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A new CANBus Explorer for iOS

AllAboutJake

Member
Feb 4, 2020
13
21
New Jersey, USA
Hi Folks,

I have been working on an iOS CANBus visualization tool and I think its time to get some a few more willing test subjects to give it a try. If you frequent the M3OC (now TOO) forum, you have have seen a preview of it as @JWardell has been testing it and using it for reverse engineering some signals:

1. Customizable "gauges" or widgets for various CANBus signals. A "binary matrix" widget for looking at the raw bits when reverse engineering.
2. Preconfigured database with Model 3, S, and X signals. (Though S/X can use some work as I don't own one for testing, and those guys don't have @JWardell to make a nice, maintained DBC)
3. Ability to interact with common CANbus formats: Ability to import DBC files and playback raw text logs or ASC files from iCloud drive. (no logging yet, I'll get there eventually)
4. Make your own custom scriptable signals using JavaScript. (Can do some pretty powerful stuff with this)
5. Presets for different cars (I'm calling a list of signals and a screen of widgets a "preset" and you can swap back and forth between cars or different sets.)
6. Ability to visualize LIVE CANBus data with an OBDLink MX+ dongle (yes, MX+ is required because of iOS restrictions, no other accessories are supported.)
7. Built using modern iOS development techniques (SwiftUI, Swift Combine) though some of these are very new from Apple and cause some instability at times. YMMV.
8. Gauges track min/max values and can use absolute ranges based on signal DBC definition or auto-range based on these limits.

If you have an OBDLink MX+ wired up into your CANBus and are interested in testing, send me a private message. I'd love some S/X testers if we have any lurking.

I'm working on the next build so I'm expecting to be ready for some testing next week.
 

JWardell

Member
Apr 5, 2016
261
265
Boston
It's an impressive app that has already help me dial in some signals I have been trouble reverse engineering for many months. And Jake has been working hard with constant improvements.
I encourage folks to test it out. I'll try to have a more in-depth video closer to official app release.
 

agbot

Member
Mar 30, 2018
20
26
San Francisco Bay Area
I bought an ODBII Adapter and an ODBLink MX+, but the ODBLink doesn't report an ODB or Host signal. Power and BT pairing work fine, and the car (2019 Model 3) operates normally so the adapter seems to be installed correctly. tesLAX shows no data, but if ODBLink isn't giving me an ODB light, I guess I wouldn't expect it to.

I know this isn't really a tesLAX problem, but figured I'd hit you up for any ideas as I try to troubleshoot. :)
 

AllAboutJake

Member
Feb 4, 2020
13
21
New Jersey, USA
I have that same cable, but my car is a 2018 so I have the other version. That would be my first thought is to check the adapter harness. I don't know how technical you are but if you have a multimeter and a pinout of the connector you can make sure that all the data pins are making it to the OBDLink dongle.

The second test would be try the OBDLink with the standard software in another car just to make sure it is in working order.

Yeah, if you don't have data flowing then tesLAX won't be much help. Maybe some other folks here have some ideas.
 

agbot

Member
Mar 30, 2018
20
26
San Francisco Bay Area
I have that same cable, but my car is a 2018 so I have the other version. That would be my first thought is to check the adapter harness. I don't know how technical you are but if you have a multimeter and a pinout of the connector you can make sure that all the data pins are making it to the OBDLink dongle.

The second test would be try the OBDLink with the standard software in another car just to make sure it is in working order.

Yeah, if you don't have data flowing then tesLAX won't be much help. Maybe some other folks here have some ideas.

I do have a multimeter - I'll check continuity on the harness (well, as best I can without a pinout on the harness, but maybe GPS America can give me some specific tips for the data pins). Also, I'll have to track down another car for an ODBLink sanity check, although this whole shelter in place makes things a bit more difficult these days. Thanks for the reply!

Regardless, looking forward to playing with tesLAX once I get this first part resolved. :)
 

JWardell

Member
Apr 5, 2016
261
265
Boston
I bought an ODBII Adapter and an ODBLink MX+, but the ODBLink doesn't report an ODB or Host signal. Power and BT pairing work fine, and the car (2019 Model 3) operates normally so the adapter seems to be installed correctly. tesLAX shows no data, but if ODBLink isn't giving me an ODB light, I guess I wouldn't expect it to.

I know this isn't really a tesLAX problem, but figured I'd hit you up for any ideas as I try to troubleshoot. :)

Is Teslax able to successfully start the connection? You really won't get lights till it configures the adapter.
Otherwise you might have a bad harness?
 

AllAboutJake

Member
Feb 4, 2020
13
21
New Jersey, USA
That a good point. I have seen cases where the MX+ doesn't initialize. IT responds to the ATZ command but doesn't start montitoring when requested with at "STM" command for some reason. It doesn't happen often. Sometimes during development, I've seen a hard reset (disconnect the MX+ and reconnect) and a re-paring could help.
 

tinkererguy

Paul Braren TinkerTry.com/Tesla
Feb 13, 2019
237
222
Wethersfield, CT
That a good point. I have seen cases where the MX+ doesn't initialize. IT responds to the ATZ command but doesn't start montitoring when requested with at "STM" command for some reason. It doesn't happen often. Sometimes during development, I've seen a hard reset (disconnect the MX+ and reconnect) and a re-paring could help.
FYI, I might be in this camp, will give that idea a try.

I've also just published an article and 4K video, featuring my easy DIY OBDLink MX+ install:
https://TinkerTry.com/tesla-stats-for-nerdsfeatured.png
 
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Randy Spencer

Active Member
Mar 31, 2016
3,270
3,154
Alameda, CA
I downloaded the tesLAX app, but was waiting for the MX+ to go on sale. Not that they ever do when you are watching. When I came across JWardell's videos and followed the link to the CANServer product that was cheaper and more configurable, I ordered that. It can work on my Tesla but I can also use it to trace issues on my Vectrix electric motorcycle or my wife's electric i-Miev. It arrived and after some fussing with the MicroSD card and it's clip-on cover I finally got it installed in the car. I also ordered the MicroDisplay while I was there to always display one value or rotating values, whatever I program. Fits in the vent slit so I can move it anywhere on the dash, or add more displays and bar graphs to the vent as I decide and program.


Connected the CANServer's WiFi to my house WiFi and now I can see the going's on in my car live from the canbus on my browser. With the tesLAX app I can connect to the CANServer's WiFi when I am away from the house and then run the app and show any of the car's canbus messages. It doesn't automatically connect via WiFi the way it would via the MX+'s Bluetooth, but it's pretty easy to tell it to disconnect/reconnect whenever I get to driving. I copied the layout in other JWardell videos so I could take advantage of Josh's setup for his phone screen.

9987CC4D-67FC-4DF4-896A-DE234152E2E3_1_105_c.jpeg


Still have a few tweaks I need to make like setting believable ranges for all the variables (1023 is the top of the Range?) Perhaps that's the highest the variable COULD go, but will it ever be that high? I am excited to follow this as I am driving to see what happens in the car:

Is it really more efficient to set your car's thermostat to Lo and turn off the AC or does most of the heat in winter come from waste heat in the batteries and drive train? I am already noticing that the Left and Right electric coil heaters kick on even when it's warm outside and inside and the AC is turned on. Cannot be too bad a decision, perhaps trying to keep the air dryer, I still get unrivaled efficiency in the car so they must be doing something right.

It will be really nice to see, when the message comes onscreen saying Conditioning Battery for Supercharging, if the battery is really in need of that much heating or cooling and how much power is it using to do that. How does the temp of the battery affect the speed of charging at CHAdeMO chargers and should I tell the car I am really going to a Supercharger when I am going to the DCFC so the battery gets conditioned on the way there? All very exciting things to be able to figure out, that watching Bjorn's ScanMyTesla videos haven't made clear.

It's REALLY nice that Jake and Josh are available on social media to ask questions of. OK, Elon IS available, he just NEVER replies to my questions!
 
Last edited:
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JWardell

Member
Apr 5, 2016
261
265
Boston
I downloaded the tesLAX app, but was waiting for the MX+ to go on sale. Not that they ever do when you are watching. When I came across JWardell's videos and followed the link to the CANServer product that was cheaper and more configurable, I ordered that. It can work on my Tesla but I can also use it to trace issues on my Vectrix electric motorcycle or my wife's electric i-Miev. It arrived and after some fussing with the MicroSD card and it's clip-on cover I finally got it installed in the car. I also ordered the MicroDisplay while I was there to always display one value or rotating values, whatever I program. Fits in the vent slit so I can move it anywhere on the dash, or add more displays and bar graphs to the vent as I decide and program.


Connected the CANServer's WiFi to my house WiFi and now I can see the going's on in my car live from the canbus on my browser. With the tesLAX app I can connect to the CANServer's WiFi when I am away from the house and then run the app and show any of the car's canbus messages. It doesn't automatically connect via WiFi the way it would via the MX+'s Bluetooth, but it's pretty easy to tell it to disconnect/reconnect whenever I get to driving. I copied the layout in other JWardell videos so I could take advantage of Josh's setup for his phone screen.

View attachment 595066

Still have a few tweaks I need to make like setting believable ranges for all the variables (1023 is the top of the Range?) Perhaps that's the highest the variable COULD go, but will it ever be that high? I am excited to follow this as I am driving to see what happens in the car:

Is it really more efficient to set your car's thermostat to Lo and turn off the AC or does most of the heat in winter come from waste heat in the batteries and drive train? I am already noticing that the Left and Right electric coil heaters kick on even when it's warm outside and inside and the AC is turned on. Cannot be too bad a decision, perhaps trying to keep the air dryer, I still get unrivaled efficiency in the car so they must be doing something right.

It will be really nice to see, when the message comes onscreen saying Conditioning Battery for Supercharging, if the battery is really in need of that much heating or cooling and how much power is it using to do that. How does the temp of the battery affect the speed of charging at CHAdeMO chargers and should I tell the car I am really going to a Supercharger when I am going to the DCFC so the battery gets conditioned on the way there? All very exciting things to be able to figure out, that watching Bjorn's ScanMyTesla videos haven't made clear.

It's REALLY nice that Jake and Josh are available on social media to ask questions of. OK, Elon IS available, he just NEVER replies to my questions!

To answer some of your questions...
I believe the range value switches to kms with the car, and Tesla defines the max as 1023. So it could be much higher than your range in miles for a euro car. But you can also go into the TesLax database and change the signal's max value so your graph looks better.

Only the Model Y's octovalve heat pump system can use drivetrain waste heat to heat the cabin, the rest must run resistive PTC cabin heaters. And yes, it is run a little bit even in the summer, to dry out the air. A few people actually unplugged the heater to save some extra power.

See my youtube channel (videos above) where I have several videos talking about and demonstrating how battery temperature affects performance, especially regen and charging. Batt min temperature is actually the single most important signal I like to watch, and a big reason why I made all of these displays! It really dictates how your car will perform.
 
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Randy Spencer

Active Member
Mar 31, 2016
3,270
3,154
Alameda, CA
Thx, I had figured out editing the database, I'll keep playing with various gauges.

Only the Model Y can heat the cabin with the coolant? So the rotor running to generate heat is ONLY to heat the battery? I am disappoint!

So the S 3 and X all take battery energy to warm the cabin even if you turn on the heat after the car has warmed up? This is good info, and precisely what I wanted to find out from the display.
 

GtiMart

Member
Nov 13, 2019
724
586
Quebec City, Canada
To answer some of your questions...
... Batt min temperature is actually the single most important signal I like to watch, and a big reason why I made all of these displays! It really dictates how your car will perform.
That, with the max regen and max power output values, are what I monitor too, albeit with SMT because I don't have an iOS device available. In the Quebec winter the car's performance changes drastically.
 
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klaberte

New Member
Oct 13, 2020
2
0
Michigan
For the Model Y, what is considered the most accurate speed field (not the UI speed, which is purposely inaccurate)? Also, can the GPS speed be directly recorded? What signal? The GPS Speed from 0X3D9 is showing over 100 kph, which is way too high for what I am driving.
 

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