DIY Electric Car Forums banner

SEVCON CAN Calibrator Emulator

19550 Views 24 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  pbgben
Having become frustrated in finding a CAN calibrator to program my SEVCON Powerpak controllers I set about to write a PC program.

If you're interested all the details can be found here -, including screen shots and explanations of what I've been able to discover to date. The long and the short of it is that together with a suitable CAN to Serial interface it's a fully functioning calibrator able to diagnose and program any (I think) Powerpak or Micropak controller.

See less See more
1 - 12 of 25 Posts
Thanks for the PDFs David. Definitely useful info for anyone out there wanting to check their settings. However, I'm not sure what that CAN Name column refers to. It doesn't seem to tie in to anything I'm seeing in the data on the CAN Bus. I'll do some more digging later.
If anyone wants to try it out you'll need a CAN to Serial interface. You'd need one for any kind of CAN work anyway. I'm going to go ahead an get a GridConnect GC-CAN-USB-LIGHT to test with my program in an attempt to make it more universal than using an Arduino and CAN Shield. The code is already in there for the GridConnect, I just haven't been able to test it.

The added advantage of going the Arduino route is that you can program your Arduino to act on the messages it receives. However, if all you want is to hook up your CAN device to a PC all you'll need is an off the shelf interface such as the GridConnect one.

I think I should probably add another page to the web stuff that explains in a little more detail how it works, that way you'll know what's going on behind the scenes and use it to trouble shoot the particular interface that you decide to use.
See less See more
Any chance you'd be willing to share the source code to this? I need a can analysis tool for working on the Chademo interface. I can route can to uart via a microchip pic unit but I need some visual c code to process the data. Your software looks like a good place to start.

The best place to start would be to download the Arduino sketch. It includes a library for the MCP2515 CAN chip, which is also a Microchip product. I think you'll find it has eveything you need.

Once you've got a CAN message you can do anything you want with it. I send it to my PC program as a comma delimited string. This makes it easy for me to split it up into its various fields. I don't actually do any analysis on it as such, but simply display it so I can compare it to the calibrator as I make any changes. I do intend to get a little bit more techincal to track down some of the final missing information, but right now it's pretty simple.

So I guess I should ask you what exactly it is that you're looking for? I can post the relevant portion of the code if I know what it is you're hoping to get. (My code is VB by the way, but you'll be able to see what I'm doing with it.) For the PIC side you'll most likely want to look at the MCP2515 Library for the Arduino. Are you capturing the CAN messages and formatting them to ASCII yourself or are you receiving ASCII messages on the UART that you then need to interpret?
See less See more
I just ordered a GridConnect CAN-USB-LIGHT adapter today, and it's already shipped. Should have it Wednesday and I can confirm that it works with my program. I'm about to put up some more details on my web site about operation as I can see that I didn't really address that very well.
Tested with the GridConnect CAN to USB adapter. Had to make a couple of tweaks but can confirm it works. So now you can use it with a commercially available adapter, (once you've made a cable).

Uploaded a new version of the program to the web site. The code to set the com port in my program is really flaky though. I'm going to have to address that this weekend. Once you've got it set successfully then it will work fine from there on out. Getting it set is the problem though!
I received a new 622/14063 calibrator last week and I am modifying my program to emulate all the calibrator types that it has available. It doesn't appear that it does anything beyond what my program is already capable of.
Nice work dave!

I have a sevcon I need to program for a friend. What dongle do you recommend?
Well first off is it a Powerpak or one of the new Gen 4s or whatever the latest stuff is now. :)

If it's just programming you're after and no more then here's the order of preference:

1) An actual calibrator if you can find one, Make sure it's compatible with the particular model controller though. I'm not trying to sell my program in place of a calibrator, but it does have advantages in that it's easily available and should work with all models within the Powerpak/Micropak range.

2) The only commercial CAN to USB deice I've used with my program to date is the Gridconnect one, but it's straightforward to configure and use. It's nothing fancy and the base model doesn't work with their fancy (and expensive) software.

3) An Arduino and CAN Shield. This is only really worth it if you plan to leave the Arduino onboard as a data logger or to feed a display. This is my eventual goal - to have real time data from the controller fed to the Arduino and used to drive my existing gauges.

If you go for another commercial CAN adapter I'll be happy to modify my program if you'll give me the specs of the device. If you don't want to invest in anything extra right now I'll trade you the use of an actual Sevcon calibrator for use of your Curtis 1309. :D (It is the 1309 that goes between the software and the controller for programming, right?)
See less See more
I have a friend that needs to get a sevcon millipack 4qpm to work. Something isn't allowing the controller to enable.

I'll trade use, absolutely! You pick, PC or Handheld.
I think the Millipak might use a different calibrator. Let me see if I can find something to confirm this.
apparently I need a 662/14036 handheld.
Yup. Was just about to post a link for Thunderstruck. You can also use the PCpak software with the Millipak controllers. I don't have either though. The Millipak calibrator is not a CAN based one.
Ahh, ok, we'll be renting one then.

I can let you borrow the PC one if you want....whatcha want it for?
That 1217 on my snowblower. Still haven't got that dongle to work, although I haven't tried again for a while. Let me get the wiring finished and then I'll give it another try. Looks like it will be next winter before it's ready. :)
Could this be used to or easily modified to program a gen4 controller? Would be great if it could since the gen4 programmer costs about 900$...
Possibly. I see the Gen4 uses a CANopen interface. However, I don't have one to test with. I basically had to figure this all out as I went along as I couldn't get any information from Sevcon, (not surprisingly).

Here's what made it easier for me - the calibrator contains no logic. Key presses only are sent to the logic unit on the Powerpak and text messages are sent back to the display. Deciphering the realtime data messages is a little more tricky and is still on going. If the Gen 4 works in a similar manner then it would be relatively straight forward to at least emulate the calibrator/programmer. However, if the programmer itself contains the logic then it becomes a little more difficult.

Edit: Just took a quick look and it looks like the Gen 4 Programmer might be a little more complicated than the Powerpak one. I bet it could still be emulated though. We'd just have to capture the CANbus traffic and figure out what's what.
See less See more
1 - 12 of 25 Posts