Solar Boat Telematics: CAN Data Logging + Grafana Dashboards
Case Studies / AGH Solar Boat Team
AGH Solar Boat is a student project that builds a zero-emission racing boat that uses 100% renewable solar energy
What problem did you solve?
On our solar boat, multiple sub systems communicate via CAN messages, including diagnostic messages. We currently log data from the following sub systems:
- Battery Management System: Manages and monitors battery system performance for optimal utilization and safety
- Control Board: Monitors motor parameters, controls motor operations, and regulates hydrofoil servomechanism
- Supporting Board: Monitors and controls parameters of devices such as pumps and fans
- User Input Board: Provides a user interface for system commands and interaction
- SBG Ellipse-D - Inertial Navigation System: Integrates sensors for accurate positioning, orientation, and navigation
We required a tool for data gathering and subsequent visualization to identify development opportunities, eliminate errors, and enhance our hydrofoil control algorithm.
How did you solve it?
This year the CL2000 was utilized as a CAN data backup solution, particularly in situations of telemetry system failure. This ensured that, even during periods of lost connection with the boat when communication was not feasible, the data remained accessible for analysis on the CAN logger SD card.
Initially, we employed the open-source tool SavvyCAN, as recommended by CSS Electronics, for data visualization. However, recognizing its limitations, we decided instead to visualize data via Grafana dashboards using InfluxDB for storing the DBC decoded data. CSS Electronics provides a plug & play solution for doing this with the CANedge, but not for the CL2000. We therefore modified the CANedge integration to enable the use of our CL2000 data.
This solution allowed us to seamlessly integrate the CL2000 Can Logger with InfluxDB, providing an effective and efficient means of extracting and processing data for our analysis and visualization needs.
"This compact logger has become a crucial interface of our solar boat, providing opportunities for diagnostics, development, eliminating errors and working on the hydrofoil control algorithm"
What benefit has this led to?
The utilization of the CL2000 Can logger has delivered significant value to our boat. Notably, it has guaranteed the steadfast reliability of data recording from the CAN bus. The CL2000 consistently captures data from the bus, providing a robust and continuous record.
Furthermore, the CL2000's capacity to store a CAN data on an SD card surpasses the limitations of transmission-based methods (e.g. in case of telemetry). This extended data storage capability proves particularly advantageous for subsequent analysis. Utilizing the gathered data we enhanced our hydrofoil control algorithm, which allowed us to faster and more easily identify and eliminate errors on our Celka boat, contributing to a more efficient and effective operational performance.
Why did you choose the CL2000?
I would say that the most decisive factor about CSS product is the great support provided by the manufacturer, that includes:
- Perfect documentation and tutorials
- Introduction videos on YouTube
- Comprehensive guides ('CAN Bus - The Ultimate Guide' PDF is a treasure trove of knowledge)
When it comes to the CL2000 Can Logger itself probably the competitive price influenced our choice the most. While we thought the CL2000 met our needs at the time, now we acknowledge that the CANedge2 would be more suitable due to the potential benefits like plug & play dashboard integrations and, in case of WiFi version, near real-time data visualization opportunities.
For more details, see also our PDF presentation.
— Natalia Pluta, Software
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