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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm trying to diagnose a problem connecting with VCDS, which I use to run fault scans and fuel trims every couple of months just to stay on top of things. I'm wondering if anyone else has had a similar set of issues and thank you in advance for any help you might have.

The major issue is this: I've had increasingly greater difficulties running scans the last month or so. Initially, the software would read the ECU codes and engine measuring blocks fine but has gradually gotten flaky in connecting. Most recently, the software completed an autoscan of the engine controller but just froze on trying to access the ABS module. Now, it's opted out of connecting to anything at all.

The car's a 2004 1.8T which runs well and has been fault free for the last 6 months (last big problem was rich fuel trims, fixed by replacing the cracked intercooler). The VCDS cable is about 7-10 years old (KEY-USB); software is current version (14.10) running on a MacBook Pro using a VirtualBox Windows XP install that has worked fine for at least 3 years.

What's throwing me about this is that my Android phone, with Torque and an OBDLink LX Bluetooth adapter (the $70 fairly reputable version), tells me there are no fault codes stored and will happily log any ECU parameter I want (fuel trims, boost, rpm, etc) forever. They all look perfectly normal.

I've already removed/reinstalled the VCDS software and drivers once, checked the car's floors to see that there's no water around, and functionally tested the usual offender (ABS module) by hammering the brakes a couple of times under safe but slippery conditions: I get the usual "driving on marbles" feeling without locking them up.

Suggestions?
 

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Wow, I have an almost identical set up (with an native xp desktop in the garage as a backup).

Was it at some point timing out trying to connect to the ecu?

I am guessing you didn't change anything on the VB or XP side - my VB is some old 4.x version, basically the one I managed to setup after repeated attempts.

Since with your android setup you are bypassing both the USB connection and vcds cable completely, I'd look at those. I think it would be safe to assume that your ecu is most likely not the cause here.

I would try a different USB port on the the mac (uugh, I do remember it being a pita to set up properly through VB), or perhaps keep the whole rig still while you are scanning it, in case there is a connection issue.

I had some timeouts on my vcds cable when I used a USB extension cable a while back to reach further than it would allow.

If your cable used to work intermittently but now it doesn't it could also be some electrolytic capacitor inside it that finally gave up. I've recovered many of our electronics by replacing blown capacitors. Maybe theyd replace it if its internally faulty.

Feel free to PM me if you want more details on something.
 

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I'm having similar issues, and it's most certainly the update to 14.10. On another car (2005.5 MKV Jetta 2.5l,) I was trying to set the readiness, but it just hangs. After a few restarts, I finally got it to go but then ran into another issue. Resetting the fault codes in the ECM, I'd get booted out or it'd freeze before saying "No Fault Codes found", then I would have to Ctrl Alt Del to close out the program and restart again. When I looked back at the fault codes thankfully they were gone, but it kind of made me nervous that I bricked the module. Welcome to the woes of going through their experimental phase trying to get the wireless one to work well.

I have the HEX-CAN cable. Regular Toshiba PC with Windows 8.1.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'm having similar issues, and it's most certainly the update to 14.10.
Thanks to both of you for writing back!

For me the problem only started after I installed 14.10, too, but was at first so annoyingly intermittent that I wasn't sure what to make of it.

Since the ABS module can screw up diagnostic bus communications in erratic ways, I wasn't completely convinced the less sophisticated diagnostic (Android) wasn't just ignoring it without telling me. It certainly seems that the wireless OBD transmitter is pretty good at rapid sampling and reporting, though.

I'll roll back the VCDS software and confirm this was the issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Good answer, Tom, but I got to testing the software problem before unplugging the ABS module.

My XP virtual machine (restored from a backup a month before) and cable do fine with VCDS version 12.12 and the program finds no control module errors. For that reason, I agree with vbora, it's most likely the new version (14.10) of the Ross-Tech software.

I'll never get to test the guess directly (by removing version 14.10 and reinstalling 12.12 on the same XP disk) because Uwe's people don't support virtual machines and won't even send out a 12.12 installer to allow the attempt.

Given that it may misbehave with Windows 8.1 on a Toshiba, too, I definitely would not update to v14.10 anywhere without a way to roll back your system to the state just before trying it, though.
 

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I have VCDS on extended loan and I've been running it in a Windows XP virtual machine with VirtualBox. I'm still using 12.12 and I haven't upgraded for similar reasons but I'm sure the software is going to make me at some point. My device connection started becoming flaky right around the same time that I upgraded VirtualBox to the latest version (this was in October). To solve the issue I did these two things, and I'm not sure which if either of them did it:

Checked both options 'Reduce CPU Usage' KWP-1281, KWP-2000. Even though I have the CPU available this seemed to help for some reason.
Downgraded from the latest VirtualBox to 4.3.12.

I asked in their forum about the issue but didn't receive a reply:
Code:
https://forums.virtualbox.org/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=64274
If you solve it let us know what you did!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I looked at your link to the virtualbox forums, where you describe problems with VB 4.3.18

VCDS 12.12 is fine for me with the VB version (4.3.20) released during November, running on an MBP 8,1 with OS 10.10. I can't say I've tried the .18 variation of VirtualBox, though.

I agree, there are occasional module connection problems that involve timing out but they haven't changed much for years for me and were present in the deep dark past when I used BootCamp/XP on an earlier MBP as well.

FWIW, my current virtual machine settings are almost entirely default with a 40gig HD, but a higher XP memory allocation (2048meg) than standard. I chose the latter because my laptop has a pretty robust amount of memory (16g), so is not limited in that way.
 

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I have a different problem -- VCDS 14.10 works great with Ross-Tech cable and my HP 210 mini laptop, which I recently upgraded to an oversize battery (6 hours!) and Win 7 Home Premium (huge improvement over Win 7 Starter). However, when I went for a California smog test yesterday, the owner/operator of the shop could not get either her self-standing scanner unit or her newer PC-based scanner to communicate with my car.

It has never caused an issue before, but just to be safe, I have since removed my aftermarket VW/Panasonic in-dash CD player, even though I have previously passed smog with it installed. I have a replacement used ABS control module coming this week, and I shall swap it in. Then, assuming all the ABS warning lights stay off, I'll recheck readiness with the VCDS and head back for testing, perhaps at a different shop.
 
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