EV Diagnostics

The device shown here is a two-pole tester from www.picoauto.com  

It could be the piece of equipment that does the most important test you will ever carry out! The test that stops you being killed by electric shock. The device is deliberately very simple. The image top left is a test with the leads connected together. The next image is a safe 12V reading but the bottom image shows a dangerous reading (mains voltage with my PV panels working in this case).

Simple go, no-go results.

PicoScope® 4425A: Electric Vehicle Kit

The importance of Electric Vehicles is clearly evident as part of the drive towards better use of clean and renewable energy and the reduction of harmful emissions and particulates. EV is now discussed so widely, and the investment in increasing EV deployment so great, that every workshop is increasingly aware of the need to handle EVs. Pico is working with our partners and customers to ensure that workshops can be as safe, efficient and effective working with EV as they are with Internal Combustion Engines (ICE).

This PicoScope 4425A kit provides comprehensive diagnostics capability for all types of EV (BEV, MHEV, PHEV, Fuel-cell), and ICE (Diesel, Gasoline, LPG). In combination with the extensive range of Pico accessories, the 4425A covers engines/motors, sensors, actuators, communications buses, Noise Vibration & Harshness, and all basic measurements in an easy-to-use system that includes extensive guidance for technicians. The PicoScope 4425A EV Kit contains all the test equipment required to ensure it is safe to work on an EV, and to investigate any faults that are likely to cause safety issues.

PicoScope EV kit

The wide range of EV systems covered includes:

  • DC HV energy system or the AC motor/generator drive system
  • Charging behaviour and 12V/HV battery current split issues
  • CP/PP communications between charging system and vehicle
  • 3-phase current measurements to check winding balance under load
  • All 12V and 48V systems

Based on the unique PicoBNC+ connection system, the PicoScope 4425A will continue to be enhanced and expanded with ongoing investment by Pico in new technologies to ensure that PicoScope users will always have the ability to satisfy their customers.

Together with PicoScope 7 software, the system delivers ease of use for those less experienced and offers advanced features when needed. Continued benefits include free software updates and the use of large screen displays in workshops, making measurements clearly visible at all times. PicoScope is an investment that pays back quickly and generates profits for your workshop long after initial purchase.

In addition to the new EV capability, the 4425A still offers the benefits so appreciated by technicians: ConnectDetect™ , ±200 V voltage input range, floating input system, high sample rate (up to 400 MS/s), high vertical resolution (12-bit to 16-bit enhanced), SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interface, 20 MHz bandwidth, advanced triggers, advanced filtering, large buffer memory (250 million samples), maths channels, measurement and phase rulers, Pico waveform library, more than 150 guided tests, and the amazing free Pico software upgrades.

PicoScope is used and trusted by more authorised and independent repairers than any other measurement system because it gives them the capability, confidence and support to quickly find and prove the fix for most vehicle faults. PicoScope data can be shared across the network, and the system used for electrical, pressure, hydraulic, NVH (Noise, Vibration & Harshness), offering comprehensive coverage on vehicles of every type: trucks, buses, motorcycles, agricultural and construction equipment, off-highway and industrial systems.

Four channels that can also power external devoces like current clamps

The PicoScope 4425A sets a new standard in diagnostic oscilloscopes for vehicle and equipment technicians, offering unrivalled performance and usability focused on making your diagnostics faster and more accurate than ever before. When you buy a PicoScope you benefit from more than 25 years investment in the world’s best diagnostic oscilloscopes. Join us! The PicoScope 4425A/4225A oscilloscopes and kits are available now from our distributors worldwide and directly from www.picoauto.com

Car data and who has access?

There is much discussion around at the moment about access to car data and talk of the DLC being removed.

There are genuine arguments on all sides of course but the danger of unauthorised access is very real – particularly as we automate the driving further.

Here is some useful information from http://cardatafacts.eu/vehicle-data-available-service-providers/ which is part of www.acea.be

Interested service providers will be able to access the vehicle data they need through a secure remote server, on the basis of a contract with the vehicle manufacturer.

In addition, independently-managed neutral servers can be set up to make vehicle data readily available to interested third parties without the need to sign a contract with the manufacturer of a car, van, truck or bus. These servers are totally ‘neutral’, meaning that they are neither operated nor financed by the manufacturers but by an independent party. Of course, these neutral server operators are required to implement state of the art security and data protection measures.

Various companies have already shown an interest in setting up such independently-managed servers. IBM, for example, recently launched a service to make vehicle data accessible through their cloud platform to parties that want to develop new and innovative services.

The neutral server will also facilitate data access, in particular for small and medium-sized companies, by offering multi-brand data access on one server, rather than obliging them to use multiple servers of individual manufacturers.

Moreover, the neutral server ensures customer choice. With a neutral server, vehicle users are free to obtain services from the vehicle manufacturer, his network of authorised repairers or any other service provider of their choice.

Service providers can have fair and reasonable access to the data they need to offer their services to vehicle users. That includes independent repair shops, fleet operators, insurance companies, etc. Any information that is available to the vehicle manufacturer’s network of authorised repairers will be made available on the same conditions to independent third parties that offer competing services: the same type, amount and quality of data, at the same time, at the same price.

This concept for the transfer of vehicle-generated data ensures access in a fully transparent and anonymised manner. That is, the neutral server enables service providers (as well as the exact services they offer) to remain unknown to the vehicle manufacturer. Thus, it contributes to innovation and allows fair and open competition.

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Securely updating cars over the air

A new standard – simple and secure

More electronics, more functions, more software: the car is turning into a smartphone on wheels. Keeping vehicle software up to date is thus becoming increasingly important. New functions can provide extra convenience, even after the vehicle has been bought. Over-the-air software updates will therefore soon be a standard feature. Today’s vehicles feature as many as 100 control units.

Even compact cars have between 30 and 50. Their software governs nearly every function in the vehicle. In addition, more and more vehicles are now connected – with the internet, other cars, and the infrastructure. This means a greater risk of weak links in vehicle software, as well as of manipulation. In this context, software updates over the cloud offer a solution that keeps cars constantly up to date, and thus also secure. “Cars are driven for 15 years or more. Over-the-air software updates are Bosch’s contribution to keeping vehicle software constantly up to date, without having to visit the repair shop,” Heyn says. In addition, the cloud updates mean that ever more functions can be added, with ever greater scope. If the necessary hardware is already installed, a new software function can be tried out and subsequently downloaded. In this way, lane-keeping or park-assist functions can be added, for example. And it is not just drivers that benefit from over-the-air software updates: in 2015, 15 percent of recalls in the automotive industry in the U.S. had to do with software errors. Four years previously, this figure was only 5 percent, according to a U.S. study based on data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA). “For automakers and their customers alike, such repair-shop visits are a huge waste of time and money, and online updates can significantly reduce this,” Heyn says.

Updates directly from the cloud

Secure, fast, and simple – that’s how over-the-air software updates work. On the driver’s smartphone or the car’s infotainment system, the online security updates are started and any new functions that need to be downloaded are selected. This information is sent to the cloud, which acts like a kind of app store, holding the updates in readiness and starting the process of downloading software to the vehicle. The data can either be downloaded in the background while the car is moving, or overnight when it is parked in its garage. As soon as the vehicle is in  secure condition (once it has parked, for example), the software updates are installed on the appropriate control units, where they are immediately activated.

Security on all levels

Security and the smooth interaction of automotive electronics, cloud, and software are decisive for over-the-air updates. Data security is ensured by the latest encryption technologies developed at the Bosch subsidiary Escrypt. A complex security architecture with end-to-end encryption protects the data transmission against unauthorized access. At the car-cloud interfaces, secure protocols and filters act like a firewall to ward off any hacking attempts. To ensure that over-the air software updates are not just secure, but also fast and reliable, Bosch uses fast update technologies such as delta and compression mechanisms. These accelerate the update process and reduce cost, since the data volume for the transmission remains low. One further security measure is to transmit the updates in sequences. If problems occur, the update process can be stopped and adjusted. The technology at the heart of these over-the air updates is the Bosch Automotive Cloud Suite. Its software elements enable all functions needed for over-the-air updates – by drivers, automakers, and even by vehicles themselves.

(Source: Bosch Media)


Introduction to SAE J2534 (Pass through)


J2534 is a concept that enables flash programming of an emission related ECU regardless of the communication protocol that is used by the ECU. The purpose is that only one tool (hardware device), often referred to as the pass-thru device, should be needed for all kind of ECUs. The connection between the J2534 device and the ECU is a SAE J1962 connector. The J2534 hardware device is to be connected to a standard PC which holds the Application Program Interface (API) from the vehicle manufacturer (Figure 1). The connection between the PC and the J2534 hardware device is up to the manufacturer of the tool, but USB is probably the most common. A J2534 API DLL is provided from the hardware tool developer which handles the communication to the PC. The J2534 document withholds requirements for the hardware and software of a J2534 tool. The communication protocols supported are; ISO9141, ISO14230 (KWP2000), J1850, CAN (ISO11898), ISO15765 and SAE J2610. In 2005 J1939 was also included.

Figure 1. J2534 setup.


Vehicles become more and more complex and almost every function is controlled by an Electronic Control Unit (ECU). The ECUs are often connected onto a communication bus to be able to share data between each other. The most common protocol is CAN, but there are other protocols. There are many Vehicle manufactures and almost as many different communication protocols. Every vehicle manufacturer has a tool for analyzing and reprogramming their product, and this tool is often expensive. This makes it difficult for a car, bus or truck workshop to analyze and repair all kind of vehicles.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (ARB) have been trying to get vehicle manufactures to support common emission-related services for the aftermarket. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) created the J2534 standard, in 2002, to promote the EPA and ARB in their work.

Hardware Requirements

The J2534 hardware works like a gateway between the vehicle ECU and the PC. This pass-thru device translates messages sent from the PC into messages of the protocol being used in the vehicle ECU. J2534 supports the following protocols:

The connection between the PC and the J2534 hardware can freely chosen by the manufacturer of the device i.e. RS-232, USB or maybe a wireless interface. The vehicle manufacturers programming application is not dependant on the hardware connection. Therefore any device can be used for programming any vehicle regardless of the manufacturer.

The connection between the J2534 hardware and the vehicle should be the SAE J1962 connector, also called the OBDII connector. The maximum length of the cable between the J2534 device and the vehicle is 5 meters. If the vehicle manufacturer doesn’t use the J1962 connector, necessary information for connection has to be provided.

The J2534 hardware interface should be able to provide a supply voltage between 5 and 20 volts to the J1962 connector. The power supply should use one of the pins 6, 9, 11, 12, 13 or 14 of the connector and this choice should be selectable in the software. The maximum source current is 200mA and the settling time should be within 1ms.

The J2534 hardware interface should have enough memory to buffer 4Kb of transmit messages and 4Kb of received messages. And the processor must naturally be fast enough to process all messages so that no messages are lost.

Software Requirements

Programming of an emission related ECU using J2534 is done from a PC, preferably a laptop computer, with a Win32 operating system (Windows 95 or later).

Each vehicle manufacturer will have an own API software used for analyzing and programming of their vehicles. If their vehicles only use i.e. ISO 9141, no other protocols have to be supported by the application. It is important that this application conform to the functions in the J2534 API.

This application will have complete information of the ECUs that are supported by the application. This application also includes a user interface where choices can be made depending on the ECU and what action to perform.

A vehicle repair workshop that wants to analyze and re-program vehicles from different manufactures must have an API for each. This API can be downloaded from the internet or installed from a CD or DVD. How this API is provided depend on the manufacturer, but they do charge the customer (repair workshop) ordering it. The price differs a lot between manufacturers, a one year subscription costs between $75 and $2500.

Each manufacturer of a J2534 tool (hardware device) must have a DLL-file which includes functions and routines for communicating with the PC. The DLL-file is then loaded into the vehicle manufacturer’s application. The functions in the J2534 tool are linked to a corresponding function in the application. The DLL-file also includes routines for the connection (RS-232, USB etc.) between the J2534 tool and the PC.

The intention is that every J2534 tool should to be capable of communicating with all protocols supported by the J2534 standard. The application provided by the vehicle manufacturers use commands described in J2534 standard to connect to a hardware tool (of any brand). The connection and initialization gives the hardware tool information of which protocol that is used. Thereafter it is up to the hardware tool to manage the connection to the vehicle with de desired protocol. The PC application will send messages in the earlier determined protocol format to the hardware tool which buffers the messages and transmits the messages in the order they were received.

J2534 Application Programming Interface (API)

The J2534 API consists of a number of functions for communication which must be supported by both hardware tool and vehicle manufacturer application. For the PC application developer this means that all commands and messages must made with the functions defined in the API. See table 1 below.

Function Description
PassThruConnect Establish a connection with a protocol channel.
PassThruDisconnect Terminate a connection with a protocol channel.
PassThruReadMsgs Read message(s) from a protocol channel.
PassThruWriteMsgs Write message(s) to a protocol channel.
PassThruStartPeriodicMsg Start sending a message at a specified time interval on a protocol channel.
PassThruStopPeriodicMsg Stop a periodic message.
PassThruStartMsgFilter Start filtering incoming messages on a protocol channel.
PassThruStopMsgFilter Stops filtering incoming messages on a protocol channel.
PassThruSetProgrammingVoltage Set a programming voltage on a specific pin.
PassThruReadVersion Reads the version information for the DLL and API.
PassThruGetLastError Gets the text description of the last error.
PassThruIoctl General I/O control functions for reading and writing protocol configuration parameters (e.g. initialization, baud rates, programming voltages, etc.).

J2534 function description.

The first command that is sent is the PassThruConnect which establish the connection between the PC application and the J2534 hardware tool. This command includes information about which protocol to use, standard or extended CAN identifier or if ISO15765 is used. The command also includes a channel identification which will be used for all following communication. If the connection was successful, a STATUS_NOERROR value is returned, which indicates that the function has been successfully performed. Before any messages can be sent an initialization has to be made, PassThruIoctl, where parameters like node address, baud rate or protocol specific parameters are set.

All messages sent from the PC application follow the same structure which consists of: protocol type (i.e. J1850, CAN, J9141), receive message status, transmit message flags, received message timestamp (microseconds), data size in bytes, extra data index (start position of extra data in received message i.e. IFR, CRC, checksum), and last but not least an array of data bytes (the received message). It is possible to send CAN messages longer than 8 bytes using ISO15765 commands if this feature was selected upon connection.

Some ECUs sends a lot of messages with short period of time between each message. The filter function, PassThruStartMsgFilter, can be set to either block or pass messages. This will decrease the messages needed to be sent between the hardware tool and the PC. The message is first “ANDed” with a mask which gives the opportunity to compare only some important bits of the identifier. Thereafter the “ANDed” message is compared to a specific pattern.


The J2534 API DLL provides a linkage between the API functions and the hardware tool. Since the PC application should not have to care about which communication protocol is being used between the PC and the hardware tool. Each manufacturer of a hardware tool has a DLL-file with a unique name. This way it is possible for the software application on the PC to distinguish which hardware tool to connect. It is important that the developer of the firmware in the hardware tool follows the API and name the functions exactly as in the J2534 description. Otherwise it will be impossible for the PC application to find the functions in the DLL when performing the linkage.

Source: https://www.kvaser.com/about-can/can-standards/j2534/

The online car

The car of the future is connected. It uses up-to-the-minute information from the internet to get vehicle occupants to their destination even more safely, efficiently, and conveniently. This integration into the internet of things also unlocks a host of vehicle-related services. “Connectivity is clearly revolutionizing the way we drive,” says Dr. Dirk Hoheisel, the Bosch board of management member responsible for this area. “Bosch delivers the necessary hardware and software, and is developing a range of attractive services.” The company’s strategy is opening up business opportunities as well. This is borne out by existing studies on the internet of things, all of which indicate that there is enormous market potential in the mobility sector. Hoheisel goes on to note that “the number of services in particular will rise considerably.” Thanks to its comprehensive systems expertise and product portfolio, Bosch is already in a solid position to tap that potential. The technology company addresses all levels of the IoT with its sensors, IoT software, and a diverse range of services. And this is true not just of Bosch’s mobility business, but of all the company’s other business sectors as well.

A few weeks ago, Bosch premiered a cloud-based alert that warns drivers within ten seconds if there is a wrong-way driver approaching. The warning system, which is scheduled to go into production in 2016, is a connected lifesaver in the true sense of the word. As early as 2012, Bosch began operating an enhanced eCall service and a mobile information service on behalf of several automakers. The service provides accident assistance and also lends support on all other issues. And finally, several fleet operators are already using a connected fleet management solution that Bosch launched in 2014.


Bosch technology puts the car online
To connect the car with the internet, Bosch pursues two main approaches. First, it makes full use of the driver’s smartphone. Using the integrated mySPIN solution, drivers can link their Android and iOS devices to the vehicle’s infotainment system. Selected apps can then be conveniently operated from the vehicle’s central display. This technology has been featured in Jaguar and Land Rover models since 2014. Use of it in Asia is spreading, driven by contracts with two other automakers in China plus an alliance with the Chinese internet company Tencent.

Bosch’s second approach constitutes equipping the vehicle with connectivity hardware in the form of a connectivity control unit, or CCU. The CCU receives and transmits information using a wireless module equipped with a SIM card. It can also determine the vehicle’s position using GPS if desired. Bosch offers devices specifically adapted to cars, commercial vehicles, motorcycles, off-highway vehicles, and even railway freight cars. Just a few weeks ago, for example, Bosch won a contract to optimize the logistics processes of the Swiss rail freight operator SBB Cargo.

Connected to the vehicle’s electrical system via the OBD interface, the CCU is available both as original equipment and as a retrofit solution. This makes it possible for fleet operators to retrofit their existing vehicles as well. The Bosch subsidiary Mobility Media also markets this solution for private users under the name Drivelog Connect. A smartphone connected to the CCU can display vehicle data, offer tips on fuel-efficient driving, and, in the event of a breakdown, immediately contact a towing service and the garage if required.


A connected car drives more proactively than any person
Information on traffic jams, black ice, and wrong-way drivers is available in the cloud. When combined with infrastructure data from parking garages and charge spots, this provides a broader perspective – the “connected horizon”. As Hoheisel puts it: “In the connected vehicle, the driver can see over the top of the next hill, around the next bend, and beyond.” Because future cars will warn drivers in plenty of time about sudden fog or about a line of cars stopped behind the next bend, driving will be safer. Connectivity also enhances vehicle efficiency. For example, precise data about traffic jams and the road ahead makes it possible to optimize charging management in hybrid and electric vehicles along the selected route. And because the car thinks ahead, the diesel particulate filter can be regenerated just before the car exits the freeway, and not in the subsequent stop-and-go traffic. Connectivity improves convenience as well, as it is a prerequisite for automated driving. It is the only way to provide unhurried braking in advance of construction zones, traffic jams, and accident scenes.


Predictive diagnostics cut service times
Along with driving data and information on the vehicle’s surroundings, the connected car also captures data on the operation of individual components. Running this data through sophisticated algorithms permits preventive diagnostics. For example, the data collected from an injection nozzle can be put through distributed algorithms in the cloud and in the vehicle in order to predict the part’s remaining service life. The driver or fleet operator can be notified immediately and an appointment made with the workshop in good time. In this way, it is often possible to avoid expensive repair and down times, especially for large commercial vehicles.

Yet connectivity doesn’t stop at the entrance to the repair shop. Mechanics can use transmitted vehicle data to price spare parts and labor much more quickly. In the future, their repairs will benefit from Bosch augmented reality solutions, which use a tablet computer to provide a sort of X-ray vision. When a mechanic takes the tablet and holds it under the hood, for example, the tablet’s camera image is overlaid with comprehensive additional information and repair instructions for precisely the area being displayed. The mechanic can manipulate the overlaid objects via the touchscreen and call up additional information. This makes poring through service handbooks a thing of the past. A Bosch server provides all the detailed data online.

(Source: Bosch Media)

New regulations for exhaust-gas analyses in guideline 5

1-AA-21054 1-AA-21055 1-AA-21056

All new Bosch emission testers work in accordance with the device guideline 5 becoming effective in July 2015

  • New device guideline for tests on Euro 6 vehicles
  •  Simplified test sequence for the exhaust-gas analysis on diesel vehicles
  •  Complying exhaust-gas-analysis guideline 5 with Bosch BEA PC SystemSoft
  •  Repurchase campaigns and Bosch retrofit kits for upgrading to the new guideline 5

A new device guideline has been issued for passenger cars and commercial vehicles meeting the latest emission standard Euro 6. This 5th guideline becomes effective on July 1, 2015. It affects both the operating principle of emission testers and the test sequence. The most important practical change is the simplified test sequence for diesel vehicles without idle-speed limiter. Moreover, the new and globally standardized OBD signal protocols WWH-OBD and SAE J1939 have now also been introduced concomitant with the guideline 5. Another novelty is a test sequence for motorcycles when using software complying with guideline 5. The test sequence for electric vehicles with range extender has also been adjusted.For all vehicles meeting emission standards up to Euro 5, workshops can still rely on guideline 4. However, the simplified test sequence for diesel vehicles cannot be used then. For all passenger cars and commercial vehicles meeting the Euro 6 standard, though, tests have to be performed in accordance with the new guideline 5.For guideline 5: required software comes with data update in May

The new Bosch emission testers BEA 550/950 are already equipped for the exhaust-gas analysis according to guideline 5. The BEA-PC system software also supports the new OBD signal protocols already since October 2014. Workshops with a exhaust-gas-analysis data subscription will receive the software complying with guideline 5 together with the emission-analysis target-data update in May. Of course, workshops can also buy the emission-analysis target data including the guideline 5-compliant software by retail from April onwards. The changes required for the new guideline will be implemented in the BEA-PC software exclusively. Devices still working with the ESA emission-analysis software will thus have to be upgraded to the BEA-PC software from June onwards.The BEA 150, 250, 350 and BEA 460 emission testers should be upgraded by the KTS modules 515, 540 or 570. The KTS 115 and KTS-Card modules used so far do not support the new OBD signal protocols. In addition Bosch developed a laptop retrofit kit for the BEA 150, 250 and 350 series. It allows controlling the devices by means of a laptop having installed the BEA-PC software on it. As a consequence, these devices also comply with the new guideline 5. The speed and temperature measurement modules MTM/MTM Plus should be replaced by the BEA 030.

Bosch and the wholesalers support workshops using older emission testers in upgrading their devices by means of a large variety of retrofit kits, special packages and repurchase campaigns. That way, the workshops are timely equipped for the requirements of guideline 5 and the exhaust-gas analysis on Euro 6 vehicles.

IMI free vehicle diagnostics eLearning resources

IMI has launched a series of online vehicle diagnostics training modules, funded by digital solutions charity Jisc. The resources will be free to access through the IMI’s eLearning platform, acquired in 2014 by the IMI. They are aimed at individuals with a background in car maintenance and level 3 qualifications, providing technicians with an opportunity to brush up their diagnostic skills and learn new ones. Modules will be made available to IMI Members first before becoming accessible to the wider industry.

The project came about as IMI identified diagnostic expertise as a major skills gap in the maintenance of modern vehicles. Six modules have been developed covering the diagnostic procedures for different electrical systems around a vehicle. The resources will take the form of advanced simulations which allow participants to undertake the diagnostic process in a virtual environment.

IMI CEO Steve Nash commented, “Up-skilling the sector is a central objective for IMI and the Jisc funding has provided us with an excellent opportunity to provide valuable CPD resources, free of charge to the sector. Modern vehicle technology continues to advance at pace and diagnostic expertise is becoming ever more critical part of the vehicle servicing process. It was this situation, coupled with the high profile of IMI and the established expertise of Tom Denton and his team that led Jisc to awarding us with the funds to develop these resources.”

The new resources will offer an opportunity for IMI to leverage its eLearning platform, which is currently utilised in over 200 colleges in the UK, to support the wider motor industry. IMI already hosts a portfolio of CPD learning opportunities built around partnerships with training providers around the UK.

About IMI

IMI is the professional association for individuals working in the motor industry, and the authoritative voice of the sector. IMI is transforming the automotive industry by setting, upholding and promoting professional standards – driving skills acquisition, establishing clearer career paths, and boosting public confidence. IMI’s online Professional Register is here to make sure consumers are in skilled, competent and trustworthy hands.

Please visit www.theimi.org.uk to find out more.

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