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OVMS Installation

markwj

Asia Pacific
Moderator
Apr 10, 2011
4,637
1,308
Hong Kong
Now that OVMS units of are shipping, and getting installed, I've been asked to create a thread for people to discuss installation issues (physical, as well as SIM/network related).

This is mostly going to be links to get you started. Useful to put them all in one place.

  1. The web site for OVMS is www.openvehicles.com/.
  2. The features/overview page for the Tesla Roadster v1.2 release is here.
  3. A PDF user guide covering car module installation is available here.
  4. The hardware module you need is this one (don't forget antenna and cable).
  5. The Apple iOS App is available here (iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad) - you will need iOS v5.0 or later.
  6. The Android App is available here.
  7. Tesla Motors Club are providing the server for users of this project (much appreciated). That server is tmc.openvehicles.com (64.111.70.40), and you should set that in both the car module and the Apps.
  8. A PICKIT 2 compatible programmer is required for updating firmware, or find someone from the list below willing to assist.
  9. Tom Saxton's OVMS Firmware Update Guide.

The module that fits in the car looks like this, and it comes with an external antenna:

Module2.jpg
Antenna.jpg
RoadsterCable.jpg


Once you've got the module, you need to install it in the car. There are many different ways to do this, and it is really up to you. Our recommended method is documented in the above user guide. You would put the module in the footwell of the passenger compartment, just next to the DIAG connector that the car has there. Then, you would route the antenna through the space under the fuse box and stick it to the windscreen/windshield somewhere unobtrusive. It is a 10-to-15 minute job and you will need a screwdriver and short (12"/30cm) guide wire.

The module itself requires a GSM SIM card for the wireless network connection. You can set this up either by SMS message (easiest, but you need an SMS plan on the SIM card, at least initially), or by programming the settings directly into the module (using a PIC programmer called a PICKIT - versions 2 and 3 are available and either should work fine). Should you ever need to update the firmware in the module, you will either need a PICKIT or send it in to a developer to do it for you.

Day-to-day, you can just use a simple SMS plan to get charge-interruption alerts, and to be able to enquire on battery/charging status and GPS location.

Or, you can use a GPRS data plan and smartphone apps (both Android and Apple iOS are currently supported, including iPads). If you choose GPRS (and smartphone apps), you don't need any SMS plan other than for initial setup.

Common GOTCHAS!

  • Which server?
    You should use 64.111.70.40 in the car and tmc.openvehicles.com in the Apps. In particular, the iPhone App defaults to www.openvehicles.com and if you have the car talking to one server and the app talking to a different one, things are not going to work. On the iPhone you configure this in Settings / Open Vehicles.
  • iPhone App crashes when starting a charge
    The default is not to permit the module to write to the CAN bus, to limit the chance of impact on the car, and the iPhone App handles this badly. We'll fix it in the next version. If you need this feature, you need to enable it. Using the Control / Features menu option in the App, set feature #15 to 1, and then reboot the car module. You should then be able to control the charge, as well as do things like lock/unlock the car.

Regional Assistance

The following developers have offered assistance (primarily with firmware update) in their regions:

  • Germany: nikwest - Support contact for Germany.
  • Hong Kong: foxium - Installation and firmware support.
  • Hong Kong: markwj - Installation and firmware support.
  • Netherlands: fuzzylogic - Hardware and firmware support.
  • Switzerland: pi.uhl - Installation and firmware support.
  • USA: PV-EV - I would be willing to reflash any US user's OVMS if that is necessary in the future for firmware updates. The owner would need to send the unit to me along with return postage for US Priority mail.
  • USA:S-2000 Roadster - Firmware support and general car module issues (Seattle area in particular).
  • USA:smorgasbord - Willing to help out owners in SF Bay area
  • USA:adelman - Santa Cruz, California - Installation and firmware support
  • USA:Timothy - Santa Barbara, California - Willing to help out owners in Santa Barbara area with updates

(anyone else willing to help out fellow owners, please let me know by PM/email, and I'll add you to the list)

SIM recommendations

  • Canada: Rogers "PAY AS YOU GO" Prepaid SIM
    APN "internet.com", username "wapuser1", password "wap".
  • Guam: Docomo Pacific GO! PREPAID "UNLIMITED Local SMS"
    APN "gcpre "(no username/password, so use "-" for both)
    Cost: Initial: $14.95 for SIM and $5 prepaid card. Recurring: $0.50/day + $0.001/KB (so approx $16-17/month for typical 1-2MB/month OVMS usage)
  • Hong Kong: Three HK Prepaid SIM
    HK$98 for the SIM and package. Charges are HK$18/month for 50MB of data plus unlimited ThreeHK SMS messages. APN is imobile.three.com.hk and username/password can be left blank.
  • USA: AT&T GoPhone SIM
    Buy SIM card, put US$100 on it to guarantee 12 months, then a 200SMS/month plan and pay-as-you-go data. APN is WAP.CINGULAR and username/password can be left blank.
  • USA: "ATT Telemetry SIM for business"
    Charges are US$8.99/month for unlimited data (no SMS). APN is ISP.cingular (user/password blank).
  • Europe: Maxitel, Datamobile, Swisscom have all been recommended.
  • Global: GeoSIM - this is the recommended SIM for anyone that doesn't have an obvious local solution, or just wants a data-only SIM with hassle-free plan.

If you can add anything specific, please let us know.

FAQ

  • Do I need a paypal account to order?
    Maybe. Depends on your credit card and what paypal require. You can try without - when you get to checkout, just try to enter the credit card details without creating an account. FastTech ($99.00 OVMS Car Module v2 at FastTech - Worldwide Free Shipping) is handling the logistics for us, for hardware distribution.
  • Do I need an account on Open Vehicle Systems
    Yes. This will be used to manage your cars on the OVMS servers for smartphone Apps. Even if you are doing a group buy, we recommend each end-user get their own Open Vehicle Systems account - they are free and easy to setup.
  • Do I need a SMS plan if I want to use a smartphone app?
    You will need SMS initially to setup the module. You can put in a temporary sim to do this, or get a SMS plan initially and cancel it later. Alternatively, you can use a PICKIT to directly program the settings in to the module.
  • How much data will this use for GPRS?
    Very little. With the latest firmware, we estimate between 300KB and 1MB a month for normal use.
  • I'm concerned about the installation, how easy is it?
    The only tricky bit is the antenna. If you are concerned, we suggest you try to get together with other owners in your area and do a joint installation. It really is not too difficult, and only requires routing the antenna cable through the area under the fuse box. You don't need to take the fuse box out, splice any wires, or anything nasty like that.
  • What SIM plan is best for me, in country X?
    Please look further down in this forum post. We encourage users to feedback what plans they are using, how much they cost, GPRS APN settings, and any other hints/tips they have.
  • How will the module alert me?
    The car module can alert you to charge interruptions or low battery SOC either by SMS or GPRS data Push notification (or both).

Please note that this is a non-profit, charitable project, with free open-source software and community support. We think the price (US$99) is incredible, and only just covers the cost of the hardware. If you agree you are getting a great deal then please contribute the difference to your favorite charity.

Regards, Mark.
 
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markwj

Asia Pacific
Moderator
Apr 10, 2011
4,637
1,308
Hong Kong
Hong Kong Data Plan

I use Three HK, pay-as-you-go 3G rechargeable SIM.

It is HK$198 for the pack, and is a dual sim (standard size, with snap-off edges to make a micro-sim). OVMS uses the standard size sim.

Data is HK$18/month, plus the usual couple of bucks tunnel fees/whatever. HK$198 should last at least six months. For that, you get 50MB a data and unlimited SMSes within the threehk network. If your cellphone is not use threehk, then turn off the SMS features (it will cost you too much).

APN is imobile.three.com.hk. Username and password are both blank (so '-' in the SMS params message you send to set this up).

  • PARAMS K IP 64.111.70.40 imobile.three.com.hk - - VEHICLEID NETWORKPASSWORD
 

dsm363

Roadster + Sig Model S
Moderator
May 17, 2009
18,279
160
Nevada
AT&T GoPhone SIM card for US

I've ordered my OVMS and will update this post when it arrives but I went ahead and followed Jack's suggestion here to get the GoPhone SIM

I also started this thread here for issues directly related to AT&T and the GoPhone account
OVMS ATT GoPhone SIM card installation guide

1) It looks like you have to go to an AT&T store (couldn't initially order plan I needed online but thinking it may be possible now)
2) Buy SIM card and ask for 10 cents/min plan. Add on the 10MB/month data plan and the 200 texts/month plan each for $5
3) If you don't have a phone you can put the SIM card in to activate it, stay in the store and have them use one of their demo phones otherwise you have to go back to the store to do this like I did when I figured out I couldn't receive text with my new PIN.
4) Important: If you want to be able to access your GoPhone account online, use your iPhone to access
Pay As You Go Online
then use your new phone number (on receipt) and enter your PIN (sales person can tell you what it usually is which I think is last four of SIM card's phone number). It will then send a text to your demo phone with your new PIN number (reason why you need to stay in store to get text if you don't have a spare phone for the SIM card).

The APN is WAP.CINGULAR (must be all caps).
It appears that username and password for network can be left blank for a later post in this thread.

I did this below and it worked as well.
username: your ten digit phone number for the SIM CARD ########## (no spaces or dashes)
password: your 4 digit PIN (same used to log into your Paygo website)

One issue is billing. AT&T only seems to let you refill in $15 increments per month (cheapest) or $25/3 months. There were some other options but the funds expired the same time basically. I called them to try and figure out what this meant saying I was only going to use $5-10 a month and I had to put in $15 per month into my account? They said after your expiration date, you have 60 days to refill your account otherwise you lose the number and I believe have to start over with a new SIM card (not sure about that though).

Thanks again to the OVMS team.
 
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W.Petefish

Active Member
Apr 29, 2011
1,060
11
At&t will give you a sim card. I have a tablet plan w/ 250mb per month for only $15.

APN for the At&t tablet plan is: Broadband
Blank user and password.

Advice is after you get it working. Disable SMS.


I (with help) hid the antenna in the dash.

If you take your car in for service, unplug and remove the OVMS module as all of the service techs won't reconnect it after service for liability reasons.
 
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markwj

Asia Pacific
Moderator
Apr 10, 2011
4,637
1,308
Hong Kong
Will it reach to behind the passenger's headrest? It's be out of sight while in the car at least.

I measured the length of the cable on the antenna we are currently shipping. It appears to be 2.9 metres long (9.5 feet). It looks very similar to the sparkfun antenna pointed out.

Quad-band Wired Cellular Antenna SMA - SparkFun Electronics
QuadBandCellAnt-wCbl-01-L.jpg


Laying it out in my car, it could reach from the passenger footwell to the rear of the car up around the passenger headrest / rear window.

But, someone would have to try it and let us know how feasible that is. Installation time would probably be about the same, routing it under the carpets, but possibly easier.

When I installed mine, I considered this, but decided against it for the simple reason that I reverse into my garage and need the antenna as far forward as possible to get better cellular reception. To each their own ;-)
 
Laying it out in my car, it could reach from the passenger footwell to the rear of the car up around the passenger headrest / rear window.

But, someone would have to try it and let us know how feasible that is. Installation time would probably be about the same, routing it under the carpets, but possibly easier.

When I installed mine, I considered this, but decided against it for the simple reason that I reverse into my garage and need the antenna as far forward as possible to get better cellular reception. To each their own ;-)

I plan on putting it there, will send some pics of how it goes...
 

W.Petefish

Active Member
Apr 29, 2011
1,060
11
I measured the length of the cable on the antenna we are currently shipping. It appears to be 2.9 metres long (9.5 feet). It looks very similar to the sparkfun antenna pointed out.

Funny, the one that I received was significantly shorter, like 3 feet.

I tried that with the Sparkfun antenna that I have and it works like a charm. I routed the cable along the side under the passenger door sill. (this was before I had my rear window tinted)
 
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