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CAN (Controller Area Network) Bus is a message-based protocol found in modern automobiles It carries tons and tons of data all around your vehicle while you drive. Most of this data is hidden, and this forces lots of automotive enthusiasts to install secondary sensors to receive the data that is already available in your car!
I set out to change that.
CAN Bus was created way back in 1986, and was later mandated by the US Government to be included in all vehicles built in 2008 and beyond. Chances are your car utilizes this modern protocol.
While attempting to hack my in-dash navigation system, I had an idea. I could physically separate the CAN Bus signal to my dashboard and augment the data.
So I built a breadboard prototype, and a toner transfer prototype, and finally a real prototype.
Soon I had a working system with three independent CAN Busses that allow me to collect all the data on both busses in my Mazdaspeed3. I can easily monitor all of the sensors that those sneaky engineers tried to hide.
I posted the project on a Mazda forum, and everyone wanted one of their own. I assembled 50 beta devices and shipped them all over the world. People were creating their own amazing functionality with CANBus triple. So then I knew, I had to turn to kickstarter to do a larger run on hardware to see what great things others could build with the CANBus triple.
Simply put – CANBus Triple gives you an easy way to read and write raw CAN data packets, and perform operations with that data easily. It's your personal, programmable CAN node.
The CANBus Triple uses an ATMega 32u4 microprocessor, and Bluegiga Low Energy Bluetooth module, and three independent Microchip MCP2515 CAN controllers.
You can use the CANBus Triple to simply watch all the data on your CAN Bus, or send your own packets out to the network. Simply attaching the two CAN High and Low lines it’s all you need to send and receive raw CAN data packets.
The real fun comes in when you physically cut the CAN Bus and use the CANBus Triple to read and augment the packets. Each packet is read and processed, then optionally sent back out and your car doesn’t know the difference. Using this method, you can listen for all of the hidden data on the bus and send it over bluetooth le, or even send out your own packets to an in-dash OEM display as shown here on a Mazdaspeed3:
Packet Logging Example
We’ve made the CANBus Triple compatible with the Ardunio IDE. This lowers the barrier and gets you running quick. You can even flash pre-compiled programs from your mobile phone or tablet completely wirelessly over Bluetooth LE from the app.
The CANBus Triple does not come with any vehicle specific functionality. It is a platform for building your own great CAN hacks. While we do expect the community to develop great open source firmware, and we supply all the code written thus far, implementing something new will require some coding skills.
Bluetooth LE was added into the mix to bring your CAN application into the wireless internet of things. You know, so your smart watch can remind you how much gas you have in your tank!
All the code, the hardware design, it’s all open source. CANBus Triple is a toolkit for adding to and augmenting your vehicle. The bluetooth le firmware, the atmega bootloader and program code, even the Desktop and Mobile app for Android and iOS are open source so you can hit the ground running.
The atmega program, as well as the bluetooth firmware are flashable without any additional hardware. You can add functionality to the bluetooth module and upload the firmware over USB!
We will push the Eagle CAD files up to Github after the Kickstarter campaign comes to a close. Depending on the final outcome of the campaign some minor upgrades may be made to the design before we send it off for manufacturing.
CANBus Triple App for Desktop, Mobile, Tablet, Android, and iOS:
The CANBus Triple is for Makers and car hackers who want a platform to augment any CAN system, whether it be a car, a robot, or a model train system.
If you can install an aftermarket vehicle alarm system you can install a CANBus Triple. If you just want to log packets you can simply wire it directly to your OBDII plug. Advanced installations will require you to identify a proper location to tap into the CAN Bus based on your vehicle.
We are working on a web site for people to share their code and allow users to flash new functionality right from the mobile app. As the platform matures users who are not familiar with programming will be able to use other open source firmware built by the community.
The CANBus Triple is also compatible with Mac, Windows, and Linux. All you need is a USB Port. The CANBus Triple app (in development) is even compatible with USB OTG for hacking or flashing the firmware without a Laptop!
Be sure to join the CANBus Triple Community on Google+!
I made it a mission to produce the CANBus Triple here in Michigan. As you probably know our manufacturing base is quite strong. So all CAN Bus triples will be assembled here in Michigan from electronic components sourced from around the world. Circuit Boards, CNC’d Delrin plastic cases w/ laser etching, and all assembly is done right here in Michigan.
Circuit board manufacturing and assembly facility in Troy, MI:
CNC Machining factory in Canton, MI where the Delrin cases will be made:
I don't have any images of their shop floor. But it is an impressive facility where they make anything from small widgets to military scopes and tank parts.
Once the CANBus Triple boards are assembled and tested we will write the base firmware and package them them up to be delivered to our amazing supporters!
The CANBus Triple will be manufactured in compliance with RoHS standards, because Lead sucks.
I have been using a CANBus Triple in my Mazdaspeed3 every day for the last two years without a hiccup.
We’re working in vehicle specific forums to build application specific wiring harnesses, so doing something like displaying hidden sensor data on your OEM dash board is a plug and play affair!
And our beta testers have also built some really great things with the CANBus triple.
Building the first 50 beta devices was a time consuming affair. It took me away from working on the firmware and the app. We’re shooting to build a large run so they can be professionally assembled and tested here in Metro Detroit. Small run electronics are simply too expensive, so to get this into everyone's hands were shooting to do as large of run as possible.
I’m ready to get this project into the hands of other CAN enthusiasts with your help!
The CANBus Triple is tested and ready for production, and will be built as soon as the kickstarter campaign comes to a close. We want to get them into your hands ASAP.
If you want to add awesome functionality to your car, or just log some packets, please pledge your support!
It’s like an Arduino for your car. Hack it!
$25,000 – We will develop an Open source Android Wear application to talk to the CANBus Triple. Use it as/is, or modify it to work with your project.
$30,000 – Everyone will additionally receive one CANBus Triple to OBD II harness so they can hit the ground running.
Risks and challenges
Component suppliers can sometimes run out of required inventory. This can cause delays in production from a few days, to weeks. Luckily as of now all components are available from a number of suppliers and we do not foresee any type of delay in production.
Due to lack of funds we have not run any CNC Delrin cases as of yet. All prototype cases are 3d printed and tested for fitment. Our CNC shop is quite nimble and will be able to make tweaks to the design on the fly so delays here are unlikely.
I have delivered over 50 units to beta testers and did not have any complications whatsoever. I hope that gives you confidence that I can deliver quickly. If you have any concerns please post them below in the FAQ section.
MCP2515 CAN Controllers can send and receive packets at up to 1Mbps, but the MCU may or may not be able to keep up with the amount of data. In application we use filters on the controller to listen only for packets we are interested in. We urge you to keep this in mind when deciding if CANBus Triple is the right platform for you.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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