platforms, review, toolbox

Platforms – CANBus Triple

Crowd funded project named CANBus Triple is referred to as a ‘car hacking platform’. Based on Microchip’s MCP2515 stand-alone CAN Controller with SPI interface it is capable of receiving and sending CAN network compatible data packets. It is a low cost, user programmable development platform which is open-sourced in terms of both hardware and software.

Illustration 1: CANBus Triple development platform

The device connects to the CAN Bus infrastructure using standard SAE J1962 interface. Backing this project on Kickstarter, could opt you to purchase¬†OBD-II Cable together with the device. This is convenient and, of course, was possible¬†while campaign was active. It features three independent CANBus channels which enables simultaneous monitoring of events with different priorities, capability that’s often available with modern vehicles.

In order to start hacking, you will need an Arduino IDE and skeleton code project. Of course, this is not mandatory, but it will help a great deal to jump start the development. Some effort will be needed to get the device to do something useful. The simplest configuration is to use standard OBD interface, connect the device and initiate package monitoring. There is some basic support through desktop based application and mobile counterpart, an Cordova based app, for lest technically apt users. On the development side, you can find middleware layer available with the Arduino code which can be used to leverage CANBus infrastructure to greater extent.

Illustration 2: CANBus Triple board

There is space for fresh ideas

Official website offers basic documentation and developers can interact and communicate with each other on the dedicated forum. There is a ‘Getting Started’ guide and some useful manuals and links to original component manufacturer documentation and software libraries.

It has some peculiarities as well. For example, provided connecting cable has wired only single CANBus chip, which means single BUS is visible to the developer. Since it was a limited series production, this is not to strange, but users could benefit from instruction manual on how to wire the other two channels themselves.

CANBus Triple most certainly delivers on being interesting hacking tool. Also, an impressive feature of the platform is its perfect fit in the gap created by other similar devices and platforms and production tier diagnostic systems. However, it does expects fair amount of imagination and would greatly benefit from more diverse software support and application ecosystem. It is a fully-fledged vehicle communication tool and it has great prospect of further improvement. We’ll keep an eye on this one for sure.

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