Diagnostic Software for VW-Audi Group Cars

881 Sumneytown Pike, Lansdale PA 19446, USA

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Frequently Asked Questions -- Page 4

4.1  Why and How should I test VCDS prior to Activating it?

All of our Current Interfaces that have built-in Activation for VCDS, are fully Registered and Activated once you test them on a car. With these Interfaces, the license is built in, you do not have to Activate VCDS, but obviously you'll want to test VCDS when you get it to make sure everything works properly.

For our older Interfaces without built-in Activation, or for 3rd party Interfaces used with VCDS-Lite:

As per our Guarantee no refunds will be issued once you have received an Activation File from us. Therefore, it is in your best interest to test VCDS-Lite with your PC and your vehicle prior to requesting an Activation. First, Download and install VCDS-Lite on your PC. Find your vehicle on the Applications Page to see which control modules are in your car.  Connect your Interface to your car's Diagnostic Port and to your PC.  Turn the ignition ON (turn the key so the Instrument Cluster lights up, but do not start the car -OR- start the car). Go into the Options screen, select the correct port, and click the TEST button.  Ensure that VCDS-Lite finds your interface, you should see a message that says Interface Found. Now click SAVE.  Select one of your car's Control Modules (note: your car will not have all the Control Modules listed in VCDS-Lite, only the ones on your Applications Page).  After VCDS-Lite has Connected, check Fault Codes. Repeat the process for each of your car's Control Modules. If you encounter problems, please try These Suggestions first. If you still have problems, you will need to contact your hardware supplier for startup assistance.

4.2  Can I use VCDS while I am driving?

We strongly recommend against reading data while driving -- that would be an accident waiting to happen. Almost everything that changes while you drive can be LOGGED to a .CSV file, which you can analyze to your heart's content using VC-Scope or Excel (or a number of other programs) preferably while the vehicle is not in motion..:-)

If you find it necessary to read data while the vehicle is in motion, use a second person -- one to drive, one to look at the PC. This second person should sit in the back seat, because a laptop used in the front passenger's seat becomes potentially lethal if an airbag drives it back into the passenger's head or torso in case of an accident.

4.3  What is "The Aftermarket Radio Problem"?

Please read The Aftermarket Radio Page.

4.4  How do I update my existing VCDS software to the newest version?

You should be able to simply Download and install the latest release of VCDS in your PC. Make sure you have exited out of VCDS before you install the new version. All of our Current Interfaces that have built-in Activation, so the new version should be fully Registered and Activated once you test on a car. If you'd like to be notified when a new version of VCDS becomes available, VCDS has an update function built-in on the Options screen. You can also sign up for our Announcements List.

If you purchase a genuine Ross-Tech Interface directly from us, or from one of our Distributors, you are entitled to free software updates for at least one year from date of purchase. No updates are available for our older Interfaces without built-in Activation, or for 3rd party Interfaces. For these, you are limited to using VCDS-Lite.

4.5  What is the purpose of the "OBD-II" button? Why would I want to press it?

See the Online Demo/Manual for more information about using the Generic OBD-2 functions in VCDS.

In VCDS-Lite, you can use this test to determine whether a car is ISO/OBD-II compatible, i.e. whether it "speaks" the OBD-II protocols, if the car uses the ISO-9141 hardware layer for OBD-II. This has nothing to do with the VAG protocol that VW uses, and the results of this test have nothing to do with VCDS-Lite working with any VW/Audi/SEAT/Skoda vehicle. No VW or Audi products prior to model year 1996 are OBD-II compliant! Please note that most vehicles sold outside of the US are NOT OBD-II compatible, and even some US-market TDI's are not OBD-II compatible.

4.6  How do I print screens or data in VCDS?

On several VCDS screens (such as Fault Codes and AutoScan), there is a [ Print ] button that will send data to your default Windows printer. On some screens (such as Measuring Blocks) there is an [ Add to Log ] button that will save an instantaneous snapshot of data to a text file, which can then be printed using Notepad or equivalent. You can save Logged data to and print using a spreadsheet program.  Finally, to print complete images of any screen, we highly recommend the HardCopy (freeware) program. 

4.7  What are Label Files?

Please read The Label Files Page.

4.8  How can I speed up my sample rate in VCDS?

The sample rate for viewing and logging data is largely determined by each controller in the car. There are a few things you can do to speed up the rate for a given controller. First, logging one group at a time, rather than two or three, will help greatly. In order  to get the highest sample rate possible go to the Options screen and set Blk Int to 25 and Char Int to 0. Note, however, that this may cause unreliable communications with some controllers. Changing KP2 time to a smaller value speeds up the sample rate in Measuring Blocks on control modules that use the KWP-2000 protocols. Try setting it to 0. If any of these adjustments cause unreliable communications, change them back closer to the defaults. If in doubt, use the Restore Defaults button!

In Engine controllers using KWP-2000, there is a [Turbo] button when using a HEX interface.. This can significantly speed up sampling, in some cases to over 30 samples per second. See the Measuring Blocks page for more information. In Engine controllers using UDS, there is a "Group UDS requests" checkbox that can improve sample rates. See the Advanced Measuring Values page for more information.

4.9  What kinds of cool stuff can I do with VCDS?

See our Car Info & Procedures Page You can look up Vehicle Specific Application Charts for your car to see which control modules exist and can communicate with VCDS-Lite. Additionally, there are some very useful links to pages about Key Matching, Immobilizers, as well as some excellent spreadsheets submitted by our customers.

4.10  How do I set up my USB Interface?

To use one of our USB Interfaces, you'll need to download and install the latest version VCDS and allow USB drivers to install. If you encounter difficulty, you should  follow the instructions on the USB driver installation page.

4.11  Does Ross-Tech make diagnostic software for other makes of cars?

We do not currently have plans to develop manufacturer-specific software for any other makes of cars, but of course, all plans are subject to change.   Current versions of VCDS can be used as a generic OBD-II scanner on many other makes of cars.  Click here for more info. 

Porsche:   Although Porsche SE and Volkswagen AG have taken steps to merge, Porsche still does diagnostics quite differently than VW so VCDS does not do OEM diagnostics on most Porsche systems.   However, we've heard good things about Durametric's Diagnostic Tool for Porsche.

4.12  Can I use VCDS to retrieve my Radio Code to get it out of "SAFE" mode?

No, You'll need to get the radio code from your dealer (it should also be on a card that came with your car).  Neither VCDS nor the factory tool can retrieve the radio's security code for you. (On some late model cars the factory may be required, but it does not retrieve the code from the car, it gets it from a server belonging to VW/Audi).   In many cases (particularly MY 2000 and newer cars), the radio will be in SAFE mode after disconnecting the battery, but it will automatically exit that mode after a period of time, as long as it is still installed in the same vehicle.

4.13  Does VCDS work with cars that require direct CAN access for diagnostics?

Yes!  We have integrated CAN compatibility into VCDS, but a CAN-Bus interface is required..  The  HEX-COM+CAN and HEX-USB+CAN interfaces are fully compatible with the new latest cars which require a direct CAN connection as well as with the older k-line vehicles. The Mk5 based vehicles like the Rabbit and Jetta can use a lower priced Micro-CAN as well.  Check out our CAN-Bus page for more information. VCDS-Lite does not work with CAN-Bus diagnostics.

4.14  Can I use VCDS to make my windows roll up and down using my keyfob remote?

Many Audi vehicles can be recoded to allow this function, such as this example.  Unfortunately, most older VW models do not have the same capability. In order to make your windows roll up and down using your remote in most older VW models, you'll need to add extra hardware such as the Remote Window Controller from Alientech. The Mk5 based vehicles such as the latest Rabbit/Jetta/GTI and B6 Passat can use these instructions.

4.15  How do I obtain an SKC for Immobilizer and Key-Matching functions?

We do not know of any way to retrieve an SKC for VW/Audi/SEAT/Skoda vehicles. Prior to 2002, some vehicles were delivered with a scratch-off panel on a plastic tag that contained the 4 digit PIN code. Starting in 2002, dealerships implemented the WIN2 system to provide SKC's to their technicians and customers. Starting April 1, 2005, VW/Audi dealerships switched to the new GEKO system, whereby their factory scan tools dial up the factory while connected to a car. Under this system, the technician no longer sees the SKC at all and you will need to bring your vehicle into the dealer to have Immobilizer work performed. VCDS does not interact with the GEKO system. Check out our Immobilizer Page for more information and procedures.

4.16  How do I use my Ross-Tech interface with software made by other companies?

Ross-Tech only supports and guarantees the use of our hardware with our software and vice-versa so do NOT contact Ross-Tech for help with what follows. You may find other software that claims to work through our hardware such as GIAC Flashloader, Revo Technik Lemmiwinks,  Unitronic UniSettings, or Webasto ThermoTest. If you encounter difficulty using a HEX interface with one of these programs, try going into the Options screen in VCDS, click Test, uncheck "Boot in Intelligent Mode", then click Test again. Doing that should put the interface into "dumb" mode so it acts as a normal ISO-9141-2 interface. Beyond that, you are on your own. :-)



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