Ground Fault Diagnostics for Automotive Electronic Control Units



Published Feb 13, 2023
Xinyu Du Shengbing Jiang Dongyi Zhou Alaeddin Bani Milhim Hossein Sadjadi


An electronic control unit (ECU) with a floating ground is not able to receive or transmit messages or participate in controller area network (CAN) communication. The absence of any ECU, either temporarily or permanently, negatively impacts vehicle functionalities. The offset ground, which by itself will not affect bus functionalities if the grounding resistance is small, however, may evolve into a floating ground or behave similarly if the resistance is large. In this work, the correlation among ground faults, either offset or floating, and CAN bus voltage or messages are analyzed based on the equivalent circuit models and the bus protocol. A voltage-based solution to detect ground faults is proposed. With the help of bus messages, both faults can be isolated at the ECU level. Considering the inherent system delay between the message fetching and voltage measurement, a normalized voltage-message correlation approach with the bus load estimation is developed as well. All proposed approaches are implemented to an Arduino-based embedded system and validated on a vehicle frame.

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CAN, Vehicle, Diagnostics

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