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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know there are cheap cables on ebay, free versions of the scanning software, etc.
Is Ross Tech the smartest way to go, especially for other than just scanning/ clearing codes?
thanks
 

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the deal finder!
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the ross-tech cable is the most reliable. very few reports of problems, and even those with problems have them resolved very quickly.

if you do decide to get a generic, i'd strongly recommend a serial cable with a serial capable laptop.

most generic usb vag-com cables are just serial cables with usb to serial adapters built in, which are a lot of times unreliable.

that said, it also depends on what you use it for, and how much you use it. if you only use it once in a great while, and the shareware version is sufficient, then a generic would probably suffice.
 

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The major advanatges to ross-tech
1. just works
2. if it doesn't ross-tech will go the extra mile to support it
3. USB actually works without issues (all ebay cables are serial with an adaptor)
4. Should you use it on other car, the ross-tech will protect you laptop from messed up wiring, notably a huge number of wiring harnesses for aftermarket radios that put a +12V down the K line.
Also, i ahve heard of things the generic can't do even with teh pay software.
You get what you pay for. I love mine.
 

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The major advanatges to ross-tech
1. just works
2. if it doesn't ross-tech will go the extra mile to support it
3. USB actually works without issues (all ebay cables are serial with an adaptor)
4. Should you use it on other car, the ross-tech will protect you laptop from messed up wiring, notably a huge number of wiring harnesses for aftermarket radios that put a +12V down the K line.
Also, i ahve heard of things the generic can't do even with teh pay software.
You get what you pay for. I love mine.
Seconded all of the above, plus something you mentioned only indirectly: no third-party cable will work with recent VAG-COM software. You'll be stuck with release 409 or earlier from a couple years ago. There's many important new features in the new software, plus, there's no way you can talk to the newer CAN-only cars without true Ross-Tech CAN hardware.

I have an '04 Passat, which doesn't require CAN, but I paid up a little bit and got the HEX+CAN-USB cable and I've never regretted it. I've been able to help out family and friends with new Jettas and GTIs. Even though I have one laptop I always use, I know it'll "just work" on any laptop made in the last several years and any new one I might get in the foreseeable future, without any registration hassles. Also with the HEX+CAN cables, I know you can add on the "2x2" adapter later if you need to talk to a pre-OBD2 car. I don't know if you can do that with the other Ross-Tech cables.

It just absolutely blows me away how much money some people will sink into their cars WITHOUT having the proper tool to talk to its electronic systems and controllers. The EBay cables will be hit-and-miss at best and even when you do get it to work, it'll be with crippled shareware VAG-COM or at best, a registered but old version of VAG-COM. And by the time you pay up for that, you're getting up toward the cost of a KEY-COM cable and license anyway.
 

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Ross-Tech not only has the best cables but they are the sole proprietors
of the VAG-COM software, which "is" the tool by which you can diagnose
your car... the cable is just... a cable, but at least the Ross-Tech is
very good quality. Dunno about fleabay.
 

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I made my own cables, but I am not convinced it's a worthwhile venture for most folks. Uwe Ross does indeed sell the software of choice, and his cables do work without fuss.
 

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One more thing the RT cables have a hardware key built in, whereas with copies, you need an activation code. The activation code is two part, upon each installation, a code is generated that you email to Rosstech and they email you a file or activation key back. If you reinstall due to a fault, there you have to beg for a new activation code, or buy it again.
 

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I think the question is best answered if you can answer these two questions:
1. How much money do you want/have available to spend?
2. What do you want to do with the VAG-COM?

I bought the obdtool model for ~$71 a couple years back and liked it for the code clearing and checking, plus it was cheap. Going to the dealer once would have probably cost more.

I then bought the full version of software for $99 so I could "Scan All" instead of scanning each module one at a time, plus I wanted to be able to set my doors to unlock when I pulled out the key. These additional features were worth $99 to me.

At this point I'd like to use the upgraded software (more features), plus not worry about the activation code if I transfer software to a different laptop. And if I bought a newer or another VW/Audi vehicle, then I'd probably pay the additional money for a real VAG-COM. However, the extra $250 to upgrade doesn't make sense for me right now.
 

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The VAG-COM has one thing that's helped a number of people I'm sure.
As some are chipped, we've revved the engine way past it's 6800RPM readline. In the ECU, it will REPORT the engine RPM exceeded redline and may result in voiding the warranty! Fooey!!!! VAG-COM plugged in, and DELETE message. :) If your turbo ever decides to do something which requires replacement, I will guarantee you that removing that messages is worth more than $295.
 

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The VAG-COM has one thing that's helped a number of people I'm sure.
As some are chipped, we've revved the engine way past it's 6800RPM readline. In the ECU, it will REPORT the engine RPM exceeded redline and may result in voiding the warranty! Fooey!!!! VAG-COM plugged in, and DELETE message. :) If your turbo ever decides to do something which requires replacement, I will guarantee you that removing that messages is worth more than $295.
the warranty part of that DTC is a joke by Uwe...sort of like a software easter egg.
 

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At this point I'd like to use the upgraded software (more features), plus not worry about the activation code if I transfer software to a different laptop. And if I bought a newer or another VW/Audi vehicle, then I'd probably pay the additional money for a real VAG-COM. However, the extra $250 to upgrade doesn't make sense for me right now.
btw, you can deactivate your vag-com installation and transfer the activation to a new setup at any time, without bothering ross-tech.
 

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btw, you can deactivate your vag-com installation and transfer the activation to a new setup at any time, without bothering ross-tech.
Not with a serial cable - only with USB.

Just to chime in with everyone else - go the real Ross-Tech route, you won't regret it.
 

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It just absolutely blows me away how much money some people will sink into their cars WITHOUT having the proper tool to talk to its electronic systems and controllers.
Agree 100%. You konw what's worse? When you've owned a Vag-Com since 2001, kept it updated and recabled as necessary, and you STILL don't know what the hell you're looking at or how to use this fantastic tool to its fullest.

Is there a good resource out there that explains the various applications, the easiest use of the tool? Point me in the right direction. I'm a professional putting in long office/court hours without the time to start from scratch, but I can read manuals and books!
 

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I don't regret buying a $25 ebay cable. If I ever need the extra features I'll drop $99 for the software or $300 for the whole kit and kaboodle but if all you want to do is clear codes why waste money. God knows I need all the cash i am saving for passat parts.
 

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