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Thread: Trying to get USB OBD2 interface to work...

  1. #1
    Newbie FunkyStickman's Avatar
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    Trying to get USB OBD2 interface to work...

    Hey, I'm currently working on building a computer for the Ion Red Line. It's using standard PC hardware, nothing crazy. However, the primary purpose of the unit is to run the tuning software and box made by HP Tuners, and I haven't been able to get it to work under Wine just yet... I can install the software, but the device drivers for the USB box aren't natively supported, I'd imagine.

    Before I finish the actual computer setup, I'm going to give it my best try to get this working in Linux, because I really have no desire to use Windows unless there's no other way. The tuning software cost me quite a bit, and it's an extremely well written piece of work, but so far they have no intentions of porting it (or the device drivers) to Linux.

    I'm just venting right now, but as I go through this, I'm going to document it and see how far I can get.

  2. #2
    Newbie FunkyStickman's Avatar
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    Okay, good news, I've found some information on this particular issue.

    Thanks to the guys who use Vista 64-bit, I found out who makes the Serial-to-USB bridge chip for the unit, and also where their drivers were... lo and behold, they have Linux drivers available!

    http://www.ftdichip.com/Drivers/D2XX.htm

    The company that makes this tuning interface are found at

    http://www.hptuners.com/

    I'm going to give this a shot, and see if the software installed in Wine will interface with the native drivers.... I'm crossing my fingers!

  3. #3
    Newbie FunkyStickman's Avatar
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    I successfully installed the interface drivers, and was able to plug it in and see it with "lsusb". I'm at work, though, and I don't have wine installed on my Linux VM, so I'll have to wait until I get home to complete testing. So far, though, it's looking great!

    Linux freaking ROCKS!

  4. #4
    Newbie FunkyStickman's Avatar
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    I got it to work, the best way I could... I had to use free VM software, but I got it running.

    Basically, I could not get any version of HPT to run in wine (emulation). Either it used .net 1.1 (which doesn't work in wine) or .net 2.0 which for some reason it couldn't detect, even installed and with .dll overrides.

    I tried getting it to work in a VM, but the passthrough USB drivers didn't work... Linux has to recognize the device before it shows up in the VM.

    Thanks to the Vista guys (I'll never say Vista is good for nothing now...) I found the chip's Linux drivers, installed them, and fired up a VM to install Windows onto. Yes, it still requires a Windows license... can't get around that.

    So what I did was install Ubuntu 8.10 (latest version) on a computer I built.
    www.ubuntu.com

    Get the Linux drivers here: (the readme file explains how to install them)
    http://www.ftdichip.com/Drivers/D2XX.htm

    To check if it worked, plug the MVPI in and run "lsusb" to see if it shows up as a device.

    I'm familiar with VirtualBox VM software... but don't download the one that comes with the distro, you need to get the latest one straight from Sun because it has USB support. Theoretically, since they have OSX drivers for the MVPI, and they make VirtualBox for OSX, it should be feasible to make this work on a Mac, too. Anybody wanting to donate one for me to use for testing? Heh.

    http://www.sun.com/software/products/virtualbox/get.jsp

    You will need to do a few workarounds to make pass-through USB work for Virtualbox in Linux. There's an excellent how-to here:

    https://help.ubuntu.com/community/VirtualBox

    Once you've got VirtualBox installed and the USB configured, you need to create a virtual machine in VB. You'll need about 3GB of a virtual hard drive to do a basic WinXP install. If you have an old copy of Win98, I think you could get it to work as well, but I had an unused XP license. I'm not going into too much detail on how to set up a VM with VirtualBox, but there's plenty of how-to's around.

    Once you've gotten Windows installed in the VM, fire it up. You'll want to install the VirtualBox Guest Addons to make the VM easier to use. Once you've done that, install HP Tuners like you normally would. Keep the CD handy... you'll need the Windows drivers for the MVPI as well.

    You will need to install .net on the VM, you might have to download 2.0 from Microsoft.

    Once you fire up the VM, and open HP Tuners (scanner or Editor) you will need to right-click the USB icon at the bottom, and enable the HPTuners interface... which makes it visible to the VM. It will detect it, and ask for the Windows drivers for the MVPI. Once that's done, bang! You're tuning, baby!

    As you can see here, I've successfully connected it, and it's pulled my MVPI's serial number. WIN!

  5. #5
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    Great Work

    So is there any lag time when the HP Tuner is connect to the ODBII Port. I would like too for go dealing with windows as the carpc's OS but I'm thinking about using a older laptop as the carpc which may not be powerful to handle everything that I'll be throw at it. Are you using a STD laptop/pc with a monitor or a LCD touch screen? But job well done, if I go with ubuntu I will use your project as a starting point

  6. #6
    Newbie FunkyStickman's Avatar
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    Thanks, Tazman. I haven't actually measured the lag yet, I'll do that tonight if I can.

    Older laptops may not be able to go this route, as it takes a decent amount of RAM to run two full OS's at the same time. However, I only did this because my OBDII scan/program tool isn't natively supported by Linux, and the software doesn't work under Wine. With a regular OBDII tool, there are plenty of options that are Linux-friendly. You might be able to use a slimmed down distro, like Xubuntu to work on older hardware.

    My car computer is custom built out of low-power desktop hardware. I'm currently just using a regular 15" LCD screen and a bluetooth keyboard with lots of media buttons.

    Since I'm going to connect it all up tonight, I'll snap a few pics of it, maybe do a quick video of the software and desktop in action. Here's a picture of the actual computer. The case was scratch-built out of an old desktop Oscilloscope I found in the trash. I'm going to run it off of a 400W inverter in the trunk, where my battery is.




    Kev000, I haven't had time to compile nGhost on the new desktop yet, been spending all my time getting this to work... I'll give it another shot on the new system when I get the time. I got the precompiled .debs to install, but videos didn't work, and a few other oddities. I'll give it a fair shakedown soon, maybe a video review and make a skin or two.

  7. #7
    Newbie FunkyStickman's Avatar
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    Update: 400W inverter was overkill, but I'm glad I got it. Works like a charm.

    Also, the graphics on the scanning software in the VM are horribly slow and choppy... I think this has to do with the on-board video the board is using. I'm going to put a real video card in it (glad I still got the 400W inv.) and give it another shot. If/when it works, I will post up some video.

  8. #8
    licensed to kill - FKA kev000
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    Wow! Your system looks amazing!

    Kev000, I haven't had time to compile nGhost on the new desktop yet, been spending all my time getting this to work... I'll give it another shot on the new system when I get the time. I got the precompiled .debs to install, but videos didn't work, and a few other oddities. I'll give it a fair shakedown soon, maybe a video review and make a skin or two.
    I thought video was fixed in 2.0.2, but that was a while ago and I don't remember. It should work now. I have debs for the latest 2.1 alpha in the "testing" repository. If you want, ncarinfo (nghost's obd-II UI) needs some testing in a real life car .

    Code:
    for ubuntu 8.04 and prior:
    deb http://nghost-project.com/nghost/downloads linuxice main unstable testing
    
    for ubuntu 8.10 and later (contains the most up to date binaries at this point):
    deb http://nghost-project.com/nghost/downloads linuxice2 main unstable testing
    Former author of LinuxICE, nghost, nobdy.
    Current author of Automotive Message Broker (AMB).
    Works on Tizen IVI. Does not represent anyone or anything but himself.

  9. #9
    Newbie FunkyStickman's Avatar
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    Thanks, Kev. I really do want to support what you're doing, I'll give it another try now that I've got the system pretty much where I want it.

    For those who were wondering, I put a Geforce MX4000 (super-cheap video card) in the machine, and it helped a TON! The scanning is now much faster, and only when I pull open huge amounts of charts and gauges does it start to get choppy.

    I'll do a full feature on the machine once it's done, I've still got a few tweaks to do, but for the most part, it's finished. I'm using Ubuntu 8.10, I tried the Ubuntu Mobile package but didn't like the way it changed all the system settings... it's kind of an all-or-nothing deal. Also I have Roadnav installed, looking to get a cheap GPS unit to use with it. As for media playing, I really like Amarok, but I'll use whatever works with nGhost if that's the route I go.

  10. #10
    Newbie FunkyStickman's Avatar
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    I did manage to get the latest HP Tuners installed, and working under wine... I installed .net 2.0 (and ONLY .net 2.0), then installed msiexec and the latest VCMSuite.msi. It does work, though it's extremely choppy. Two steps forward, four steps back...

    Good news, I installed a cheap video card, and now running HPT in a virtual machine works flawlessly... it's smooth, no problems. It only slows down a bit when you've got 20+ gauges and the chart running at the same time.

    I'm excited that I got it to run at all, honestly. I will still play with it a bit, but it's 100% functional if you've got a relatively new computer running Linux with VirtualBox.

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