Automotive Control & System Diagnostics

Thread Starter


Joined Feb 27, 2006
Hi everyone,

I just thought I would post here to see if anyone could help me further my research into Automotive Control & System Diagnostics.

Basically I am in Uni at Bristol studying electronic engineering. We have been put into groups of 8 where we have to work as a team to design and build a control system for an electric scooter.

Basically we need to implement a console which displays information such as speed, mileage, battery life, indicators and systems diagnostics etc.

I was just wondering if anyone here had ever has any knowledge or experience in this field and if they could pass on some advice which they think would be useful.

I have heard quite a lot of talk about a technology called CAN which admittedly I haven't read up on what exactly it is yet.

For my set task this week along with one other member of my group we have to do some research on System Diagnostics.
To be honest I don’t really know what kind of things a system diagnostic would be sensing for. I know I should look into a system that will report faults on the electric motor (how you do that exactly I do not know) and maybe check for faults the battery, but apart from that I’m lost.

Anyone able to advise me on what kind of faults I will need to be sensing for on an electric scooter and how exactly I would go about sensing for it.

I guess I would use a microcontroller to process the signals, but need advice on sensing device etc.

Thank you for your time,



Joined Jun 30, 2006
You might want to contact the three big automakers, tell them what you want to do and ask for information on processing the sensors that are already in the vehicle. Be sure to mention that you're contacting the other automakers, it might facilitate their cooperation.


Joined Feb 24, 2006
As a maker of CAN based products I can give you some starting points. An output point which switches a current into a relay coil has two principal faults: coil open and coil shorted. If you can attach a circuit to the output driver what whould you sense and when would you sense it are two important questions.

Many three wire sensors have power, ground and signal. The big problem here is if the supply to the snesors gets shorted, then the snesor outputs dont't make much sense. Again the questions is what would you sense and when would you sense it.

CAN is essentially a robust data transport for small data payloads of zero to eight bytes. There are many features which contribute to the robustness. The original work on CAN was done by Bosch for anti-lock brake systems in the late eighties and early ninties.

Thread Starter


Joined Feb 27, 2006
sweet guys thanks for the advice.

I will read up on CAN also.

I may have a few questions to be answered later on so I will get back to this thread a bit later.

Thanks again for the help.