Wayne State EcoCAR 2 Team Taps Vector CANtech for CAN Network Help

The Wayne State University (WSU) EcoCAR 2 Team greatly appreciates all of the sponsors’ participation and contribution as the WSU team works on converting an ordinary vehicle into a plug-in hybrid vehicle. This video shows how WSU was able to collaborate with Vector CANtech, one of the EcoCAR 2 competition sponsors, to help solve a problem with updating the team’s HIL bench to keep up with changes made on the team’s vehicle.

During the second year of the competition, the WSU team was busy taking the high level design from the first year of the competition and implementing it through multiple low-level design & build tasks.  One of those tasks involved breaking the vehicle’s GM High Speed CAN network (HS CAN) into a pair of separated networks, with the WSU supervisory controller performing a gateway function by passing CAN messages between this new pair of HS CAN networks.  This allows the WSU supervisory controller to modify certain signals inside passed CAN messages to allow more desirable interaction between the engine and the transmission for optimally efficient hybrid operation.

The WSU team investigated a HIL expansion board and a pair of CAN gateway modules.  The team was very pleased with an enthusiastic and creative solution proposal from Mike Alexander, Academic Account Manager, Vector CANtech, Inc.  Mike and the WSU team discussed via email how a pair of CAN gateway modules might succeed in taking the existing HIL bench HS CAN and split it into a pair of separated CAN networks, just like the vehicle.

Mike had some more good news for the WSU team – WSU was actually already in possession of one of the two needed CAN gateway modules.  Mike explained that the Vector GL1000 CAN logger donated to each of the fifteen EcoCAR 2 teams for vehicle CAN logging could actually be reprogrammed and used on the HIL bench to gateway CAN messages.

The WSU team uninstalled the team’s existing GL1000 from the vehicle, leaving the connector wiring in place to preserve future drive logging capability. Then they installed a new connector with wiring into the HIL bench wire harness for easy swapping of the existing GL1000 between the HIL bench and the vehicle. Then Mike traveled to the WSU campus, visited the team’s vehicle garage and the engineering lab and helped the team get the new hardware working.

Wayne State greatly appreciates the Vector hardware and software along with the training and support which has enabled the team to collect vehicle data from the various test drives.  The team also takes advantage of the CANcaseXL hardware combined with CANoe software to easily construct and transmit CAN messages, simulating one or more vehicle electronic control units (ECU’s) for bench testing components like the ESS battery pack controller to prepare for ESS commissioning.