General thoughts and suggestions on HEX-NET

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jyoung8607

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I really like having a WiFi capable device. I've mostly been using the device through VCDS Desktop so far, but I'm starting to get more into the Mobile functionality. It does seem a little raw right now, but I'm sure that'll change quickly now that the diagnostic protocol foundation approaches completion.

Suggestions:

I saw mention of a beep/tone generator somewhere in the device, for use if the K-Line is stuck. I think that would be really useful as a complement to the LEDs, because in most cars the LEDs will be very hard to see while the device is plugged in, virtually impossible from the driver's seat. It would be nice to get headless audio feedback on events like power-up, vehicle seen/identified, scan started, scan complete, etc.

The two vehicles I own are new enough to know their VIN, but old enough that you don't have the CAN gateway installation list. There's a lot of cars like that. It would be nice if VCDS could interrogate the car for its VIN, and if it's found, use that to automatically pick a chassis type. I think you could go even further and troll around in the CAN gateway MVB 125 + range to see what's present, but that might not be standardized enough.

If we had the above two items, it would then be nice if we could run Auto Scans completely headless. If I'm working in the garage, I'd love to be able to plug the thing in, walk away for a few minutes, and come back to a completed Auto Scan already pushed up to the VCDS cloud website. If it wasn't in range at the time, it could upload it next time it was in range, perhaps back in the house plugged into a wall-wart. No need to wait, no need to endanger or dirty or even find a delicate computing device to trigger the scan. I can understand you might not want to do that every time it's plugged in by default, but it could be made an option, or it could be made trigger-able by the button. Tone feedback as I described above would be helpful too.

Jason
 
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PanEuropean

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Apropos of Jason's comment about the beep/tone generator that may or may not be inside the HEX-NET device, I have a further comment.

The Volkswagen (VAS) version of a HEX-NET device will begin to beep repeatedly whenever the device loses the Bluetooth or Wi-Fi (or whatever the heck it is) connection with the remote computer. It does this so that the technicians do not forget to remove the device from the car before returning the car to the customer. As long as the technician either takes the car for a test drive around the block or sends the car to the car-washing section of the dealership for cleaning (both of these tasks are supposed to be done before the car is returned to the customer), any scan tools that are overlooked and left plugged into the OBD port will start beeping. This is a great idea, it prevents a forgotten scan tool from being sent home with a customer.

Earlier this evening, I had my HEX-NET plugged into my car to do the firmware update. I went out in the car to get some food, and later on, could not find the HEX-NET device when I went looking for it. Eventually, I found it (still plugged into the car).

I suggest that Ross-Tech come up with some method of making the HEX-NET beep if it loses the wireless connection with the host computer, otherwise, there is a very great risk that technicians may lose the device because it is left in the customer's car.

Alternatively, it might be appropriate to modify the plastic cover of the device so that it has a small hole somewhere in the end of the plastic case, and then attach a flag of some kind to this hole, this to ensure that the device is not accidentally left plugged into a customer's OBD port without the customer noticing it when they pick up the car. See the photo below.

Michael

 
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Bruce

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We have thought about the flag idea. Did you notice the pin in the lower right corner of the device as your picture shows it? This was incorporated such that a user could add a flag device to their HEX-NET. I will let others comment on the beep idea.
 
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jakematic

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The beep is definitely an interesting idea.

My DLC is so far into the footwell that I have to get on my hands and knees next to the vehicle to plug it in.
This makes the lights impossible to see without contortion, or a mirror, and I too have forgotten it multiple times.
Fortunately I have Low Power Mode set and it works so as not to drain the battery.
 
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Uwe

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I saw mention of a beep/tone generator somewhere in the device, for use if the K-Line is stuck. I think that would be really useful as a complement to the LEDs, because in most cars the LEDs will be very hard to see while the device is plugged in, virtually impossible from the driver's seat. It would be nice to get headless audio feedback on events like power-up, vehicle seen/identified, scan started, scan complete, etc.
There's a beeper in it, but I'm not sure I'd go so far as to call it a tone generator. My own sense is that the "right" way to use a HEX-NET is to attach it to one of our OBD-II extension cables. That way you can place it where you can see it (and where it's not buried low in the car surrounded by a bunch of metal that tends to block the WiFi signal). Look for a package in the mail.

The two vehicles I own are new enough to know their VIN, but old enough that you don't have the CAN gateway installation list. There's a lot of cars like that. It would be nice if VCDS could interrogate the car for its VIN, and if it's found, use that to automatically pick a chassis type.
The trouble with those cars is that almost all of them do diagnostics via K-Line. That means it would be necessary to start a K-Line session with some control module to try to read the VIN, meaning it would probably take 10 seconds or so just to get the VIN. That would feel really slow.

I think you could go even further and troll around in the CAN gateway MVB 125 + range to see what's present, but that might not be standardized enough.
Unfortunately, that won't get us a comprehensive list of modules present.

If we had the above two items, it would then be nice if we could run Auto Scans completely headless. If I'm working in the garage, I'd love to be able to plug the thing in, walk away for a few minutes, and come back to a completed Auto Scan already pushed up to the VCDS cloud website. If it wasn't in range at the time, it could upload it next time it was in range, perhaps back in the house plugged into a wall-wart. No need to wait, no need to endanger or dirty or even find a delicate computing device to trigger the scan. I can understand you might not want to do that every time it's plugged in by default, but it could be made an option, or it could be made trigger-able by the button. Tone feedback as I described above would be helpful too.
I do like the idea of an optional "Headless" Auto-Scan in VCDS-Mobile. In that case, an extra 10-15 seconds to get the VIN up front wouldn't be a bother.

-Uwe-
 
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Uwe

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The Volkswagen (VAS) version of a HEX-NET device will begin to beep repeatedly whenever the device loses the Bluetooth or Wi-Fi (or whatever the heck it is) connection with the remote computer. It does this so that the technicians do not forget to remove the device from the car before returning the car to the customer. As long as the technician either takes the car for a test drive around the block or sends the car to the car-washing section of the dealership for cleaning (both of these tasks are supposed to be done before the car is returned to the customer), any scan tools that are overlooked and left plugged into the OBD port will start beeping. This is a great idea, it prevents a forgotten scan tool from being sent home with a customer.
[...]
I suggest that Ross-Tech come up with some method of making the HEX-NET beep if it loses the wireless connection with the host computer, otherwise, there is a very great risk that technicians may lose the device because it is left in the customer's car.
Yep, an optional "Annoy-a-tron" mode is on our "To-Do" list.

Earlier this evening, I had my HEX-NET plugged into my car to do the firmware update. I went out in the car to get some food, and later on, could not find the HEX-NET device when I went looking for it. Eventually, I found it (still plugged into the car).
Are you aware that unlike the old HEX+CAN interface you have, the HEX-NET does not need to be plugged into a car to do firmware updates? You can do this in the comfort of your home; just provide power to the HEX-NET via the USB cable.

Alternatively, it might be appropriate to modify the plastic cover of the device so that it has a small hole somewhere in the end of the plastic case, and then attach a flag of some kind to this hole, this to ensure that the device is not accidentally left plugged into a customer's OBD port without the customer noticing it when they pick up the car.
As Bruce mentioned, the stainless steel pin in the one corner is intended to attach a lanyard. We modeled it after the lanyard attachment points on many small cameras.

But I still think the right way to use the device is with the OBD-II extension cable. Putting it somewhere that it's visible means it's unlikely to be forgotten and it also avoids this:



I had left that one in our Touareg; drove to the airport, pulled into a parking space, then stomped on the old-school parking brake pedal in the 7L chassis. CRUNCH. Oops. I've been using extensions ever since. :cool:
 
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jyoung8607

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There's a beeper in it, but I'm not sure I'd go so far as to call it a tone generator. My own sense is that the "right" way to use a HEX-NET is to attach it to one of our OBD-II extension cables. That way you can place it where you can see it (and where it's not buried low in the car surrounded by a bunch of metal that tends to block the WiFi signal). Look for a package in the mail.
Not unreasonable. I had forgotten those cables exist. Thanks in advance for said package!

I do like the idea of an optional "Headless" Auto-Scan in VCDS-Mobile. In that case, an extra 10-15 seconds to get the VIN up front wouldn't be a bother.
Precisely. HEX-NET can be doing its thing from the moment it's powered up and sees it's plugged into a car.

Take this even further: Dealers would love it. Dealer tech time = cash money. Imagine a setup where the service writer meeting the customer plugs in the unit first thing, then chats with the customer about their concerns or requests. In the background, HEX-NET is sitting there interrogating the car. Pick up a whole Auto Scan, snag the mileage, snag the SRI data, snag items of common interest like MVB 032 fuel trims, send it up to the cloud. By the time the service writer is done talking to the customer, they've got all that data sitting on their printer to hand to the tech. That is actual concrete ROI you can show dealers just for the time, even if they have to use GFF for warranty work afterward. That's before you get into upselling based on maintenance that's due or other faults that HEX-NET spies for them.

Jason
 
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Uwe

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Precisely. HEX-NET can be doing its thing from the moment it's powered up and sees it's plugged into a car.
The catch with this is it has to be a user-selectable mode somehow, and there has to be a way out of it when that's not what you want it to do, 'cause waiting 3-8 minutes for it to finish an Auto-Scan every time you plug it into a car before you can do anything with it would not be acceptable. We'll have to stew on this...

-Uwe-
 
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it would then be nice if we could run Auto Scans completely headless. If I'm working in the garage, I'd love to be able to plug the thing in, walk away for a few minutes, and come back to a completed Auto Scan already pushed up to the VCDS cloud website. If it wasn't in range at the time, it could upload it next time it was in range, perhaps back in the house plugged into a wall-wart.
+1

I mentioned something like this in e-mail to Uwe privately, I was thinking for somewhat clandestine scanning of vehicles - e.g. sitting there drooling in a brand new 2016 RS9 at dealership or whatever :D


Trigger by sampling button state at powerup - if pressed, beep or flash lights and commence auto-scan. (User holds button while plugging HEX-NET in)


I'd do the Ceylon LED sweep while auto-scanning and go to a slow flash or something when finished.

Just my $0.02,
Richard
 
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solomon

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You've only got three LEDs to work with, but knock yourself out :D

...and my shame at misspelling Cylon is only matched by my disappointment at not having my turbo cars leap into the air ;)

Richard
 
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jyoung8607

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The catch with this is it has to be a user-selectable mode somehow, and there has to be a way out of it when that's not what you want it to do, 'cause waiting 3-8 minutes for it to finish an Auto-Scan every time you plug it into a car before you can do anything with it would not be acceptable. We'll have to stew on this...
Very true. I don't advocate for automatic Auto-Scan being the default, just an option, either configurable or user-triggered with the button. It wouldn't be acceptable to create warnings or disruptions with ABS, airbags, radio, etc without the interface owner specifically wanting and expecting it.

However, you would almost always have time for a VIN/chassis-type peek. If the unit boots up and sees no USB host, you're waiting anyway for:

1. WiFi association
2. DHCP
3. Bonjour
4. Browser-based login, or VCDS Desktop TCP connection

You have the time to do the peek in the background. It adds value. It won't be disruptive to the driver/operator. Why not? I would advocate for this by default.

Jason
 
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To clarify, the HEX-NET does currently beep if there is a kline short, in addition to indicating with the leds.
I did see mention of that in the docs. I just don't know what you use to make the sound and what it's capable of. I was not inclined to go around putting +12V on random pins to see what happened. :)

Jason
 
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Uwe

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However, you would almost always have time for a VIN/chassis-type peek. If the unit boots up and sees no USB host, you're waiting anyway for:

1. WiFi association
2. DHCP
3. Bonjour
4. Browser-based login, or VCDS Desktop TCP connection

You have the time to do the peek in the background. It adds value. It won't be disruptive to the driver/operator. Why not? I would advocate for this by default.
Honestly, the idea our product would start to root around in someone's car immediately upon being plugged in (without explicitly being asked to do so at the present time) bothers me. It's not something we're likely to work in immediately in any case.

-Uwe-
 
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jyoung8607

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Honestly, the idea our product would start to root around in someone's car immediately upon being plugged in (without explicitly being asked to do so at the present time) bothers me. It's not something we're likely to work in immediately in any case.
I respect that.

It does, in retrospect, make me wonder how the 10-VIN enforcement model works. If one were to use a 10-VIN unit for work on say, HVAC or TPMS, what happens? Without an explicit peek, you'll only get the VIN on a full Auto-Scan or a manual touch of an IMMO-involved component.

Jason
 
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Without an explicit peek, you'll only get the VIN on a full Auto-Scan or a manual touch of an IMMO-involved component.
Well, without any knowledge of the process whatsoever I would regardless say at that point you've asked the tool to work on the vehicle, so you've IMO given it "permission" to verify the vehicle is one you're authorized to work on. Perhaps a subtle difference, but I can see the rationale.

Knowing Uwe's views on customer service I could speculate on this process more, but won't in order to avoid potential damage from malicious misuse by 10-VIN purchasers...

Richard
 
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Well, without any knowledge of the process whatsoever I would regardless say at that point you've asked the tool to work on the vehicle, so you've IMO given it "permission" to verify the vehicle is one you're authorized to work on. Perhaps a subtle difference, but I can see the rationale.

Knowing Uwe's views on customer service I could speculate on this process more, but won't in order to avoid potential damage from malicious misuse by 10-VIN purchasers...
My question is kind of twofold:

1) What is the policy? We push people pretty hard in the Phaeton forum to stay legit, so I'd like to be able to address 10-VIN questions.

2) I am a bit mystified how 10-VIN actually works, while NOT simultaneously giving us the value-add of not needing to pick a chassis for Auto-Scan.

These questions arise from confusion, not objection of any sort. If the answer is, "we feel it's important to do nothing at all until explicitly asked under all (default) circumstances", that's reasonable.

Jason
 
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Uwe

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I'm not going to get into a detailed discussion of how we look for VINs to enforce the 10-VIN limit, but I will simply say this: No VIN will ever be counted toward that limit without the user's explicit permission.

-Uwe-
 
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