12:02 26/07/2013 Graeme's Webspace

Cluster Programming

The dash cluster in the .:R32 has provision to enable some parameters of the display to be altered by reflashing the EEPROM. The excellent VAGCOM program (now known as VCDS) is not able to alter these settings. You will require one of the below programs (or similar) and a suitable matching OBD cable:

VAGdashCOM

VagTacho USB

MFA (half height display) clusters can have the following features enabled:

Dash illumination ON with ignition (in addition to being dimmable with normal light switch rheostat)
"Distance to empty" display
Linear scale temperature gauge (to remove the false reading shown on the factory gauge)
Cruise Control warning LED only illuminating when speed is actually "SET" (rather than lighting up as soon as the Cruise Control Switch is turned ON)

FIS (full height display) clusters can have the following features enabled, in addition to the above:

"Welcome" message on ignition.
"Lamp Check" for rear Tail Lights, Low Beam and Brake Light bulbs (this feature requires additional wiring modifications in the car AND the cluster itself - detailed separately here)

VCDS also allows some simple coding changes. Amongst these are:

Enabling/Disabling warnings for Brake Pad Wear Indicator, Seat Belt and Windscreen Washer Fluid Level
Enabling Radio/Navi display (if connected)
Resetting Service Interval
Enabling Variable Service/Fixed Service Oil Change Regime (requires Sump Sensor for Variable Service - see here)
Adjusting Oil Pressure Warning threshold rpm
Changing Cluster Language
Changing Country Code of Cluster alters the various display units (detailed fully below) and some warnings
Activating Speed Warning. This is non adjustable and programmed for 120 kmh (75 mph).

General Procedure for Altering EEPROM

WARNING: Altering the EEPROM incorrectly has the potential to render your cluster and/or car inoperative. Proceed at your own risk.

A Hex Editing program will also be required to alter the EEPROM coding. I use this excellent XVI32 Hex Editor. There are many others freely available.

The procedure described here is that used with the VagTacho USB program, however the general procedure is similar when using VAGdashCOM

Firstly, ensure your car battery is fully charged. If the car voltage is low then there may be issues with EEPROM flash (incomplete transfer of data etc)

Secondly, ensure the laptop is sufficiently charged to complete the procedure - it may take up to half an hour to complete.

Plug cable into OBD port in car.

Switch ignition to ON position only. Do NOT start car. Ignition must remain ON during entire coding procedure.

Launch program on your laptop/computer.

If VagTacho searches and it is a "VDO New" tacho, then you are set to go and the program will log-in.

In the details on this screen you will see the software version of the cluster, either VWK501MH or VWK503MH.

Note: This software version number determines which addresses to amend for the different features you are programming!

In VagTacho - select Read the EEPROM.

The program reads the EEPROM and stores it in the memory buffer.

Go to the top of the screen and select "File" then "Save File".

Save the file to your desktop or somewhere as an ".eep" file.

Do NOT exit the VagTacho program.

Just open XVI32 (or other Hex Editor) program separately.

Set the XVI32 program to have 16 columns when you view it for ease.

Go to: "Tools" - "Options" - "Appearance" - "Number of Columns" and make the value 16 to do this.

Now open up the .eep file you just saved.

Magically the full EEPROM dump will appear. :-)

It should begin at 000000 and end at 0007FF

If the EEPROM dump does not end at 0007FF, then it is incomplete. Do NOT proceed any further until you have a proper EEPROM read.

In XVI32 click on "Address" tab, then "Go To"

Type in the search parameter the byte address you are looking for.

Type search enquiry as a hexidecimal address, for example "000416" or "$416"

It will locate the specific byte and highlight it. It will say, for example "C1"

Amend byte to the new value you require, for example "E1", by simply typing in the highlighted field. It will overwrite the existing data.

Save this amended file as a new ".eep" file. Give it a different name to your original file.

Always keep your unaltered original file as a backup copy!!!

Now go back into Vagtacho program.

Select "File" then "Read File".

Select the NEW altered EEPROM dump you just saved and it will load that file into the memory buffer.

You can have a look at the memory buffer if you wish, to make sure the altered figure is recorded properly and the entire dump is ready to load.

Now select "Write EEPROM"

New dump writes into cluster EEPROM. Do not interrupt this process until it completes the task.

When finished press "Disconnect"

Switch off ignition and unplug cable etc.

Please note, it has been observed on some occasions that the alterations may not be immediately visible. The cluster will be operating normally at this point in any case, however, it may take a few minutes, or a couple of start cycles for your alterations to appear. Some people have had to remove the cluster fuse or disconnect the car battery before the alterations take effect.

List of Byte Addresses

WARNING: The following addresses are only confirmed valid for original .:R32 VDO clusters. Other clusters fitted to different vehicles may, or may not, have different addresses for these modifications. Use them at your own risk.


.:R32 VDO cluster list:

1J0920826J = Metric MFA

1J0920826K = Metric MFA for DSG

1J0920846F = Metric FIS

1J0920846G = Metric FIS for DSG

1J0920926J = UK MFA

1J0920927A = US MFA

1J0920946F = UK FIS

Replacement/factory rebuilt clusters have an additional "X" at the end of the part number. e.g. 1J0920826JX

US .:R32 MFA cluster with part number 1J0920927A and the .:R32 metric DSG FIS cluster 1J0920846G use later VWK503MH software version.

All other .:R32 clusters use early VWK501MH software.

Software version used in 1J0920826K .:R32 metric MFA for DSG is unknown at this time - please let me know via email link at top of page and I will update information.



Dash Illumination (also known as "Lit Needles" as this is the most commonly selected option):

This modification will illuminate the chosen combination of displays whenever the ignition is switched ON. When the headlight switch is OFF, the chosen displays will illuminate at full intensity and are not adjustable with the rheostat. As soon as you turn the headlight switch to either PARK or ON position, the instrument cluster illumination will revert to fully lit and will be controllable with the rheostat as normal. This modification does not affect any other lighting in the vehicle, such as any switch illumination etc, only the cluster display lighting with ignition ON and headlight switch in -0- position.


VWK501MH software cluster only address: 0001ED (also written as $1ED).

Original byte should be 30 (all UK & metric .:R32 clusters have 30 on both half and full pixel clusters at this address). Amend the second digit only as follows to obtain the different effects:

3 - displays only e.g. "30" becomes "33"
5 - gauges only
7 - displays and gauges only
9 - needles only e.g. "30" becomes "39"
B - displays and needles only
D - Needles and Gauges only
F - all lit up

VWK503MH software cluster address: 00021F (also written as $21F).

Note: US .:R32 MFA cluster with this version software has a value of 70 (so "needles only" would amend to 79). US vehicles have the "US Seat Belt warning" activated as detailed below, hence the different standard value at this address.



Selected Cluster Lighting ON during START:

You may have noticed a standard feature that when you start the engine, the selected cluster lighting turns OFF. You will notice this effect also occurs if you have the Parking or Headlight Switch ON as well.

There is an EEPROM bit you can change to stop this happening.

It is at the same EEPROM address as for the Dash Illumination ("Lit Needles") modification detailed above.

Bit 7 is the control bit for this feature.

0 x x x x x x x is the standard value and turns OFF the selected cluster lighting during START

1 x x x x x x x will keep the selected cluster lighting ON during START

For example, the standard value of 30 = 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 turns OFF the selected cluster lighting.

To keep the selected cluster lighting ON during START, change Bit 7 value to 1

In this case, the binary becomes 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 which equates to a hex value of B0

If your standard hex value is 70 = 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 , it is changed to 1 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 which equates to a hex value of F0

This modification works for both VWK501MH and VWK503MH software.



Cruise Control LED:

Currently, when the Cruise Control ON/OFF Switch on the Indicator stalk is switched ON, there is a green LED indicator in the tachometer which will light up continuously as long as the switch remains ON (whether the Cruise Control is actually engaged or not).

This modification alters the behaviour of the Cruise Control warning LED to match the newer VW systems, wherein the green LED only lights up when the Cruise Control speed is actually "SET" (engaged). As soon as the "SET" speed is disengaged (via brake or clutch etc) then the indicator LED will also switch off until the speed is "SET" or "RESUMED" again.

Video of Cruise Control LED modification here.

VWK501MH software cluster only address: 0001EE (also written as $1EE). Amend value E9 to F9

VWK503MH software cluster address: 000220 (also written as $220). Amend value E9 to F9



Distance to Empty display:

This modification will add the additional "Distance to Empty" display when scrolling through the MFA / FIS menus.

VWK501MH software cluster only address: 000416 (also written as $416). Amend value C1 to E1

US .:R32 MFA clusters with software version VWK503MH already have this feature enabled from the factory. The value is already set to E1.

For information purposes only, on VWK503MH software clusters, this byte is located at address 00044E (also written as $44E). Amend value C1 to E1



Welcome Message:

This modification enables a "WELCOME" message to appear in the cluster display when you start the vehicle. The message can only be enabled on a cluster with a full pixel (FIS) display. It does not work with a half height (MFA) display. The Welcome message only displays if there are no other current active warnings, such as "Fasten Seatbelts", "Low Washer Fluid Level", etc


VWK501MH software cluster only address: 000417 (also written as $417). Amend 02 to 6B

VWK503MH software cluster address: 00044F (also written as $44F). Amend value 02 to 6B



Seat Belt Warning Activation:

There are various styles of Seat Belt Warnings available. Refer to attached chart for detailed features of each style.


Basic Seat Belt Warning

Works on both early VWK501MH software and later VWK503MH software version clusters.

Valid for all country codes.

Softcoding +02xxx.

On Euro clusters this softcoding only activates the LED in the cluster.

You must also have a Seat Belt buckle fitted with internal electrical wiring which is connected to Pin 31 in the Blue T32 Cluster Plug if you want the Audible Warning Tone.

In fact, on a Euro cluster, if you have a Seat Belt Buckle wired to cluster, you will always get the Audible Warning Tone on ignition for six seconds, even without any softcoding enabled.



Intelligent Seat Belt Warning:

NOTE: this modification does NOT work on early VWK501MH software clusters. You must have a later VWK503MH software version cluster.

All the EEPROM addresses referred to in this section relate ONLY to the later VWK503MH software!

You must also have a Seat Belt buckle fitted with internal electrical wiring which is connected to Pin 31 in the Blue T32 Cluster Plug.


"US style" Seat Belt Warning

Valid for all country codes.

Softcoding must be +08xxx in addition to +02xxx. Therefore, total of +10xxx.

Note - does NOT work if you have Lamp Check installed (which requires the same +08xxx softcode to activate). Lamp Check function has priority over US Seat Belt Warning function.

VWK503MH software cluster address: 00021F (also written as $21F).

Activate bit 6 to enable feature:

x 0 x x x x x x = US Seat Belt Warning coding OFF

x 1 x x x x x x = US Seat Belt Warning coding ON

LED warning light stays on as long as buckle is undone.

The audible warning tone once activated goes for 6 seconds and then there is a 24 second pause before the six second
audible warning tone repeats, therefore a total of a 30 second cycle for the on/off audible warnings.

The times for the audible warning cycle can be altered at the following addresses:

VWK503MH software cluster address: 0003CF (also written as$3CF) = 06 = six seconds

VWK503MH software cluster address: 0003D0 (also written as$3D0) = 1E = 30 seconds



"Euro-NCAP style" Seat Belt Warning

Only valid for country codes xx0xx, xx1xx and xx4xx

Softcoding +02xxx

Note - also works if you have Lamp Check installed already with +08xxx softcoding.

VWK503MH software cluster address: 00021A (also written as $21A).

Activate bit 6 to enable feature:

x 0 x x x x x x = Euro-NCAP Seat Belt Warning coding OFF

x 1 x x x x x x = Euro-NCAP Seat Belt Warning coding ON

LED warning light stays illuminated as long as the Seat Belt Buckle is undone.

The audible warning tone, once activated above 10 km/h speed threshold, goes for 90 seconds.

If speed drops below 5 km/h, then audible warning tone stops.

The timer for the duration of the audible warning can be altered at the following address:

VWK503MH software cluster address: 00022D (also written as $22D) = 5B = 91 seconds

The speed thresholds can be altered at the following addresses (these were my values):

VWK503MH software cluster address: 0001C5 (also written as $1C5) = 05 = 5 km/h = speed that warning tone turns off after being activated

VWK503MH software cluster address: 0001C6 (also written as $1C6) = 0A = 10 km/h = speed of initial warning tone activation

The speed threshold byte values equivalent to the latest Euro-NCAP recommendations are 14 = 20 km/h and 19 = 25 km/h respectively. These values have been observed in the Passat New Lingyu 3BD920848E cluster (also included in the attached chart for information only).



Country Code Differences

VCDS is used to alter the Country Code of the Cluster. The Country Code is the third digit of the Cluster Softcode i.e. xx0xx.

By choosing various countries you can alter the display (metric/Imperial odometer and temperature); clock display (12hr/24hr), the consumption display (US/Imperial mpg; l/100km or km/l) and enable/disable the "Key in Ignition/Door Open Warning"

There is also a non-adjustable 120kmh (75mph) Speed Warning when using Saudi Arabia country coding. See a video of the annoying sound produced here.
It may be annoying, but very handy in my $peed camera infested country.

1 = ECE              km; Celsius; 24hr clock; l/100km; NO key in ignition/door open warning; default language German

2 = USA              miles; Fahrenheit; 12hr clock; US mpg; key in ignition/door open warning; default language English

3 = Canada         km;   Celsius; 12hr clock; l/100km; key in ignition/door open warning; default language English

4 = GB                 miles; Celsius; 24hr clock; Imperial mpg; NO key in ignition/door open warning; default language English

5 = Japan            km; Celsius; 24hr clock; km/l; NO key in ignition/door open warning

6 = Saudi Arabia km; Celsius; 24hr clock; l/100km; key in ignition/door open warning; speed warning buzzer at, or above 125 km/h (indicated)

7 = Australia        km; Celsius; 24hr clock; l/100km; NO key in ignition/door open warning (essentially a RHD Rest-of World specification)

Return to Top

Return to Home Page