Thanks for the links, Jim!
I missed the Quick Start Guide in my volvotechinfo travels. That tells has some good pics as well as the workflow description.
does that mean if I get a new Volvo I'll be loggin on to this every month?
Jim, that is a very cool link!
Have any more details? So is this an end-user promoted item to allow us to update our 'firmware' (ECU, TCU, Suspension control, etc..) without going to the dealer?
Will it allow me to change the damn heated seat settings myself for a change?
I can only offer some of the details.
Quote » VCT2000
VCT2000 is the communications tool connecting your PC to the vehicle. VCT 2000 Kit, part number 9512858, contains the VCT2000 and the cables that connect the VCT2000 to the car and to the PC.
My dealer and volvopartsworld both told me the VCT 2000 would be a special-order item because it's only meant for the Volvo technicians. So NO, it's not a end-user promoted item at all. It's price wouldn't be discounted and it lists a bit below $1300. (Yes nearly $1300) That high price is probably part of the reason that folks are looking for other solutions.
I haven't bought it yet, but at least one member Johann apparently has one. I'm gonna have to spring for it myself, for a bunch of reasons.
With the Volvo one you get a software package that you can use to alter some basic settings without needing to download any software from Volvo. There's a need for a subscription to get the other stuff. It's unclear to me whether a current subscription account is required to do just the basic stuff.
The basics are things such as seat temps, daytime running light settings (though you apparently only get to choose from a list, not customizable), how many keyfob presses to unlock, and some other minor stuff.
The suspension control updates and all other "updates" type of firmware are listed by Volvo's inventory system as "parts" for each target system. Each of these cost money to download and you also need to subscription to be able to download it. I believe some of these go for about $300 (yes). So you won't be saving any money here, unfortunately, and only your dealer can request to Volvo that an update be charged back to Volvo as a warranty item. Obviously, the inventory is handled just as though the firmware is an actual physical part that must be stored, paid for, shipped, and then charged back if a warranty claim exists. (Ain't that just the worst?) And apparently the VADIS downloads from Volvo's website are encrypted then useable only for one successful pc-to-car load. I don't know what happens after that. My guess is that the encrypted file comes with a serial tag identified by the pc application.
I'd hold off getting one of these unless things are pressing.
 What I'm getting at about holding off, I hope it didn't sound offensive, is that people are working on less expensive, non-proprietary solutions that may provide much of what you want/need for close to the cost of the standard network interface box, which is only around 200 bucks. I'm gonna probably spring for the VCT because I've got a big enough ego that I think I'll be able to use that to figure out some internal coding and mess with things I'm not supposed to, all without messing up the car. Hehe. (bites nails...)
Modified by blinky at 5:44 PM 3-1-2004
The basic software is simply alterations not downloads. parameter settings and adjustments. The new PIE2 system actually reads of the softwares already loaded in contol units and allows you to do only the updates and downloads necessary for the car. In other words you can't download the software twice. all cables and such are also sold separatly.
Modified by vwtanturtle at 11:55 PM 3-1-2004