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Thread: Opel Corsa OPC MY2008 - Raspberry Pi SmartCar (CanBus programming)

  1. #1
    Newbie ZvjerOPC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2015

    Opel Corsa OPC MY2008 - Raspberry Pi SmartCar (CanBus programming)

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    Hello all.
    I have been wanting to do a CarPC since like 15 years ago, but it was always a bit too much to install an ATX board inside the car, and then there were power issues and hard drive issues... Through years all the issues were solving themselves one by one until Microsoft announced support for "internet of things" devices which got me hot inside. I was thinking about purchasing that Intel Galileo board because Microsoft supported it and because it was Arduino compatible, but I wasn't really sure what I will do with it. Later Raspberry introduced a Pi2 board and Microsoft announced Windows for it. I was really happy so I bough one, installed Raspbian image on it and started hacking inside my head.

    Other than Raspberry Pi 2 I also have some old ELM327 v1.0a scantool clone.
    So here is the plan:

    Phase 1 (introduction):
    - connect RPi through ELM with OBDII port and get basic data from the car through modem terminal (done - I got the car voltage out)
    - learn basic canbus commands for getting the engine coolant temperature and engine rpm and a few others
    - get engine coolant temperature through terminal command
    - make my own app in Linux (maybe I will switch to windows later) that will get engine coolant temperature with a simple command like ./app getcoolant
    - maybe get a newer ELM327 scantool version or a Bluetooth one

    Phase 2 (choose a can controler):
    - learn whether it is possible to send a non-engine related command into canbus through ELM327 and OBDII. for example honk the horn or turn on the headlights or even read the status of the aircondition. have in mind that this may be related to my car. I don't know yet.
    - if it is not possible to utilize ELM327 for nothing more than basic car diagnostic then I will need to pick another IC. Maybe MCP2515 + MCP2551 for Opel because I have read somewhere Opel has single-wire canbus interface somewhere (not on OBDII port)
    - if I will go the MCP route then I need to know whether this chip can handle basic car diagnostics like ELM327 can (I suppose yes)
    - whether I end up with latest ELM327 or MCP2515 chip I need to make my own RPi shield-like PCB with this chip to keep the things compact.

    Phase 3 (open windows):
    - by using raw canbus commands open car windows, honk the horn or turn on the headlights

    Phase 4 (hardware installation):
    In the beginning I will need to communicate with my car (with RPi) through my laptop most of the time so I need to put it on the network. I have run through a few different scenarios and most likely I will connect it with a HSPA USB modem to my house over VPN. Maybe directly via USB 3G modem or maybe I will buy cheapest Mikrotik router with WiFi to do this, and my laptop will connect to my house via VPN too. Sounds silly if I am sitting in the car, but I will need remote control in later phases so this may be a good time to solve that problem just as any other time.
    - get a Mikrotik router and get the internet running on it through the USB 3G modem
    - configure the VPN
    - connect Mikrotik and Raspberry via wired Ethernet
    - connect both devices to the 5 minute power source (I am aware that some car components, like cabin light, have power for 5 minutes after the key is out of the ignition. This seems like a perfect place to power these two devices until I get some batteries for them. It would not be smart to power these things from the car battery while the engine isn't running)
    - find a good position for both devices in the car and install them permanently. maybe get a case for RPi.

    Phase 5 (API):
    - start working on my controller API: make a web based XML API which will take the command (like getcollant or openwindows, but more sophisticated) from external app and process it through canbus and return the result to the asking side. test it with XML API test tool (there are plenty of web browser plugins for that).

    Phase 6 (remote GUI):
    - when the fist few commands are working make an app on my smartphone that will connect to the RPi API and on_click use that API. Essentially an app on the smartphone will be my first remote GUI.

    Phase 7 (remote voice commands):
    - implement Cortana voice commands in my app for the same features that are already working, so the result should be something like "hey car open windows" and of course the should open.

    This is as far as I dare to project my plan because after this it becomes a bit blurry even for me. If I get this far I will celebrate and write more of the plan.
    If there is anyone reading this and has any canbus knowledge that could help me I could really use some help not to search in the dark for too long. There may be things already solved which I need but I haven't find them yet, perhaps. Thanks all for the help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    That's going to be great when it's finished, especially with all the CAN bus integration. It makes me wish that my car wasn't an 11 year old base model of a cheap economy car!

    If you're going to be putting in a Mikrotik router, they also sell the bare boards too, if that makes it easier to mount or hide somewhere.

    One thing that you should keep in mind is that the version of Windows that Microsoft is releasing for the Raspberry Pi 2 isn't actually a desktop version of Windows. As far as I know, it's an Internet of Things embedded platform that you would deploy software directly to, sort of like an Arduino. That said, there are some very inexpensive and small Windows 8 PCs out there, as seen in this thread:

  3. #3
    Newbie ZvjerOPC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Thanks for that reminder. I totally forgot that Mikrotik makes bare boards too. I will look into it today.

    As for the Windows - of course it will not be a full Windows version. After all this is an ARM processor. But in reality we still don't know what kind of Windows version will it be. It may have components that I will want to use, like integrated Cortana. Maybe it will be able to run "modern" apps like Surface RT does - that could also be utilized in the car because I write my own software. But for the moment all I need from RPi is to be my CAN bus headless mediator and that I could probably even do with Arduino too, but I chose a more powerful device that may give me more options in the long run.

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