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'[EE]: ALDL information?'
2005\12\12@184527 by Vitaliy

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Danny wrote:
[snip]
> This car would use the 8192 baud ALDL connection to communicate.
> I think I have a couple of 16F688s as well, I'm sure there's a 16F684
> in here.  Either way, it shouldn't be terribly difficult to establish
> communication with the car, since it uses 5V TTL for asynchronous
> serial comms from the documentation I've read.

Lee replied:
> No, it shouldn't.  But since the protocol is considered proprietary...

Some unofficial information on the ALDL protocol:

http://www.andywhittaker.com/ecu/aldl.htm

This project would not require a PIC. All you need is set up your COM port
for 8192 baud and convert RS232 to TTL. There's a bunch of free ALDL stuff
available on the Internet.

www.andywhittaker.com/ecu/aldl_hardware_cont.htm
www.andywhittaker.com/ecu/ecu_software.htm
http://www.blacky.co.nz/efilive/
http://www.techedge.com.au/vehicle/aldl8192/8192hw.htm

Of course there are others, keep Googling.

> A source for the square 12-pin GM ALDL connector would be handy, too.
> :)

You mean something like this?

http://www.obd2cables.com/products/product_info.php?cPath=21&products_id=64

There's a minimum order quantity of 250 units, and a lead time of two
months.

Best regards,

Vitaliy

2005\12\12@234816 by Danny Sauer

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Vitaliy wrote regarding 'Re: [EE]: ALDL information?' on Mon, Dec 12 at 17:47:
> Some unofficial information on the ALDL protocol:
>
> http://www.andywhittaker.com/ecu/aldl.htm

I found this later - between him and Mr. Moates, I'm almost there...

> This project would not require a PIC. All you need is set up your COM port
> for 8192 baud and convert RS232 to TTL. There's a bunch of free ALDL stuff
> available on the Internet.

Well, yeah, but I'd rather not lug my desktop computer out to the car,
and I'd also rather not install Windows on any computer. :)  Besides,
I *should* be able to query the computer while it's running and
generate a tach display and/or some gauges for things that aren't
shown on the normal gauges (like, reading what the intake air
temperature and current transmission gear are, for example).  The goal
is to get a little more tuning info - and to read / reset the trouble
codes.

Someday I should just buy a laptop...

> >A source for the square 12-pin GM ALDL connector would be handy, too.
> >:)
>
> You mean something like this?
>
> www.obd2cables.com/products/product_info.php?cPath=21&products_id=64
>
> There's a minimum order quantity of 250 units, and a lead time of two
> months.

Great!  Now if I can just find 248 other people who are interested... :)

--Danny, who'd surely screw the first cable up somehow ;)

2005\12\14@071804 by Charles Rogers

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>
> Well, yeah, but I'd rather not lug my desktop computer out to the car,
> and I'd also rather not install Windows on any computer. :)  Besides,
> I *should* be able to query the computer while it's running and
> generate a tach display and/or some gauges for things that aren't
> shown on the normal gauges (like, reading what the intake air
> temperature and current transmission gear are, for example).  The goal
> is to get a little more tuning info - and to read / reset the trouble
> codes.
>
> Someday I should just buy a laptop...
>
>> >A source for the square 12-pin GM ALDL connector would be handy, too.
>> >:)

Why don't you just go to the nearest auto parts store and buy a scanner
that plugs directly into the ALDL.  This device will read ALL fault codes
and a lot of other things also.

CR

2005\12\14@085449 by Danny Sauer

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Charles wrote regarding 'Re: [EE]: ALDL information?' on Wed, Dec 14 at 06:20:
> Why don't you just go to the nearest auto parts store and buy a scanner
> that plugs directly into the ALDL.  This device will read ALL fault codes
> and a lot of other things also.

* The cheap ($25) "scanners" don't read the codes, they just short the
 two pins and make the check engine light flash - same as a paper
 clip, which doesn't work on my car
* The more expensive scanners ($100+) only read and reset the trouble
 codes (not a lot of other things), which is something I should be
 able to do
* The ones that do what I want (display real-time tuning information,
 as well as trouble codes) cost on the order of $1000 and aren't
 carried at typical auto parts stores - and they're *still* within
 the range of things I should be able to build out of pats I have on
 hand

Even disregarding cost, why would I *not* want to learn more about how
my car works, and have the satisfaction of building my own tool?
Because it'd be easier to pay a 4-digit price for something that still
won't operated exactly the way I want?  Because "computers are scary"?

Buying a scan tool is out of the question.  Options include 1) paying
a few hundred bucks for an eBay laptop, aldl-rs232 convertor, and
tuning software which will reprogram *and* read codes, 2) going to a
dealership and paying a bunch of money to some guy who cares little
about my car to work on it, and 3) figuring out how to diagnose it
myself (I can already *fix* it myself once I know the problem).  I'd
expect anyone reading this list to understand the draw to option 3.
Those few who don't, probably never will.

--Danny

2005\12\14@132452 by Vitaliy

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"Danny Sauer" wrote:
> Even disregarding cost, why would I *not* want to learn more about how
> my car works, and have the satisfaction of building my own tool?
> Because it'd be easier to pay a 4-digit price for something that still
> won't operated exactly the way I want?  Because "computers are scary"?

The problem is, you can't get far on pure enthusiasm. At some point, your
rational side will kick in and ask: why in the heck am I doing it this way?

> Buying a scan tool is out of the question.  Options include 1) paying
> a few hundred bucks for an eBay laptop, aldl-rs232 convertor, and
> tuning software which will reprogram *and* read codes,

"ALDL-ready" laptop won't cost you more than $100. You don't need anything
above a 486, unless you plan to play DVDs and code in VC#. ALDL-RS232
converter costs less than $10 in parts, and takes roughly 20 minutes to
build. Software you can write yourself -- weren't you eager to program a PIC
to do the same thing?

[snip]
> 3) figuring out how to diagnose it
> myself (I can already *fix* it myself once I know the problem).  I'd
> expect anyone reading this list to understand the draw to option 3.
> Those few who don't, probably never will.

I rarely understand people who want to do it "the hard way", unless the
purpose is purely educational. Taken to the extreme, the logic becomes
ridiculous.

Danny also wrote:
> Well, yeah, but I'd rather not lug my desktop computer out to the car,

Ever heard of CarPCs? :) Find an old desktop, put it in the trunk, use it to
play MP3s and read ALDL.

> and I'd also rather not install Windows on any computer. :)

At first I did not realize this was a religious issue. But then again, it's
irrelevant whether you're running Unix or MacOS -- if you write the
software.

> Besides,
> I *should* be able to query the computer while it's running and
> generate a tach display and/or some gauges for things that aren't
> shown on the normal gauges (like, reading what the intake air
> temperature and current transmission gear are, for example).  The goal
> is to get a little more tuning info - and to read / reset the trouble
> codes.

Great idea! Buy a small LCD panel, hook it up to the PC and display
information on virtual gauges. Have a button that will switch between the
gauges, and read trouble codes.

> Someday I should just buy a laptop...

Yes, you should. :-) They are not as expensive as you think.

Best regards,

Vitaliy



2005\12\14@143718 by Danny Sauer

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Vitaliy wrote regarding 'Re: [EE]: ALDL information?' on Wed, Dec 14 at 12:28:
> "Danny Sauer" wrote:
> >Even disregarding cost, why would I *not* want to learn more about how
> >my car works, and have the satisfaction of building my own tool?
> >Because it'd be easier to pay a 4-digit price for something that still
> >won't operated exactly the way I want?  Because "computers are scary"?
>
> The problem is, you can't get far on pure enthusiasm. At some point, your
> rational side will kick in and ask: why in the heck am I doing it this way?

I bought a car a few years back that would benefit from a new engine.
Then I bought a shop crane to pull the engine so I could install the
new one.  I bought a shop crane because it made more sense, and an
as-purchased device would do everything I wanted.  I built the engine
myself because it didn't make sense to pay someone to do something I
can do myself, and because if I do it myself, I know it'll be done the
way I want.  I suppose the "rational" thing to do would have been to
give up, call a tow truck, sell the car as scrap, and buy a new car?
After all, most towns have new car dealerships, and it's much easier
to buy a new car than to build one.  New cars don't generally do
everything I want, though, so I'd be forced to settle.  I don't like
to settle when it's within my reach to get exactly what I want.

Same deal.  I can't afford to buy a tool that does most of what I
want, and I'm honestly not sure that a tool exists at all which will
do everything I want.  So I've gotta figure out how to make that tool
myself if I want that tool.  I'm close now...

> "ALDL-ready" laptop won't cost you more than $100. You don't need anything
> above a 486, unless you plan to play DVDs and code in VC#. ALDL-RS232
> converter costs less than $10 in parts, and takes roughly 20 minutes to
> build. Software you can write yourself -- weren't you eager to program a
> PIC to do the same thing?

Yes.  Except, an ALDL-ready PIC is already sitting on my desk (blame
Olin for getting me interested in that chip), it'll require the exact
same information to program a PIC as it would a laptop, the PIC will
be closer to the correct baud rate (a PC just gets "close enough"),
and I can combine the PIC with a display I already have to create a
tool which will fit in the car more easily without requiring all of
the baggage a laptop will bring.

Besides, if I was gonna use a laptop, why would I write my own
software when I could get pre-written software that does what I want?
That'd be silly. ;)

> [snip]
> >3) figuring out how to diagnose it
> >myself (I can already *fix* it myself once I know the problem).  I'd
> >expect anyone reading this list to understand the draw to option 3.
> >Those few who don't, probably never will.
>
> I rarely understand people who want to do it "the hard way", unless the
> purpose is purely educational. Taken to the extreme, the logic becomes
> ridiculous.

Find me a device I can plug into my ALDL port which will read the
error codes on my '95 LT1 Caprice, erase stored codes, and display
*all* of the diagnostic data available in a configurable way - like by
letting me display about 8 values of my choosing simultaneously.  Oh,
and it should be small enough that I can mount it in the ashtray.

That tool does not exist.  Even without the portable aspect, we're
looking at more than the car's purchase price.  It has nothing to do
with "the hard way" and everything to do with "making things work the
way I want them to work".  Well, not everything - I also have never
done something exactly like this, and I'd like to learn how.
Learning's important. :)  I know other enthusiasts who would be
interested in the same device, for that matter, but sharing knowledge
is a ways off.

> Danny also wrote:
> >Well, yeah, but I'd rather not lug my desktop computer out to the car,
>
> Ever heard of CarPCs? :) Find an old desktop, put it in the trunk, use it
> to play MP3s and read ALDL.

Yup, about 7 years ago, when I mounted a Cyrix-based PC in my '80
Caprice and then failed to document it very well:
http://www.dannysauer.com/cdproject/ (done before the "first" guy who
put a PC in his Miata got a lot of press, BTW, though he did more
"cool" stuff).  The remains of that project are the backup if I can't
get the PIC to work well in this plan.  However, after the experience
of setting up a PC in the car, I've come to realize that a PIC would
make a lot more sense.  For playing mp3s, I've bought the models from
Kenwood and Alpine which do that better and easier than I could.  The
price is low enough on those things now that I'd be hard-pressed to
justify building my own again, even though it was somewhat neat to
open the glovebox to the back panel of a full PC. :)

> >and I'd also rather not install Windows on any computer. :)
>
> At first I did not realize this was a religious issue. But then again, it's
> irrelevant whether you're running Unix or MacOS -- if you write the
> software.

It's not a religious issue.  A laptop would be a general-use device
for me.  Windows is not of general use for me.  Other people are free
to use Windows, and that's great if it's the right tool for their job.
Windows is *not* the right tool for the bulk of things I'd use a
laptop for, though,with the single exception or running LT1-edit
and/or Tunercat.  Even those should work alright under Wine or VMWare.
Just FYI, in case I come off as a Linux zealot or something.  It just
works better for me.

> Great idea! Buy a small LCD panel, hook it up to the PC and display
> information on virtual gauges. Have a button that will switch between the
> gauges, and read trouble codes.

I wonder if I could do this with the PIC I already have and the VFD w/
keypad interface and bargraph capability I already have? ;)

> >Someday I should just buy a laptop...
>
> Yes, you should. :-) They are not as expensive as you think.

Ok, technically I already have one.  But it's routing my home network
traffic, and I can't really take my domains off-line every time I want
to go diagnose car troubles.  It'll be used when I get to the point
where I'm actually tuning the engine to compensate for the performance
modifications planned.  I should have a desktop-based router built by
that time.  For now, I've gotta choose whether I spend my timebuilding
a neat tool, or replacing a functional router.  I'd prefer the
challenge of building a neat tool.

--Danny

2005\12\14@153852 by William Chops Westfield

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On Dec 14, 2005, at 11:37 AM, Danny Sauer wrote:

> Then I bought a shop crane to pull the engine so I could install the
> new one.  I bought a shop crane because it made more sense, and an
> as-purchased device would do everything I wanted.  I built the engine
> myself because it didn't make sense to pay someone to do something I
> can do myself, and because if I do it myself, I know it'll be done the
> way I want.

Oh.  You're a HOBBYIST!  Nothing wrong with that, but you have to
understand that this means you operate under different rules.  What
*I* want from a car is something I can mostly neglect for a decade
and have it still take me and my "stuff" to and from work and such.
I've never understood the attraction of fancy and expensive sports
cars and the like that have to be constantly fiddled with to keep
running at a level I wouldn't care to operate at anyway.  But I do
understand that that attraction DOES exist for some people...

BillW

2005\12\14@170326 by Danny Sauer

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William wrote regarding 'Re: [EE]: ALDL information?' on Wed, Dec 14 at 14:42:
> I've never understood the attraction of fancy and expensive sports
> cars and the like that have to be constantly fiddled with to keep
> running at a level I wouldn't care to operate at anyway.

I don't think anyone will refer to my "medium adriatic blue with
simulated woodgrain trim" wagon as either fancy or expensive anytime
soon, despite the power seats. :)  And the appeal of an LT1-powered
caprice (wagon or not) is that they'll typically run 200K+ miles
without problems - I know people in the 300K mile range who haven't
ever had a major problem.  But you're right, I *am* a hobbyist, and I
did buy the wagon for its performance potential, odd as that may sound
to the casual observer.

It's worth noting, I suppose, that I drive about 1.5 hours to work,
and about 1.5 hours back home.  Every day, on the open road.  So I
spend a pretty fair amount of time in my car, and it's nice when I can
actually enjoy the trip.  Driving an enjoyable car is critical to that
goal. :)

--Danny

2005\12\14@205023 by Vitaliy

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"Danny Sauer" wrote:
[snip]
> Same deal.  I can't afford to buy a tool that does most of what I
> want, and I'm honestly not sure that a tool exists at all which will
> do everything I want.  So I've gotta figure out how to make that tool
> myself if I want that tool.  I'm close now...

[snip]
> Find me a device I can plug into my ALDL port which will read the
> error codes on my '95 LT1 Caprice, erase stored codes, and display
> *all* of the diagnostic data available in a configurable way - like by
> letting me display about 8 values of my choosing simultaneously.  Oh,
> and it should be small enough that I can mount it in the ashtray.

[snip]
> [...] an ALDL-ready PIC is already sitting on my desk (blame
> Olin for getting me interested in that chip), it'll require the exact
> same information to program a PIC as it would a laptop, the PIC will
> be closer to the correct baud rate (a PC just gets "close enough"),
> and I can combine the PIC with a display I already have to create a
> tool which will fit in the car more easily without requiring all of
> the baggage a laptop will bring.

Good luck. :) Please keep us posted.

You may find this helpful:

FlexScan - The DIY-Scantool
http://www.fieros.de/en/flexscan.html

Best regards,

Vitaliy

2005\12\14@223738 by Danny Sauer

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Vitaliy wrote regarding 'Re: [EE]: ALDL information?' on Wed, Dec 14 at 19:53:
> Good luck. :) Please keep us posted.

I finally got time to look over the GM ECM info at
http://www.diy-efi.org/gmecm/ecm_info/

There's a .zip file (ALDLStuff.zip) linked from the ALDL data stream
formats.  It contains a text file - aldl.ds - which describes the
serial format in pretty high detail, and a description of what the
data streams for a whole lot of ECMs (including mine) actually mean.
Good stuff.  Real good stuff.  Now if I can just figure out how to
convert 8-bit binary into ascii digits, I'll be set. :)

--Danny

2005\12\14@235940 by Alex Harford
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On 12/14/05, Danny Sauer <spam_OUTpiclistTakeThisOuTspamdannysauer.com> wrote:
>
> I finally got time to look over the GM ECM info at
> http://www.diy-efi.org/gmecm/ecm_info/

There is a lot of info on http://www.thirdgen.org/techbb2 in the DIY
PROM section.  It's 82-92 Firebird/Camaro specific, but other guys
hang out there as well.

Alex

2005\12\15@090536 by Charles Rogers

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Subject: Re: [EE]: ALDL information?

>
2) going to a
> dealership and paying a bunch of money to some guy who cares little
and 3) figuring out how to diagnose it
> myself (I can already *fix* it myself once I know the problem).  I'd

> Those few who don't, probably never will.
>
> --Danny

Danny:

Thnk you for your comeback ! !  This puts things in a very different
perspective for me.  When you come up with a solution,  I would
very much like to hear about it.

CR

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