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2Addicts | BMW 2-Series forum Technical Topics DIY and Coding Discussions Understanding FSC code options (OEM vs. third-party, patching methods)

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      10-21-2022, 02:15 PM   #1
iroc86
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Understanding FSC code options (OEM vs. third-party, patching methods)

I'd like a little help understanding the various methods of FSC coding (e.g., CarPlay, navigation) for BMWs. I have some background here, but it's dated--manually programming in assembly language on older '80s General Motors ECUs, back when you had to remove the chips from the car and flash them in an EEPROM burner. I'm very much out of the loop on newer systems, but I've read about E-Sys, ISTA/P, Feature Installer, and HU Engineering Tools. I think I have a decent understanding of how these different applications work, but in the many posts I've read across multiple forums, I can't seem to establish a clear picture in my mind of the benefits or issues associated with the different methods, and what's actually happening at the software/patching level. I'm posting this as a consumer looking to make an informed purchase when buying coding services; I am not trying to get into the coding business myself and learn the "secret sauce," so to speak.

Background: 2020 BMW 230i, no navigation, no wifi (2/20 build date). I think this is the ENTRYNAV2 head unit based on this page because I have a 6.5" screen and the NBT Evo isn't available with the small screen. However, I'm a little confused because that page says ConnectedDrive is only available with NBT Evo; I'm subscribed to ConnectedDrive services and my car has a phone number with TeleService and Assist eCall.

I know that OEM codes are validated with a BMW security certificate and remain loaded into the head unit even if a dealer updates the HU firmware. I think that FSC codes provided by a third party (so-called "fake" FSC codes) are generated by non-OEM software (SmartBimmer, HU Engineering Tools, etc.). Feature Installer seems to be the prevailing tool used to install the non-OEM codes. Is the HU patched/cracked during this process to accept the fake code? (I ask because I've seen references to telnet and SSH.)

I've also seen references to a "provisioning hack" regarding CarPlay activation on certain models. Is this the same thing as the fake FSCs?

I've read where the fake FSCs are rejected if a dealer performs an HU update. Some third-party vendors say that you have to revert to OEM before taking the car in for service. Others tell me you don't have to do that. Which is it?

Most of the third-party vendors advertise "lifetime" codes and promise to offer service if a code is somehow rejected in the future. I've seen a lot of posts about more reputable vendors having to fix the mistakes of others during this process. Is this kind of like the old jailbreaking process with phones, where the coding community has to stay a few steps ahead of the OEMs to guarantee future compatibility?

Let's say that I want to enable CarPlay on my vehicle. Going the OEM FSC route seems like the most foolproof. However, I don't think I can buy a CarPlay FSC code from BMW because my car lacks the 6CP package and/or the other preparation packages (6NS, 6NW)--I know I can't activate CarPlay in the ConnectedDrive Store. I've also heard that the CarPlay FSC (option 143) is now tied to the navigation FSC, making it more expensive than it was before. What are my options?

Thanks for reading--I'd appreciate any clarification/education.
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      10-22-2022, 03:56 PM   #2
kubax86
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iroc86 View Post
I'd like a little help understanding the various methods of FSC coding (e.g., CarPlay, navigation) for BMWs. I have some background here, but it's dated--manually programming in assembly language on older '80s General Motors ECUs, back when you had to remove the chips from the car and flash them in an EEPROM burner. I'm very much out of the loop on newer systems, but I've read about E-Sys, ISTA/P, Feature Installer, and HU Engineering Tools. I think I have a decent understanding of how these different applications work, but in the many posts I've read across multiple forums, I can't seem to establish a clear picture in my mind of the benefits or issues associated with the different methods, and what's actually happening at the software/patching level. I'm posting this as a consumer looking to make an informed purchase when buying coding services; I am not trying to get into the coding business myself and learn the "secret sauce," so to speak.

Background: 2020 BMW 230i, no navigation, no wifi (2/20 build date). I think this is the ENTRYNAV2 head unit based on this page because I have a 6.5" screen and the NBT Evo isn't available with the small screen. However, I'm a little confused because that page says ConnectedDrive is only available with NBT Evo; I'm subscribed to ConnectedDrive services and my car has a phone number with TeleService and Assist eCall.

I know that OEM codes are validated with a BMW security certificate and remain loaded into the head unit even if a dealer updates the HU firmware. I think that FSC codes provided by a third party (so-called "fake" FSC codes) are generated by non-OEM software (SmartBimmer, HU Engineering Tools, etc.). Feature Installer seems to be the prevailing tool used to install the non-OEM codes. Is the HU patched/cracked during this process to accept the fake code? (I ask because I've seen references to telnet and SSH.)

I've also seen references to a "provisioning hack" regarding CarPlay activation on certain models. Is this the same thing as the fake FSCs?

I've read where the fake FSCs are rejected if a dealer performs an HU update. Some third-party vendors say that you have to revert to OEM before taking the car in for service. Others tell me you don't have to do that. Which is it?

Most of the third-party vendors advertise "lifetime" codes and promise to offer service if a code is somehow rejected in the future. I've seen a lot of posts about more reputable vendors having to fix the mistakes of others during this process. Is this kind of like the old jailbreaking process with phones, where the coding community has to stay a few steps ahead of the OEMs to guarantee future compatibility?

Let's say that I want to enable CarPlay on my vehicle. Going the OEM FSC route seems like the most foolproof. However, I don't think I can buy a CarPlay FSC code from BMW because my car lacks the 6CP package and/or the other preparation packages (6NS, 6NW)--I know I can't activate CarPlay in the ConnectedDrive Store. I've also heard that the CarPlay FSC (option 143) is now tied to the navigation FSC, making it more expensive than it was before. What are my options?

Thanks for reading--I'd appreciate any clarification/education.
Currently for your car only way is provisioning way. No fake FSC, no OEM FSC possible (due to not having nav).

There is no issues at dealer. They just wipe it after upgrade.
When it comes to lifetime - you just reapply after dealer visit.
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      09-29-2023, 10:10 AM   #3
mrpingu
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kubax86 View Post
Currently for your car only way is provisioning way. No fake FSC, no OEM FSC possible (due to not having nav).

There is no issues at dealer. They just wipe it after upgrade.
When it comes to lifetime - you just reapply after dealer visit.
How is this now for entrynav2
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      09-29-2023, 11:53 AM   #4
kubax86
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrpingu View Post
How is this now for entrynav2
FSC - patched
Provisioning
FSC - OEM - same as it was before
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