Vehicle CAN bus to temperature display

Howdy! its been a bit over 10 years since my last project (68hc11, ATmega128), and i see the technology has moved on to a better place - but i didnt have the chance to keep up with it.
Its time for the soldering iron to be broken out & i’d love a leg-up from the forums on what would be a suitable parts list for building a CAN reader for a vehicle. I searched around the shop site here and this is my best guess for a system (here goes questions):
Q:Would an Arduino starter kit with a CAN shield and a Freetronics128x128 play nicely together?
(i guess a DLC connector wouldnt go astray either)

I don’t need to actually make an xx.xdegrees readout, i was thinking of having two columns of little bar charts that go red/flashing/sound buzzer if a temperature exceeds some threshold. The driver would know to bring the vehicle in from that. I work in the motor industry, so I should be able to track down the CAN frame data from colleagues so i don’t have to do any serious bus sniffing or anything… but… is there anything non-compatible in above parts list?
hope that makes sense, D

Hey David,

It seems like you’re a good way along the right track! All the parts you suggested will work well together, the only potential hurdles I can see is the graphics design for what is displayed on the OLED, and interfacing with the vehicle’s CAN system (which you seem to have covered :slight_smile:)

Freetronics have posted some decent guides on the install, the use and programming of these displays if you’d like to check them out before making the plunge.

One thing to note is that OLED displays are not particularly suited to always-on applications as the phosphor in the display wears out on a pixel-by-pixel basis depending on how much that pixel has been lit. LCDs do not sufffer from this problem so you might want to consider an LCD alternative if you experience burn-in.

Sounds like a great project and I’m keen to see how it goes!

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Hey James! thats really good info there about the wear-out factor, this thing will be always on, so I think I will avoid the OLED! I looked at the alternatives in the shop, and there is an LCD display but it doesn’t explicitly say arduino compatible, though it mentions " extremely common KS0108B parallel interface" A google says there is an Arduino library for it - couple of followup questions
Q: is the library something i can source from core-electronics?
Q: would the demands of this be too much for a starter kit, or will it be just fine?
thanks for the help! David
(PS: ahh… some of the links on the product page are defunct-how do i report em?)

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Hi David,

One thing that might catch you out is that the GDLv3 library has been surpassed by OpenGLCD, and that library has modules for using the KS0108B.

Another alternative to consider is the DFRobot IPS if you’re looking for something full color. DFRobot also have a library on their part wiki.

To specifically answer your questions:

  • Generally, unless it’s a part we manufacture ourselves or we’ve published material on how to use a part, it’s up to the 3rd party manufacturer or the community to provide libraries, however part of our part selection process is to make you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to use it, so generally this is covered :slight_smile:
  • The only thing about pairing this with a starter kit is that you’d have to make sure you’ve got enough wires and the appropriate power for what youre using (but for parts like displays they are usually happy to run entirely off the Arduino)

As always, good luck with your project, I’m keen to see it develop!

PS: I’ll note down those dead links on our page and we’ll get them removed or rectified ASAP

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Hi James,
more good info for me to fathom (&download)!

It going to be fun project, its been such a long time!
I’m happy to share progress/report out, & I will segue to the other forums when the time is right…
In the meantime i put an order in for the spark fun beginner kit, mainly because that seemed to be the same branding as the CAN shield; but also, the included parts were stuff that interested me a little more (i grew up in analogue electronics, & i still have millions of LEDs and resistors laying around) so when I line for line compared with the arduino original kit, there were a few things in the sparkfun that weren’t in the arduino kit… the $20 difference wasnt a big factor in the choice, it was more the brand alignment and bits. oh well, i hope i haven’t stuffed up there, see how it goes when it comes!
Thanks for the library pointer, i will pop back inevitably with questions once i receive parts and begin! Also thanks to core-electronics team for running this support - its greatly appreciated.


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