Newbie Looking for Help


Good Evening All. I am a College Professor as well as 40 year automotive/Truck and Coach technician and have long been involved in the electrical/electronics side of the vehicle. I have been away from automotive for a bit but I am looking to gain knowledge about how the CAN BUS is used in different vehicles and the part I am most intrigued with right now, is how to make things happen with the M2.
I own a side business repairing instrument clusters and the odd ECM but find it difficult to expand because every time I want to do a new cluster, I have to go buy all the units from the wreckers that allow me to talk to it, wire it all up and then make things happen. It can get expensive and take up a lot of space and money and sometimes an easy job is turned down because there is no way to test it.
So I would like to find out if M2 can help me do any of this as well as learning to decode what is on the CAN BUS because it will give me a better understanding when teaching it to my students. I was excited to find the podcast that got me here so I am hoping someone can get me started on the right foot to where I want to get to. Cheers to all and I look forward to hearing from you.


Yes, the M2 could help you here but it is sort of a chicken and egg type of problem. You need the other components in order to capture CAN traffic from them to know the messages they send and the format those messages should be in. Once you know that then you can fake them with the M2. But, if you’ve already got them then you don’t need to fake them. It could still be handy as the M2 is far smaller and thus you have less wiring while doing testing and repair. You can probably just capture traffic from working parts and then play back the traffic without even knowing what it all does. Still, you have to capture it first.

Of course, this is all a bit of a long road. But, any long journey starts with a first step. Probably the easiest thing to do at first is to validate that you can connect in a car and get it all to work. Look here for an OBDII scanner sketch that might be a good introduction to using CAN: OBDII Scanner Sketch I started the thread but there’s an upgraded version here:

I won’t lie, it’s probably going to be a bit of a hurdle to get that to compile. There are a lot of libraries that need to be installed. But, once you get everything set up it should be smooth sailing thereafter.

So, first things first, go here:

Once you can get it blinking you’re on your way. Now, the other libraries. You should download all these:

You’ve got to install them in the proper place. You should be able to get the IDE to install them for you by starting the IDE then going to the Sketch menu. Select “Include Library” then “Add Zip Library” and select the zip file of the library. Do this for each one. Thereafter if everything is right and proper you should be able to load the OBDII scanner sketch and compile it. After you upload it to the board open the serial console (Tools -> Serial Monitor) and you should see it trying to read OBDII info.


GRIMM is one of the first to use the M2, they JUST completed a training class that would have helped you dramatically.

You can contact them here:

If you are on LinkedIn I would suggest connecting to them on there as they are advertising much of what they are doing there. I am not sure if they have a facebook page. The group I am familiar with that just did this training is located in Grand Rapids, MI but I would strongly suggest getting ahold of them.

Matthew Carpenter is one of the main guys at Grimm dealing with their new training program and would also be a good person to link with on LinkedIn.

Walsh College also has a “Car Hacking” program and you can contact Barbara here:

Hopefully these contacts can help direct you. Also getting a copy of the Car hackers handbook, which is Creative Commons can help as can (Which is the home site for Car Hackers handbook.)


Ditto on the Car Hackers Handbook, that purchase is easily worth the cost. The book walks you step by step through almost every aspect related to what the M2 can do.


I’ll second that. I’ve briefly read some portions of it in the last week or so and I’ve already got a few bookmarks in there for information that I know I’m going to reference later on. It’s saved me a few questions I would have had already.

Bit of a necro on the thread but it did bring up the links @redheadedrod posted that I now bookmarked :rofl:


Yeah, sorry about raising it from the dead, but it did seem like a worthwhile read for newbies like myself.