The EV Box

An open-source electric vehicle instrumentation system.

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Designing and building a modular electric vehicle manage and monitoring system. The modules can be used on electric longboards to electric vehicle conversions. The name is stupid, but it's the best I've got. I was thinking OSEVIC but I don't want to run out of vowels for future project names.

The EV Box is an open-source electric vehicle modular instrumentation platform. That's quite a mouthful.


Electric conversions are an exciting DIY project whether it's an electric longboard or an electric car. They all have the same 3 systems:

  • battery
  • controller
  • motor

From there you optionally need an input (throttle) and an output (voltmeter/ammeter). It's the output side of this equation that the EV Box will attempt to solve. Some motor controllers can't output data to a display on its own. Most either don't even try or require a PC to be connected to the controller. The EV Box will serve as the ultimate EV dashboard.


Imagine a box called the TachBox. Have a hall-effect tach? 2-wire? 3-wire? A rotary encoder? 2 pulses? 4? 10? None of that matters. The TachBox will have screw terminals on one end to accept whatever tach you have. On the other side is a cable that plugs directly into the screen (DisplayBox) or the main head unit (BrainBox).

Example applications:

Electric Bicycle
-BattBox (battery voltage and current measurement)
-DisplayBox (screen)
-SatBox (GPS module for speed)

Electric Lawnmower
-BattBox (battery voltage and current measurement)
-VoltBox (simple LED bargraph display of battery voltage)

Electric Motorcycle (simple)
-BattBox (monitor traction battery)
-BattBox (monitor 12v system battery or converter)
-DisplayBox (screen)
-TachBox (RPM calc) (front wheel)

  • 1 × LED Matrix 64x32 P3 LED Matrix display
  • 1 × Teensy 3.2 Teensy 3.2 Microcontroller
  • 1 × SmartMatrix SD Shield Teensy shield to control LED matrix

  • EVBox|CAN: Protocol

    Neal06/11/2016 at 18:20 0 comments


    This log will contain the basic communication data format for the EV box system. It will be updated as needed.

    TODO: Make this a page on github as well to track changes as they will affect code revisions
    TODO: Create message ID groups to standardize priority
    TODO: Decide and list the default baud rate (bandwidth calculations needed)

    Read more »

  • EVBox|TestBox:CAN Bus

    Neal05/24/2016 at 17:42 0 comments


    The Teensy 3.x series microcontroller has CAN bus capabilities built in. CAN is a very robust architecture and is especially suited for automotive systems. What's missing is a transceiver to attach to the physical wire pairs of the bus.


    Read more »

  • EVBox|DisplayBox:bitmapped backgrounds and etc

    Neal05/01/2016 at 16:56 1 comment

    Quick update

    Was toying around with layering bitmaps on the default background. I also got the animated GIF demo sketches to work as well. I have the GIF includes in my sketch (SD, SPI, and other related functions). It's compiling cleanly and so I will slowly add small animation effects to the display as the code progresses.


    Read more »

  • EVBox|DisplayBox:indexedLayer

    Neal04/30/2016 at 16:55 0 comments

    In a previous log I mentioned I wasn't sure what "indexing" meant. Well, I figured it out now. It's a separate layer that is of a single 24-bit color. Well, indexing in general can be any bit depth. But for the purposes of the SmartMatrix SD Shield that value is 24-bit.

    Read more »

  • EVBox|DisplayBox:'const char' Blues

    Neal04/29/2016 at 13:28 1 comment

    I am not a programmer!

    I can't code effectively at all. They say programming is just like learning a new language and I was terrible at that as well. The way I think my brain works is if I can just touch it. Even in my mind's eye if I can physically manipulate the problem then I can figure it out. Code and math, they're intangible and for decades I've tried to learn and for decades I've been just a beginner.

    Read more »

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