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Introduction to M2

M2 by Macchina is a key to unlock the control center of your car. Once you are in, M2 can then be used to make changes and tweaks to your car. You can do anything from simple projects like stopping that annoying ding to more complex upgrades like unlocking more horsepower or improving fuel economy. M2 arrives to you as a blank key - you have to cut it yourself. Learning how to cut that key (reverse engineering, writing code, and plain-old tinkering) is the fun and challenging part, but don't worry you can do it, because a community of car nerds already exists. The community supports each other and you by sharing what we have learned and discovered together.


M2 is ready


M2 is an open source automotive interface that can take your car to the next level. Use it to unlock your car's potential or as a development platform for your next product. M2 was engineered to facilitate many uses for most cars. We set out to build a platform of modular pieces that works for beginners and professionals alike. We crammed all of this in a small format at an affordable price.

(We don’t claim to be experts in video production, only hardware production.)


M2 is Capable


M2 is a general purpose development platform that will work as a core building block for just about any automotive project. Most beginning car hackers will be able to tackle projects like simple modifications for customization or data collection for diagnostics. Tuning a car for more HP or MPG is possible, but not yet easy; this is a great example of an ambitious project experienced developers could pursue.

Some of the first adopters of M2 were Security Researchers, and it remains a great platform for their work. We work with a many companies that want to leverage our experience and existing hardware to get their projects off to a faster start. M2 can also be used to make your car safer by tracking its location and other telematic data. Telematics isn’t just for safety; race teams, parents and fleets are all looking for more insight into their cars.


M2 is Universal


M2 has the protocols and libraries to work with any car that isn't older than Google and plenty that are. We've made sure to design our interface circuitry to work with every car built after 1996 when the OBD2 (On-Board-Diagnostics) standard was made mandatory in the US. However, several car manufacturers already met this standard even before 1996.

The most common protocol is CAN. First deployed in the 1980’s, it gained wide adoption quickly and can be found in almost any car made from 2007 and on. M2 is also ready to work with protocols like LIN and Single Wire CAN that continue to see wide adoption in new cars. We are additionally supporting older protocols like J1850, K-line, and KWP2000, and many less popular protocols will be possible to support with our current hardware.


M2 is Familiar


M2 is based on the Arduino Due. If you have any previous experience with the Arduino platform, you can leverage existing code, libraries, tutorials, and established communities. Don’t worry if you you’re not a coding expert - this is a fantastic development platform built for newcomers and professionals alike.

Arduino is great for beginners and others looking to get things done quickly, but it’s not the only way to work with M2. People and companies are coding with M2 in a number of ways from Simulink to good old C++. These options provide greater flexibility; as you learn or your projects change M2 can change with you.


M2 is Adaptable


M2 has two installation options. The simple plug-and-play under-the-dash (UTD) solution makes it easy to get started if what you are looking for can be found through the OBD2 port. The OBD2 port is located under the dash on the driver’s side. For many projects this will be all you need. M2 blows every other car dongle out of the water in terms of speed, features, and long term support.

The wired under-the-hood (UTH) solution is also available for a more permanent installation. Maybe you are concerned about leg room and want an adapter cable to connect M2 to the OBD2 Port. You could also skip OBD2 all together, find the right wires and tap into the network directly. In some cases, this can open your project up to networks that might not be on the OBD connector. It can also help keep M2 out of view and hidden.


M2 is Compact


The area under the dash and the gaps under the hood are very small, so we made M2 as tiny as we could (2.22" x 1.60" x 0.62" or 56.4mm x 40.6mm x 15.7mm). Shrinking the Arduino Due by well over 50% was no small task! You will be amazed at how densely packed M2 is with parts and how small it actually is in real life.


M2 is Connectable


M2 accommodates a wide variety of wireless options using the popular DIGI XBee form factor socket. Many inexpensive, plug-and-play boards already exist including BLE, WIFI, GSM, 3G, LTE, GPS and others. You can even reprogram M2 wirelessly.

Connect your car to the web, phones, satellites, IoT devices, or the cloud. Many applications have different wireless needs so we went the route of making it completely modular. Pick what you need when you need it.


M2 is Breakout...able


M2's breakout board lets you use your own processor board and save money - just wire it up and get coding! We know everyone has their favorite go-to board and it doesn’t matter if it’s a Raspberry Pi, another Arduino, an Intel Edison, or something you built yourself.

There are many advantages to using the board we created specifically for M2, but you may find applications where you prefer something else. In that case, we still want you to be a part of the community! The modular nature of M2 doesn’t lock you into anything so you can always change your mind.


M2 is a Platform


Automotive interfacing circuits won’t change as quickly as microprocessor technology. M2's modular approach allows for simple and inexpensive upgrades. The platform consists of three main interchangeable components: an XBee board, a Processor board, and an Interface board.

With this modular approach, you have an almost infinite number of possible combinations. So, we are sure you will be able to create the exact feature set your project requires. Upgrades and changing your mind will be painless and inexpensive.


M2 is Affordable


The one thing that all car hobbyists can agree on is that playing with cars isn't cheap. Open source hardware is the answer! M2 is feature-packed and can go toe-to-toe with more expensive professional solutions.

There isn’t anything on the market that can compete with M2 on a price per feature basis. We keep our prices as low as possible so that the community can be as large and inclusive as possible!


More about the Processor Board


We decided to make further improvements to M2 by using the High Speed SD card interface and writing the appropriate firmware libraries to allow for faster data logging. We also added several LED options and a couple switches for a more pleasant development experience. Lastly, we tacked on a EEPROM to store variables after power is cut to M2.


More about the Interface Board


The goal for M2 is to interface and communicate with as many cars as possible. We crammed 2 channels of CAN, 2 channels of LIN/K-LINE, a J1850 VPW/PWM and even a single-wire CAN (GMLAN) interface onto the board.

Automotive environments require M2 to be seriously strong, so we built in plenty of protection circuitry. Lastly, we have 6 general purpose driver circuits, each of which can source and sink up to 1 amp of current at 12 volts! This makes M2 useful for cars that predate automotive networks.


Open Source Hardware


For M2 and Macchina to reach its full potential, we need a large, active, and engaged community. Open source hardware and software allow us to more quickly develop and iterate our designs with community feedback. We will learn from one another and create the best tools available.

To that end, we will release all design documentation to our development team once our campaign is over and we begin shipping beta units. Going forward, we will release updated design documentation as updated hardware is released.


Getting Started