Added new about page

Added new about page with information on the project and will update information there. Also added a paypal donation button for support.  Please send suggestions and comments.

I am actually a web developer and will be moving the blog soon to a hosted site. Ironic, but needed a quick solultion for a place holder. Stay tuned for a new post on how the BB is going to be used in a vehicle on a more technical level.


OBD II BeagleBoard Interface?

This is where the meat of the system will be. The BB can interface with OBD II with several methods (theoretically). Many consumer level products are already available to interface OBD II with a computer.

Let’s start by examining how this can be accomplished. Most automobiles (light passenger vehicles) manufactured between 1996 and 2008 have a J1962 OBD2 style connector which has a pin out as follows.

Example PLDL

Example PLDL

The protocols are well known and there is open source software hardware available to communicate with OBD II. The newer protocols are even easier to handle.  A good website for information on interface hardware can be found here.  The reason why OBD II is not very straight forward is because there are so many different types of vehicles.  Even though many vehicles sold in the United States and elsewhere contain the above pictured connector there is differences. These differences are the result of technological progress and vendor implementation. The BB can communicate with OBD II with a serial/usb to OBD tool. The expansion header on the BB also lends itself to OBD II communication. There is even a Bluetooth and WiFi OBD II interface here. We have multiple options to interface, now we need to get them to talk and display relevant data and respond to our commands.

On a related idea from…   A vehicle with a Power-train Control Module (PCM) can also be directly manipulated using a BB. Some vehicles have a PCM module that contains all the logic to operate the engine under various conditions. A single EEPROM or other “chip” type on the PCM can be easily re-flashed with a new “map” altering key operating parameters. Companies like SuperChips have devices that can reprogram the vehicles power-train computer.

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…

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