Normally I post an article about production, post -production, or even something on the latest technology. However I thought I would take a moment to discuss one of my guilty pleasures. We all have something we enjoying doing on our PC’s or Mac’s other than work. Mine has to be working on with VAG-COM on my Sony VAIO with a 2nd generation Intel® Core™ i5.
Before I go into explaining what VAG-COM is, I am not responsible for any damages or issues created on your vehicle, should you decided to try this out. Always study and read up on VAG-COM manual, before attempting anything.
VAG-COM is software that allows you to connect to your cars computer ( specifically Volkswagen and Audis). via the USB port. VAG-COM is actually a free program however the proprietary cable is not. The cable has a USB connection on one end and a HEX+CAN on the other end to connect to your vehicle’s computer. The cable itself carries the license with it, similar to USB dongles. I have heard of some Chinese manufactures that make cheaper solutions, however having not used one, I do not recommend it. It may cause more harm than good. The genuine cable is $349.
VAG-COM not only allows you to diagnose and read fault codes within your car’s computer, it also allows you to change a slew of variables. In my case I drive a 2008 MKV GTI. ( Volkswagen), with a 2.0L Turbo charged engine. This means within the engine I can use VAG-COM installed on my Sony VAIO to check boost pressure, fuel to air ratios, and any other issues. Now you may ask why would I want to know all of this? Well it does 2 things. One it avoids unnecessary expense at the dealer for any repairs (i.e Diagnosis ) . An educated driver is a better driver. Knowing you car also allows you to understand the limits of your vehicle on the road.
The second thing is that it can be really fun. How you may ask? Well all those fancy options the Europeans get, we can have some of that love with VAG-COM. For instance opening and closing all the windows and sunroof with your key fob. You can enable this feature using VAG-COM. I have left my sunroof open many times after I got out of my car. Well with once click of my key fob, the sunroof closes. Very Cool!
Another great feature was changing my DRL ( Day Time Running Lights) from my HID Xenon to my fog lights. Why would I do this? Well the HId Xenon bulb replacement is basically $400 a bulb and since they need to color match you have to replace both. Using the fogs lights as DRLs means only a $7- $12 bulb replacement. Saving money is always better!
The final part of my fun is more advanced. It deals with changing the turbos’ boost pressure to Fuel to Air ratios and about 30 other things to get more power out of my GTI. I do not recommend doing this unless you Sony VAIO EXACTLY what you are doing, as you can severely damage your car. If you are a novice please seek a professional such as APR, REVO, or GIAC. Making these changes to car’s performance is often referred to as chipping. It can also void the warranty of your car if you are not careful. However it can also boost the car’s performance from 200HP 207TQ to 280HP and 325TQ. So you can see where the fun really begins!
Hours fly by when working on my GTI. The battery life on the Sony VAIO can easily be used up. To get past this inconvenience Sony offers a great battery sheet. A very thin sheet that attaches tp you laptop to boost battery life. Get up to 15 hours of battery life, double the standard amount. The Sony VGP-BPSC24 VAIO Extended Sheet sells for a mere $149.95 USD.
Well This what I would call my guilty pleasure from playing with small features such as windows and light to adjusting performance on my GTI. However to do all of this you need to have a fast PC. The Sony VAIO with it’s 2nd generation Intel® Core™ i5 is perfect solutions. Its small and compact enough to carry in my GTI and yet powerful enough to handle VAG-COM.