Open Source Hardware for the Beagle Traveler

The hardware side of the OBD 2 interface to the BB (BeagleBoard) will be open source. This is a call out to the community on how this should be handled. Attribution-ShareAlike or some other form of open source foundation needs to be finalized before the soldering iron heats up on this project. This way everyone will be able to build one relatively inexpensively and it will be in-line with the BB community. Other options will be available but off the shelf products will cost more. The Beagle Traveler will be an off the shelf product that any competent automotive shop should be able to install. Fleet service vehicles such as public transportation and public works vehicles can be monitored and serviced as data is passed back to the maintenance department.

The other side of the project will focus on in transit entertainment and communication. Once the OBD 2 is incorporated then this secondary project will fall into place. Ideas for this phase are still on the chopping block, so let us hear from the community on what this needs to be.

We are here and waiting for feedback. Comment below on your ideas.


Jason Kridner has started shipping Beagle Boards

Mr. Kridner at TI has started shipping Beagle Boards to approved project participants from the beagle board contest. My project for OBD II project, Beagle Traveler, was approved by the contest judges. The Email from Mr. Kridner is as follows:

Hopefully you have all received boards or board shipping notices for
your projects by now.  If not, please contact me and copy.

I’d like for you all to get a bit more visibility on your projects.  I
believe that giving a 5 minute introduction to your project at the TI
eTech Days Community Lightning Talks [1] could give you some really
great exposure.  I hope that you will visit the wiki page [1],
register a time slot, send in a slide or two, and show up on the phone
to present.

Thanks again for being part of!


P.S. I’m very open to giving e-mail addresses to
active participants, such as project leaders.

The Beagle Board has not arrived as of this posting and the project will be on hold until I receive one. If anyone has an extra to donate PLEASE contact me. I have access to an automative shop in Longview Texas with many qualified technicians interested in this project.

Introduction to Beagle Board Development

We have two disciplines when it comes to development with the Beagle Board. On one side we have software development which involves code. Since the board has support for many popular OSes we can simply swap them out to test which is best for the boards final placement in a production environment. On the other side we have hardware development. Since the BB has support for many external peripherals we can simply choose them based on OS support. Also the BB has an expansion header which makes that a popular place to exploit.

The Beagle-Traveler will be a two pronged effort using both disciplines. Software will need to be written to handle specially designed hardware that will integrate simple car functions into one controller. Communications with common vehicle functions will allow a person to command and configure aspects of the vehicle.

Automotive electronics require DC voltages dealing with high amps. Areas in which the BB will need to connect will include electric windows, starter, door locks, lights, engine control unit and many other systems. Starting with the simpler circuits first will reduce the amount of complexity as revisions are made. More complex interfaces will need more consideration to be able to keep this system universal and or expandable.

OBD II On-board Diagnostics second generation is a technology adopted by US automakers to standardize electronic diagnostic equipment on motor vehicles to help reduce emissions. Because each manufacturer has a slightly different implementation of OBD making a universal interface can become challenging but an universal adapter with engine monitoring sensors could be readily adapted.

Stage one electronics: Ignition, Locks, Lights, Windows and other 12 volt systems can be controlled with a simple relay board and some ttl signals controling the outputs.  This is where the dev will start with hardware and software to contol it. Stay tuned for the next post…