New Battery and Coding it to the car with VCDS

Crossthreaded

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Apr 16, 2019
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Hi everyone. The Ibiza is now 6 years old and the Stop/Start has begun to be "unavailable" especially if the car hasn't been driven for a couple of days. It wakes up again after about 15 minutes of driving or if I put it on charge overnight - CTEC "smart" charger correctly connected to negative earth stud by the way.

Not having stop/start available is of no consequence to me as I try to remember to switch it of before driving away. However I'm well aware that the symptoms I'm experiencing are indicative of a battery which is at the top end of the "slippery slope". The car cranks vigorously and starts well I'm also not having any power steering issues - which, with the car having electric power steering, can often be an indicator of battery problems - so I'm not overly worried yet. But we will be doing one of our "marathon" trips down south to see relatives in Devon and Wiltshire when the better weather sets in so I've been monitoring battery voltages. After a good run and letting her sit for a couple of hours for the plates to equalize, she shows around 12.4 to 12.6 volts (14+ volts with engine running so alternator is probably Ok). This drops to around 11.8 volts within 24 hours and drops another 0.1 volt or so over the next few days. So it's looking to me that the battery is giving me advanced warning it's getting a bit "creaky" and will soon require replacing.

I've contacted a couple of the VAG independent specialists up here and they both quoted around £210/220 for a direct original equipment Exide EFB - which is what's in the car already - this includes coding it and a subsequent error code read to double check all is well. This is the first car I've ever owned with stop/start (which I don't like) and the first that's got a battery monitor (which I assume is why it needs coding?) I've always replaced batteries myself, some of the more modern cars in the "family fleet" requiring a slave battery connected during the procedure so as not to loose functions. I'm very happy doing this and I save quite a lot of money buying batteries from either motor factors or the likes of TAYNA. There is a large saving with them on the Ibiza battery - less than half the price I would pay to the garages - but I've never coded a battery in my life. I have VAG-COM (now VCDS of course) and I've looked at the video guide on you tube but it looks quite complicated and I'm a wee bit "frightened" I'll muck something up!

So, anyone care to comment? Do you think I should have a go at it? Is it as difficult as it appears? Oh dear, I'm wracked with indecision and self doubt!
 

RUM4MO

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Jun 4, 2008
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South Scotland
I don't think that you will mess it up, especially if you plan to replace like with like and even from another manufacturer, a change of vendor and/or a change of serial number will always trigger a "reset" and so the car will know its now got a new battery.

The system on these newer cars is so much easier to "get a hold of" than the possible smoke and mirrors from the older version which only accepts a relevant VW Group part number being inputted, which always meant cross checking suitable VW Group part numbers if buying a different sized/chemistry battery than that presently fitted to that car,.

When last did you run "recon" charging on that battery, I tend to do that once a year on the 2015 VW Polo 1.2TSI 110PS EFB, presently, its health by way of CCA is 475A EN, down from a rating when new of 640A EN, though I'd think that once I've run "recon" and when the weather warms up again, it will have crept up to "over 500A EN" - and if not I'll finally get round to replacing it with the slightly bigger (760A EN) AGM Bosch battery I bought last November/December in Costco. for £139 inc VAT.

I sort of have similar doubts with respect to travelling long distance with my own car, which is a 2011 S4, its AGM still seems to be okay, that car is now just past its 11th birthday and it does not have Stop/Start, I bought its new AGM battery in December 2020 - I top it its charge every 6 months but so far have not got round to changing it - though a trip to London, or at least Bromley is on the cards for round about May, and leaving it parked there while we go for a few day to France by train, so maybe I will swop batteries over, or take my charger and a long trailing lead - as there are no prizes for needing to get the AA etc to supply a low quality and smaller than ideal battery at very great cost!

Finally, I've read a lot of bad things about buying Yuasa branded batteries, which is quite the opposite of what I would have expected, but there you go, Bosch is manufactured by Varta which is a known good brand and I've bought Bosch 5 year warranty "normal" batteries in the past, the 2 new Bosch batteries sitting in my garage are AGMs though. If you are ever tempted to fit a larger capacity battery to your Ibiza, be warned that you will need to source the next size up battery tray - which is a bit annoying and expensive unless sourced from a scrappy, gone it seems are the days when the smart thing to do was to buy "next size up" and effectively double the useful lifetime of a replacement battery in your older type car!
 

Crossthreaded

Active Member
Apr 16, 2019
448
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Thanks very much RUM. I'm going to hook the VAG_COM up and take a look as to what comes up when I open the control module. If it's identifiable as something I can follow from the VCDS video:
I may just give it a a go. I'm slightly worried by a statement on one of the screens that if you enter an invalid code it can make a control module non functional! By the way, I'm finding the folk at Abbey Hill particularly helpful. This is an older garage with rather "unimpressive" premises and I've been aware of their existence for many many years but have had very little contact with them. I asked if he would be prepared to do the coding if I obtained a suitable battery (I'm thinking of going for an identical battery to that fitted - an Exide EFB) he was not at all reluctant and quoted me £28 for that service and he would do it while I waited. He's so pleasant to talk to I'm going to get back to him and ask if he uses VCDS and if so would he be OK with me watching what he does. If he agrees I'll definitely go for this option. Even if I'm not allowed in the workshop I think I may go with it anyway - £28 seems a very small price to pay for the peace of mind.

Regarding doing a "recond" charge I've not actually done this to the Ibiza, although I've had some success using it on the Panda and Punto - ended up putting a battery in the Punto after a few weeks though. Using the CTEK I usually charge the batteries without disconnecting to preserve auxiliary functions and I'm just slightly worried that a recond procedure might "spike" something? I've been meaning to buy a com port connection for a slave battery for some time (I mess about with home made flying leads if I need to connect a slave/battery saver) maybe I should just do that then I can connect up my big lead acid slave battery whilst I disconnect the on board battery for charging. However, at the end of the day, if the on board battery is starting to fail I'd rather just replace it. I should say that doing a recond on my big slave, which is well over 10 years old now and lives in my garage for use as an emergency jump battery, was very successful indeed and seems to have had a considerable "refresh" effect - restoring extended cranking ability.
 

RUM4MO

Active Member
Jun 4, 2008
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That tutorial from VCDS really makes it look quite involved, and yes for earlier models like my 2011 S4 it is, but now that the restrictive way VW Group rolled this out has been kicked into touch, with cars like these with UDS it is a lot easier.

I thought that I had written out a "how to" for both our cars, but it seems that I only put a lot of effort into covering the slightly complex way that I need to do for the 2011 S4.
VCDS does provide help and so that includes a pull down list of vendors, okay that does not include Bosch, but I'll be using Varta code for my Bosch batteries and I'd think that a lot of that info is only being used to manage failed batteries for warranty purposes.

If I were you, I'd connect up the VCDS and look down the full listing for relevant battery "options" so that when you actually change them, or get them changed you will have a ready note of what the settings and records were.
Off further interest could be the battery stats so that you know what the values are now, and then record them after the battery has been replaced and then annually you can take a look and record the battery usage and life etc.
I regret NOT doing that BEFORE I changed the battery serial number near the end of last year in a bid to extend its life or change the charging behaviour(s).
 
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martin j.

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Feb 11, 2007
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I assume that the £28 is for fitting and coding the new battery, seems fair to me, approx 15 minutes-or less- of an hours labour charge, unless the mechanics are standing around doing nothing they would be earning this anyway so it’s not a wee bonus job.
 

Crossthreaded

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Apr 16, 2019
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I assume that the £28 is for fitting and coding the new battery, seems fair to me, approx 15 minutes-or less- of an hours labour charge, unless the mechanics are standing around doing nothing they would be earning this anyway so it’s not a wee bonus job.
Yup, that's my understanding. I roll up with the new battery as bought. They swap it out for the old one and carry out the coding procedure.

I believe it's recommended to undertake a post fitting test drive and then check for codes - I'm unsure as to whether that is included, but if it's not I'm sure I could manage that as I scan for codes every time I do a service anyway. Anyone know, do they recommend this post fitting code read because there is a common code pops up? if so anyone know what I should watch out for?
 

Crossthreaded

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Apr 16, 2019
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Made some decisions today. Mainly because, with the weather being good, I've been giving our Panda a pre MOT going over and also taking into account that the Ibiza passed it's MOT yesterday - why did I buy two cars which have their MOTs less than a month apart?

The Panda is all looking good with the only point of real concern being the well known problem they all have with rusting of the rear spring pans. Ours are moderately poor but I think she'll pass. If she does then I'm going to clean them down, apply Fertan and Frost chassis black as soon as the warmer weather returns. So why should any of this have an effect on the Ibiza's battery situation? I hear you asking. Well, the Panda has a rear tyre with quite deep cracking of the tread rubber, mainly at the bottom of the grooves. This is the oldest tyre on the car and the other 3 are all in good order - nearly new in fact - and I think there is some risk it will fail the test (anyway I'm not "happy" with it) so I'm going to ring my mobile tyre chap and ask if he can get me a Falken to match the one we fitted to the O/S/R last year. Now. if I'm going to do that it will make sense to get the 3 old, original fitment, Bridgestones on the Ibiza (which I've never really liked anyway and are now down to around 2.5 to 3 mm) replaced with Falkens to match the one we put on the N/S/R about 6 months ago when a roofing screw destroyed the Bridgestone originally fitted there. With a bit of luck buying 4 tyres from him in the one go might get me an even better deal than he already gives me?

Of course buying 4 tyres in one go will clobber the finances somewhat so I know suggesting buying the battery as well is not going to go down well with my Personal Financial Advisor (aka "her indoors") I'm going to buy one of those OBD com port battery saver leads, connect it to my big slave battery and disconnect the ailing Exide's leads so I can safely do a recond charge on it with the CTEC. I've done several recond charges on ordinary older batteries with reasonable success but been nervous about trying it on an EFB, mainly because EFBs are "unknown territory". Then I'll monitor the Exide for a while and see how it's responded to the recond procedure. I think, in the end, I'm going to need to replace it but I'm hoping it may wake it up enough - bearing in mind that it's far from being expired at this time (just "down" a bit) - to see us through the warmer weather or at least the next few months. Maybe then replace it when the autumn sets in? By the way, I've always removed batteries from the vehicle when doing the recond procedure "just in case" but I've seen no signs of excess gassing or fluid leaks so do you think i could just leave the Ibiza battery in the vehicle (with it's leads disconnected of course so isolated from the vehicles electrics) or would I be better to take it in to the garage and do it on the bench?

PS Of course this will also buy me some time to look into the coding "thing" and work up the courage to give it a go! If I go into these screens for a "look see" but don't change any settings do I just hit "done, go back" to come out? presumably if I don't change anything I'll be all right?
 
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RUM4MO

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Jun 4, 2008
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First, "making sure that you take the car for a run and check for stored fault codes after making any changes" - my take on that is it covers all possibilities concerning making incorrect but possible coding changes. If you make any illogical and so wrong for any version of that car code changes they will not get saved and all changes will get rejected.
"go back" does allow just that, ie reverse back out to the home screen for that controller and then back to VCDS's home screen.

I'll see how far I've gone with planning for a battery change for my wife's 2015 VW Polo 1.2TSI 110PS and complete that guide for my benefit and outline the steps to you.
 
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RUM4MO

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Jun 4, 2008
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Just one thing, when you connect up a slave battery via the EOBD port, and remove the car battery to give it a "recon" charge, I am assuming that you are going to do this while the car remains unlocked, all doors closed and the bonnet either open or closed down but not latched, ie resting slightly open on some compliant material. I would not expect the protection built into that EOBD port connector to tolerate you locking and then unlocking the car, that is a guess as I have not checked what protection these "support" or "computer saver" devices provide.
 
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Crossthreaded

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Apr 16, 2019
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First, "making sure that you take the car for a run and check for stored fault codes after making any changes" - my take on that is it covers all possibilities concerning making incorrect but possible coding changes. If you make any illogical and so wrong for any version of that car code changes they will not get saved and all changes will get rejected.
"go back" does allow just that, ie reverse back out to the home screen for that controller and then back to VCDS's home screen.

I'll see how far I've gone with planning for a battery change for my wife's 2015 VW Polo 1.2TSI 110PS and complete that guide for my benefit and outline the steps to you.
Thank you RUM. Looking forward to the guide. Being an "old school grease monkey" there's really not much by way of mechanical repairs that phase me but when it comes down to anything electronic I don't really know what I'm doing and I'm frightened I may either actually ruin something or, when using VCDS, that i may change something I can't then change back.
 

Crossthreaded

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Apr 16, 2019
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Just one thing, when you connect up a slave battery via the EOBD port, and remove the car battery to give it a "recon" charge, I am assuming that you are going to do this while the car remains unlocked, all doors closed and the bonnet either open or closed down but not latched, ie resting slightly open on some compliant material. I would not expect the protection built into that EOBD port connector to tolerate you locking and then unlocking the car, that is a guess as I have not checked what protection these "support" or "computer saver" devices provide.
Oh yes, I learned about "unexpected" current draw some years ago. I built myself a set of "minder" leads with the ability to have either croc clips or ciggy lighter connection either end:
P1090447.JPG
It is quite versatile and I was getting on well with it until I used it to save the radio code on my boy's Punto whilst we removed it's battery to replace it with a new one. One of the ciggy lighter adaptors has a fuse in it which blew, probably because my boy opened a door - but I'm not sure. Since then I've replaced the fuse with a solid wire soldered across it (so in effect there's now no fuse and I need to be a bit careful when using it). The only problem I now have with it is that if you are using the croc clips on the battery lead terminals it's quite easy to knock one off when you're removing or refitting the terminals to the battery posts.

Of course, as anyone who knows FIATs will tell you, I didn't need to use the leads on the Punto because, for many years now, FIATs have stored their original fit radio codes in their body control computer module so when you reconnect the battery it will automatically recognize the radio without having to feed it the code manually. So this gave us a "get out of jail free card" when we were doing the Punto battery!

On reflection, I get on quite well with these leads as long as I'm careful what I'm doing so maybe I should forget about the OBD port connector and just carry on with the "devil" I know?
 

RUM4MO

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Jun 4, 2008
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I probably like the idea of keeping the slave battery and the car's battery well separated and I considered that by using the OBD2 port, I get that, in as much as I can then remove the car's battery leads and stuff each one into something that will keep it safe and away from metalwork or the battery posts until I'm ready to reconnect it.

I suppose that the only reason, other than losing clock time and fuel computer data, that I would always plan to fit some form of "support" while changing a car battery is - just a few, but I don't want to end up being one of them, people have "lost" random functionality when leaving their modern VW Group car without "support" - that is shocking and should never happen unless that particular car has a "problem", but I'd rather avoid getting into that situation.

Like FIAT and many other car makers, VW Group have also held the details of the first fitted battery within a controller, well at least since 2000. I imported a VW Passat 4Motion in May 2000, as it came from Holland new, it came by default without any ICE in it as that attracts luxury tax - so most car dealerships in Holland had ICE display stands in their dealership - a better selection of aftermarket ICE brands than we have in dealerships in UK. So, like a mug, having saved many thousands of money by using the EU tax loop hole for buying "a means of personal transport" in another state which had a higher rate of VAT, I just wanted to have my brand new car looking like it had been a UK dealership purchase, so spent far too much money buying a brand new VW Gamma radio for it. So, as I found out a couple of years later, when preparing for going to collect my wife's new imported 2002 VW Polo 1.4 SE, I bought a used VW Gamma radio via ebay - and fitted it into my 2000 VW Passat and changed its coding to suit that car - however, any time I removed the battery leads from that 2000 VW Passat 4Motion, I needed to input its radio security code - I never did find out how to delete the original radio's identity. Moving that used radio into the 2002 VW Polo 1.4 SE as its first fitted radio, allowed that car to have its battery leads removed and refitted without any inputting of radio security code.

On thinking back, I'm sure that I only removed and refitted these 2 radios and never removed battery leads, the reason for doing that would probably be to prepare each car for retrofitting either a CD player or a Multi CD player, and also to try to get another VW Gamma radio I ended up buying working by using "find your VW car radio code CDs" - I never did, these ebay sellers lied! These "we translate/change the serial number into the correct security code" S/W packs only worked, for VW anyway, for much earlier Philips radios - all later radios were Blue Spot at least for the period of time covering my first pair of VWs!
 
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Crossthreaded

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Apr 16, 2019
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I probably like the idea of keeping the slave battery and the car's battery well separated and I considered that by using the OBD2 port, I get that, in as much as I can then remove the car's battery leads and stuff each one into something that will keep it safe and away from metalwork or the battery posts until I'm ready to reconnect it.

I suppose that the only reason, other than losing clock time and fuel computer data, that I would always plan to fit some form of "support" while changing a car battery is - just a few, but I don't want to end up being one of them, people have "lost" random functionality when leaving their modern VW Group car without "support" - that is shocking and should never happen unless that particular car has a "problem", but I'd rather avoid getting into that situation.

Like FIAT and many other car makers, VW Group have also held the details of the first fitted battery within a controller, well at least since 2000. I imported a VW Passat 4Motion in May 2000, as it came from Holland new, it came by default without any ICE in it as that attracts luxury tax - so most car dealerships in Holland had ICE display stands in their dealership - a better selection of aftermarket ICE brands than we have in dealerships in UK. So, like a mug, having saved many thousands of money by using the EU tax loop hole for buying "a means of personal transport" in another state which had a higher rate of VAT, I just wanted to have my brand new car looking like it had been a UK dealership purchase, so spent far too much money buying a brand new VW Gamma radio for it. So, as I found out a couple of years later, when preparing for going to collect my wife's new imported 2002 VW Polo 1.4 SE, I bought a used VW Gamma radio via ebay - and fitted it into my 2000 VW Passat and changed its coding to suit that car - however, any time I removed the battery leads from that 2000 VW Passat 4Motion, I needed to input its radio security code - I never did find out how to delete the original radio's identity. Moving that used radio into the 2002 VW Polo 1.4 SE as its first fitted radio, allowed that car to have its battery leads removed and refitted without any inputting of radio security code.

On thinking back, I'm sure that I only removed and refitted these 2 radios and never removed battery leads, the reason for doing that would probably be to prepare each car for retrofitting either a CD player or a Multi CD player, and also to try to get another VW Gamma radio I ended up buying working by using "find your VW car radio code CDs" - I never did, these ebay sellers lied! These "we translate/change the serial number into the correct security code" S/W packs only worked, for VW anyway, for much earlier Philips radios - all later radios were Blue Spot at least for the period of time covering my first pair of VWs!
An "interesting" thought just flitted through this decrepit old brain of mine. If you plug in an OBD port memory saver - connected to my 12 volt slave battery - does the positive battery lead under the bonnet (now no longer connected to the under bonnet battery because it's now sitting in my garage on charge) become "live" and therefore a danger if inadvertently earthed? When I'm using my home made jumper leads I put a small plastic bag over the positive lead so it can't be shorted to the vehicle.
 

Crossthreaded

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Apr 16, 2019
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Update. Well, that's been interesting. I've been "conversing" with the folk at Tayna Batteries who can do me a direct replacement EFB Exide battery (effectively identical to what's in her just now) for under the £100. It doesn't have a BEM sticker so I asked about the coding and he told me it's such a common thing these days. Using their Scanner they just input anything into the fields of entry and when submitted it comes up "not recognized" but then allows battery details to be entered (I assume Type (EFB), Voltage, Capacity, etc) which is then accepted and allows the car to recognize the new battery? Anyone know if VCDS behaves like this?
 

RUM4MO

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Jun 4, 2008
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South Scotland
The old BEM system is dead it was just too restrictive and protective of genuine VW Group batteries etc.
I've just had a whiz about with VCDS on my wife's 2015 6C Polo 1.2TSI and discovered that it now looks like on these cars, there might not even be a need to know battery manufacturer's codes, like in BEM proper where for instance Varta was VAO or VA0, Exide was TU3 etc, why I'm saying that is that VCDS did not seem to offer any pulldown menu offering codes for "other" battery manufacturer's. Though when replacing a like for like battery that would never get tested, only the serial number would need to be changed by a single digit to allow the car to know that the battery has been changed.

Edit:- the Bosch AGM that I bought to replace the original VW Group battery that has a BEM sticker on it in my old S4, has no BEM sticker, just a Bosch QR code sticker for Bosch's own use I'd think, I'll be leaving the original part number in the batteries data area, probably change the battery manufacturer's code if the original is not a Bosch, I'll just use the Varta code, and I'll change the serial number either to include the date of fitting or if that cause rejection, I'll just try changing a single digit in the serial number.
For the 2015 6C Polo, I'll need to change the capacity and technology as I'm fitting a 69AHr AGM battery in place of a 59AHr EFB, again I'll probably change the battery manufacturer from JCB to Varta codes - or just change from JCB to Bosch if the CAN Gateway accepts Bosch as a manufacturer, the original is an Exide coded in as a JCB and the original serial number is a default 1111111111 which is not the serial number on the BEM code sticker!
 
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Crossthreaded

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Apr 16, 2019
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The old BEM system is dead it was just too restrictive and protective of genuine VW Group batteries etc.
I've just had a whiz about with VCDS on my wife's 2015 6C Polo 1.2TSI and discovered that it now looks like on these cars, there might not even be a need to know battery manufacturer's codes, like in BEM proper where for instance Varta was VAO or VA0, Exide was TU3 etc, why I'm saying that is that VCDS did not seem to offer any pulldown menu offering codes for "other" battery manufacturer's. Though when replacing a like for like battery that would never get tested, only the serial number would need to be changed by a single digit to allow the car to know that the battery has been changed.

Edit:- the Bosch AGM that I bought to replace the original VW Group battery that has a BEM sticker on it in my old S4, has no BEM sticker, just a Bosch QR code sticker for Bosch's own use I'd think, I'll be leaving the original part number in the batteries data area, probably change the battery manufacturer's code if the original is not a Bosch, I'll just use the Varta code, and I'll change the serial number either to include the date of fitting or if that cause rejection, I'll just try changing a single digit in the serial number.
For the 2015 6C Polo, I'll need to change the capacity and technology as I'm fitting a 69AHr AGM battery in place of a 59AHr EFB, again I'll probably change the battery manufacturer from JCB to Varta codes - or just change from JCB to Bosch if the CAN Gateway accepts Bosch as a manufacturer, the original is an Exide coded in as a JCB and the original serial number is a default 1111111111 which is not the serial number on the BEM code sticker!
Thanks RUM. This is still all a bit double dutch to me because I've not yet been into the system to see what the screens look like. Sounds, from what you say, that it's not all that difficult though. I'll just have to bite the bullet, hook up and take a look. Thanks again for all the advice.

Edit: The car has seen a lot of running over the last week with 2 family birthday parties and other family "stuff" involving trips out into Midlothian repeatedly - sometimes 3 trips in a day. It all quietened down again with "her indoors" sister leaving to travel south again on Thursday. I didn't use the car yesterday but popped out to the supermarket this morning and was mildly surprised to find stop/start working immediately. The battery seems to have benefited greatly from all this running so I'll monitor the standing voltages for a while and see what transpires before splashing out any cash on a new battery. At 6 years old I won't be surprised if the battery is on it's way out but maybe I'll get a wee bit longer out of it.
 
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