Module Level CAN Diagnostic Message Tool

Dr. Engineer Washington Posted   Latest  

Hi Everyone:

FutureTech has received a significant number of requests in the past few years to develop a tool that can assist technicians in diagnosing module level CAN faults. We are currently in the process of developing a tool that can monitor CAN messages so that technicians can determine if a CAN message has been received by a module and if a corresponding message has been sent and received by another module. The focal point of the tool is to track CAN traffic by message as it is transmitted module to module by using a GUI. The target of the tool will be to provide information that the Scan Tool, Scope, or other specialty tools cannot provide. 

However, we are at a point in which we need to determine whether or not the project should continue to move forward to Beta testing. It is unclear as to the sale price but, the range could be $1500 to $2250 including training and a data acquisition unit if, a minimum of 500 units were sold. There would likely be a low cost annual subscription to provide updates and product enhancements. Training would likely be a one time 1.5 - 2 hr WebEx includes Q&A. Quite frankly, our desire is to acquire feedback directly from the field to gauge interest before we invest more engineering time on the product.

Our next step will be for a group of technicians to use the tool and provide feedback before moving to product enhancement and Beta testing. If the feedback is positive and there is interest, the product would be ready by Jan/Feb 2020.

I welcome comments that will assist us in gauging whether the product should/will make it to the market.

Best,

Mark

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Edwin Mobile Technician
South Carolina
Edwin Default
 

Hi Mark. I would like to see this tool have a graphic display that would show not only a waveform but a digital display that has grid scales for voltages but in a lower voltage form. I would like to be considered for a beta test as well. Great idea . I am for the building of this tool.

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Tim Technician
Pennsylvania
Tim Default
 

Mark, I think this tool is a fantastic idea and a tool that is long overdue. I'd buy one today if available and I will buy it whenever you release it. I would also be interested in helping with a beta test

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Dr. Engineer
Washington
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Tim: Much appreciate the support. Depending on how things roll throughout the remainder of tweaking the development, we may cast a wider net for the Beta phase so, I would like to include you in the group. Thanks, again, Tim!

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Jim Owner/Technician
North Carolina
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Mark, I would buy this tomorrow as well, and will buy it when it's available. Price point is reasonable as well. This is a tool that could be a game changer for a lot of people that struggle with CAN issues, and save a lot of time.

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Randy Analyst
Colorado
Randy Default
 

I'm not sure I understand what this tool would do that isn't already being done. If it does something new, I would be interested. Lot's of questions, not sure where to start. The most obvious is, if I want to know if a module received a signal, I use my scan tool and look at the corresponding PID. If I want to see the actual message on the bus, I use my software that does so (commonly called a…

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Dr. Engineer
Washington
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Randy: Thanks for the email. The plan is for the tool to do any CAN (won't do LIN). We're still determining if the tool will do Normal Mode and Diagnostic Messages or only Normal mode. Diagnostic Messages are enhanced and this would be a great feature for the technician but, adds cost. So we're currently working through cost/benefit. A CAN Sniffer doesn't decode messages (as the sniffers…

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Randy Analyst
Colorado
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Thanks, Mark. As you know, Sniffer is a generic term and I didn't like using it but you get the idea and that's all I wanted to accomplish.:) Yes, I have the CAN database so I can decode most messages. All J1979 and some others. I can do all the protocols as well. Having said all that, a GMM and a scantool diagnosis 99.999% of the issues I see. Good luck and wish you well!

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Dr. Engineer
Washington
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Hi Randy: Thanks for the feedback and information. Very glad to hear that you have the CAN databases.......makes life much easier. We'll see how things go with the tool. Our goal is to get the guys much further down the road with CAN without the high cost of purchasing the CAN databases, etc. Best Wishes!

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Randy Analyst
Colorado
Randy Default
 

This is a rare one I had. It's not CAN but it's so rare that I have one where I need this level of diagnostics, I don't have many examples. The cause is a software problem and the concern is no communication with multiple scan tools including the factory tool. Bob G. helped me solve it. Lot's of information in the file but takes lots of knowledge to understand it and I am still learning. The…

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Rick Technical Support Specialist
Missouri
Rick Default
 

Mark, The tool would be awesome and help all of us step children better understand CAN communications. I hope it would eliminate diagnostic time considerably. Sounds like a great Top Shop Tool. I look forward to view and train at Vision 2020.

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Edwin Mobile Technician
South Carolina
Edwin Default
 

Also it could take the lab scope completely out of the equasion as well. The more I think about this the more it makes 100% good sense!

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Todd Mobile Technician
Alberta
Todd Default
 

This tool sounds like it has great potential. I would be interested in beta testing as well.

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Jason Owner/Technician
California
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I am very interested in the tool, can you please put me on the list when it is available. Thanks.

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Louie Instructor
Illinois
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Would this tool be similar to DBDT from GM. or blue Link for Mercedes

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Dr. Engineer
Washington
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Louie: Although I only know the DBDT tool from a distance, I think there are some similarities. Any OEM tool will have its based grounded in a CAN database. However, this doesn't mean that all of the information is available through the tool. With any OEM tool, you're at the mercy of what THEY have determined what will be provided on the tool. With a CAN tool, there is less limitation because…

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Maqbool Diagnostician
Virginia
Maqbool Default
 

I think it would be a valuable asset to a technician given the amount of CAN networks in cars seems to be growing exponentially.

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Randy Diagnostician
California
Randy Default
 

What a great idea . Count me in

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Cody Diagnostician
Arizona
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this tool sounds like a great idea and would love to see it in action. I think having a way to hook scope leads to it to monitor the network at the same time as sending commands would be a nice touch.

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Jeff Owner/Technician
Tennessee
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Definitely interested in this tool. Please let me know if and when it becomes available.

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Robert Engineer
North Carolina
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Hello Mark, We did a tool many years ago. It was specific to Mercedes vehicles. It covered a few models over 5 years or so of production. Just building a database of source and destination CAN ids proved challenging. This was all we needed because the purpose of the tool was to identify errant bus-wake situations. We used commonly available J2534 device with some break out cables. It would have…

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Dr. Engineer
Washington
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Agreed on most counts. If a tech works for an OEM or for an Aftermarket shop that specializes in a particular vehicle, and can acquire the specific tools for those vehicles, it's an easy solution. The OEM specific tools will have access to CAN messages (CAN ID's). But, when a tech must go across many different vehicles, it's impossible to purchase all of the tools that can dig out a CAN problem…

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Randy Analyst
Colorado
Randy Default
 

I would venture to say the first group of technicians are the ones fixing communication issues without much difficulty and the ones that think a can bus tool will help them, well, they don’t know what the tool will look like and would benefit from some good communication classes. BTW, what do you call a can sniffer with a database? A scan tool.

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Maynard Technician
Ontario
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Hi Mark, definitely interested. Will wait here in the wings for the news updates on this for sure.

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Dr. Engineer
Washington
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Hi Maynard: We're working on it. We'll probably have many more answers after we work with the first few test technicians and acquire some feedback. I'm certainly hoping that we can finalize a tool, coupled with a little training that, will help techs feel more comfortable with confirming the condition of CAN messages. It's not meant to be a "whiz-bang" tool. Based on what we've gathered from…

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Dmitriy Analyst
Ontario
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I agree with Robert B. that it is an epic undertaking. But I like epic things to work out — it would be awesome to see it fully functional and used by techs.

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Jaxon Technical Support Specialist
Australia
Jaxon Default
 

Good morning, I would like to participate in your beta trial, I am regularly testing heavy duty and automotive.

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Caleb Technician
Indiana
Caleb Default
 

Wow, I realize everything has it limitations. However this is an amazing idea. I would use this weekly. I do automotive and equipment. I like the fact that PICO has a serial decoder but without knowing how to decode the packets it seems worthless in that regard. I have been thinking about a tool like this for months.I would love to beta test something this.

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Robert Engineer
North Carolina
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It would be a great tool but impossible to build without very extensive support by manufacturers and tier 1 suppliers. I don't see that happening ever. Bob B.

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Dr. Engineer
Washington
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Bob: Thanks for the reply, input, and viewpoint. I have to disagree (which is OK in healthy discussions) with most of your comments: 1. Our tool is already built. Support directly from the manufacturers is not necessary (at least with most vehicles 2019 and older). 2. We already have manufacturer databases and necessary information so, the OEM information is a known quantity for most of…

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Matthew Mobile Technician
Illinois
Matthew Default
 

Mark, This sounds like a great concept. I think you will find great people to Beta test on this site, but my guess is the average tech on this site would not find too much use for a tool like this... that is because the best techs I know are on here :-) In terms of CAN Bus diagnostics, I would be most interested in hearing how this tool would help diagnose module ground and connector voltage…

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Dr. Engineer
Washington
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Matthew: Thanks much for the information and feedback. We need experienced guys, like you, to help in bringing new products and training to continue the elevation of the profession. I'll keep you apprised as to how the initial testing will roll out. I may be reaching out to you and some of the others.

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Robert Mobile Technician
Michigan
Robert Default
 

Mark You have a great concept. Any tool in a technicians tool box is an asset if one knows how to use it. Years ago I was working on a FCA products with a PCM replacement. After programming the PCM and then having to go into the WCM to perform a PCM replacement procedure to transfer the secrete key and VIN. The WCM stated the process was complete but the vehicle would not crank. At this time…

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Jamey Owner/Technician
California
Jamey Default
 

Sounds like a useful tool in difficult diagnostic. I would be interested in seeing a spec sheet on its capabilities. I would also be interested in beta testing for you. It really isn’t how many times a week I need to diagnose a CAN communication fault, it’s being tooled and ready for it when it does show up. The future of aftermarket repair is getting ready to split into two different…

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Dr. Engineer
Washington
Dr. Default
 

Jamey: Thanx much for the feedback. I agree with you that, the industry appears to be splitting into 2 distinct groups. Although I'm on the engineering side of the business and don't see or "feel" the day-to-day" things the techs are experiencing, I've kept my hand in it just enough to know what's happening. In my opinion, technicians that are keeping pace with the industry, are actually…

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Edwin Mobile Technician
South Carolina
Edwin Default
 

Mark..Its funny you say that. I too have noticed a trend in automotive technicians. Some are staying up to date and the others are going to evaporate. The issue will be the ones who are keeping current or as you stated potential para engineers, they will be the ones who will be in high demand. The other group I believe will start to see a decrease in numbers. Thanks for your insight Mark.

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Michael Mobile Technician
Utah
Michael Default
 

Hi Dr. Mark, Using CAN communications monitoring really helped me on the Subaru I was having trouble with this past summer. I used a simple CAN sniffer without definitions to identify that the steering angle sensor module was not communicating. Having definitions would definitely help track things down. Some here have no problem with the cost suggested. This is a tool that would be used only an…

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Robert Engineer
North Carolina
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Mike, Did the Subaru tool not connect directly to the steering angle sensor in diagnostic mode? If it is pushing out CAN traffic it must have a diagnostic subsystem on it. How did you know what CAN ID the steering angle sensor used? If the sensor was not putting out any CAN traffic at all you can use a DVOM often to see what is going on on bus. Was the sensor actually true CAN or LIN, or…

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Michael Mobile Technician
Utah
Michael Default
 

Hi Bob, I actually wrote a whole article on the particular problem I was having. Here is a link. diag​.​net/msg/m7g80tyvf3… I was able to ID each node by disconnecting and reconnecting. The communications network was set up as CAN to the ABS and K-Line to the scan tool. Thanks, Mike

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Paul Technical Support Specialist
Colorado
Paul Default
 

Here is a free one from Robert Bosch. It has been around for a long while. Not sure what they recommended for a connector. Github​.​com/rbei-etas/busm… Bob's CAN tool was awesome.

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Dr. Engineer
Washington
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Paul: Thanks for sending the info. Yep.....ETAS stuff is powerful but, in my opinion, too cumbersome (like other CAN tools). And, the tool doesn't use CAN databases so the user can see enhanced messages in CAN ID alpha-numeric format so it's human readable (one of the many reasons it's Open Source). Providing an easier to use interface and targeting specific CAN bus testing are two of the…

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James Educator
Kansas
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Mark the tool is needed in the field. I would like to help in any way I can.

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Dr. Engineer
Washington
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Jim: Many thanks! I'll keep you offer in-mind as we move toward Beta; your a perfect candidate for feedback. We still have a few bumps to get smoothed out. Hope your electronics and software projects are going well!!!

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Timothy Diagnostician
Georgia
Timothy Default
 

Hey Dr. Mark, We see missing messages in a lot of our cars. The waveform looks good until you drill down and your eyes cross trying to isolate modules. Will your tool work with all Flexray? If so I am in. Actually I'm in either way. It is a needed tool in the field. You would be surprised how many new cars we see that have intermittent issues. Several trips to the shop before a solution is…

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Dr. Engineer
Washington
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Hi Tim: Thanks for the posting. We're still grinding through some detail on the tool. We have a meeting setup for Nov 18th to work through some of the heavy detail. We'll see where it goes but, I'm hoping we get the product streamlined enough to please the "bean counters" but, have enough technical content that it's a great tool for technicians. It's just balance.

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