ZombieVerter VCU

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KINDLY NOTE:
  • A fully tested V1a kit is now (Nov2022) available for general sale here. The boards are now shipping with the Wemos wifi module and all parts will be included in the kit. The Olimex header is still there for those who may prefer that option. See this post for the Wemos wifi module mounting location.

Development continues and you can follow and contribute along with the development here on the forum

Support is available via this section on the forum

Introduction

There is a growing supply of OEM inverters, chargers, dc/dc converters, heaters, etc, requiring some control method in order to use them in a EV conversion. Instead of replacing the original logic board in these devices (with some devices it is physically impossible to do so), a vehicle control unit (vcu) which talks in its native communication protocol is a much more elegant solution. With a vcu, we can simply tell these logic boards what we want in a language they can understand, and they will do it. As far as they are concerned, they are still installed in the OEM vehicle they left the factory in.

What is not elegant is having a series of bespoke vcu boards for each device. Instead, a master vcu which can handle a variety of different communication protocols(thus a variety of devices) was born; the zombiVerter !

The zombieVerter is available via evbmw's web shop https://www.evbmw.com/index.php/evbmw-webshop/vcu-boards/zombie-vcu


Based around the original design of the open inverter platform, the zombieVerter consists of 2 main parts:

  • a web interface
  • a communication protocol


With onboard wifi, you can access the open inverter web interface (http://192.168.4.1/) to:

  • set up/calibrate the different devices(inverter, charger, etc) connected to the vcu.
  • tune control parameters (throttle, regen, charge speed, charge time, BMS limits, etc)
  • log info
  • graph and plot live data (rpm, amps, charge rate, etc)
  • update firmware


there are many different methods these OEM devices communicate, all which the zombieVerter can speak!

  • pwm
  • canbus
  • linbus
  • sync serial
  • flexray
  • etc


growing list of supported OEM hardware:


It's basically an rip off homage and builds on other people's hard work in the shape of the following projects


features of the zombiverter offers:

  • Throttle mapping
  • Precharge and contactor control
  • coolant pump control
  • Temp derating
  • BMS limits
  • for/rev/neutral control
  • Graphing and monitoring
  • Firmware updates via the web interface
  • Cruise control
    • traction control*
  • Fuel gauge driver
  • heater controller
  • charge timer
  • custom pwm out puts
  • etc

Hardware

Location of remaining parts

So you've ordered your kit, first things first, watch the following two videos to assemble it.

Due to chip shortages (written summer 2021) the board isn't fully assembled so you will need to do some soldering, or take it to a local phone repair shop (or similar) who'll find soldering at this scale like playing with Duplo (Legos to you Yanks).

Parts to be fitted to ZombieVerter VCU
Name Part Numer Alternative Part Number
CONN1
IC10 MCP25625T
IC14 TJA1020 MCP2004
IC19 NCV7356
IC20 TJA1055T
IC21, IC22 AD5160
IC27, IC28, IC29 FAN3122

NOTE : R50 will need to be changed to 1k and C45 to 1n in order for LIN to work properly. This will be amended on further builds. So if you have a board ordered before 14/03/24 this change is required.

The enclosure kit links

You only need one, but below are two options - one with just the connector, and the other prewired with 3m long leads. The reference part numbers are 211PC562S8009 and 211PC562S0008.


The kits do not come with M3 screws needed to secure the board to the enclosure (2 need to be slightly longer), and to secure the lid. Nor a gasket for the lid.


Note that in addition to the VCU, the inverter and transmission, you will require a specific CANBUS connected shunt: Isabellenhütte Heusler


Build and Configuration Videos

ZombieVerter VCU V1 Build Part 1

ZombieVerter VCU V1 Build Part 2

ZombieVerter VCU V1 Part 3

ZombieVerter VCU V1 Build Part 4

Installation

Pin Out Diagram

Leaf stack with zombiverter

VCU pinout diagram
List of connections to system components (GS450 application)
leaf stack to zombie









Further information for a GS450 system can be found here: Lexus GS450h Drivetrain

Note: Diagrams updated so CAN EXT and CAN EXT2 now match the schematic and web interface.


Initial start-up and testing

Wifi Setup

The VCU is configured by connecting to its wifi access point. For existing units this is something like SSID: ESP-03xxxx, no password. For future units (shipped after 20/10/21) this will be SSID: inverter (or zom_vcu) PASSWORD: inverter123

NOTE: Recent units have a new wifi module that isn't automatically assigning an IP via DHCP. See this thread for details, and if you can help resolve the issue. Until then, you need to manually assign an IP of 192.168.4.2 (anything other than 192.168.4.1 on the 192.168.4.0/24 subnet) to your device.

Then navigate to 192.168.4.1 to see the huebner inverter dashboard.

Configuration Setup

Get familiar with the interface and check that all of the parameters make sense. If in doubt, make sure the default value is set. At each stage the current state of the system and any error can be seen on the interface, for example opmode and lasterr. Press refresh at the top of the screen to update the values.


You will need the HV supply connected, which can be a lower voltage (50-100V), current limited power supply for test purposes. Set udcmin to some value below that (e.g. 50V for a 100V supply) and udcsw to 10V lower than the supply.

  • Apply the Ignition T15 in 12V signal. The relay supplying 12V to the inverter should now be on.
  • Check the accelerator by applying it gradually and watching / refreshing the interface. You should see values at pot change as the pedal is pressed. potmin should be set just above where your off-throttle position is, and potmax just below the value seen at maximum travel [note this is the opposite for versions 1.06A to 1.11A ). Same for pot2min and pot2max, if they are electrically connected. The resulting value as a 0-100 value can be seen at potnom.

If it does not show up, check for errors and check that throtmax is not set to zero! Check that tmpm is less than tmpmmax, as it can derate the potnom value down as far as zero!


  • Apply the Start 12V signal for a short time. The pre-charge relay should turn on, and the voltage available at the inverter and the U1 input of the ISA shunt should quickly rise. If the udc reading goes above udcsw within 5 seconds then the main contactor(s) should close. If all is well, invstat should now be "on", opmode should be "run".

If you do not see a good value at udc, it may be that your external shunt is not connected properly or is not initialised.

If you do not see a good value at Invudc, it may be that the inverter is not powered, or the communication signals are not correctly wired.

if the status stays at "PRECHARGE" then you possibly didn't hold the start signal on for long enough!


  • Once the contactors are on, select forwards direction. For example if dirmode is set to "Switch" then a 12V signal applied to the Forward input will work.
  • Carefully apply the accelerator and the motor should begin to turn. Do not spin the motor up to any speed if you are using a test power supply.
    • Note: Leaf inverter requires minimum of 180v to operate, it is also sensible to test with rev limit set to 1000 RPM.

leaf stack with zombiverter

Software

Github for the project: https://github.com/damienmaguire/Stm32-vcu


Unless you have a specific reason not to, end users should use a released version from: https://github.com/damienmaguire/Stm32-vcu/releases.


GD variant:

Status as of November 20 2021

Early boards fitted with the GigaDevices GD32F107 aka "GD chip" require different firmware routines than STM32F107 equipped boards. See this Zombieverter VCU Support Thread forum post

The GigaDevices `GD32F107 was chosen as an alternative to the ST equivalent due to microchip shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic. A specific branch of firmware code for the GD32F107 variant is found here: https://github.com/damienmaguire/Stm32-vcu/tree/GD_Zombie However development of this variant was abandoned shortly after it's release.

As of this writing , The GD_Zombie branch has fallen behind and substantially diverged from the primary code base. It has been suggested that work needs to be done to make the present firmware chip agnostic via detection routines. See this Zombieverter Development Thread forum post. As of this writing that work has yet to be undertaken and remains to be organized and completed. And issue has be devoted to tracking this progress here: Issue #21

Here is a link to a post with a pre compiled bin and hex for the GD_Zombie created by Damien on the 23/11/21; ZombieVerter VCU Support - Page 9 - openinverter forum This is based on the 16/6/21 code it is not an update. Ensure you rename the binaries to stm32_vcu.xxx to ensure no wifi issues.

UPDATE November 23 2021

Updated information about the necessary edits to make to the STM32 based firmware have been posted in a forum post here. In order to get the firmware to compile and run on the GD32F107 you must make the following changes:

In the file "anain.cpp" @ line 68:

68 - // adc_start_conversion_regular(ADC1); // Comment out for GD MCUIn the file "stm32_can.cpp" @ starting at line 305 modify as follows :

305 - gpio_set_mode(GPIO_BANK_CAN2_RE_RX, GPIO_MODE_INPUT, GPIO_CNF_INPUT_PULL_UPDOWN, GPIO_CAN2_RE_RX);

306 - gpio_set(GPIO_BANK_CAN2_RE_RX, GPIO_CAN2_RE_RX);

307 - // Configure CAN pin: TX.-

308 - gpio_set_mode(GPIO_BANK_CAN2_RE_TX, GPIO_MODE_OUTPUT_50_MHZ, GPIO_CNF_OUTPUT_ALTFN_PUSHPULL, GPIO_CAN2_RE_TX);


If you properly clone the repository with git on the command line that looks like this;

git clone --recurse-submodules git@github.com:damienmaguire/Stm32-vcu.git

That recursively pulls in copies of libopeninv, etc and tracks them...   Hence your file-path should look like

./Stm32-vcu/libopeninv/src/

within the libopeninv src (source) directory you will find anain.cpp and stm32_can.cpp

Make the above changes to these files for the GigaDevices GD32F107.

Software update

As supplied, both the ESP8266 (the wifi plug-in board) and the STM32 (main MPU) are pre-loaded.

The "UART Update" field on the GUI can be given a stm32_vcu.bin file to update the firmware. Note that at this time, loading via Windows 10 is suspect and may lock you out of the board. Ubuntu works best.

Unless you have a specific reason not to, end users should use a released version from: https://github.com/damienmaguire/Stm32-vcu/releases.


By using the ST-Link V2 in-circuit loader, .hex files can be sent to the board to initialize a fresh STM32 MCU, or if it can't be loaded via the bootloader.

Unless you have a specific reason not to, end users should use a released version from: https://github.com/damienmaguire/Stm32-vcu/releases.


The connections needed to use the ST-Link loader are shown below:

0B35D4F9-BA64-46E7-A570-A0CE1D619D63.jpg

Initializing an ISA Shunt

Under Comms in the web interface, there is now an ISAMode option. By default its in "Normal" (Off on Rev 2). If you want to initialize a new shunt, connect it up, power on the shunt and vcu, select "Init" (On on Rev 2), hit save parameters to flash. Power cycle the vcu and shunt at same time (they should be on same 12v feed anyway). The shunt will initialize. Select ISAMode "normal" (Off on Rev 2), save to flash again and reboot again. The shunt should now be up and running. If the shunt doesn't initialise correctly, separate the shunt and VCU supplies and power cycle the VCU two or three seconds after the shunt power is cycled. This has fixed an initialise issue for a number of ISA shunts and possibly requires a VCU code fix that delays the initialising for a few seconds to allow the shunt to power up.

Pin Input/Output and functions

Zombieverter has a number of selectable input/output pins that can be used for a number of functions. These pins are:

Low side Outputs.

  • GP Out 3
  • GP Out 2
  • Neg Contactor switch/GP Out 1
  • Trans SL1- (If not using the GS450H)
  • TransSL2- (If not using the GS450H)

Low side output connect to ground when activated. The low side outputs in Zombie are ideal for switching relays, such as for coolant pumps.

High side PWM.

  • PWM 3
  • PWM 2
  • PWM 1

These are high side 12v outputs, usually for controlling gauges or auxiliary items than need a pwm signals. They are not suitable for controlling relays.

Pin functions:

Note: While the web interface will allow input pins to be set to output and vice versa this will not actually work.

  • ChaDemoAIw - OUTPUT - used as part of the Chademo charging protocol for the charge allow output to the charger.
  • OBCEnable - OUTPUT: activates as part of the ExtCharger module
  • HeaterEnable - OUTPUT: activates only in run mode and when coolant pump is on
  • RunIndication - OUTPUT: activates when zombie is in run mode
  • WarnIndication - OUTPUT
  • CoolantPump - OUTPUT: activates during precharge, usually used for coolant pumps
  • NegContactor - OUTPUT: activates during precharge for negative contactor
  • BrakeLight - OUTPUT: activates when brake input is detected
  • ReverseLight - OUTPUT: activates when direction is reverse
  • BrakeVacPump DIGITAL OUTPUT: when BrakeVacSensor below threshold this is turned on.
  • HeatReq - DIGITAL INPUT
  • HVRequest - DIGITAL INPUT
  • ProxPilot - ANALOGUE INPUT - detect a charging cable plug in, requires external resistors, values depend on type 1 or type 2
  • BrakeVacSensor - ANALOGUE INPUT - read a vacuum sensor and turn on the BrakeVacPump DIGITAL OUTPUT

Proximity Pilot

This analogue input used to detect a charging cable is plugged in.

ZombiePP.png

A resistor to the 5v needs to be connected to the analogue in pin, 330 ohms in the spec, and R5 needs to be another resistor between analogue in pin and ground. Type 1 connectors should be a 2.7k ohm resistor and type 2 should be 4.7k ohm. Note the charging port may already have this resistor installed.

Open up the Zombie UI and choose ProxPilot for the function of the analogue in pin. Then start plotting PPVal and then plug in, you can then use this to select your PPThreshold. Bare in mind the resistance will vary on the cable plugged in depending on the Amps it can supply.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3c4V8vMb6k Video here for the setup and demonstration.

Supported OEM Hardware

  • Nissan Leaf Gen1/2/3 inverter via CAN
  • Nissan Leaf Gen2 PDM (Charger and DCDC)
  • chademo
  • VW PHEV EBox shunt
  • BMW SBox module
  • CCS DC fast charge via BMW i3 LIM - currently type 2 only, type 1 under development
  • Lexus GS450h inverter / gearbox via sync serial
  • Toyota Prius/Yaris/Auris Gen 3 inverters via sync serial
  • outlander obc (on board charger, dcdc converter)
  • Mitsubishi outlander motors/inverter
  • subaru can support
  • 1998-2005 BMW 3-series (E46) CAN support
  • 1996-2003 BMW 5-series (E39) CAN support
  • 2001-2008 BMW 7-series (E65) CAN Support
  • Mid-2000s VAG CAN support
  • Opel Ampera / Chevy Volt 6.5kw cabin heater

Troubleshooting

Serial Connection

If you're having trouble connecting using the serial interface, note that the parameters are 115200 8-N-2, which is different from the conventional 115200 8-N-1.

References