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Thread: Feeler: Open Source OBC Firmware

  1. #26
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    I hate to say this, but i think you're over your head on this one.

    We're talking about stuff that was produced in the early 90's, maybe even earlier. This is very unsophisticated hardware and lacks amenities like 'flash' ram, sram, or anything you could utilize to rewrite it's 'program'. We are most likely talking about a custom 8 bit processor ( if it even is a processor ) that very few people know how to work with.

    I'm not saying it can't be done, i'm just saying it's not like a z80, 6502, or 8088, all which are well documented and have compilers readily available for. You would basically be looking at writing machine code by hand, or assembly ( if you're lucky ). Your other challenge would be intercepting and decoding the input and output data to the sensors.

    As far as replacing the obc's 'processor', you'd be hard pressed to find a replacement that you could program. something more sophisticated would require more voltage and more space on the circuit board.

    easiest would be to figure out how to decode the sensor inputs and make your own OBC from scratch, maybe modifying the OBC's faceplate to fit in a bigger screen and such.

    again i'm not saying it can't be done, i'm just saying the odds are heavily stacked against you and the result is not worth all of the effort.

  2. #27
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    Use an original OBC screen and just put your own programming and buttons in there. Do you think you could do this with an OBC that is not 18 buttons too? I have the 11 button which is not the smallest but it's not the biggest.

  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by neptronix View Post
    I hate to say this, but i think you're over your head on this one.

    We're talking about stuff that was produced in the early 90's, maybe even earlier. This is very unsophisticated hardware and lacks amenities like 'flash' ram, sram, or anything you could utilize to rewrite it's 'program'. We are most likely talking about a custom 8 bit processor ( if it even is a processor ) that very few people know how to work with.

    I'm not saying it can't be done, i'm just saying it's not like a z80, 6502, or 8088, all which are well documented and have compilers readily available for. You would basically be looking at writing machine code by hand, or assembly ( if you're lucky ). Your other challenge would be intercepting and decoding the input and output data to the sensors.

    As far as replacing the obc's 'processor', you'd be hard pressed to find a replacement that you could program. something more sophisticated would require more voltage and more space on the circuit board.

    easiest would be to figure out how to decode the sensor inputs and make your own OBC from scratch, maybe modifying the OBC's faceplate to fit in a bigger screen and such.

    again i'm not saying it can't be done, i'm just saying the odds are heavily stacked against you and the result is not worth all of the effort.
    My current plan is to take a working OBC and keep only the display and buttons, and use one of the larger PIC microcontrollers to run my custom firmware, written in C, to drive the display and process inputs.

    I'll be producing my own PC board using my own components. The larger PIC chips have plenty of I/O and A/D to process any of the signals I need. The only other external IC I might need is a display driver to handle the constant refreshing of the display.

    Most of the sensor inputs are well documented (like the external temp sensor which is just a thermistor) and probably the most difficult 'interface' task will be to figure out the wiring harness and what leads go where in the vehicle.

    There's actually only a few inputs needed to do most of the OBC's tasks:

    Temp = External NTC Thermistor located in front bumper
    Speed = Line from DME with a varying frequency proportional to road speed
    Fuel = Not sure on this one. Is there a fuel consumption sensor that monitors fuel flow, or does the DME report injector timing data that can be converted into fuel usage?
    Chime = Connects to the chime module located in the driver's knee bolster panel.
    Check = Connects to the "Check Control" module in the vehicle. Unsure of bus used for data transfer.

    Again, this is just a pet project and it may indeed go nowhere, but I'd like to give it a try!

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  4. #29
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    You will need something to drive the display. that may be the hard part.

  5. #30
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    I'm hoping I can re-use whatever driver IC is in the OBC... Either that or I'll use one of those time-tested Hitachi controller ICS (HD47740?) that are in the dot matrix/character LCD panels you can buy for cheap.

    1999 ///M3 TiAg | Heated Power Vaders | DDM Projector36 5000K 55W HIDs | DDM 3000K 35W HID Fogs
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  6. #31
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    UPDATE: I picked up a used (working) OBC to experiment with. I took it apart and found there is a separate display driver board and logic board.
    This is very good news as I can probably keep the display driver board and it will take care of the display part.

    However, the display driver ICs (2 of them) are obsolete parts from the mid 1990's and the datasheets are no longer available.
    The manufacturer is ST Microelectronics, P/N is SG6256-E1. I even called ST and they couldn't look it up!

    It looks like I will need to trace the pins from the display back to the logic board and try to make sense of which are data and power. More updates to follow!

    1999 ///M3 TiAg | Heated Power Vaders | DDM Projector36 5000K 55W HIDs | DDM 3000K 35W HID Fogs
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  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by m2pc View Post
    UPDATE: I picked up a used (working) OBC to experiment with. I took it apart and found there is a separate display driver board and logic board.
    This is very good news as I can probably keep the display driver board and it will take care of the display part.

    However, the display driver ICs (2 of them) are obsolete parts from the mid 1990's and the datasheets are no longer available.
    The manufacturer is ST Microelectronics, P/N is SG6256-E1. I even called ST and they couldn't look it up!

    It looks like I will need to trace the pins from the display back to the logic board and try to make sense of which are data and power. More updates to follow!
    Not sure if this will help at all, but I found two links to references of the SG6256-E1.
    http://www.digchip.com/datasheets/qu...h&pn=SG6256-E1
    http://www.huskyintl.com/partlist/pa.../SG6256-E1.htm

    If that is no help, sorry.


  8. #33
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    I submitted those forms -- let's see if I get SPAM or if they can send me the PDF datasheet!

    Thanks!

    1999 ///M3 TiAg | Heated Power Vaders | DDM Projector36 5000K 55W HIDs | DDM 3000K 35W HID Fogs
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  9. #34
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    I am looking in some older Digi-Key catalogs, and a few other industrial supply catalogs that have a lot of IC's and chip components, maybe I can find a data sheet in them.

    I found an overseas distributor if you care to check them out.
    http://www.hkinventory.com/public/Of...t4=0&datecode=

    Also, if that chip is too hard to find, there might be a possible alternative here.
    http://search.digikey.com/scripts/dk...splay%20driver
    Last edited by fPortal; 01-21-2009 at 03:05 AM.


  10. #35
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    Here's some closeups of the various parts inside the OBC.

    Logic board:


    Display board:


    CPU:


    Display Driver:

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  11. #36
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    I have a spare laying around, but the display is garbled.


  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by fPortal View Post
    I have a spare laying around, but the display is garbled.
    Do you mind cracking it open and seeing what chips are used for the "display" board? There may be different numbers on yours that might be an equivalent device.

    1999 ///M3 TiAg | Heated Power Vaders | DDM Projector36 5000K 55W HIDs | DDM 3000K 35W HID Fogs
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  13. #38
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by m2pc View Post
    Do you mind cracking it open and seeing what chips are used for the "display" board? There may be different numbers on yours that might be an equivalent device.
    Not at all. Let me go get it out of the garage and pull it apart.

    Quote Originally Posted by m2pc View Post
    Do you mind cracking it open and seeing what chips are used for the "display" board? There may be different numbers on yours that might be an equivalent device.
    Not at all. Let me go get it out of the garage and pull it apart.

    Ok, dismantled. It seems the 11 Button OBC is a bit different. It does not have the separate boards.

    Here are a few pics...
    Sorry for the quality, bad lighting in here. Should have used flash.
    Also I should have resized.

    Last edited by fPortal; 01-21-2009 at 07:58 AM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost


  14. #39
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    It would be great if you could make the otherwise useless OBC into something useful. Please make this happen.

  15. #40
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    I wish you the best of luck. I wish I had some programming experience to help you as it would be a cool project to be a part of!

  16. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by fPortal View Post
    Not at all. Let me go get it out of the garage and pull it apart.

    Ok, dismantled. It seems the 11 Button OBC is a bit different. It does not have the separate boards.

    Here are a few pics...
    Sorry for the quality, bad lighting in here. Should have used flash.
    Also I should have resized.
    Hmm, do you see any chips with lots of pins like my "display controller IC" photo above? I want to see the P/N and what some of the connections look like.

    Can you get a closeup of that chip with better lighting?

    Quote Originally Posted by Halston Pitman View Post
    I wish you the best of luck. I wish I had some programming experience to help you as it would be a cool project to be a part of!
    Thanks!
    Last edited by m2pc; 01-21-2009 at 01:38 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

    1999 ///M3 TiAg | Heated Power Vaders | DDM Projector36 5000K 55W HIDs | DDM 3000K 35W HID Fogs
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    E36 OBC is now open! Join the effort: BF.C Thread | openOBC Wiki

  17. #42
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by m2pc View Post
    Hmm, do you see any chips with lots of pins like my "display controller IC" photo above? I want to see the P/N and what some of the connections look like.

    Can you get a closeup of that chip with better lighting?



    Thanks!
    Sure, no prob, I need to de-solder the light holder so I can get to the display controller IC's. I will get that done today, I need to unpack my soldering iron.


  18. #43
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    so are e36s the newer I bus system or the older bus as used on e32/e34? looks like probably the same bus as the e34.

    if e34 type, all the hard work in decoding the text output on the data line and encoding other text to appear as Check control text in the display is already done.

    http://sites.google.com/a/netmgr.co....W-E34-Protocol.

    much more useful than the 4 character obc.

    though i fail to understand what is wrong with the 20+ parameters that the OBC can already display natively.
    nor why someone wouldn;t just unlock their obc and program einheit manually either.
    nor why you guys with your 3rd grade bundle of wires check control modules aren't just bypassing the LBF in hardware
    (tip: it is hardware, not software-- e46 are software).

    http://www.geocities.com/ebaines/e36_obc.htm
    Last edited by attack eagle; 01-21-2009 at 10:35 PM.

  19. #44
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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by attack eagle View Post
    so are e36s the newer I bus system or the older e34 bus? looks like the same as the e34.

    if e34 type, all the hard work in decoding the text output on the data line and encoding the Check control text in the display is already done.



    though i fail to understand what is wrong with the 20+ parameters that the OBC can already display natively. nor why someone wouldn;t just unlock their obc and program einheit manually

    http://www.geocities.com/ebaines/e36_obc.htm
    My problem with the unit numbers (Einheit) is that I cannot find the two that are needed to allow me to use the Check Control, and BMW wants to charge me $100 an hour labor to correct it.


  20. #45
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    try em all? .

    1 make sure you have the correct OBC for your year of car, as there was an updated one from what I read in the last 10 minutes. you wouldn;t want to mix n match a new car with an old obc nor vice versa.
    2 ask someone with the same market, model, enginetype and transmission etc to give you the code (actually unit ID) theirs uses. input. works.

    3: pay bmw the 100 bucks.

    4 find dealer that will do it for less, or a tech willing to do it on the side.

    If not think you need a working OBC.
    Last edited by attack eagle; 01-21-2009 at 10:42 PM.

  21. #46
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    Yea, not all of them, but have been trying quite a few. Anyone know where I can possibly get the format of what the numbers stand for? (First two mean something, and second two mean something)


  22. #47
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    I would bet that the first IDs the inputs and ranges for inputs (ie car type) and the second tank size. that is usually what has to be corrected on e34s using e32 obcs.

  23. #48
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    These cars had different tank sizes?


  24. #49
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    bf.c e34 contour
    luckily there are only 16 numbers to try for each one. 0-9 a b c d e f

    b0-bf (ie B0 b1 b2 b3 etc) and 0f-ff (or 0f 1f 2f 3f etc)

    you tried the standard b3 and FF and nothing works? Are you sure it is a good obc (seen it work in another car)? have you seen another OBC work there in yours? Stolen stereo (or DIY aftermarket) often = torn up wires.

    It isn't a damn vin number interrogator or something. Just an OBC configuration code.
    Last edited by attack eagle; 01-21-2009 at 10:53 PM.

  25. #50
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    hehe. Yea, it was working before the old OBC Display died on me, then I picked up this 18 button one and installed it. It was working before it was pulled from the other 325i.
    I guess I am going to just have to sit with a paper and pen, and just play with the numbers.


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