.
Since there is no media included with the NEXIQ-2 USB Link, you will need to download it from Nexiq’s website. As of this posting, the most current version is v1.0.16. This download will also install the most recent version of Device Tester, so that you are able to troubleshoot connection problems. Remember: The adapter does not come with any diagnostic software. All of that must be purchased separately.