Originally Posted by wdd1040
Is it still as complicated as how PG outlined it? Need a special cable, super special battery charger, etc. I'm referring to all modules, not just DME.
If you are using the factory ISTA/P programming machine with the factory ICOM-A and ICOM-B (for MOST-BUS Fiber Optic equipped cars like ours), the voltage MUST be atleast 13.2V or the software will simply not allow you continue.
Recommended by the factory is a 75AMP battery stabilizer with 14.2V for programming. This is what I use for programming vehicles that come to me.
There is no reason to hook a charger up to the car to update the DME. It's the other updates that take significantly longer (such as the CIC/Navigation System), and this will require a charger.
I usually use the factory programs from Germany to update the control units. It doesn't care what the voltage is as it is an expert tool, where the dealer tools hold your hand along the way.
To update a complete car takes somewhere between an hour and four hours, depending on how out of date it is. I always hook a volt meter up to the car during programming to make sure that voltages are in check. I also have an ICOM emulator which lets me use the factory tools to program control units through a standard OBDII/D-Can cable. Updating the DME, FRM, CAS, etc is ok using the D-Can cable. But for transmission control units (EGS) such as DCT, and navigation updates, programming it with a D-CAN cable is asking for trouble as it can't handle the command rate and protocol switching that the factory ICOM unit does.
Edit: M3PO: If you have DCT, its highly advised that this is programmed in conjunction with the DME. If you don't, there are still a number of other modules in the car that will likely require an update.
The ISTA/P Programming levels are released in packages - meaning all of updates within a contained package have been tested to work in conjunction with each-other. Mixing levels is possible, but not an ideal situation. Installing a DME update while the rest of your car is on an older level, is technically mixing levels. I don't see much of an issue with updating the DME + Transmission control (or just the DME if you are 6MT) without doing the others, although it is not preferable.
You may run into strange issues at the dealer if you have a mixed software level in the car. When the car is plugged in, it will display "Last Touched With ISTA/P 4X.X". This integration level corresponds with specific software level numbers programmed into each control unit. If there is a conflict there, it may show the updated control units as failed because the level doesn't correspond with the integration level of the car.
This happened to me months ago.. I updated the FZD (sunroof function control module) to a later version and took the car to the dealer for a software level update. It showed that module as failed and refused to program the car to the latest levels until that module was replaced. I then reprogrammed the module to the older version matching the integration level, and the module (and the rest of the car) were successfully updated.