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How to Use ICOM Emulator for BMW Coding and Programming

If you are a BMW enthusiast who wants to code and program your car with ISTA-D and ISTA-P software, you may have heard of ICOM emulator. ICOM emulator is a software that simulates the function of a hardware ICOM device, which is a diagnostic and programming interface for BMW vehicles. With ICOM emulator, you can use a cheap K+DCAN cable instead of an expensive ICOM device to connect your laptop to your car.

In this article, we will show you how to install and use ICOM emulator for BMW coding and programming. We will also compare the advantages and disadvantages of using ICOM emulator versus a hardware ICOM device.

What is ICOM Emulator

ICOM emulator is a software that runs on a virtual machine (VM) on your laptop. It mimics the communication protocol of a hardware ICOM device, which is a special interface that connects your laptop to your car's OBD port. ICOM emulator allows you to use ISTA-D and ISTA-P software, which are the official BMW diagnostic and programming tools, with a K+DCAN cable.

There are different versions of ICOM emulator available online, some require a security dongle and some are dongle-free. The dongle-free version is a hack of the original that people are re-distributing on eBay. It is sold as a VM snapshot in a suspended state - post checking for the dongle. If you shut down the machine, it will look for the dongle and not work. People are buying it as a 'unique' copy for them but it is in no way so.

ICOM emulator works with Chinese ICOM A1 & ICOM A2 clones, as well as original ICOM devices. However, you will need to register the emulator with an XML file that matches your device's serial number.

How to Install ICOM Emulator

To install ICOM emulator, you will need to download the following files:

ICOM emulator VM image (e.g. ISTA-P Native for K+DCAN)

ICOM emulator registration XML files (e.g. magnet link for ICOM Emulator)

Voltage control tool (e.g. WindowCleaner.exe)

You will also need to have VMware Workstation or Player installed on your laptop, as well as Ediabas 7.3.

The basic steps to install ICOM emulator are as follows:

Setup your HDD into 3 partitions C - D - E

Put the large "apps" folder in the root directory of disk C: C:\apps

Copy the file "WindowCleaner.exe" to C:\Windows\System32\

Copy the "ISIS" folder to C:\ProgramData\ Note: ProgramData folder may be hidden. If so go to folder options in control panel to unhide.

Copy the "WorkUser" folder to C:\Users\

Copy the files START-ISTA.exe and STOP-ISTA.exe to your desktop

Rename your Network Card to "Eth0"

Write down your PC network card mac address and in file: C:\apps\ISTA-P\Taurus\ISOM\bin\_orig_IFS.ServicesImplementation.dll.config change MAC address in line 5 & 6 with yours.

Open VMware Workstation or Player and open the VM image file (e.g. ISTA-P Native for K+DCAN.vmx)

Edit the VM settings and change the network adapter to bridged mode

Start the VM and wait for it to load

Register the ICOM emulator with the XML file that matches your device's serial number (e.g. icom-a1.xml or icom-a2.xml)

Put the voltage control tool on desktop

Start ISTA (recommend to use as admin)

Start voltage control tool (The default voltage is 14V)

How to Use ICOM Emulator

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