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VAG-COM newbie. How do I get started?

Discussion in 'VCDS (formerly VAG-COM) forum' started by SiliconS, Aug 6, 2007.

  1. SiliconS
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    SiliconS Member

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    [Aug 6, 2007]
    Hi,
    Have an intermittent ABS fault on my 1999 A6 and I want to see if I can diagnose and repair it myself. I guess I need VAG-COM to do this.

    What's the best and/or cheapest way for me to get the necessary software and cable?

    I think this page on the Ross-Tech site gives me the 'official' options but at $249 for the KEY series it's a lot of money to risk (although I appreciate it's probably the most quality option).

    People on these forums talk about $99 software and eBay cables. Could someone give me a real idiots' guide to examples of where I buy such things please? Are eBay cables any good? The Ross-Tech site seems to show two software options: the 'free' shareware option and the $249 professional version. Where's the $99 version? Perhaps I download the free version and then register for $99, but if so then will that give me the functionality I need as a home mechanic?

    Sorry if I'm being stoopid. At the moment I don't really know what I need nor where to get it.
    TIA
    Ben
    #1
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  3. SiliconS
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    SiliconS Member

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    [Aug 6, 2007]
    PS. I've read the FAQs and looked through the post history... :)

    There are lots of cables on eBay for less than £20 that claim to work with VAG-COM. Most also mention the ODB II connection - are they fully compatible with VAG-COM if they mention ODB II or will they limit the available functionality to only ODB II-type stuff?
    #2
  4. bearthebruce
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    bearthebruce Ross-Tech, LLC

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    [Aug 7, 2007]
    The eBay cables are not approved sources of compatible cables. Some may work on your car - others may not. You'll have to sort that out.

    You can download the shareware version of VAG-COM from the Ross-Tech website. The shareware versions are 311.2 and 409.1. Some aftermarket cables work with 311 and others with 409.

    Once you have the shareware working, you can buy a full license from Ross-Tech for $99 in the web store. The full license entitles you to full tech support and unlocks the parts of the shareware program that are locked. You will not be able to update the software as the later versions of the program (aka after 2004 and 409) require a dongle interface to operate.

    Current dongle interfaces from Ross-Tech run version 704.1, the latest software release. They come will full tech support - something you will not get with the eBay items.

    Hope all this helps you in your decision.
    #3
  5. icenutter
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    icenutter Member

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    [Aug 7, 2007]
    This is good advice. I got an alpha-bid cable from the states, checked it worked ok, then paid $99 for the full(er) version. Ross-tech even give you the $99 off a proper cable if you upgrade in the future.
    #4
  6. SiliconS
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    SiliconS Member

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    [Aug 8, 2007]
    Thank you both for your replies. I may take the risk with an eBay cable and the $99 registration of VAG-COM afterwards if the cable works.

    I've just realised I need a new MOT in a week so I may not have much choice now in how to solve my ABS problem, unless there's someone local who might be able to help with a quick VAG-COM diagnosis. I think I'll start a new thread on that...

    :respekt:
    #5
  7. SiliconS
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    SiliconS Member

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    [Aug 16, 2007]
    Thanks for the Alpha-Bid tip: I've just received mine and it works fine. Need to get the VAG-COM licence and then I'll be off and running. In theory.
    :salute:
    #6

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