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Time for you to help me spend my $$$


Glacier991

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Yeah I thought that title might get your attention. Nothing more fun than spending someone else's money!

Ok here's the rub. I have been wanting a Rotunda NGS for years now. Yes I know they more or less are obsolete looking to the future.... but their uses from 90 til 2005 are legendary. An NGS tester will more or less complete my garage FORD tool wise. (I recently missed out on a WDS tester and was depressed for days <g>.)

Anyway here are my quandries and here is the help I am seeking. First off, ON an NGS tester, I need advice from folks (dealership mechanics would be candidate #1, but others who use them or used them would be helpful). I have collected a few NGS cables (speed sensor, antilock brake, etc) and know I want at least a red card and one green card... but what all should I look for in an NGS setup? Program versions ? Cables ? accessories ? Cards ?Sometimes I see them with few cards and lots of cabling, sometimes (like now) one with tons of cards and few cables... Help me understand where my best deal lies. I will be buying on the internet and they used to go for $1200, though that may be dropping slightly.

For everyone else - who know what the NGS can do - feel free to talk me into something else. I have some $$ on paypal from transmission sales and my Christmas present to myself was to own a NGS or something similar by summer (still yearning for a WDS).

I have scanners, so a simple scanner isn't what I am after. For those who are unfamiliar the NGS will do nearly every computer function FORD had need of in the shop setting through last year - reflash PCM's, program PATS keys, etc.... So while I will appreciate your desire to help, don't just suggest this or that scanner... (yeah I know I want a graphing scanner TOO, in ADDITION!)

LET's SPEND GLACIER'S MONEY!

ps. leads to an affordable WDS (World Wide Diagnsostic System) will be accepted (dealers have these sitting around these days). This is the Daddy NGS ... computer on a cart... that FORD and HP built. Now that FORD left it behind the original designer bought the patents back and is upgrading it....pretty awesome stuff.... (and pricey if you pay retail).
 
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sparky2263

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I em'd a friend of mine and forwarded what you wrote here. He's a service mgr at a large Ford dealership. I'll just copy and paste what he wrote;

Robert, the NGS was my 'tool of choice' several years ago, probably from about '94 until 2000... then I began using the WDS almost exclusively, and now my Dell PDA with a VCM.
The NGS was great until the PCM evolved into a faster processor - the CAN network (used on the 6.0 Powerstroke in 2003 and most new cars now) is much too fast for the NGS... the VCM adapter for NGS was a stop-gap way to continue using NGS for 2003, but the $2100 adapter was still too slow. Hickok now offers a CAN adapter, but it is a 'read-only' system, not allowing all the good stuff, from what I've been told.
However, a NGS in good condition with a red card and a green card (flashed to the latest levels) will still perform well for any EEC IV and OBDII system from about '90-'04, and only a few cables are needed: The EEC IV cable for the old systems, an anti-lock brake adapter for some (like the Econoline) and a MECS adapter for the imported stuff, and the OBDII cable for later models.
Yes, the NGS is superior in that the manufacturer allows it to be able to take 'active command' of various functions, and 'reflash' some modules if equipped properly. Don't expect to do much reflashing, though, as that is limited to the program on the card, and only accessible if a Ford authorized/CAFE certified program is available - and you can't download it to the card unless you're an authorized dealer. The NGS originally had updated cards periodically, but later years used a reflashable card - I don't remember the version numbers, but a Red Card was used for most PCM functions and a Green Card was generally used for ABS and other modules.
Hope this helps! Happy New Year...
Clay
 




Glacier991

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Great! Thanks Sparky (and Clay) that was exactly what I was looking for. I guess it is understandable that FORD would try and protect proprietary programming functions (sigh). Question... If I pick up a used NGS, can a mere mortal like me get someone to update the cards to the latest software version available? Or am I more or less stuck with that level of programming already present?
 




sparky2263

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Quote "If it has programmable cards AND you can find someone at a dealership (buddy system) that still supports NGS (discontinued 6 months ago) then you can get it programmed." He also said some guys figured out how to do programmable cards from buying stuff at Radio Shack. Said they MAY have a forum on the net somewhere.

Programmable cards will have a version number written on it. Non-programmable will have a blank space where you'd write on it with a grease pencil. Aftermarket programmable cards are about $100.

Yes, if you ship me the cards, I can get it done. ;)
 




spindlecone

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Sparky
Your a real asset to these forums, hope you stick around, keep the info coming
 




sparky2263

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Thank you.
 




ExplorerDMB

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The NGS I use has a few cards and only a few cables - and that's really all we use (when we use it...I've seen it out like 5 times with my 2 years at the shop I'm at now). I would recommend the green card with up to version 6 software. That'll allow you to do a good amount - thats what I used to recalc. my speedo through the ABS system. Ford has put a lot of restrictions on things, but there are ways to backdoor them. Anyway, and NGS is a great tool - but like sparky's guy said, the PDAs are out now. The PDAs however aren't very friendly and I think they will be booted and just kept to lap tops. We are getting Fords new software which we will put on Laptops. But anyway, the NGS - I believe we only have one cable and that is the 16-pin DLC cable. I noticed today that you can use the NGS to figure out which door is "adjar". I never knew you could do that - until a guy at the shop was using it just to figure that out. Very good buy though. I will try and find out more information tomorrow if possible when I'm up at the shop - but we use a special program for programming/flashing; and we mostly use the Snap-On Modios or Vetronixs MasterTech and soon will be using the Tech2 once it arrives.

-Drew
 




Glacier991

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Glacier991

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Someone want to help me understand the "Black" card?
 




ExplorerDMB

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Sorry I didn't get back with you about what exactly we have, but I can still go find out for you - just I'm off this week and I can also find out about the black card as well, but from what I know, I've never heard of the black card.

-Drew
 




Glacier991

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Looks for all the world like the green card, maybe for imports, I am not sure.... just curious.... I am gearing up for the NGS, have parts of it already including the CD's for flashing current as of April 2004 I think. Feeling like a kid at Christmas...
 




Glacier991

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I did a little snooping around on the net and found Hickok's FAQ's site. I doubt a lot of are lusting for an NGS or ever care, but *I* found the info there helpful, so here's a link just in case anyone else might find it useful.....

http://appserver.hickok-inc.com/product/product.r_faq.show

ps. The black card is Diagnostics 84-2001. Sounds like a good card to have.

There are some other good sites.... in case yoou ever get a chance to pick up on a good used NGS and need some cables:

http://www.aeswave.com/products/Products.asp?mi=22&sa=Y&vp=1

[Hint Try and buy them on E-bay - I picked up the speed control cable on E-bay for $50, above has it new for $300]
 
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Creager

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spindlecone said:
Sparky
Your a real asset to these forums, hope you stick around, keep the info coming
Thats what i've been saying man, sparkys' on top of things.
 




sparky2263

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Thanks guys.
 




Glacier991

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I was looking at the website for the folks who designed the WDS (Worldwide Diagnostic System) with FORD and bought back the rights. Fascinating look into a entreunpreureal company that believes in their product. If I ran a FORD oriented garage I wuld own one of their newest upgraded WDS products! I Digress....

Anyway one thing I read stood out. The automobile PCM (computer) pre CAN (computer area network .... something I wrote about in another thread but where out cars are being wired like computers) was a slow beast. I built a hardwire 8080A computer in the 80's (Think Altair, when Gates was working in his garage). The FORD PCM ran on the 8061! [For those not familiar that is like the model A of computer chips] Hardly heavy duty computing.

That never really changed until CAN in the 2004 models. (!!!)

Now, switch to thinking about modems on your computer. Remember the days of a 1200 baud modem, then 2400, 4600 and then WOW...12K Baud modem, then 24K baud, then finally 56K ? Then broadband and 100K 200 K on up?

ahem. hold onto your hats.

Until 2004 the FORD PCM bus ran at 19.6K baud.

in CAN it is 500K.

No wonder NGS cannot keep up and we are switching to laptops.

I have a new thread in mind for the computer forum. Several in fact. Guys it is time to understand even more about computers and cars. I hope to share what I learn, WITH my new NGS and more. (NO I don't own one yet.)
 




Glacier991

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Ok one more Q. Are the NGS cards just PCMCIA linear memory cards? I am thinking they are. If I am right I may just have all the calibrations thru last April for reflashing PCMS!
 




ExplorerDMB

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Chris, sorry it has been so long that I've visited this thread, but today I was at the shop using the Snap-On Modis and decided to take a few shots of the NGS for you and the cards that we have:

-Drew
 

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ExplorerDMB

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The red cards are your diagnostic cards and the one green card is your programmer (key fabs, GEM modules, etc.). You can read on the cards what they are.

The red card to the far right is for OBD II (95-04 I think) And the other red card is for 89-98 (with some OBDII capabilties).

-Drew
 




ExplorerDMB

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what ever happend with this purchase Chris?

-Drew
 


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1998rollover

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I'd like to find someone near Boise, ID with an NGS and the cards to update the ABS, PCM etc on a 1998 mountaineer.
 




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