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Old 08-18-2019, 01:08 PM   #1
paul_c
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Default Foxwell NT500 or generic ODB2 with live data?

I am thinking of buying a Fotwell NT500, I've seen one for a good price. Of course, there is the Ross-Tech VCDS but that's a bit more expensive and given that I'll hardly be needing/using it, don't think its worthwhile.

It would be for DSG service (to be able to read the fluid temperature) but I know you could just guess it (or measure with a thermometer somehow, as it drips out in the final part of the fill once you've overfilled it and let it drain to its correct level at a certain temperature). Having said that I've not checked out the price of a DSG refill so I might just get a garage to do it, etc. I suspect it will pay for the price of the scanner though!!

But also my aircon isn't working at the moment, I suspect its just short of gas so I will add some since that's a quick/easy thing to try but if its something more, it would be very useful (maybe impossible to fix without....) to read off any fault codes within the air conditioning control module thing.

Its a 2008 2.0TSI
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Old 08-18-2019, 05:25 PM   #2
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A few here are using OBD Eleven. A tool that is popular for V.Ws will be better than an all vehicle universal that may not have access to some of V.Ws special codes used on the EOS cabriolet? If a tool can't read out the EOS roof sensors it isn't going to be much use when you may really need it and can't open or close the roof

Diagnostic tools won't fix faults. They provide information that may or may not be relevant and it is up to the user to understand what to make of their scan reports. If you launch into fixing things on these cars using seat of the pants stuff, diagnostics are very good at telling you afterwards how you might have screwed up.
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Old 08-18-2019, 05:42 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voxmagna View Post
A few here are using OBD Eleven. A tool that is popular for V.Ws will be better than an all vehicle universal that may not have access to some of V.Ws special codes used on the EOS cabriolet? If a tool can't read out the EOS roof sensors it isn't going to be much use when you may really need it and can't open or close the roof
Foxwell NT500 isn't (just) a universal, it does VW diagnostics. I don't know specifically if it reads roof codes, I would imagine so though. I am guessing VCDS does, not sure about OBD11 (I guess so too.....I m a bit put off by the need to use it with a phone or other Android device, prefer a standalone unit that does it).

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Originally Posted by voxmagna View Post
Diagnostic tools won't fix faults. They provide information that may or may not be relevant and it is up to the user to understand what to make of their scan reports. If you launch into fixing things on these cars using seat of the pants stuff, diagnostics are very good at telling you afterwards how you might have screwed up.
I know, but thanks.
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Old 08-18-2019, 09:15 PM   #4
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When you buy any diagnostics tool it takes time to learn and you never really test all its capabilities and functions until you have to solve a problem. Reading what it does on the box is fine, but what matters is how it works for real problem solving and what experiences others have had.

All tools do V.W diagnostics at the basic level where V.W did not need to release proprietary PID codes. What sorts the men out from the boys is those tools that do more than basics because the vendors have spent time discovering the V.W access code information. Most diagnostics tools have options to tether them to a P.C via USB. and some are cheaper to buy but have subscriptions models for updates or to access different vehicle data sets. What you didn't ask is whether they are using cloud based databases which might need an internet connection from your car to use them. But it sounds like you have done your research.
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Old 08-18-2019, 09:40 PM   #5
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You're a VCDS guy right?

For those with OBD11, does it read roof fault codes (or the roof module) and can it give the live data which shows the binary data/info from the hall sensors and other useful roof stuff?
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Old 08-20-2019, 06:36 AM   #6
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Yes, OBDeleven does all that.
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Old 08-21-2019, 09:58 PM   #7
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I ended up buying a Foxwell NT500 anyway, it should be with me by Friday. I'll report back and let you know if it display roof module codes etc. I imagine if ever I had a big issue with the roof I'd buy OBD11 too. I looked at the online info for OBD11 and didn't really like the interface etc, I'd looked at the info for the Foxwell and it was much more logical to me. Also I believe OBD11 (and the more affordable versions of VCDS) limit the number of cars it can be used on?
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Old 08-22-2019, 07:18 AM   #8
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You will probably find the Foxwell unit will do most of what you need, but it may not do the "long coding" that some control modules require - so you won't be able to change the setetings on the central convenience module for example.

I have the Pro version of OBDeleven and I'm not aware of a limit on the number of cars - but then I only have the one car
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Old 08-22-2019, 01:51 PM   #9
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It arrived today, a day early. It definitely reads the roof module, in fact it seems to be able to read potentially hundreds of modules - I gave up scanning them at 75% of the way through, once it got onto the LT3 modules. But it had scanned about 23 of them, and revealed things like my heated rear window had a fault; and some of the speakers have a dodgy wiring connection.

It also seems to do a bit of bi-directional data - ie it can do tests on components, like deactivating evap purge valves, fuel injector tests etc.

I think I've read somewhere that the Foxwell can do (long) coding too.

Also, very usefully it has its own database of DTCs, lists of common parameters to show live data of, and labels/descriptions of all the sensors. I'm not sure of the capability of VCDS but the Foxwell seems to do everything you'd ever reasonably need of it.
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Old 08-22-2019, 05:09 PM   #10
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I can now 100% confirm the Foxwell does long coding, including the exact same help screens as VCDS. I have altered my instrument cluster software coding to remove the seatbelt warning and it worked with no worries.
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Old 08-23-2019, 07:19 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paul_c View Post
I can now 100% confirm the Foxwell does long coding, including the exact same help screens as VCDS. I have altered my instrument cluster software coding to remove the seatbelt warning and it worked with no worries.
That's good to know. I've had handheld devices that can do coding but not long coding.

As you work your way through the fault codes it's worth noting which of them are historic and which are still persistent.
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Old 08-23-2019, 09:50 AM   #12
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Just for clarity, what to you mean by long coding? There's coding and there's long coding.....I am not 100% sure but I think "long coding" is for newer modules than would be found on a 2008 VW Eos; and that the typically 7 digit software config code in the eg instrument cluster are "short codes". If that's the case....Foxwell 100% does short coding, but I've not found a "long" code yet to see if it can do that!

I'm not too worried if it doesn't do it if the car doesn't have any....
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Old 08-23-2019, 10:39 AM   #13
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Even though you may not be interested in vcds you should visit the Ross-Tech website to learn about diagnostics - or the website for the product you want to buy? vcds started as an enthusiast product developed using input contributions from its supporters. Unfortunately, like most free things it is now commercial, but the support userbase is still there and that's something you get when you buy it.

Long coding refers to the one line code of X bytes that sets all the adaptation variables for a particular module and is equivalent to its 'personality'. If two modules have the same long coding values set, then in principle they should both work with the same set of options.

When you buy a hand held device you pay for the convenience of self contained hand held with a small lcd screen and very little memory. When you buy a device to use with a PC, Android or iPad, you are really paying for the software development, updates and support. Large memory for graphs and live capture is already in the host device as is the large screen, enough screen resolution to see graphics in color, and plenty of hard disc storage for results.
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Old 08-23-2019, 10:54 AM   #14
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Well yes obviously, there is a world of difference between a handheld device and a device which hooks up to a laptop (or phone). I wanted the handheld, although I can see use cases, and for others, where hooking up to a laptop is useful.

I know VCDS is the accepted norm these days, and has a fanbase/following. Its wiki pages are quite useful too. But realistically.....for someone with a mostly fully working car, and who can only see an occasional use for this kind of thing, spending 80 on something vs 225 makes sense to me.
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Old 08-23-2019, 02:36 PM   #15
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.. But you were asking about long coding changes which need helper file support in the application and a different ball game to just reading out fault codes and roof sensors? OBD Eleven has already been suggested as a cheaper alternative and you have some user feedback.

Your cost comparisons don't consider if a tool and user screws up programming and a car needs towing to the Stealer for them to put it right. That's why there are generally 4 levels of diagnostics tools. 1. Basic which just reads fault codes with no write or service reset. 2. Intermediate with some programming control but usually 'safe' commands which tends to be handheld scanners. 3. Advanced like vcds that allow access to more including engine, but with helper files to assist and finally: 4. Dealer diagnostics which does anything and everything including firmware updates using V.W proprietary data files you won't get. From user feedback, OBD eleven sits somewhere between Intermediate and vcds.

It sounds like all you don't need a diagnostics tool to do maintenance, but something that reads out fault codes when warning lights come on so you can talk more knowledgably to a garage who will fix the problem? Dealers are now charging over 100 for a scan which is mandatory for any car they see with a fault. 225 for a tool with few restrictions and good support doesn't seem a bad price to me because at dealer hourly labor rates I have saved that many times over (on 2 cars) when I've followed through with repairs.
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Old 08-23-2019, 03:03 PM   #16
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OK lets put it another way, instead of the thread title, how about:

"Ross-Tech VCDS vs OBD11 vs NT500 vs generic OBD mode 6 vs Basic code reader"

Hopefully this thread will be helpful to those considering buying a scan tool of some kind. There isn't an awful lot of information out there regarding the Foxwell NT500 but I took a chance, because I saw a reasonably-priced one secondhand. I considered Ross-Tech VCDS with the HEX-V2 package, which is 225 (3 cars) or 299 (10 cars). Unfortunately, secondhand meant it would be 2 or 1 cars, possibly even 0 cars, because of the imposed limit (unless you get into upgrades, etc) - so you can see from a relative value point of view why I might not have chosen that, either s/h or new.

So really the purpose of this thread is, given the general lack of info on NT500 "out there" on the internet, "what can tool X do that tool Y can't?". So far you've mentioned its a laptop-interface style vs handheld (which is fair enough); and there's the question on long-coding (it does short coding). On your scale in the 2nd paragraph, so far it seems that NT500 fits into your category "3" just as VCDS does - including the same wording on the helper files. I suspect both companies licensed the info from VW to include in their products, hence the wording/info being so similar. I'm not sure why you've rated OBD11 as not quite the capability of VCDS - what does the latter do, the former can't?
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Old 08-23-2019, 09:59 PM   #17
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Threads like this are about sharing experiences and feedback to help others make their decisions. You already made your decision and bought this tool, so why not contribute a write up review on what it can do for the EOS, what it could do better and what it can't do in real life, not just what the advertising spec. says?

The Ross-Tech wiki is pretty good covering many aspects of adaptation, including a write up for the EOS roof. My vcds was bought before they imposed limits, there must be some like mine around used if you are patient to wait for one to come up.
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Old 08-23-2019, 10:17 PM   #18
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Ok no worries, since the Ross-Tech VCDS is well documented in the public domain I'll be able to compare them as I go along. Both my parents have a VW so there's at least 3 cars I can check its capabilities with.
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Old 08-24-2019, 07:18 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paul_c View Post
Just for clarity, what to you mean by long coding? There's coding and there's long coding.....I am not 100% sure but I think "long coding" is for newer modules than would be found on a 2008 VW Eos; and that the typically 7 digit software config code in the eg instrument cluster are "short codes". If that's the case....Foxwell 100% does short coding, but I've not found a "long" code yet to see if it can do that!

I'm not too worried if it doesn't do it if the car doesn't have any....
The convenience module (number 46?) on my 2007 Eos uses long coding.
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Old 08-24-2019, 12:16 PM   #20
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Thanks aku-aku, yes it does Long Coding. It also shows the help text - the same as VCDS. However because its a handheld tool with a 3.2" colour screen (and not a laptop or, say, OBD11 with a 10" tablet) it scrolls and scrolls through the text. VCDS has the long code helper, OBD11 has additional "one click apps" which guide you through setting of eg long codes. I didn't try amending a long code in my own car, so I don't know whether the scanner will help and ask for it byte-by-byte, or you'd need to enter the whole thing at once (which is awkward on its keypad).

Anyway, here's some screenshots to give a better idea:

DSC_0769 reduced.jpg

DSC_0770 reduced.jpg

DSC_0771 reduced.jpg

DSC_0772 reduced.jpg

DSC_0773 reduced2.jpg

DSC_0774 reduced2.jpg

DSC_0775 reduced2.jpg


One other thing worth mentioning - VCDS and OBD11 only 'support' VW Group; yes they have OBD2 too, but officially its not supported; while Foxwell make many other scan tools including cheaper OBD2 generic ones, ones for other manufacturers, and more expensive stuff. OBD2 functionality is fully supported on the NT500. This is partly what swayed me, for if/when I work on other cars too.

Last edited by paul_c; 08-25-2019 at 10:21 AM.
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Old 08-25-2019, 09:23 AM   #21
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Interesting that it supports long coding - it's probably the first handheld device I've heard of that does. OBDeleven is pretty good with the long coding as it lets you toggle individual bits and even knows what combinations of multiple bits mean.
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