SSM/OBD-II/CAN device for project, protocol details

Developer topics relating to hardware that interfaces PCs to ECUs

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SSM/OBD-II/CAN device for project, protocol details

Postby altaic » Wed Jun 25, 2008 1:55 pm

I want to develop a lightweight api and flashing/tuning utility for my '08 Subaru STi. Eventually I want to interface with more than just the ECM, but the DCCD module, VCD module, and ABS module. I did a fair amount of research using SSM on my last car, however I understand there have been some developments since then, namely the CAN bus and J2534 PAK file availability from Subaru.

Firstly, I'm looking for a "dumb" USB device that supports CAN and OBD-II, with good multi-platform drivers (such as FTDI-based devices). Can anyone recommend such a device? I hear the OpenPort 2.0 is due out soon, but there aren't any details about the drivers or if the device is "smart" and doesn't allow direct physical layer access/control. Additionally, the microSD/microSDHD support is very cool, but I'd want to be able to load my own software to say what gets logged; will the API for it be released?

Second, I hear the use of CAN is required for reflashing, which is nice since it can be faster and more reliable, however I also hear Subaru uses the same SSM3 tool via J2534 to flash the '08s. Are there any documents that detail the session through application layers for the new cars for either CAN or J2534? Or is it the same old SSM protocol but over CAN or J2534?

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Postby Jon [in CT] » Wed Jun 25, 2008 2:57 pm

A barebones CAN USB device based on FTDI device drivers can be found at It costs $154 and you have to wire it into your car's CAN system or make your own OBD-II cable. But it does appear to support low-level control from a PC.

It is hoped that the Tactrix 2.0 will be priced under $200. It will likely come with support for the J2534 API. You can read a description of that API at to see whether it meets your needs.

BTW, the 2008 Subarus still support the SSM-II protocol via the K line for logging purposes. So any of your old SSM-II programs should still work for logging your 2008 Subaru.
Jon [in CT]
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Postby altaic » Wed Jun 25, 2008 4:49 pm

Awesome, thanks for the reply. Do you know if the OpenPort 2.0 will be ftdi-based and allow for low-level control? I'm thinking I should stick it out 'till Monday to see the release details.
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