The Airheads Beemer Club is a non-profit club reclaiming the 'Legendary Motorcycles of Germany'

[ ad supports Snowbum's website ]

CAN-BUS and OBDII. What are they?
What's the future?
What about WiFi in vehicles (for diagnostics!)?
Telematics? Charging cautions!
(with an addendum for the Nerdy about other systems)
© Copyright, 2014, 2017, R. Fleischer

Can-bus is being discussed here primarily to give you some knowledge about it, even though it is not used on Airheads.

Can-Bus is the same as  CANBUSS, CAN-BUSS, Canbus, CanBus). OBD means On Board Diagnostics. OBDII or OBD2 is the second version, in very common use now. Can-Bus MAY be associated with OBD in a vehicle, and it may not be.

Can-Bus is a method, hardware & software; to enable communications between 'electrical & electronics things' on your vehicle; these 'things' can also be mechanical, with electrical sensors. Can-Bus stands for Controller Area Network, & the 'Bus' part is explained later herein.

As you will see in the section on the future, it can do a lot more than just in-vehicle communications between 'things'. While Can-Bus will be mostly discussed here, as it is installed by BMW in your bike (was not in Airheads), etc., the information may be similar for any system such as all the varieties of OBDII....all modern cars have such a system; & a diagnostic plug to access it. Can-Bus systems have the ability to transmit information between components at high speed, & to actually make changes in the operation of items. OBD can do some of that, but most think OBD is just diagnostic, retaining information in memory, until downloaded for diagnostic work, or such work can include erasing memory, modifying how systems work, etc. But, that is not really true can be a serious part of actually operating the vehicle systems.

BMW decided to reduce the number of electrical wires & connections & hopefully reduce electrical problems, by operating just about everything, to the extent possible, using digital electronics. There are some definite advantages, such as weight saving; manufacturing labor; & the potential for much higher reliability; only a few wires are needed for most anything. In addition (and more importantly), the ability for the computer(s) to monitor & talk to each other about just about any function, & particularly in a very short time period, is greatly enhanced. There are other reasons for going to something like Can-bus. Vehicles are becoming vastly more complicated, so more & more computers or mini-computer elements are needed to monitor, produce or accept information from each other. There are even more reasons, which I will also get into.

This remainder of this article is only available for Airheads Beemer Club members. Please Log In..or..Click Here to join the Airheads Beemer Club, after which you will enjoy access this article and all members only content of the ABC web site. 

Return to Tech Tips

Connect to Snowbum's HomePage