Controlling a 2014 Mustang Instrument Panel Cluster, Part 2

2021-11-19


Prototype Hardware

This is a followup on my last post about "Controlling a 2014 Mustang Instrument Panel Cluster".

Here, I can already show some hardware that has been created in the process of controlling the IPC, emulating functions of a removed PCM (originally for electric conversion purposes but generally for controlling the CAN busses in any way I like).

First, I needed some hardware to connect to the HS-CAN bus of the Mustang. Basically, it is a Raspberry Pi based board, with an added CAN interface, running Linux. While this is handy for analyzing the Mustang's CAN busses and reverse engineering the CAN IDs, it needs some boot time and doesn't handle all the error cases.

First prototype with 64 bit processor and OS, handling one CAN bus

For the Mustang's IPC, 2 CAN interfaces are necessary to feed it with all CAN messages necessary to emulate all the data the IPC can interpret. This way, I was able to reverse engineer and control all aspects of the IPC. I.e., we can now emulate much more than just the replaced PCM.

2nd prototype, with second CAN bus interface

Finally, running those relatively big devices with an OS booting for several seconds and needing quite some power is not practical for a PCM emulation. Therefore, I ported the software to a non-OS microcontroller and came up with this prototype:

3rd prototype, no OS, running an 32-bit RP2040 microcontroller

Upon start, it immediately starts emitting CAN messages as programmed. It is also able to interpret special CAN messages to control speed, RPM and other gauges on the IPC.

I'm still waiting for the appropriate casing and Ford compatible connectors to arrive to make it easy to just plug in the device to the CAN bus. While it would be easy to just plug it to the DLC port (OBD connector), it is possible to plug the new ECU just between the IPC and the connector it is originally sticking to (so the OBD ports stays free).

Roland Reichwein <mail@reichwein.it>





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