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Thread: Dummies Guide to Basic coding with NCS Expert

  1. #1
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    Dummies Guide to Basic coding with NCS Expert

    I was helping another person, but i thought this info might help others out there trying to make sense of ncs expert.

    I found lots of guides that just shows you what buttons to press or ones that are too complicated for a layman (not a programmer) to really understand. I like to understand what im doing and whats going on. So this is why i wrote this post, to help understand what ncs is doing. I didnt come up with this stuff, the experts out there did. Im just trying to chew, regurgitate it for the 'dumb' masses like myself who are still learning.

    If I said anything wrong, experts please chime in and correct me.

    Proceed at your own risk, this is just my interpretation for educational/entertainment value only. I am not responsible for you blowing up your car or damaging your modules. Im serious!

    DUMMIES GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING NCS AND CODING

    This is roughly how it works... and my dummy interpretation of it. Please read it fully if you want to understand, this isnt exactly a quick cheat sheet guide.

    On Pre '02 cars the coding is slighly different method than Post '02 cars. I am only going to elaborate on coding individual parameters, you can go learn how to code entire modules thru the VO later once you learn the basics below.

    The first part to understand is what this stuff about ZCS/VO or "vehicle order" is. When BMW makes a car, they create whats called a "vehicle order", this is basically a bunch of numbers writen into the car that tell what modules are installed in the car, regional info etc. This is like your car's DNA! for example if the car has a sunroof, or a convertible or radio etc etc and that it was meant for US,Canada,France etc. Because each car is different with a different set of options/modules or country that its located, the "vehicle order" aka. "ZCS" or "VO" may be different. Why is it called ZCS you ask? because its abbreviated german, and its confusing as hell.

    The VO is written into a couple modules of the car, usually ones that start with an "A", like AKMB or ALSZ. On some cars its written elsewhere. In my 02 M3, the VO was written in ALSZ and AKMB. On my '00 328ci it was stored in EWS, KMB. Its nothing more than a string of text/numbers stored in the flash memory of these modules, nothing special. Why is it written into two places? because if one module is failed and has to be replaced, then the other will serve as a backup so you can code the new replacement module to your car. For example ALSZ is the "light switch module" in your car, for some reason it fails. When you buy a new LSZ/LCM, you can retrieve all your settings of VO from AKMB and then code your new LCM to YOUR factory settings. The chances of both modules failing is slim, but if it does... you'll have to contact BMW so they can give you the VO for your car from their records.

    OK the one difference is pre-02 cars dont have a VO. Those cars have their ZCS (which acts like a VO) stored in the EWS or KMB modules. The stuff below is basically identical however for individual parameter coding.

    Now go get into the basics of coding.

    1. When you load NCS expert, you need to load a profile. These profiles just change how ncs expert behaves when you read your car. The two profiles i stick to are "expertmode" and "revtor's expert profile". if you dont have it, you can find it on the net easily. In order to code your car the first time, you should pick "revtors". This has something called "manipulation" enabled... ill elaborate on that later.

    2. Once the profile is loaded, you basically need to select Vin/ZCS/FA in order for ncs to download VIN info off your car. Once it does this, it will ask you to select a module. Why? because it needs to know your "vehicle order" information. In most cases it will probably be in an "A" module. if it doesnt load, or cant be accessed, no harm done, just try a different module. When it is able to read it, you will see a long string next to "FA" starting with your chassis "E46_" followed by numbers and text along with #'s and $'s. This is your VO. Now that NCS Expert knows it, it can code your car properly!

    CODING HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE MODULE YOU JUST SELECTED TO READ THE VO FROM! This perplexed me for the longest time, I didnt understand why i selected two modules each time, or what the difference selecting AKMB or ALSZ or etc the first time was. Well... It has no bearing!! all NCS is doing is reading the text/number string that is your VO off the memory in these modules in this first step. You will actually select the desired module to code in later steps.

    ** PRE-02 cars, you wont see the long FA "VO" string, instead there will be a few lines FG, GM, VN, SA followed by numbers, its basically the same thing different format. For all intents and purposes this is referred to by me as the vehicle order or ZCS for a pre-02 car.

    ON POST-02 cars select any module with "A' in front of it, on PRE-02 the "A" modules wont work, you will need to use EWS or KMB for this step... It doesnt matter which.

    Now this guide will touch on the basics to code INDIVIDUAL items on your car. The steps to add items to your VO and code your modules is different and i wont comment on that here, because it will confuse the amateur. Just understand the basics of individual coding first, then coding from your VO will all make sense later.

    3. The next part is to download your factory settings in your car to your PC. Once you get the VO loaded, you hit the BACK button. The default job in NCS is to write SO BE VERY CAREFUL here. You will see all your modules listed, for example "EWS,ABG,ASC,KMB,APL,.....etc" and underneath "SG_CODIEREN"

    NCS at this point is set to SG_CODIEREN, which means to WRITE to ALL modules listed. You dont want to do that.

    4. So now select "Process ECU", and select the INDIVIDUAL MODULE you want to code. For example LSZ (light switch module). Once you do this, it will say only LSZ (and not all the modules in your car).

    5. Now you want to change the job from WRITE to READ. Select "CHANGE JOB", then select "CODIERDATEN_LESEN". This is to READ DATA.

    6. Once selected it will confirm this by indicating the module and job type on the screen. Now you are ready. Hit "EXECUTE JOB".

    It will say Coding Activ, then Coding Ended.

    7. At this point, in your NCSexpert/WORK/ folder there will be a file called "FSW_PSW.TRC"

    This is what we want, the coding of your LSZ module that we read earlier. IMMEDIATELY save a backup of this file, rename it to FSW_PSW_LSZ_ORIGINAL.TRC and save it somewhere incase you decide you want to revert to the original copy. Now I want you to resave another copy of this FSW_PSW.TRC file as FSW_PSW.MAN (manipulation...hint hint). Make sure it doesnt save as FSW_PSW.MAN.TXT or some crap like that, it wont work properly.

    OK why all this juggling?? because NCS expert only reads modules and saves EVERYTHING as a FSW_PSW.TRC file. Regardless of what module you read in your car, this is what the filename will be. And everytime you load NCS expert, this file is constantly erased, written and re-written. So thats why we are saving it as FSW_PSW.MAN so we can alter it safely without our copy being overwritten.

    8. Now open up FSW_PSW.MAN with a text editor.

    You will see a long list of stuff like this..

    LEUCHTWEITENREG_AUTOM
    aktiv
    FEHLER_BREMSLICHT
    nicht_melden
    TAGFAHRLICHT
    aktiv

    This is where you can code. now its all in german, so you will need to run these words in a translator (google) to understand it, OR you can use NCS Dummy that translates this stuff for you and gives you all available parameters, but thats a whole different program and you ought to learn how to use it.

    This is what the above looks like if translated. Now you can see how we can deactivate/activate certain things. Im going to deactivate DRLs here.
    Translated...

    AUTOMATIC HEADLIGHT CONTROL
    active
    BRAKE LIGHT ERROR REPORTING
    dont report
    DAYTIME RUNNING LIGHTS
    active

    edited...

    LEUCHTWEITENREG_AUTOM
    aktiv
    FEHLER_BREMSLICHT
    nicht_melden
    TAGFAHRLICHT
    nicht_aktiv

    By changing to nicht_activ, it deactivates this setting. Now dont go crazy, some codes are redundant so changing just one thing wont do the trick. This takes some time and effort to find the right code/codes to work with.

    9. Once you are happy, SAVE your FSW_PSW.MAN file.

    10. Open up NCS expert, load up "revtors" profile (with manipulation enabled), and reload it to the part where the VO is loaded and its asking you to process ecu (Basically steps 1-3) Look above how to do this. Once you're there, select "PROCESS ECU", select the correct module you are coding, in this case "LSZ". Then select "CHANGE JOB" and make sure you pick "SG_CODIEREN". Once this is done, you are ready to code the car.

    NCS will basically now take the FSW_PSW.MAN file, and overwrite the codes in your car's LSZ module with your new settings. It only uses the MAN file because you are using a profile with "manipulation" enabled. The other mode "expertmode" does not have manipulation, and you cannot code individual stuff like this using that profile.

    11. Hit "EXECUTE JOB". Wait till it says "Coding ended". Now your new LSZ is coded. Turn off the car, and restart, and check to see if your results are as expected!

    12. Open up the /WORK/ folder, open the FSW_PSW.MAN file, select all, delete, save and exit.

    Viola! Thats it. You are now an expert on coding individual features!



    Now what do you do if you screwed it up or something is behaving funny and you want to go back to original settings. Or you cant remember all the stuff you changed, or dont like the results.

    To load up the ORIGINAL factory defaults if you mess up.

    Go to your /WORK/ folder. Open FSW_PSW.MAN, select all, delete, save & exit.

    Load NCS Expert

    Select "Expertmode" profile

    Hit "VIN/ZCS/FA" to load your Chassis and Vehicle order info

    Hit BACK

    Hit PROCESS ECU

    Select the chassis, then module you F'd up on. For example "LSZ"

    On Pre-02 cars It will say "LSZ" and underneath "SG_Codieren" along with some files LSZ.Cxx, LSZ.PRG, etc etc. SG_CODIEREN is the correct job you want.

    On Post-02 cars It will say "LSZ" and underneath "SG_Codieren" along with some files LSZ.Cxx, LSZ.PRG, etc etc. Hit CHANGE JOB, Select "FA_WRITE" Job.

    "xx" is usually the specific Coding index used in your default module, its a number. think of this like "firmware version".

    These files are basically from your /DATEN/ folder and contain the proper coding information specific to your car. How does NCS know which files to use? Because it knows by looking at your VIN and VO, then selects the correct files. NCS will then basically read these files, then read your VO and re-write the proper codes, features, activate, deactivate everything to your factory settings.

    The job is SG_Codieren or FA_Write because you will WRITE your original settings back in.

    Hit EXECUTE JOB.

    Viola, your original data is re-written and your car will work again. Hopefully.


    Start small, and dont bite off more than you can chew. Once you get the hang of this basic stuff, you can do more. Dont mess with stuff you cant translate or dont understand, just leave it alone. Dont go nuts. I hope this helps someone out there.
    Last edited by vickumar; 05-05-2012 at 07:51 PM.
    Vickumar

    E63 M6/F10 535i xDrive/E24 M635/E46 SC 328Ci/Gen2 Viper GTS

    My Dummies Guide to Basic coding and understanding NCS Expert

    Coming soon... Dummies Guide to using NCS Dummy to translate/code your ride!

  2. #2
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    Thanks! I wish there were more of these writeups for guys like me!
    E39 M5, E39 SC Touring, G30
    "Beating My Wallet" but loving it!

  3. #3
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    Great post, followed it to the letter and I now have my car just the way I want it... almost!

    My issue is with this section of the text:

    To load up the ORIGINAL factory defaults if you mess up.

    Go to your /WORK/ folder. Open FSW_PSW.MAN, select all, delete, save & exit.

    Load NCS Expert

    Select "Expertmode" profile

    Hit "VIN/ZCS/FA" to load your Chassis and Vehicle order info

    Hit BACK

    Hit PROCESS ECU

    Select the chassis, then module you F'd up on. For example "LSZ"

    On Pre-02 cars It will say "LSZ" and underneath "SG_Codieren" along with some files LSZ.Cxx, LSZ.PRG, etc etc. SG_CODIEREN is the correct job you want.

    On Post-02 cars It will say "LSZ" and underneath "SG_Codieren" along with some files LSZ.Cxx, LSZ.PRG, etc etc. Hit CHANGE JOB, Select "FA_WRITE" Job.

    These files are basically from your /DATEN/ folder and contain the proper coding information specific to your car. How does NCS know which files to use? Because it knows by looking at your VIN and VO, then selects the correct files. NCS will then basically read these files, then read your VO and re-write the proper codes, features, activate, deactivate everything to your factory settings.

    The job is SG_Codieren or FA_Write because you will WRITE your original settings back in.

    Hit EXECUTE JOB.
    I've added +IPOD to my VO and written this to both the CAS and LMA modules in my '06 E65. Am I right in thinking that doing the procedure quoted above to the MMI will now wipe the MMI and rewrite it with the extra options for the Ipod adapter?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by DFH View Post
    Great post, followed it to the letter and I now have my car just the way I want it... almost!

    My issue is with this section of the text:



    I've added +IPOD to my VO and written this to both the CAS and LMA modules in my '06 E65. Am I right in thinking that doing the procedure quoted above to the MMI will now wipe the MMI and rewrite it with the extra options for the Ipod adapter?
    yes you got it man. if the ipod value is added to your VO, your "new" default settings will always includes ipod adapter option!
    Vickumar

    E63 M6/F10 535i xDrive/E24 M635/E46 SC 328Ci/Gen2 Viper GTS

    My Dummies Guide to Basic coding and understanding NCS Expert

    Coming soon... Dummies Guide to using NCS Dummy to translate/code your ride!

  5. #5
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    Cheers Vickumar - I tried it and it did indeed work - all the options in the resulting trace file to get the iPod working were set to AKTIV and the iPod now works. However, I was hoping to have the CD1, CD2 list replaced with the Playlist, Artist menu. I figured since my car is the facelift version, this would just come on, but no.

    Any ideas for me to try?

  6. #6
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    Awesome!

    Sorry im not familiar with coding the playlists
    Vickumar

    E63 M6/F10 535i xDrive/E24 M635/E46 SC 328Ci/Gen2 Viper GTS

    My Dummies Guide to Basic coding and understanding NCS Expert

    Coming soon... Dummies Guide to using NCS Dummy to translate/code your ride!

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the top level explanation it helps to understand all the other guides.

  8. #8
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    Op, great write-up. I have a few questions based on what I have been reading, perhaps you can shed some light on them. I am familiar with the genuine GT1 however since that machine is intended for repair and diagnosis, the ability to get into the GM, SA & VN codes and re-write control units is limited since there is no table that explains what each digit represents.

    What site do you recommend for downloading NCS Expert and do the files need to be downlaoded in a particular order?

    What other software pieces are needed or is NCS Expert a stand alone system?

    Is a diagnostic head needed to connect to the car or can it be done with a USB/Ethernet cable with a OBDII connector?

    That's it for now, I have a 5 speed swap sitting now that won't start.
    Last edited by jetavdk; 04-04-2012 at 06:25 PM. Reason: Added to original question.

  9. #9
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    I have a 97 328 vert. I'll be doing a auto/manual swap very soon. Where can I find the steps/modules/codes to change so my DME stops looking for an auto tranny?

  10. #10
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    You sir, are awesome. i had been scratching my head trying to figure out how to use NCS expert. Much appreciated!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by jetavdk View Post
    Op, great write-up. I have a few questions based on what I have been reading, perhaps you can shed some light on them. I am familiar with the genuine GT1 however since that machine is intended for repair and diagnosis, the ability to get into the GM, SA & VN codes and re-write control units is limited since there is no table that explains what each digit represents.

    What site do you recommend for downloading NCS Expert and do the files need to be downlaoded in a particular order?

    What other software pieces are needed or is NCS Expert a stand alone system?

    Is a diagnostic head needed to connect to the car or can it be done with a USB/Ethernet cable with a OBDII connector?

    That's it for now, I have a 5 speed swap sitting now that won't start.
    a) I got everything on a DVD from ebay when I purchased my cable. Im sure you could find it on torrent or searching google.

    b) NCS is technically standalone, but iirc you'll need to have INPA loaded, it needs a background application called "EDIBIAS" running. Probably misspelled that. Most people load INPA (which starts up EDIBIAS) checks for two black dots on power/ignition, close INPA then run NCS Expert.

    c) Dont need any special diagnoistic heads, its a K-Line cable that plugs from OBDII to your usb. Its all over ebay its usually a blue color cable.

    Quote Originally Posted by flyfishvt View Post
    I have a 97 328 vert. I'll be doing a auto/manual swap very soon. Where can I find the steps/modules/codes to change so my DME stops looking for an auto tranny?
    Sorry, thats over my head.

    Quote Originally Posted by PoopFaceKillah View Post
    You sir, are awesome. i had been scratching my head trying to figure out how to use NCS expert. Much appreciated!
    Thank you, glad it helps!
    Last edited by vickumar; 04-27-2012 at 05:15 PM.
    Vickumar

    E63 M6/F10 535i xDrive/E24 M635/E46 SC 328Ci/Gen2 Viper GTS

    My Dummies Guide to Basic coding and understanding NCS Expert

    Coming soon... Dummies Guide to using NCS Dummy to translate/code your ride!

  12. #12
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    whoa, nice tutorial!, but i have a quuestion... What happens if i am coding and my interface throw an error?, for example a communication error, does the module dies?, or can i recode it again with the factory settings, using FA?

  13. #13
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    thank you for taking the time to do this mate!

  14. #14
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    Great post.
    i have an 2006 750, E65 and i want to cancel the legal disclaimer.
    i followed the post but i dont have the CAPPL module in the CAS ECU. i tried the ARS module which had an item called "TOUT LEGALDISCLAIMER" and changed it from wert_01 to nicht_aktiv but that didnt work.
    anyone knows what module is the legal disclaimer in for the E65 model?
    thanks

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  16. #16
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    Please can someone tell me how i add $644 to my vo? i am still a newbie but would like to get my bluetooth working once again.

  17. #17
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    Hello,

    I have a 2001 E39, I messed up my IKE just by changing a language setting with carsoft (ppp.p error, MPG needle jumping around 0 RPM). NowI want to recode it with NCS-expert. I think you are also familiar with NCS-Expert. Can you confirm that this is possible?
    I found a similar thread using NSC-expert on bimmerforums:
    (DIY - Code used E39 DSC module w/ NCS Expert)
    What I think I should do (?):
    1- read the VIN/ZCS/FA from the EWS
    2- Code the IKE using the VIN/ZCS/FA read on step 1(I am not sure about this step. Is NCS-expert able to code IKE as well)

    Please confirm, I don't want to risk causing more damage.

    Thx,
    Vahid

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by DFH View Post
    Great post, followed it to the letter and I now have my car just the way I want it... almost!

    My issue is with this section of the text:



    I've added +IPOD to my VO and written this to both the CAS and LMA modules in my '06 E65. Am I right in thinking that doing the procedure quoted above to the MMI will now wipe the MMI and rewrite it with the extra options for the Ipod adapter?
    Can you shine some light on how you write +IPOD to you VO im looking to do the same with +KMP3

  19. #19
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    this pepsi, from New Zealand. now i really got head ache about progamme my E60, and really need to you help. i have my japan imported E60 2005. and it only have japanese radio station, i read some on web, so i brought ops with works with laptop. but i can't find out how to make it works. and the NCS Expert can do this job? the if you can help me, i am realy grateful。

  20. #20
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    Have you resolved your problem? You need to do programming I think. It's not so difficult if you have OBD cable.

  21. #21
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    I am still stuck at getting a "Chassis is Faulty" and I can not find anywhere to read that solves my problem. I am crossed eyed reading diefferent sites. I am trying. I have an 2004 545i and I just replaced my CCC. Thanks for you help

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by panochote View Post
    I am still stuck at getting a "Chassis is Faulty" and I can not find anywhere to read that solves my problem. I am crossed eyed reading diefferent sites. I am trying. I have an 2004 545i and I just replaced my CCC. Thanks for you help
    You do not have a valid connection to the car, that's why you get "chassis is faulty"
    Check your cable is plugged in properly. Check the drivers are installed properly on Windows (Device manager) Check your cable is valid for your car (KCAN/DCAN...). Check if INPA connects fine....
    I can provide remote assistance for a minimal fee is interested.

  23. #23
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    Thanks Planet Dude. I will double check the connections. Inpa gave me something about not the same language. I will double check.

  24. #24
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    ipod activation

    hi dfh
    any chance you could describe abit about how you added ipod? i have got all the information retrieved from mmi but there is no where i can see anything about ipod and auxiliary!! and im also abit consufed about when you say you WROTE it to the cas and lma, ithought its all about if some thing was nich_active you would change it to active to make it show up on the mmi!! my aim is to add aux in by the way, which i have not been successful at it yet!
    thanks in advance

    Quote Originally Posted by DFH View Post
    Great post, followed it to the letter and I now have my car just the way I want it... almost!

    My issue is with this section of the text:



    I've added +IPOD to my VO and written this to both the CAS and LMA modules in my '06 E65. Am I right in thinking that doing the procedure quoted above to the MMI will now wipe the MMI and rewrite it with the extra options for the Ipod adapter?

  25. #25
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    I am able to operate Progman/SSS and Impa so the connection is there I presume. still get Faulty Chassis with NDC expert. So close to getting my CCC to produce sound but have no clue what my exact problem is. Thanks for your input and Planet Dude . . .I don't knbow. I will just kee reading and maybe I will find the post that tells me what I need to do.

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