General thoughts and suggestions on HEX-NET

   #21  

jyoung8607

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More thoughts after some weekend play time.

New UDS control modules: It's hard to find what I want in the sheer volume of data available. I'm used to ME7 cars and I kind of know where the interesting MVBs are. The ECU in my loaner 2013 Turbo Beetle appears to offer up nearly 1,000 separate data items. It takes a good while to set things up on VCDS Mobile just due to the volume and the browser interface. VCDS Desktop is faster to navigate, but the list is only partially alphabetized with no search available.

I'd love to see some default presets made available for common troubleshooting scenarios. Some random examples:

  • Troubleshooting misfires: Select all individual cylinder misfire counters
  • Troubleshooting A/F ratios: Select mass air-flow specified and actual, all fuel trim data (turns out to be widely scattered now!), etc
  • Troubleshooting transmission slippage: Select current gear, engine RPM, transmission input RPM (TC slip), transmission output RPM, etc
Both Desktop and Mobile do offer something of a way to craft our own presets, but with quite a bit of effort. Some default preset guidance would be helpful, especially on Mobile. If your eventual direction for Cloud is "GFF that doesn't suck", this would be a nice foundation piece to have.

VCDS Cloud stuff: Any interaction I have with Cloud functions is really rocky. I had written this off to my home wireless range issue, but I spent some time today working via AT&T LTE tethering on my smartphone and I wasn't having much more luck. I do eventually get through, but I often have to try things several times. My laptop was on the same tethered BSSID so I could play with VCDS Desktop, and it had good connectivity. All three devices were in the same car. The server ping function under Options->Self Test seemed consistently okay. Do you know of any server-side reason I'd have trouble this weekend?

I'm wondering if I have issues with tangled-up device registration records. I had to try registering the unit a few times today, and I thought I had gotten it successfully registered already a couple weeks ago. The provenance of my particular HEX-NET unit is a little unusual, as Uwe or Andy will know. It had definitely seen some cars before I received it. Before I start doing real network-layer digging, I thought I'd ask if there's any other explanation.

The vcds-cloud.com website currently uses a self-signed TLS certificate. That creates kind of a speed-bump when we're handed off between HEX-NET and Cloud functions, especially when we're on a new device. I'm guessing that will change before HEX-NET comes out of Beta though.

Jason
 
   #22  

jyoung8607

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One more thing: simultaneous use of VCDS Desktop and Mobile.

I don't actually expect that to work. I did it purely by accident. I was doing some comparison testing and had forgotten I left VCDS Desktop running in the background, and tried to do some things with VCDS Mobile. Things got kind of explode-y on both sides. I realize that's a case of "Doc! It hurts when I do this!" - "Well don't do it!". However, it wouldn't hurt to augment the VCDS Mobile session ownership/stealing function to cover whatever API the VCDS Desktop software uses.

Jason
 
   #23  

Crashking

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Not unreasonable. I had forgotten those cables exist. Thanks in advance for said package!


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
the newer vehicles store a lot of this data your talking about in the vehicle key, my dealer hasn't implented it yet, but it's supposed to tell them if the cel is on/if codes are stored... TPMS light... Time since last service, etc... Pretty cool stuff.... They take the customers key and put it in a reader and it'll populate the information.... I'm not sure how much.... But I remember hearing about those key items :p pun intended

Here's a link to an old article

http://www.autonews.com/article/20081103/RETAIL05/311039798/audi-goes-high-tech-to-boost-service
 
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   #24  

jyoung8607

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the newer vehicles store a lot of this data your talking about in the vehicle key, my dealer hasn't implented it yet ...
I remember reading about that a while back for BMW. I didn't know Audi was doing it. I wonder if that'll make its way to VW?

Either way, fully capable diagnostics would be even nicer. The service writers spend a lot of time talking to the customer, plus they have to tag the car, cover the seats, etc etc. From a business process perspective, it would be great to be running diagnostics in parallel with that. Not only is your total time reduced, part of that time is shifted to your service writer instead of your expensive profitable tech. Even if it ends up dumped onto paper to start, instead of integrated with their shop database, I think it would be all you need to pitch.

RT Sales: "Hey service manager, how would you like to shave 5-10 minutes off every single ticket, just to start? Plus, you can also--"

Service Manager:



Jason
 
   #25  

solomon

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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
Agreed - and on a slight tangent, are you gonna ship a user's manual with that cable? :D I ask because I received mine and spent 30s unsuccessfully trying to figure out how to reverse the right angle connection before I had to go back to work. What am I missing????
 
   #26  

jyoung8607

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Agreed - and on a slight tangent, are you gonna ship a user's manual with that cable? :D I ask because I received mine and spent 30s unsuccessfully trying to figure out how to reverse the right angle connection before I had to go back to work. What am I missing????
It took me a couple minutes too. On the end with the 1 meter cord, slide the plastic cap sideways, away from the direction the cable is pointed. It then lifts off, allowing you to route the cable the other way and reinstall the cap in the new orientation.





 
   #27  

solomon

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Thanks! I was trying to move way too much of the shield :D
 
   #28  

jyoung8607

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Thanks! I was trying to move way too much of the shield :D
I learned the hard way. I spent a minute or so poking at the DLC side. I figured it out after I popped the top off and heard the "Snap of Enlightenment", that same sound you hear when you become aware that trim piece you're removing had one last hidden screw you didn't take out. Fortunately, all of the retaining mechanism survived and I was able to figure out the actual right way by looking at the tabs.

Jason
 
   #29  

jakematic

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It took me a couple minutes too. On the end with the 1 meter cord, slide the plastic cap sideways, away from the direction the cable is pointed. It then lifts off, allowing you to route the cable the other way and reinstall the cap in the new orientation.
Aha! Thank you.

Always frustrating that I can deal with unbelievably complex systems with ease, but things like this and 'easy open' cheese slices seem to baffle me.
 
   #30  

Uwe

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Agreed - and on a slight tangent, are you gonna ship a user's manual with that cable? :D
User's manuals are so last-century. Nobody reads them anyway. Anyway, I think we'd be better off making a quick instructional video and embedding it in the store page referenced above.

-Uwe-
 
   #31  

solomon

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Anyway, I think we'd be better off making a quick instructional video and embedding it in the store page referenced above.
Actually, jyoung8607's pictures were good enough for me. I'd actually like it if BOTH ends of the extension had the reversible shield - I'm leaning towards following your advice and leaving the HEX-NET connected - but the nice molded strain-relief cable end makes wrapping up the cabled assembly kinda awkward.

I know, picky, picky, picky :D but hey I'm trying to pack all this stuff up to take to Germany to get my car finally, so suddenly compactness got interesting ;)
 
   #32  

romad

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User's manuals are so last-century. Nobody reads them anyway. Anyway, I think we'd be better off making a quick instructional video and embedding it in the store page referenced above.

-Uwe-
Actually, while videos help, they are mainly a supplement to a written manual. With a manual, I can have it with me out in the vehicle for immediate reference; I have to run into the house, watch the video, run back out and try to remember "was it tap first then enter or enter then tap?". I've seen (and had) some questions in these forums that could have been answered in a good written manual. If you don't want to include a physical printed manual, then have it as a downloadable PDF like you have for the VCDS software.

The FIRST thing I do with a new piece of equipment is sit down and read the manual from cover to cover. However, I just received my new BendPak QuickJack this week and read the "Installation and Operation Manual". I then went out and found that it was very lacking in several instances, so the written manual must be comprehensive.

I just read Bruce's blog entry, and I agree with him. The problem as evidenced by Fluke is that everyone thinks the latest shiny thing is best and forget the tried-and-true. Please don't be like Fluke and provide the information in both forms.
 
   #33  

jyoung8607

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User's manuals are so last-century. Nobody reads them anyway. Anyway, I think we'd be better off making a quick instructional video and embedding it in the store page referenced above.
I just read Bruce's blog entry, and I agree with him. The problem as evidenced by Fluke is that everyone thinks the latest shiny thing is best and forget the tried-and-true. Please don't be like Fluke and provide the information in both forms.
Everyone learns in different ways, and it also depends on what it is you're trying to learn. I personally like well-organized written text, augmented with pictures and diagrams anywhere it helps clarify the text. Videos are okay but they're not my first preference, because I'm usually seeking specific information rather than a general education. I don't want to sit through a 10 minute video looking for one bit of information. Also, I'm not always somewhere that I can be playing sound. Indexed and searchable manuals are my first go-to.

Bruce might be interested in this recent Washington Post article on how reading skills have changed with the Internet. Things like constant multitasking, the barrage of information available, and the need to filter out extraneous information like ads have really had an influence. The researcher really kind of named and brought into focus something I've experienced myself.

Regarding the choice between written manuals and videos, I'll just echo the sentiment others already shared:



Jason
 
   #34  

Bruce

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Everyone learns in different ways, and it also depends on what it is you're trying to learn.
We should take this to my blog but I really do get this... we all learn differently.

Bruce might be interested in this recent Washington Post article on how reading skills have changed with the Internet.
Great article and I couldn't agree more with the author.. I find myself doing the skimming thing despite my desire to read and understand. But what I have done to counter that impetus to skim is I sit everyday and read at least one chapter in a book. I force myself to take time.

At work, I have to skim... I don't have the time to read in depth all of the posts on a forum or all of the emails that blast through the sales@Ross-Tech plus my emails in my own account. And what happens when I skim? I miss the message too often. I read something that is not present. I end up getting an entirely wrong impression.

What I see from the 4 of us who are commenting at this point about the reading and such, we are readers... note that no opposition has come from those who are savvy with the new tools. My guess is we have put too many words here and they have already lost interest in the conversation!

What will happen when attention spans measured in seconds are the rule? What will communications between people resemble?

As said, this part of this thread probably should move to my blog! (but I have no idea how to direct there!)
 
   #35  

Eric

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I am not a fan of videos as a product manual either. As a tutorial on how to remove a ramp of carbs on a 4cyl sportbike, they work OK... But since we're using them now, I probably should not expand too much on my feelings regarding this matter.

What will happen when attention spans measured in seconds are the rule? What will communications between people resemble?
You all should watch:

It's funny how some things are already pertinent 10 years later, for instance the diagnostic interface in the hospital looking like Metro.
 
   #37  

jyoung8607

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You all should watch: (Idiocracy)
Love that movie. I could probably perform the whole thing start-to-finish, Rocky Horror style. Dr. Lexus is on my permanent Youtube playlist.

What will happen when attention spans measured in seconds are the rule? What will communications between people resemble?
Well, you just need a little tweak to your ad campaign is all. I think I can help. If the moderators will permit me a little latitude...

-----

I understand everyone's shit's misfiring right now, but listen up. I got a three point plan to fix EVERYTHING.

Number one, we got this guy Not Sure how to say his name.

Number two, he's fixed more Volkswagens than any man alive!

Number three, his tool is going to diagnose EVERYTHING.

And I give you my WORD... the tool will be out of Beta in ONE WEEK!

 
   #38  

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Gentlemen, this whole discussion arose out of someone not knowing how to reverse the OBD-II extension. While I agree that videos are not the optimal means of documenting everything, for that specific thing, I really do think a video would be better than a written "manual", even if the manual had a series of pictures. ;)

-Uwe-
 
   #39  

jyoung8607

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Back onto HEX-NET... two items with the upgrade, and two questions.

Upgrading: I've been through several upgrades now and each time I see a dialog insisting the upgrade failed, but it ran just fine. It seems to be cosmetic only.



Upgrading: My upgrade from CB 4102 to 4104 went quickly and normally but my upgrade to FW 0184 took probably 5 or 6 tries. It would recognize I needed to upgrade, but it would stall at Proceeding (I think) at 0%. I let it sit for quite a while each time, and then verified there were no flash-update LED patterns before hitting Cancel or rebooting it. This may be entirely coincidence, but I had the WiFi config utility running on my desktop that was powering it, and when I closed it, my very next try succeeded.

Question: Should Turbo Mode MVB reading work on HEX-NET? Curious if that's broken, in-development, or not planned for HEX-NET.

Question: I may be imagining it, but Auto Scan progress with Desktop on CB 4104 seemed just a bit faster. Did something change?

Jason
 
   #40  

Uwe

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I saw that stall once, when we first put FW 0184 on the Alpha channel (along with CB 4103 -- which wasn't released on the public Beta channel).

I tried to reproduce that this evening with an interface that hadn't been touched in a few weeks. I'm not in the office. Self-Test -> Advanced Network test shows ping times between 58 and 63ms with a the Connection quality indicated as "Good". I used the Java Configuration utility to configure an interface onto the local WiFi, then left it connected to the PC while I updated the FW using my phone. No stall.

I did get "Update Failed" on the CB, but that is indeed cosmetic, 'cause I've seen that more often than I'd like but never had one that actually failed.

Question: Should Turbo Mode MVB reading work on HEX-NET?
I think so, but what are you testing it on? It's never been available universally.

Question: I may be imagining it, but Auto Scan progress with Desktop on CB 4104 seemed just a bit faster. Did something change?
I don't think there's been a change in this version, but that's why we added the "Elapsed Time" at the end of the Auto-Scan data, so we can keep track of any changes (intentional or not -- there were some builds that were unintentionally slow).

-Uwe-
 
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