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Best value code reader that isn't PC based???

Discussion in 'VAG-COM & Diagnostics' started by Pitchshifter, Dec 13, 2015.

  1. Pitchshifter

    Pitchshifter Active Member

    Dec 3, 2015
    Likes Received:
    I am looking at getting a personal Diagnostic code reader for my 2004 MK1 Seat Leon 1.9tdi fr but i have a macbook so can't use VagCom (pc based). I want a MacBook alternative or a handheld reader that does the full deal. Any suggestions of which i should get and why??
    #1 Pitchshifter, Dec 13, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2015
  2. MJ

    MJ Public transport abuser

    Apr 22, 2008
    Likes Received:
    What do you mean by the full deal?
  3. mty12345

    mty12345 Active Member

    Jun 17, 2011
    Likes Received:
    Vagcom plus a cheap second hand windows laptop from cash converters etc to run it. There's no real alternative to vagcom for doing the full deal as you put it, not that i know of anyway.
  4. inbetweener

    inbetweener Active Member

    Jan 19, 2016
    Likes Received:
    Check out foxwell NT500 on eBay does all control units on VW cars

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  5. Tony Back

    Tony Back Active Member

    Aug 26, 2014
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    #5 Tony Back, Apr 23, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2016
  6. cuprabaz

    cuprabaz Racing 2020VT

    Jun 22, 2004
    Likes Received:
    For quick fault code checking and clearing i use my iphone and OBD2 to Wifi.
  7. laurancelou2017

    laurancelou2017 Active Member

    Dec 16, 2016
    Likes Received:
    Choose Foxwell NT500 VAG scanner or VCDS

    Thanks to posters options and experiences, I put together them for your reference.
    Prefer Foxwell NT500 to VCDS:

    1. It seems pretty user friendly on the Foxwell site. Depends how much you really want to do with it. I think VCDS definitely has the edge in terms of logging capability, but it's certainly also handy to have a standalone device that doesn't require a laptop.

    The biggest advantage of VCDS is the very extensive wiki on the Ross-Tech site which has pretty much everything covered in a simple enough explanation. I can't immediately find how good the documentation with this scanner is.

    If all you want to do is read/delete codes and do some output tests I'm not sure there would be much beit in paying an extra $150 for VCDS so it could be worth a go.

    If you want to make sure you can do everything and anything and never be stuck for functionality...that's where you pay the extra.

    2. Aside from being cheaper, is being compact and self contained. Could keep it in the car all the time"just in case".

    3. The draw is -$200 and it's easy transported and kept in the car. Mine would likely stay with the car, so resale value doesn't mean anything to me. I certainly don't do everything on the cheap as a habit - I like to buy the best but I'm also a practical and curious hobbyist. If a new device has come out that seems to do everything the old one does at a fraction of the cost, it seems like a good idea to consider it.

    Actually, FOXWELL NT500 VAG scanner is verified coding like a charm. NT500 does log data and you can view live graphs while recording, it shows show actual vs requested values. like say for boost; it can do Radio coding and it can disable seat belt chime.
    Got one Foxwell NT500 for $149 at foxwelltool.com with 18months free update.

    Prefer VCDS to Foxwell NT500:
    1. You also might want to look into the new Rosstech wifi dongle. I sold my cable and bought that because you can use it on any device with an Internet explorer. They also have an app created for smart phones. It works well and you can use it as wifi or as the cable version...so it's basically a win win.

    However, someone ask a question "How well would you say this works in comparison to the old school wired version + software? I bought the wired cable a few months ago and am curious if I messed up by not buying the wifi dongle. It's not that big for me to hook up the laptop but opening an app on my iPhone which is already mounted in my car when I'm driving would definitely be way easier."
    2. Mind if I interrupt this turd joust and give my first hand experience that's somewhat relevant to the original topic?

    At my collision repair shop we have used a few different scan tools over the years. For the most part we need a scan tool to read and clear airbag, ABS, and check engine codes. Besides suspension work related to accidents we do very little mechanical work. We don't do much logging or diagnostic troubleshooting. I've owned a few different Audis over the last 9 years but when I started modding my S4 I was looking for something that could do more than the basic functions. I did some research and ended up buying the VCDS cable and software for myself and the shop. I was impressed with the ease of use and the amount of information available to help use and learn about the software.

    When our older Cornwell tech force tool died our sales rep showed us an Autel DS708 and a Foxwell tool, can't remember exactly which one. They were similar in function and ease of use but our rep recommended the Autel so we went with that. Both tools were reverse engineered, worked on all makes and had "full" function on VW/Audi. On our Autel tool there was recently a massive Audi update. I've played around with it to see if stuff like coding convenience features is available. It appears to be but it's a pain in the ass to do. With logs when you save the file there is no easy way to export it, its basically stuck in the tool. Unlike VCDS, info to help you with the functions of the tool are basically impossible to find. If you contact support you're most likely going to be talking to someone in China. I know they are different brand tools but this is probably what you would be dealing with with the Foxwell tool.

    Spend the extra money and avoid the hassle of being a guinea pig on an unknown tool. There are basically no downsides to the VCDS.
    #7 laurancelou2017, Dec 16, 2016
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2016

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