Smart/Merc/BMW/Mini Multiplexer

Hi everyone..

I've got a Smart Fortwo which is an excellent car except for the little annoyance which is that if I need anything adjusting on the ECU unit to add features, or perform diagnostics then I have to take it to Merc who aren't cheap. The main problem is the multiplexer which is a piece of hardware which sits between the PC and the car via an OBD2 socket. http://www.v-techuk.com/english/products/diagnostics/winstar/index.asp Does anyone know much about this interface and know whether an open source version can be made using an Arduino and free all Smart owners from been held to ransom?

Thanks for any advise given.

Alex

Its probably a proprietary thing, done on purpose to steal your money Worse cae you may need to do some spying on the data transmission and make it from scratch

Well as far as I recall the ODB2 sockets are supposed to be a standardised thing these days, one assumes similary the hardware to read an ODB2 socket will be of the same design regardless of vehicle. I think where the main complications lie is with software and method of communication. I have had VWs for years now and my old mk3 golf had ODB1 socket, which is the same design as ODB2 but is much more limited, for just a few quid on ebay you can get VAGCOM cables, now I know this is for VAG group cars, but do some research and you may find that it will interfact with your vehicle.

The problem comes actually talking to the ECU.

When you install the VAG come cable, it actually uses the same FTDI chip as interfacing with the arduino, at least from what I have seen so far that seems the case. so a USB to serial coms device is the common FTDI chip, as I previously mentioned what maybe more of a problem is actually communicating with the ECU itself.

An arduino can be built in basic form fairly cheaply and I bought a prebuilt one for about £14 to experiment with (but I think you can build one for about £7 for a basic) there are some tutorials online that show you how to build an ODB data output reader, might be worth reading through one of those to see if its possible. I know in 2003 VW changed the standards of their ODB2 ports which meant as a consequence you couldnt use the FTDI based interface with the new cars anymore, it maybe the same sort of problem with Smart/merc/bmw that they all went the same way.