Which Vag-Com?

My wife has a '97 VW Cabrio, and my son has a '98 Audi A4.
The Cabrio needs a scan- and I'm thinking it is a good time to get the cables and software and learn to do it myself.
I have a laptop with USB.
But now I see there are a few choices- Cables on Ebay for $20- Ross Tech for $99. . . downloadable software from several vendors.
How different are the various cables or software? Is there a set that is considered better in some way than all the rest? How?
Is there a Vag-com FAQ someplace that will answer all those questions?
Thanks, Jim
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http://www.ross-tech.com/
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The "cloned" cables/adapter will not be able to do the latest version of the ross-tech.com software. Also that software will be LOCKED to one computer. If you purchase the adapter from ross-tech.com, you will be able to use any computer with the software installed on it.
Yes you could save some $$ purchasing a clone adapter, but if you purchase the real thing and don't need it anymore you can always sell it over $100 recouping some of the purchase price. It usually pays for itself on the first 1-2 repairs when you use it. A true investment! Or buy a clone first for $20 to try out the software limited version free! If you activate the software for $99 then you can apply that software purchase to the purchase of the real adapter later! ;-)
If my answer seems vague............I vote you purchase the real adapter from ross-tech.com, I have 2 of them.
JMHO
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later,
dave
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As soon as I posted I saw your answer-
On Wed, 01 Aug 2007 11:45:22 GMT, "dave AKA vwdoc1"

Thanks- Over $100?. . . appears to be an understatement.<g> 4 days to go and there is one on Ebay now at $170 with 22 bids. I think you sold me. [ebay item 320142427324 ]
-snip-

I'm leaning that way because of the resale value, and because I'm sure to have questions once I start using it, and it seems like there are a lot more folks using the Ross-Tech stuff.
Just in case I decide to go cheap- Do you know how limited the earlier versions of the software are for my older VW & Audi? [97 Golf/Cabrio & 98 A4]
Thanks again- Jim
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Jim, Remember if you do go cheap you will be only out that $20 to buy the clone. The $99 to unlock the ross-tech.com software can be applied to the purchase of their adapter if you need/want it. ;-)
So if you want to hook up to the VW and Audi that you have........try out the clone. I think that I would. $20 what the heck I spend that on a take out meal for the family. lol
But remember that the clone will ONLY work fully on the computer with the unlocked software! 8^)
wrote:

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-snip-
I'd found Ross-Tech's FAQ- but that just answers questions about *their* software/cables. [And even at that I'm not sure if I'd be happy with their shareware/freeware, or if I'd feel the need to shell out "$299-$599" for their newest, registered software.] http://www.ross-tech.com/vag-com/vag-functions.html
When they say their shareware software has "limited" ability to "Read fault codes" - is it so limited that I'll curse it every time a light comes on the dash [like the ABS light that is now on on the 97 Cabrio] or will it just not have some exotic stuff that I'd end up going to the dealer for anyway?
[If I go with the Ross-Tech software I've obviously got to read some more on that site as yesterday I saw a page where I could buy the cable for $99 and download the software for free-- today I just see the "buy the cable and software for $229". .. and another where I could download "registered shareware" for use with 3d party cables for $99.]
Is the Ross-tech's software as good or better than some other vendors like Lemmiwinks or Vag PC Diagnoses?
I know *good* is often in the eye of the beholder, but I'm looking for simple, but thorough nuts and bolts software. I won't be super tuning either car, but I like to avoid trips to the dealer for things I can fix myself.
Thanks, Jim
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Jim Elbrecht wrote:

already & downloaded the shareware software. I did manage to get a connection with the laptop (had to tell the program I had a serial connection, even though the cable was plugged into the USB port), but stalled out around that point.
I was just looking to do a couple of very simple things, like change the country code (e.g., odometer display changes to kilometers from miles) and turn off the various service indicators for oil changes & the like.
Haven't had much success finding codes & such for those kinds of tasks.
But so far I'm only out the $20-ish for the clone cable so it's not much to play around with it.
Any other thoughts on the topic out there?? :D
Bart

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You have to activate the ross-tech.com software for $99! That fee can be applied to buying their adapter also. 8^) I prefer their adapter since it can be used on multiple computers and is not "married" to only one. The first one of theirs I bought, and it was the earliest adapters, did not work at all and they sent me a new one the next day. Great service!! Not sure if I can say that it is simple to determine what is wrong all of the time. You will need a Bentley to help determine how to fix certain issues. It might tell you that the right front wheel sensor is bad if you have an ABS light come on, or it might tell you some issue with Fuel Trim.
After a few times of getting your codes checked at the dealer for $70+ per issue, having your own adapter will pay for itself. AND you can always sell it to recoup most of your $$$ back too! But if you are not going to work on your own VW/Audi then why spend the $$$ at all for the tool. ;-)
JMHO
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dave
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dave AKA vwdoc1 wrote:

Oh, and this isn't quite true. For FREE, you get a limited version of the software. Differences are listed here on this chart:
http://www.ross-tech.com/vag-com/vag-functions.html
Bart
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You are right! The "shareware" version can be used free, but shareware is not supposed to be "free". If you like it then you are supposed to buy it. ;-) AND you get what you pay for! lol
AFAIK The "FREE" but very limited shareware is allowed so that people can see if their adapters work before buying it. So you don't have to activate it.........but it really limits that software like putting a potato in the tailpipe! lol The other poster was indicating that the limited version was frustrating him and I recommended that he will need to activate the software to "unlock" its capabilities! ;-)
Pasting some of the message I was originally replying to, that got deleted: ">> When they say their shareware software has "limited" ability to "Read

JMHO
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dave
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dave AKA vwdoc1 wrote:

with it, like turning off the service indicators (say after I've done my own oil change), changing odometer from miles to kilometers, etc. Saves the shop charge for those minor things, so it can pay for itself quite easily that way, but leave the trickier stuff to the shop.
Seemed to make sense for my situation, but it might not for others.
Bart
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