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Thread: Feeler: Open Source OBC Firmware

  1. #1826
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    Vancouver, B.C., Canada
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    '97 M3
    I love my openOBC. The extra functions and gauges are awesome especially for a boosted car.

  2. #1827
    Join Date
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    1997 Estoril M3
    Yes this. A complete unit and sold in a group buy. I think it would be a safe bet and worthy try to get a true feeler for the e36 market. I could certainly spread it around and the boosted market would certainly love this as well. I know my boosted build will be done in the next month and will be bringing more builds to come for my customers and I'd love to have this as an option to offer alongside it. What kind of price are we talking about for a finished unit obc and all? Ballpark figure?

    Sent from my LG-M153 using Tapatalk
    Last edited by EstorilB; 10-11-2018 at 09:34 PM.

  3. #1828
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    I'm not in a position to talk pricing yet. I will have to do a full design audit and come up with a BOM. I'll also need to determine the quantity I'll ultimately build, as price is strictly dependent on production quantity. If I do a run of 100 it should be affordable by most enthusiasts (though it will not be cheap in any case). If I try to build only 10 they won't be economically viable. It's as simple as that. Which, of course, brings me back to my original request for market interest.

  4. #1829
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    1988 325 Super ETA
    Quote Originally Posted by dwvcfii View Post
    I'm not in a position to talk pricing yet. I will have to do a full design audit and come up with a BOM. I'll also need to determine the quantity I'll ultimately build, as price is strictly dependent on production quantity. If I do a run of 100 it should be affordable by most enthusiasts (though it will not be cheap in any case). If I try to build only 10 they won't be economically viable. It's as simple as that. Which, of course, brings me back to my original request for market interest.
    Personally if it were up to me, I would prefer option 1, with a better/simpler software interface on the back end to program it with.

    Option 2 worries me a bit because of added development time, and other possible aesthetic issues or fitment issues etc, there is a possibility of it being really nice, and a possibility of something not being quite right. I would be afraid of the project not achieveing lift off since I haven't heard you express much confidence in the market thus far.
    Last edited by dwonda; 10-11-2018 at 11:51 PM.

  5. #1830
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    If I'm going to re-implement someone else's design, you're getting the software tweaked only as needed to work with whatever design changes were necessary to get that product out the door. The margins on that product (which is strictly marketed toward the cheap DIYer) will be too little for me to justify dedication of my company's resources to a software development effort. Hence my point about the software being tweaked only as needed and then open-sourced for the community to maintain.

    Whether the product achieves liftoff or not will be baked in the cake -- as I won't go into production unless X number of people commit to buying the thing. As for fitment, etc. if I do decide to offer option #2 the prototype will be all you'll need to see to address any concerns.

  6. #1831
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwvcfii View Post
    If I'm going to re-implement someone else's design, you're getting the software tweaked only as needed to work with whatever design changes were necessary to get that product out the door. The margins on that product (which is strictly marketed toward the cheap DIYer) will be too little for me to justify dedication of my company's resources to a software development effort. Hence my point about the software being tweaked only as needed and then open-sourced for the community to maintain.

    Whether the product achieves liftoff or not will be baked in the cake -- as I won't go into production unless X number of people commit to buying the thing. As for fitment, etc. if I do decide to offer option #2 the prototype will be all you'll need to see to address any concerns.
    Sounds good, I would have to actually install it in a car to truly be relieved of any concerns but I'll take your word for it. I'd also say that you ultimately define what the margins are per unit, past that I think it's largely unknown. With option 2 it sounds like there will need to be some software work done, either as a UI or something else to program it with. The pricing does interest me, the E36 group is pretty mixed, like someone else mentioned earlier it seems like you've got the real cheap owners, then you have the ones with money to blow, some of those are strictly going for an OEM look and some don't care. Would be great if you could bridge the gap between the two.

  7. #1832
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
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    Germany
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    1995 M3 GT
    Quote Originally Posted by dwonda View Post
    The pricing does interest me, the E36 group is pretty mixed, like someone else mentioned earlier it seems like you've got the real cheap owners, then you have the ones with money to blow, some of those are strictly going for an OEM look and some don't care. Would be great if you could bridge the gap between the two.
    What I like most about the openOBC is the OEM look. Anything not stock looking would be a no-go for me.
    In my opinion benemorius did a great job with the design of the openOBC but the major problem is the software. If someone would come up with an improved code which finally makes use of the hardware and all the possible features I would be more than happy and definetly willing to pay for it...

  8. #1833
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    Quote Originally Posted by glaserstift View Post
    What I like most about the openOBC is the OEM look. Anything not stock looking would be a no-go for me.
    In my opinion benemorius did a great job with the design of the openOBC but the major problem is the software. If someone would come up with an improved code which finally makes use of the hardware and all the possible features I would be more than happy and definetly willing to pay for it...
    I feel the same way but the idea of that rectangle of space being a nice touch screen that does some really cool stuff is growing on me. Especially if I could make it monochromatic to match the rest of the dash.

  9. #1834
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwonda View Post
    I feel the same way but the idea of that rectangle of space being a nice touch screen that does some really cool stuff is growing on me. Especially if I could make it monochromatic to match the rest of the dash.
    Ideally the faceplate of the custom case would look quite similar to the existing unit and I would cut class (i.e. make a custom LCD) sized to maximize coverage so that the border around the glass was about the same as it is now on the top of the existing display. In other words it would look as OE as possible. However, custom LCDs only make sense in high volume applications as the NRE is quite expensive. The best I could do would be a high aspect ratio display that would likely fill most of the faceplate area. Any open area could be used for buttons or data jacks.

    The perk of using a color display would be that it could utilize color to attract attention where necessary, i.e. oil pressure warnings would be in red, but during normal operation the entire interface could be displayed in BMW orange.
    Last edited by dwvcfii; 10-12-2018 at 09:53 AM.

  10. #1835
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    Quote Originally Posted by glaserstift View Post
    What I like most about the openOBC is the OEM look. Anything not stock looking would be a no-go for me.
    In my opinion benemorius did a great job with the design of the openOBC but the major problem is the software. If someone would come up with an improved code which finally makes use of the hardware and all the possible features I would be more than happy and definetly willing to pay for it...
    Option #2 cannot by its very definition have the OE look (i.e. it will not have physical buttons) but I can say that the bezel that surrounds the LCD would use design cues from the existing unit and the display would have a matte finish to match the other displays in the vehicle. Then software could be written to mimic the existing LCD font text, etc. to give it an OE-like appearance to satisfy the OE purists (like me). The options are nearly limitless with a display.

  11. #1836
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwvcfii View Post
    Option #2 cannot by its very definition have the OE look (i.e. it will not have physical buttons) but I can say that the bezel that surrounds the LCD would use design cues from the existing unit and the display would have a matte finish to match the other displays in the vehicle. Then software could be written to mimic the existing LCD font text, etc. to give it an OE-like appearance to satisfy the OE purists (like me). The options are nearly limitless with a display.
    Alright, I'm on board!

  12. #1837
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
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    '99 E36 328i Vert
    I can say I'm honestly interested.

    Can I ask what the state of the project is in?

  13. #1838
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5spdvl View Post
    I can say I'm honestly interested.

    Can I ask what the state of the project is in?
    I think it is in the "I'm thinking about it" state.

  14. #1839
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Toronto
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    S54/E36 ; E30 ; Saab
    I'd also be interested. I just have one request. Can a terminated canbus transceiver be added in to the CAN Input.

    Sent from my Redmi Note 5 using Tapatalk
    #E36-S54 #CSLWannabe

  15. #1840
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    What do you need CAN bus for?

  16. #1841
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
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    S54/E36 ; E30 ; Saab
    I have an s54 motor. I'd like to view certain motor information which are available thru canbus. Digital oil/coolant temp, ignition angles, vanos information etc.

    Sent from my Redmi Note 5 using Tapatalk
    #E36-S54 #CSLWannabe

  17. #1842
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZiMMie View Post
    I have an s54 motor. I'd like to view certain motor information which are available thru canbus. Digital oil/coolant temp, ignition angles, vanos information etc.

    Sent from my Redmi Note 5 using Tapatalk
    That could definitely expand your market, I know quite a few people with S54 swapped E36's.

  18. #1843
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    Quote Originally Posted by dwonda View Post
    That could definitely expand your market, I know quite a few people with S54 swapped E36's.
    Ah, okay. Yes. CANbus is easily done via an external transceiver or by swapping the existing microcontroller for one of the variants that has CANbus built in.

    I have to find the time to walk through the thread again to look at some of the outlier features that were requested previously, but if anyone is willing to highlight any other features above and beyond the OE unit that you'd like to see that will certainly factor into the re-spin design effort.

  19. #1844
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    The microcontroller support It (forgot what pins I'm on mobile). There is also a library for it. It will need just a transceiver and termination. (120ohms).

    Sent from my Redmi Note 5 using Tapatalk
    Last edited by ZiMMie; 10-13-2018 at 03:20 PM.
    #E36-S54 #CSLWannabe

  20. #1845
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    Odd that the original developer didn't appear to implement any termination, but this was for an E36 and CAN bus was probably brought out of the device just because it was there. In any case, termination is only needed at the far ends of the bus. Not sure where this device fits in the context of an E36/S54's CAN bus but selectable termination is probably the best solution. I'll look into adding that.

    Edit: Looking at it more closely I realized he just broke out the IOs to the on-board CAN peripheral and did not provide a transceiver, so that will have to be added too. No big deal.
    Last edited by dwvcfii; 10-15-2018 at 06:16 PM.

  21. #1846
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    Let me know what information you will need.

    Sent from my Redmi Note 5 using Tapatalk
    #E36-S54 #CSLWannabe

  22. #1847
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    I decided that a survey would be a lot more efficient way to collect the data I need to proceed with a prototype vs a bunch of responses here. Please visit this url and fill out the survey:

    https://aileronlabs.typeform.com/to/bTAe0r

    The sooner you respond and share this with others to get their feedback, the sooner we'll be out of limbo and have a plan to move forward (or not, as the case may be).

    Thanks for your feedback.

  23. #1848
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    Just wanted to let you know that the survey is running and collecting data.

    So far the responses seem to favor the bare logic board option. I'm also a bit surprised at the feature requests which favor some features like GPS and CANBus, neither of which were implemented in the OpenOBC, and this leads me to believe the market is really looking for an updated and improved version of the OpenOBC, not a mere copy.

    Please keep spreading the word about the survey. The more people that respond the more likely I am to proceed with the effort.

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