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Linux-based OBD II fleet computer adds CAN FD support

Mar 13, 2020 — by Eric Brown 5,825 views

iWave has updated its Linux-driven, i.MX ULL-based “OBD II” telematics and fleet management computer with CAN-FD support. The compact OBD II supports up to 3x CAN and CAN FD connections simultaneously along with OBD-II and SAE J1939 protocols.

CAN and the newer, faster CAN FD interfaces are increasingly common on in-vehicle computers. Now, iWave has updated its OBD II telematics computer with support for both CAN and the backward compatible CAN-FD and has posted a mini white paper explaining the difference between the protocols.

New CAN FD version of OBD II and updated block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

As before, the computer is designed for fleet management, driving behavior, insurance company monitoring, cab aggregators, and remote diagnostics applications. Although iWave did not reveal it when the OBD II was announced in 2017, the compact in-vehicle computer runs Linux 4.1.15 on a single-core, Cortex-A7-based i.MX6 ULL clocked here at 792MHz. iWave previously used the i.MX6 ULL on its iW-RainboW-G18M-SM module.

Original OBD II

The OBD II ships with 256MB DDR3L and 512MB NAND. The new model is larger than the original at 103 x 84 x 21.5mm. The -20 to 65°C tolerant device draws 12V/24V power from the 18-pin OBD II connector, which also handles CAN signaling.


The new CAN protocol support includes LS CAN, HS CAN, SW CAN, RAW CAN, and CAN FD variants. The OBD II supports up to three simultaneous connections using any of these protocols.

The OBD II is compliant with all J1962-standard OBD II protocols (ISO 15765-4 CAN). It also supports the SAE J1939 protocol, which “enables convenient management of heavy-duty vehicles by providing access to the vehicle ECUs to retrieve real-time diagnostics data,” says iWave.

The OBD II has standard 2G, GPS/aGPS, and 5GHz WiFi/Bluetooth 4.2 BLE with WiFi hotspot, each with its own antenna. 4G LTE CAT1 or CAT4 is optional. There’s a micro-SiM slot and optional Nano- or e-SIM.

Other features include LEDs and an accelerometer and gyro, with optional magnetometer. The once optional battery backup for triggering an anti-theft alarm is now standard.

Features that were not mentioned in the original announcement include a USB 2.0 device port and 4x GPIOs. Certifications now include CE/FCC, E-Mark, KOMINFO, and GCF.


In the announcement of the updated OBD II, iWave explains the differences between CAN and CAN FD protocols, both of which were developed at Bosch. CAN FD was officially released in 2012. In addition to handling basic telematics duty for diagnostics and the like, the protocol is designed to obtain high-speed data from network sensors and ECUs.

CAN and CAN FD frames
(click image to enlarge)
Source: iWave

CAN FD supports a wider data length of 64 bytes compared to 8 bytes for CAN, which iWave says reduces overhead and improves efficiency. The data rate has advanced from 1Mbps over a 40-meter bus to up to 5Mbps, although it can operate at 1Mbps for arbitration. The higher bandwidth enables support for a Secure Onboard Communication (SecOC) module, which improves real-time operations.

CAN FD has lower latency and propagation delays than CAN. It offers improved cyclic redundancy check (CRC) and a “protected stuff-bit counter” feature for improved safety-critical operations, says iWave.

Further information

The updated OBD II appears to be available now at an undisclosed price. More information may be found in iWave’s announcement and CAN FD brief, as well as the OBD II product page.


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