canze-icon-shadingIf you want to learn about your Renault ZOE electric vehicle, you’ve come to a good starting point. We will supply you with an app that displays driving stats and lots of interesting information about your car. All you need is a Bluetooth OBDII dongle or a super fast do-it-yourself build CanSee dongle, and an Android device. For a more detailed description of the app see the about or the screenshot page. There is a sister project for Apple iOS.

The app is available on Google Play store here.

Quick update: 12100 devices reached on March 20th, exactly 100 days for 10%. This represents a 42% compound yearly growth, exactly corresponding with last years rate. If we approach things from the other end, we see a growth rate of 39% from today a year ago. Looks like things are all rather nice and steady. iOS news coming up soon.

Linked is a session I did with Lukas Bernhardt from the University of Lübeck, explaining CANbus, ISO-TO and how it’s used by the higher protocols. Serious Geek level but if you’re interested in that stuff, you might want to watch it. Léopold, one of the ZE50 team members also participated. Thanks Lukas for recording.

It’s just over 2 months ago that I reported 10.000 active devices with CanZE installed (Android stats only). We went over 11.000 on December 9th . 10% in just under 2 months, it doesn’t seem much, but a compound growth of 77% annually is nothing to sneeze at. I doubt we will reach that BTW; compared to December 2020 the real compound growth was 42%. Still great I would say. And that’s up from 29% the 12 months before that.

A big thank you to all users, new and existing, of CanZE!

2 weeks ago my 2013 Q210 Zoe refused to charge anymore. At the beginning it was like only sometimes and worked again after a few tries, but rapidly this behavior change to “not at all”. So I tried what I was able to:

  • Let the car sleep for a while and try again.
  • Charge the 12V battery.

… but nothing worked out, so I ended up visiting the national dealer here in Luxembourg. Things over here are still a bit complicated because – for now 8 year already – we have one and only one person that is allowed to touch the high voltage parts of electric cars at Renault. This meant I had to wait 3 days before getting their verdict: the charger needs to be replaced!

After some fast calculations and the question about a new car or not, I ended up giving them my consent to replace the charger but with the condition that I want to get the old one back 😉

You see right, they replaced the entire block, including the filter unit and the cable to the charge port with even the plug lock motor, although I am quite sure that only a very specific part is malfunctioning. Ohhh … you are right: having to pay 3700€, this was a quite expensive replacement, but at least my car now charges again. (I got a Twingo as replacement during 2 weeks … uhh … ahh … it’s a nice small car with which you can make a u-turn anywhere, but that’s the only positive thing a found about it …)

Some changes I have noticed:

  • The charging process starts a lot faster compared with the old charger. After connecting the cable, the “ongoing checks” takes only about 2-3 seconds, which is about 10 times faster than before.
  • The buzzing during the charge process is not as loud.
  • Although my battery health dropped from 102% to 98% after the invention, the range at the end of charge is about 20km higher than before and I’ve noticed that the battery indicated do longer drop very fast on the first half. The magic 98% hints that the battery computer was reset and/or updated so it has to learn how to calculate a reasonably accurate range again.

Last weekend we handily crossed the 10.000 “active installed devices” benchmark (on Android). It’s just an arbitrary number, but hey ho! Thank you all for using CanZE!

A few weeks ago we announced a new release of CanSee. After running it for quite a bit, it’s now time for a true release. As said in the linked announcement, it is truly significantly faster and more stable.

If you have made your own version, you need to merge the changes, or (after checking with this release) issue a pull request so we can incorporate your changes, that have to be non-breaking and configurable of course.

We got contacted by Scott Heim, reporting how well CanZE can be used with a Chromebook. Here is what he wrote on RZOC:

Haven’t heard talk about using a Chromebook with CanZE. As I’m a computer geek & experimented with a cloud version of chrome. It gave me the idea a Chromebook would be perfect if it works. So local shop had a sale & Chromebook was at the price point. Took a punt, found CanZE was available for install. Did a little happy dance! Then the real test out in the car. At first had some issues, all turned out to be my stupidity. Chromebook turns out to be an excellent partner with CanZE & Zoe. Actually way more stable connection then I got using my mobile. Seeing Melbourne has had 200 days of lockdown, most with curfew & 5km distance. I been keen to see how my 12 volt battery was copping. It’s been quite a cold winter. The motorcycle required a new battery. As you can see my main battery has great health! Eventually I’ll get to enjoy Zoe, she is about to have her first birthday with 3050 km on the odometer.


Warning: this is a geek post pertaining to the CanSee dongle, not CanZE, nor the ELM style dongles.

In the CanSee design we’ve specified the SN65HVD23x chip to translate the micro-controller’s logic levels to the CANbus. The beauty of this series of chips is that it runs on 3.3 volt, thus requiring no level shifting and only one supply rail. As reported earlier we’ve seen many bad chips though. Lately I have been involved in a commercial project and we selected the same chip for the same reason. To make a very long (debugging) story short, faulty chips bit us again, and these were sourced through a reputable PCB manufacturer. I also received a few chips from a friend and again, one was bad. Either there is a huge manufacturing problem, or there is a massive batch of fake chips on the market, or these chips are extremely prone to damage.

This problem has been haunting us for well over a year now and after wasting many, many hours again sifting through chips, re-soldering, messing with the firmware, and countless other botches, the camel’s back has now definitely broken. I am changing the public design to set the DC-DC converter’s voltage to 5V, use that to supply the development board AND the alternative transceiver chip (an NXP TJA1050). I’ll also add two resistors to level-shift the signal from the transceiver to the ESP32.

We’ve made a significant change to the CanSee dongle firmware. Nothing is visible from the outside of course, but internally, the CANbus driver we used earlier has been replaced in it’s entirety with the native driver supplied by Espressif, the supplier of the ESP32 micro-controller used in a CanSee dongle. This solves a problem when using the most recent wafer versions of the ESP32 (v3) with the bus speed, and improves stability significantly.

This change is published in the development branch of CanSee and under test right now. Feel free to grab it and give it a spin. If we don’t encounter issues it will be released to production in a few weeks.

For those of you wanting to delve into the technical nitty gritty of things, here is the explanation. If you are into the ESP32, using it’s CANbus controller, and doing so using the Arduino framework, I would urge you to have a good look at that comment and it’s follow up. It took me way too long and way too much head scratching before I ran into that post and have my “ah-ha” moment.