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The CANary project

Posted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:40 pm
by TickTock
Partlist, links, and assembly instructions can be found below:

Wiki

User Guide

I know... Do we really need another CANbus monitoring project? Well, I wanted to make something a little more powerful and flexible with better display capabilities. I didn't like having to choose between EVcan for battery data and CARcan for braking and controls. Gary Giddings turned me onto the mbed LPC1768 which comes with two independent can busses and CANary was born. Eventually, hopefully soon, I will share all my schematics, source code, PCB design, and 3d drawings free of charge if anyone is interested. By keeping it modular, it should work for most vehicles using the CANbus interface with a tweak to the software and connector.

After exploring a number of different displays I finally settled on this one. The touch screen is a nice plus so no exposed buttons.

For the enclosure, I wanted to play around with 3d printers since that would allow me to make a custom fit for the tapered space above the center console and angle the two displays toward the driver but mostly because I think they are cool. I was, however, unable to convince the wife that we needed a 3d printer (she saw right through the "do it for the children" tactic) so I sent the design to http://www.shapeways.com. It cost me $88 to print one so not exactly cheap but they were cheaper than the other print shops I priced out. I don't expect the finish to be great but I am hoping an exacto and some sandpaper will clean it up. Will find out in a few weeks.
CANary.jpg
Meanwhile, I have the schematic bread-boarded out with some basic code to log all traffic on both busses to a thumbdrive using Gary's .alc format. No cool graphics yet, but am able to monitor the messages (this will be one of the modes available for analysis but probably not what I want running while I am driving). I have to acknowledge Gary for his great suggestions and even snippets of code. Really helped me get off the ground faster.
canary2.jpg
Have some PCBs on the way too. Been a few years since I've done a project like this and I was amazed as how cheap PCBs have become. $31 to have 10 boards printed and shipped. Hopefully everything will go together as planned. Anyway, I'll post progress and pics here as things move along.

Re: The CANary project

Posted: Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:54 pm
by KJD
Looks nice. How big is the unit in overall size ?

Re: The CANary project

Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 3:34 am
by KevinSharpe
TickTock wrote:I know... Do we really need another CANbus monitoring project?
IMO we have more then enough already ;)

Can I suggest that in future people consider working with the Open Vehicles project so that we can pool our resources?

Re: The CANary project

Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 5:37 am
by TickTock
KevinSharpe wrote:
TickTock wrote:I know... Do we really need another CANbus monitoring project?
IMO we have more then enough already ;)

Can I suggest that in future people consider working with the Open Vehicles project so that we can pool our resources?
Trust me I looked for another similar existing project before embarking on this. I am lucky if I get a few hours a week to goof off. I've purchased three other devices but none had all the features I wanted (graphical display, multi-CANbus, sound, on board logging, flexible, fit nicely on the dash). One thing I really like about the mbed uC is programming is just a matter plugging into a USB port with a standard cable and dragging a file over to it in explorer. Since the source, libraries, and compiler are all in the cloud, I can edit my code and reprogram it from any internet attached computer with a USB port (nice when the kids are using my computer or when travelling). Anyhow, if I end up being the only person in the world with one that is OK with me but I figured I wasn't the only person looking for a device with these features and would make it publicly available.

Re: The CANary project

Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 5:46 am
by TickTock
KJD wrote:Looks nice. How big is the unit in overall size ?
7.5" w X 3.0" h X 2.5" d After sending the enclosure 3d drawing to shapeways for manufacture, I realized that the lip on the center console is higher than I though so I may end up modifying it to be a little taller.

Re: The CANary project

Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 6:26 am
by braineo
can you explain to the layman what benefits your canary will provide? Is it for rebooting the car when it shows --- miles left? <IT guy, had to throw out that one> what kind of tweets will it zing?

Re: The CANary project

Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 7:30 am
by TickTock
There are a number of features I plan to have in place. 2-5 below drive the need for new hardware.
1) The first is common to all devices out there - to show how much charge is really remaining in the battery
2) Simultaneously dislpay packvolts, max cellpair, min cellpair, power drain or charge
3) Display DTT (Distance to Turtle) graphically. I want to plot mpkWh efficiency and DTT as a function of time with an averaging function applied - this is the primary reason I wanted a graphical display. You can at a glance see how far you can go under the present driving conditions as well as based on the average over the last 10 minutes, hour, day, month, or year. Hard to describe what I have in mind but I think it'll help a lot with DTT estimation especially when conditions change (high wind, rain, etc)
4) Friction brake monitoring. I will add a bar graph showing the amount of braking applied with the portion being met with regen in green and the friction portion in red. Also will add the chirp feature to optionally chirp when friction is employed. I already added this feature to the original SOCmeter Gary provided but since that is single channel only, I have to choose between brake monitoring and SOC monitoring. This will allow me to do both simultaneously (this is the main feature driving the dual channel requirement)
5) Autonomous CANbus traffic logging (without having a running laptop in the car). This is for two purposes. 1) for analysis later and 2) may come in handy if involved in an accident. With a log of all CANbus traffic, you can show exactly how fast you were going, how far you were pressing the brake or accelerator, what steering angle, etc should you find the other party not giving an accurate representation of the encounter.
6) battery temperature
7) diagnostics - will be able to display a detailed report on the battery condition including each temperature sensor, cellpair voltage, etc
8) I hope to be able to figure out how to control the charging better like charge to 50% immediately when I get home and finish the charge just before leaving. Haven't found a command to stop charging yet so this may require an interlock with the charging unit on the wall... We'll see
9) Future features I may add later include Wifi for auto-uploading when I get home, a forward facing camera to compliment #5 above, GPS, etc but these are lower priority for me. The mbed platform is very powerful and is easily tailored to add features.

Re: The CANary project

Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 8:38 am
by TickTock
braineo wrote:can you explain to the layman what benefits your canary will provide? Is it for rebooting the car when it shows --- miles left? <IT guy, had to throw out that one> what kind of tweets will it zing?
I don't expect this to be very interesting to your typical layman :) - mostly a geek toy. However, among other things, it will give miles remaining when the display reads ---. However, this has already been address by the other devices readily available so not really a driving factor.

Re: The CANary project

Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:12 pm
by GeekEV
CANary as in "the canary in the coal mine"? :D

Re: The CANary project

Posted: Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:25 pm
by TonyWilliams
Oh, the fun part!!! The feature wish list!

I would like a log of all vehicle off activity (mostly concerned with heating/cooling of battery).

But, in addition, I want to see the energy used to heat and cool the battery while underway. It will be a bit tough on the Rav4, since it has a separate battery heater, but uses the same AC unit as the cabin.