The CANBus Triple is like an Arduino for your car

According to Maker Derek Kuschel, there is a massive pool of hidden data flowing around within a car’s computer units. In an effort to display this data, Derek recently launched a successful Kickstarter campaign for a device that taps into these binary riches. If you’re someone who enjoys tinkering with their vehicle, you’ll certainly be interested in his new car hacking platform, the CANBus Triple.

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CANBus Triple has been developed in hopes of providing an Arduino-style device for cars that can be used to bus data and add awesome functionality to your vehicle.

The Controller Area Network (CAN) is a message-based protocol found in modern automobiles, which carries significant amounts of data all around your vehicle while you drive, with much of it being unavailable to the average driver. In fcat, . Atmel offers a wide range of solutions for CAN networking, including AVR 8-bit RISC microcontrollers and transceivers.

However, it didn’t sit well with Derek that this much data was going to waste; therefore, through a series of three prototypes, he finally developed a system to display this sought after automobile information.

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“The CAN Bus Triple gives you an easy way to read and write raw CAN data packets, and perform operations with that data easily,” the Maker elaborates. Using an Atmel ATmega32u4 MCU, the device can read and analyze numerous data sets that are traditionally hidden within the vehicle’s inner workings.

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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,” its Kickstarter page explains. “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.”

As Derek points out, using this method, one can listen for all of the hidden data on the bus and send it over Bluteooth LE, or even send out your own packets to an in-dash OEM display as shown below on a Mazdaspeed3.

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Given the open-source nature of his project, Derek has provided fellow Makers with the coding and schematics needed to produce their own software for the CAN Bus Triple platform as he envisions his project as “a toolkit for adding to and augmenting your vehicle.”

Both the ATmega program and Bluetooth firmware are flashable without any additional hardware, the Maker explains. “You can add functionality to the Bluetooth module and upload the firmware over USB!” Now, add in the fact that the Triple is compatible with the Arduino IDE and can run on multiple mobile platforms, and any mechanic Maker should be ready to rev their engines!

Derek is currently beta testing his machine in a variety of cars. He has used the device in his Mazdaspeed 3 for over two years without a single issue. Next up will be large-scale production, and shortly thereafter hopefully customer distribution by the end of the year.

The open-source car hacking platform garnered just shy of $68,000 in pledges, tripling its original goal of $18,000. For more information about Derek’s project or how you could obtain your own unit, head over to his Kickstarter page.

1 thought on “The CANBus Triple is like an Arduino for your car

  1. Pingback: Rewind: A look at this year’s Atmel powered successfully crowdfunded projects | Bits & Pieces from the Embedded Design World

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