Smart Sensor Simulator 2

The Smart Sensor Simulator 2 (SSS2) is a device that emulate the electronic systems of a truck. This “truck-in-a-box” technology enables investigators to retrieve data out of electronic control units (ECUs) from damaged vehicles and perform a forensically sound bench-top download. The SSS2 can provide a fault-free environment for a forensically neutral download of the data contained in an ECU. The SSS2 is adjustable by the user with our Smart Sensor Simulator Interface program so a single SSS2 can provide solutions across the wide array of ECUs found on the road.

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Smart Sensor Simulator 2

The Smart Sensor Simulator 2 is a small package to simulate a big truck. The SSS2 creates an electrically equivalent system to emulate the sensors, actuators, power and communications found on an actual vehicle. You can use any RP1210 device to connect to the SSS2 through its built-in 9-pin connector. You can also use the Forensic Link Adapter to perform a benchtop download with the SSS2.

The Smart Sensor Simulator 2 provides a necessary connection between any vehicle diagnostics adapter (VDA) and an electronic control unit (ECU). It comes in three parts:

  1. The SSS2 electronics in the 5″ x 4″ x 1.5″ aluminum enclosure.
  2. A cable system to interface the 42 pins of the SSS2 to the ECU.
  3. The Smart Sensor Simulator Interface with settings files to adjust the SSS2 electronics according to the desired application.

Additional supporting pieces include a USB cable and an 11.5 amp +12VDC power supply (Mean Well GST160A12-R7B). All the components with multiple cables can fit in a carrying case that is the same size as the original blue Smart Sensor Simulator.

How to use the SSS2 with its Interface App

The SSS2 configuration is changed by sending the unit commands over the USB connection. The Interface App has all these commands laid out in a graphical format so you can easily adjust the settings to accommodate the programmed configuration of any ECU. If you need some pre-defined settings, the SSS2 Interface App contains a default directory of common ECUs. These .SSS2 files can also be downloaded individually. Click here for additional information on using the Interface Application.

Smart Sensor Simulator Interface

A Graphical User Interface (GUI) to set configurations for the SSS2 to accommodate different ECUs for the entire fleet. This enables you to have just one Smart Sensor Simulator 2 for all your electronic control unit interface needs.

Current Release:

SetupSSS2Interface-1.0.5.exe (Try this in case your computer restricts downloading executable files.)

This installer includes a serial driver to communicate with SSS2 from Windows 7 and 8. Windows 10 should already have the driver installed. You may need administrator privileges.

The latest set of SSS2 settings files are available as a .zip file.

See Release Notes for previous releases.

Click here for additional information on using the Interface Application.

Smart Sensor Simulator 2 Cables and Setting Files

Select the links below the photo tiles to download the .SSS2 settings file for the corresponding cable. For some cables there will be multiple files. These files were produced for individual ECMs and may not be appropriate for all control modules. Even if ECMs look alike, the programming on the inside may be different. This means using these cables and the SSS2 may still produce fault codes on the ECM. The settings file and the SSS2 should be tested on an exemplar unit before performing a forensic download.

Right click on the links and “Save Link As…” to save the settings files to your computer.

Detroit Diesel DDEC 10/13

The DDEC 13 CPC4 from 2016 DD15 with a TCM  custom settings file produces the appropriate CAN messages, LIN messages and potentiometer settings to simulate a fault free environment for some CPC4 units from Detroit Diesel DD13 and DD15 engines. This settings file has the appropriate CAN messages to emulate the connection with a Transmission Control Module, Aftertreatment Control Module, and a Motor Control Module. The DDEC13 PTCAN messages are at 666 kbaud.

Newer CPC4 modules with a yellow label that come from a truck with a green cab connector will run J1939 at 500k. The means the SSS2 communications need to be set for 500k. A file from a Freightliner M2 business class truck is available as DDEC 13 CPC4 for 500k J1939 with TCM. These modules are highly customized which means testing with an exemplar is necessary to achieve a fault free downloading environment. Otherwise, the DDEC Reports diagnostic records may be compromised if fault conditions exist during the download.


This cable works with the default settings. This is for communications, power, and ignition only. Using this cable will produce new fault codes.

Bendix In-Cab

The Bendix In-Cab Settings is setup for a cable has a 17 pin connector on it that has a special key so the truck can detect if the cable is unplugged from the ECU. It also powers on the Bendix Controller with a lower voltage (around 8 volts), which keeps the controller from overwriting any existing fault codes. This cable will work on the EC-60 and EC-80 series controllers.

Mercedes Benz Engines

The MBE VCU Only settings file contains the information needed to simulate a connection to the PLD for a fault free download in DDEC Reports. The MBE PT-CAN messages are at 125 kbaud.

Cummins CM500 Series

The CM500 Series cables are enabled with the default file settings. These are communications cables only and will set new fault codes. They use the Deutsch 40 pin connector with  Key #1.

Cummins CM800 Series

The CM800 Series cables are enabled with the default file settings. These are communications cables only and will set new fault codes. They use the Deutsch 40 pin connector with  Key #4. These cables will connect to the Cummins CM850, CM870, CM871, and the CM875.

A custom CM870 cable with both connectors for full engine simulation is a special order item.

Cummins CM2350

This is a communications cable only for the Cummins CM2350 found on most newer Cummins engines. This works with the default settings. Communications only cables will still set fault codes.

Caterpillar ADEM III/2000

The settings for a fault free Caterpillar 70-pin module depends on the engine serial number prefix. The following settings files are available for the ADEM III ECMs:

Caterpillar ADEM3 BSX
Caterpillar ADEM3 CKM

Smart Sensor Simulator 2 Features and Functions

User Panel of the SSS2

A description of the panel and features on the left side of the Smart Sensor Simulator 2.

End Panel Description:

The following are in order from left to right as you look at the end of the SSS2:

  1. Vehicle Interface Cable with a Male/Female 9-pin connector. This connector enables you to compose multiple SSS2 units to create a system of interconnected ECUs.
  2. USB interface cable to communicate with a computer over a USB/Serial connection. The drivers for this connection are included in the Smart Sensor Simulator Interface Software.
  3. Power input from a +12VDC source. The SSS2 uses a Kycon KPJX-4S-S jack and the power supply uses a Kycon KPPx-4P plug.
  4. The Red LED indicator shows solid red when the unit is powered up. If J1939 network traffic is present, this LED will flicker at a rate reflecting the J1939 busload.
  5. The Green LED indicator shows when the key switch is on. If there is network traffic on the J1708 network or the second CAN channel, this LED will flicker.
  6. User input knob. Pressing this knob for more than 2 seconds can cycle the key switch relay. The key switch relay is also controlled from the SSS Interface software.

Definitions and Capabilities:

CAN – Controller Area Network up to 1M bits/sec

LIN – Local Interconnect Network. This is programmed to simulate the shifter lever on Freightliners with an automated transmission.

PWM – Pulse Width Modulated with adjustable frequency and duty cycle. These are 0 to 5V square wave signals.

Digital Potentiometers

The digital potentiometers are 12V tolerant devices with independent terminal connection control. A potentiometer has three terminals: Terminal A, the Wiper, and Terminal B connected to ground. The potentiometer is rated to have a resistance from Terminal A to Terminal B. The wiper picks off from along the resistor string. The terminals can be configured to open and close independently. This gives you the ability to connect the potentiometer as a voltage divider, resistance to ground, or resistance to a high source. The terminals are connected by selecting the checkboxes on the SSS Interface under the Digital Potentiometers tab.

Digital potentiometers can simulate signals that are used for

  • Temperature Sensors
  • Pressure Sensors
  • Analog Accelerator Pedals
  • Actuator Presence (i.e. the presence of an actuator)

The digital potentiometers used in the SSS2 are the MCP41HV51  and MCP45HV51. The digital potentiometers have a limit such that the wiper plus the terminal is between 250 to 300 ohms.

Analog Output

Analog outputs generate signals from 0 to 5 V. The signal is generated by a Digital to Analog Converter (TI DAC7678) and buffered with an op-amp. Each signal is capable of sourcing 25 mA. 

Analog Outputs can simulate signals for:

  • Pressure Sensors
  • Switches to ground (by setting the output voltage to 0)

Analog outputs are similar to a voltage divider when examining the signal with a meter. However, voltage dividers based on a potentiometer sink current and Analog outputs can both sink and source current.

Cable connections for the SSS2

A description of the pin outs for the SSS2.

The following are in order from left to right as you look at the end of the SSS2:

24 Pin Molex Connector:

Cable connector is Molex part number 39-01-2180.

  1. Digital Potentiometer (10k) or PWM5*
  2. Digital Potentiometer (10k) or PWM6*
  3. Digital Potentiometer (10k) or CAN1L*
  4. Digital Potentiometer (10k) or CAN1H*
  5. Digital Potentiometer (10k)
  6. Digital Potentiometer (100k)
  7. Digital Potentiometer (100k)
  8. Digital Potentiometer (100k)
  9. Digital Potentiometer (10k)
  10. Digital Potentiometer (100k) or Analog Out – B
  11. Digital Potentiometer (10k) or +12V Output
  12. Digital Potentiometer (100k) or Ground Output
  13. Digital Potentiometer (10k) or PWM1
  14. Digital Potentiometer (100k) or PWM2
  15. Digital Potentiometer (10k) or Analog Out – A*
  16. Digital Potentiometer (100k) or LIN
  17. CAN2L or J1708-
  18. CAN2H or J1708+
  19. High Current Regulator Adjustable Output
  20. Ignition Switch (+12V Relay)
  21. J1939H
  22. J1939L
  23. +12V Output (protected)
  24. Ground

18 Pin Molex Connector:

Cable connector is Molex part number 39-01-2240.

  1. Ground Out or PWM4
  2. Analog Out – A
  3. Analog Out – B
  4. Analog Out – C
  5. Analog Out – D
  6. Analog Out – E
  7. Analog Out – F
  8. Analog Out – G
  9. Analog Out – H
  10. +12V Output or PWM3
  11. High Current Regulator Adjustable Output
  12. Digital Potentiometer or PWM4*
  13. Digital Potentiometer
  14. Digital Potentiometer
  15. CAN2L or PWM1
  16. CAN2H or PWM2
  17. Battery + Input (unprotected)
  18. Ground

*Only on Hardware Revision 5 and up.

Pulse Width Modulated Output

Pulse width modulated outputs are square waves from zero to +5V that have an adjustable frequency and duty cycle. These signals can be used to simulate analog values by adjusting the duty cycle. In other words, a voltmeter will read between 0 and 5v based on the duty cycle. A duty cycle of 0 means the output is driven to ground through an op-amp. A 100% duty cycle means the signal is alway on at +5v. The frequency can be set from 0 to 5000 Hz. 

Pulse width modulated signals are the only way to simulate throttle position sensors for some ECUs, like Caterpillar and PACCAR MX.

These signals can also be used to generate speed signals for researching event data recorder capabilities.

The Smart Sensor Simulator 2 is an open design developed by Dr. Jeremy Daily, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Tulsa. The details of the system including the circuit schematics and firmware are available on his Github repository.