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Discussion Starter #1
I'm running a simulation of a Softronic flash(but only in my mind for now), and think I've got the steps pretty much sorted out. Just wanted to be sure of best battery charger setup to insure I don't screw up. Suggestions would be appreciated.:thanks:

BTW I have searched and cannot find definite answer.:cheers:
 

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you don't need the "best" battery charger. You need one with 10 to 40 amps with 40 being optimal. I used my 25 year old sears charger. Worked fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
you don't need the "best" battery charger. You need one with 10 to 40 amps with 40 being optimal. I used my 25 year old sears charger. Worked fine.
I'm assuming you connect directly to Battery in front trunk. Are there any chargers that can just plug into interior power outlet?
:thanks:
 

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I'm assuming you connect directly to Battery in front trunk. Are there any chargers that can just plug into interior power outlet?
:thanks:
Croctor:

First: You need a 10 AMP or larger charger and you must clamp the wires directly to the battery terminals. Don't unplug the battery from the car. Just put the clamps over the car's connections on top of the battery. Hook up the battery positive first, then negative then plug in the charger. Turn off as many accessories as possible..dome lights, interior fan etc.

I just went through this...the hard way. I have a ton of lessons I've learned about Flashing.

1. Any 10 AMP or bigger charger will work. They have them at automotive departments of discount stores. I paid $79 for a 15 amp "Sport" charger made by Schumacher. I had a 6AMP, but didn't want to take a chance, so got a new one. Good thing I did because I had my fans on a long time. Bought this 15 amp at my local Meier Store simply because that was closest. They all have them, especially in the Fall.

2. The important-est thing: ON YOUR COMPUTER: Make SURE you MOVE the files they send you to your DESKTOP...Out of the email and out of your email browser. Then and only then should you unzip the files. Use the unzipped "Tuned" file to flash your car. This is what I failed to do and it cost me the use of my car for over a week. Could have been worse.

If you just double-click on the file in your email, like I did. It will seem to unzip. The seemingly unzipped file will actually run, but it will be running under or within Outlook. It doesn't like that.

It will start the Flash process and then stall right in the middle. You're left in your garage with fans roaring at full speed discharging your battery and pinning your battery charger needle while you're wondering if you should shut down the car or wait for the program to do something. It won't do anything.

If you wait too long with these fans on (they draw 40 amps), you will discharge the battery enough to send low voltage to the ECU and you will fry the ECU. I didn't do that, but knowing what I knew, which I thought was a lot-but was nothing in the scheme of flashing an ECU, I could easily have cooked mine. If you cook the ECU beyond repairability, I think Porsche has to program the VIN into a new ECU and you pay Porsche prices for it. Also think the wait time might be long on this because coding must be done either at PNA in Atlanta or in Germany.

OK, that's the bad news. The good news is that, while I goofed up my Flash to a point where I couldn't re-do it successfully, I didn't cook the electronics.

What I had to do was remove the ECU. It's on the driver's side mounted to that carpeted wall behind the engine where you add oil...but on the driver's side. You have to pull up carpet. I also removed the aluminum piece from the top and then get a socket in under the ECU box to pull one nut then two more on top of the box. There are 8 electrical plugs that have to be removed. They're tricky little suckers if you've never dealt with them. They have levers to pull the plugs out of the sockets. You start at the top and work down. You can't replace them wrong, because all fit uniquely into their own sockets on the ECU, but you can break them. Make sure you have enough light to see and take the ECU off it's mounting before you remove the plugs. It's easier when you can see and have a little room to work.

Once it's out, you send it to Scott at Softronics and he unfreezes it. He also puts the Tuned File in it before he sends it back, so there is no need to flash.

Now, the really good news is that most people unzip the file correctly, don't have a cable disconnect mid-flash and don't loose their internet connection mid-flash. If you do it right, the whole process takes 2 to 5 minutes, from reading other people's trouble-free experiences. No removal of the ECU required. Very little drama.

Also note that you can download diagnostic software that works with your cable. You can look at your error codes and check and tweak all manner of little behaviors in your car. "Stupid Cayman Tricks" anyone?

I'm told that Segment 7 of the various segments that get installed is the critical one. If an interruption occurs during that segment, you have to remove the ECU and call Softronics. Most of the other segments, you can just turn off the key, wait for the battery to charge up and start again if, say, the OBDII plug pops out for some reason or you have a corrupted file.

The instructions say that you should not turn off the ignition during the Flash process. This is true if everything is working correctly, but if the file is corrupted or you are a bone-head like me and don't unzip the file rightt or something else went wrong and the computer screen has stopped showing progress for 1 minute, it's best to turn the ignition off.

When I'm trying a new procedure in my garage, I find it helpful to know what to do if things go South. Strive for the best, prepare for the worst...something like that.

Anyway, my experience was not typical, but I'm now able to give some knowledge that isn't on the instructions.

The big things...

1. It's CRITICAL to Unzip your file from the desk top, not from the email or from inside Microsoft Outlook.

2. Make sure the OBDII plug is in firmly. It's possible to get it not all the way in. Not the end of the world, but...

3. I put my laptop on a piece of inverted carpet on top of the car. That worked well for me. Put it on the seat or anywhere where the cord will not get bumped during the Flash.

4. Charge the battery fully before you start and leave the charger on the battery. DO NOT charge from the car lighter or any other outlet. Clamp to the battery terminals. This is big amperage.

4B. If you have doubts about your battery, replace it. What you don't want is low voltage to the ECU.

5. If you have problems and the program seems to stall for a minute or more, you should turn off the ignition. Don't let the fans run long enough to discharge the battery. With a good Flash and a 10 amp charger and a full battery charge at the start, you have more than enough juice. It's only if things start to go wrong that you'll need the extra. If you have to start over, wait until the battery is fully charged again.

It's not a difficult process, especially if you unzip correctly and don't bump the cords. :cheers:
 

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A couple other items that are in Scott's instructions which are quite thorough. On whatever PC you're using kill anything that might start automatically, email, IM, anti-virus, anti-spy ware etc and interrupt the flash. Also plug the laptop into the AC. You don't want it going into power save or throttlling back half way through.

The one bit I'd like to see Scott add is what Sixenstuff mentioned. Don't let the battery die. I knew it was bad, like in send it to Softronic, but didn't realize it was that dire in being toasted ECU.

I'd also like to see Durametric improve the connector. Their sister Bravarian Technic cable is more positive in connection. This may be a limitation in Porsche but the OBD connector under the dash looks like it has the option for snap in locks on the plug. Friction isn't the best retainer for something like this.
 

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You don't need any charger at all to do the flash. The internal car battery is sufficient assuming you drive your car daily. Just follow the instructions carefully and make sure you sit VERY STILL when the flash is in progress.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks all!!! I believe I'm very clear in my own mind now how to do this properly.:cheers::thanks::thanks:
 

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You don't need any charger at all to do the flash. The internal car battery is sufficient assuming you drive your car daily. Just follow the instructions carefully and make sure you sit VERY STILL when the flash is in progress.
Very true. But batteries do age. With as easy as the Cayman starts, if you're driving it every day, you may not notice until you hit it with a sustained load. If the old dog's memory serves you only have to pull the system voltage down to something like 8 volts for the computers to quit. Given this I find the minute or so it takes to hook up a charger very cheap insurance against bricking ones Porsche.

I don't, however, know how low the voltage has to go to fry the ECU as Sixenstuff was talking about.
 

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Originally Posted by titanic View Post
You don't need any charger at all to do the flash. The internal car battery is sufficient assuming you drive your car daily. Just follow the instructions carefully and make sure you sit VERY STILL when the flash is in progress.
When I did the initial read of the ECU the fans were on for about a minute so maybe I could drink titanic's kool aid. When I did the actual flash the fans were on for over 3 in fact almost 4 minutes. NO WAY would I take a chance on not using a charger. Even using a charger I was soiling my undies waiting for that green bar to finish; those fans really draw the amps and they seemed like they were on forever.
If you follow the steps in Scott's e-mail you will have no issues it is truly an incredibly easy process. Good luck.
 

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When I did the initial read of the ECU the fans were on for about a minute so maybe I could drink titanic's kool aid. When I did the actual flash the fans were on for over 3 in fact almost 4 minutes. NO WAY would I take a chance on not using a charger. Even using a charger I was soiling my undies waiting for that green bar to finish; those fans really draw the amps and they seemed like they were on forever.
If you follow the steps in Scott's e-mail you will have no issues it is truly an incredibly easy process. Good luck.
Running down the battery is not beyond the realm of the possible. The fans draw 40 amps. With a 10 amp charger, it could happen if you have trouble with the Flash. I had the good sense to recharge the battery to full with each retry, but someone else might not. Low voltage will do damage. I was told by April that replacing the ECU is an expensive proposition. Not sure what it's like, but probably something like replacing a BMW motorcycle key. They can only be made at one location in North America. Dealer can't do it.

RE, PLUG: My OBDII plug fit very snugly but the first time I thought it was in and it wasn't. I didn't know how bright the green light was because I'd never seen it "on" before. Didn't know if maybe it was on the back side of the plug...It was dark down there.

Plug wasn't in all the way and I got an error right off the bat when I tried to start. No biggie, you just push the plug in and start again. It never got to the point of turning on the fans or even starting the Flash process because it has to download info to Softronics first and pass some pre-checks and then start the routine. If you fail a pre-check, of which this is one, you go no further.

If you had a clamp-in plug and someone pulled the wire hard, it would probably take out part of the dash. Can't please all the people all the time.

So, listing all the things that can go wrong:

1. Computer background virus program or some other software miracle is not turned off and starts up in the middle of the Flash.

This one can be fairly serious, causing a stall in the program. It may be possible to start over, but only if the process is not on Segment 7 when it happens. Stall in program causes fans to run too long...see Step 5.

2. OBDII plug not plugged in all the way.

This is a doodle. Turn off the car. Reset the Flash program. Push the plug in and start again.

3. User has Microsoft Outlook and the file is unzipped right from the email...causes Flash program to run "inside" the Outlook program, which is immense. Flash doesn't run right and stalls.

If you realize what's wrong, this can be a simple fix. If you've already started over a couple times and not recharged the battery, you can do some serious damage. If you've taken your time and recharged, the worst that will happen is the Segment 7 stall, which requires removal of ECU and regrooving by Scott.

4. Car has old battery and can't keep up with the fans.

This could result in ECU cookage. Don't go there. You see lights getting dim or hear fans slowing down, shut the car off immediately.

5. Too small or no battery charger hooked up.

Same deal as 4. Proper voltage is essential to the success of this. Low voltage equals danger to ECU.

6. Laptop not hooked up to AC charger and runs down before Flash is done.

If it happens on Segment 7, you call Scott. If not, try again with the AC adapter in.

7. Laptop doesn't have a good internet connection or looses connection during Flash.

As I understand it, the internet connection time is brief and this isn't a problem once the actual Flashing starts going on...It needs internet just before the Flash....I think.

8. Charger sitting percariously on the inside of the trunk and vibration from fans causes it to fall into the trunk and disconnect during the Flash.

This might not actually hurt anything, but it will scare the wee out of you. I put a cardboard box in my trunk that provided a nice, level surface for the charger to sit on.

9. Sparks from 8 ignite battery fumes and blow up entire car, garage and home of enthusiast. (Kidding, OK?)

One should read the cautions that come with a new battery charger. The vapor inside a battery is capable of explosion. Stock Porsche lead-acid battery has a plastic vent tube that goes down under the car, minimizing this risk...if the vent tube is hooked up properly. Another reason to hook this tube up is that the vapor is corrosive and will make a serious mess in the trunk if vapor collects for a long time. A lot of older 911s with battery in front had corrosion issues around the batteries. Something to check for if you ever buy a used one.

10. In a drunken stupor, the enthusiast mistakenly hooks the battery charger directly to the laptop... :beer: :beer: :beer:

After this, we get into apocalyptic natural disasters and such. I won't go there except to say that I actually had my router outside in the rain with a plastic bag over it in the back yard during a rain-storm to reach the garage when I uploaded the stock file to Scott. :cheers:
 

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Sixenstuff, got a great laugh out of this when I really needed one.

More seriously after fooling with cars and other mechanical whatnots for over 40 years I never imagined needing wifi in the garage. I've always had things like lifts and so on on the dream list but wifi?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Sixisenuff
I think you should submit your "flash" writeup for inclusion in the site "Articles".
:cheers:
 

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I must say I have enjoyed the reading :).


Good Stuff.....



Best,
Scott
 

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Question: I have a manual battery charger - which means it runs by timer not by reducing amperage as the battery gets charged - it has 20amp and 40amp settings - which should I use?
 

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I would get at least a 15 amp charger or more. I did my flash with a 10 amp and it gets overloaded. The charger would shut down for 30 seconds or so and then come back on. Did not cause a problem with the flash but made me very nervous. I am assuming that my battery is strong and that is why it did not cause an issue.
 

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reviving an old thread... I just reflashed my DME to stock/original file. Hopefully, this will get the DME status to ready so I can get the car (CA) smog. I went out and bought myself a DieHard charger from Sears.
The name is: DieHard Gold 80A Shelf Battery Charger & Engine Starter
Item # 02871325000P
Model # 71325
The spec: 80A engine start / 30A rapid charge (the manual calls it boost mode)/ 12A fast charge / 2A charge.
Cost was $65 - as Sears was running some sale.
Since no one has posted the brand/model I thought I'd share with everyone the charger that worked for me.

Some observations: I noticed during the write to stock, the fan did not come on at all. The charge did start making a louder humming noise. I assume it was the charger working to keep up with the draw (though I'm not sure what was drawing the batt... b/c the fans did not come on). Also, after the write was complete... i batt test mode shows the battery was a 81%. I had it fully charged right before I did the write.

Hope this helps others.
 
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