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Hi,
I posted this question before in a different thread but got no answers. I am dismayed how few customization options I have in my newly bought 2012. And frustrated about the things which need fixing. Like the absence of a turn off button for the radio, the none functioning button to turn off the screen (which displays an ad instead), the stupidity of having a steering wheel mute button instead of a pause button (like try to find the spot where you left off in an audio book which you paused an hour ago), getting rid of swoosh sounds and video effects, etc, etc.

I am frustrated that GM does not allow owners to customize the vehicle to their liking or to fix the problems. But since it's all run by a computer, surely someone must have hacked into it. Can anyone tell me how to do that or how to find more information on the subject? I just don't want to live with what a Chevy software engineer 5 years ago deemed good enough.

Lastly, is there a software update so Apple car play gets installed on the system?

Thank you
 

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You bought the wrong car...:rolleyes:
 

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You need to read the manual.

Most of the things you want are already programmed into the Volt. Examples:

1. turn the volume all the way down on the radio/music, and it will stay down until you turn it back up. There is also a preset in the configurations which sets what volume the actual radio defaults to each time you start the car.

2. You can pause audio with the pause button to the right of the volume knob, and restart it anytime at the same point it was paused by hitting the pause button again. This works especially well if you put your audio stuff on an USB stick and play them through the Volt's USB port.

3. The swoosh sounds have their own separate volume and it can be adjusted up or down while they are playing only, without affecting other sound sources.

4. Bluetooth phone calls also have their own independent volume setting, as does the navigation voice instructions.

5. No, there is no support for Apple Carplay in the gen 1 Volts, because carplay didnt exist in 2010 when the Volt's radio hardware/software was designed and programmed. You will have to purchase a 2016 or newer Volt, (or any other brand) to get those features.

6. The reason the center display never turns completely off is because nearly every sound plays through the audio system, so it has to remain on at all times if the car is on.
 

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Wow! Thanks for all the info. All good, except #6. It is possible to turn off the screen when clicking through menus. Just the off button does not work to turn it off and I would love to get rid of the ad.

Lastly, in response to upper5percent: Well, does GM expect to come out with a new technology and then not have tinkerers and tech people buy their cars? I am one who wants to understand everything and to have complete control of my car. The Volt more so than any other. I mean we guys wouldnt be here on this forum if we weren't interested in the technology, right? Thank you
 

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Well, does GM expect to come out with a new technology and then not have tinkerers and tech people buy their cars? I am one who wants to understand everything and to have complete control of my car.
I am confused. If you are a tinkerer and a tech person, shouldn't you be posting here about how that is done rather than asking how to do it? And what happens when your tinkering contributes to an issue or in the extreme causes an accident? Painting the car, changing wheels, etc. is one thing. altering the code that controls so many aspects of the car seems at least a little bit risky. Especially if you are not well versed in the intricacies of the code.

From a practical matter, cars can have software glitches that may require a warranty repair. Now layer on top of that some hacking you have done and if I were GM I'd disavow your warranty based on you messing with the code. If I were going to go down this road, I would at least wait until my warranties had expired.
 

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Wow! Thanks for all the info. All good, except #6. It is possible to turn off the screen when clicking through menus. Just the off button does not work to turn it off and I would love to get rid of the ad.

Lastly, in response to upper5percent: Well, does GM expect to come out with a new technology and then not have tinkerers and tech people buy their cars? I am one who wants to understand everything and to have complete control of my car. The Volt more so than any other. I mean we guys wouldnt be here on this forum if we weren't interested in the technology, right? Thank you
I don't remember details, but there may be an option to display a JPG of your choice instead of the Volt screen through the USB port? You might search the archive to verify.
 

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I don't remember details, but there may be an option to display a JPG of your choice instead of the Volt screen through the USB port? You might search the archive to verify.
IN the config menu there is an option to completely turn off the display, radio still works.
 

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I too am amazed after searching this websight there are not a lot of hackers/modifiers like we have at the 1st gen Honda Insight forum: http://www.insightcentral.net/forums.
But, I realized the Volt is still too new. We have guys on the Insight forum that can get over 120mpg. I just got 78mpg coming to work in my insight and at $2 a gal thats .025cents a mile and I took my IMA battery out this year so that is all gas.

I do love the volt, it was made for anyone to get in an drive just like the Prius-Leaf-Tesla etc. It is a cool car. Once the warranties go off the hackers will have a field day-i hope.
 

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I too am amazed after searching this websight there are not a lot of hackers/modifiers like we have at the 1st gen Honda Insight forum: http://www.insightcentral.net/forums.
But, I realized the Volt is still too new. We have guys on the Insight forum that can get over 120mpg. I just got 78mpg coming to work in my insight and at $2 a gal thats .025cents a mile and I took my IMA battery out this year so that is all gas.

I do love the volt, it was made for anyone to get in an drive just like the Prius-Leaf-Tesla etc. It is a cool car. Once the warranties go off the hackers will have a field day-i hope.
You do realize that this is primarily an ELECTRIC vehicle forum...:rolleyes:
 

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This might be the right place...How to display operating parameters?...coolant temperatures, battery temp, ICE temp, oil pressure, RPM, motor RPM, normal stuff!
 

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This might be the right place...How to display operating parameters?...coolant temperatures, battery temp, ICE temp, oil pressure, RPM, motor RPM, normal stuff!
Knowing those numbers, how would it change the way you drove your Volt?

Once autonomous vehicles arrive...individual hacks may be looked at as criminal negligence...especially if that "hacked" vehicle were to be in an accident...:rolleyes:
 

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I am confused. If you are a tinkerer and a tech person, shouldn't you be posting here about how that is done rather than asking how to do it? And what happens when your tinkering contributes to an issue or in the extreme causes an accident? Painting the car, changing wheels, etc. is one thing. altering the code that controls so many aspects of the car seems at least a little bit risky. Especially if you are not well versed in the intricacies of the code.

From a practical matter, cars can have software glitches that may require a warranty repair. Now layer on top of that some hacking you have done and if I were GM I'd disavow your warranty based on you messing with the code. If I were going to go down this road, I would at least wait until my warranties had expired.
wouldnt it be insane to undergo a project like this without seeking collaborative help?

Highly doubt changing the startup sound or the image displayed in the radio will mess with the primary drive functions of the car, IIRC they are two separate systems. The car still drives normally even if the radio tanks.

The community in this forum is overly harsh of people just looking to personalize their cars, I would even go so far as to say its discouraged.
 

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wouldnt it be insane to undergo a project like this without seeking collaborative help?

Highly doubt changing the startup sound or the image displayed in the radio will mess with the primary drive functions of the car, IIRC they are two separate systems. The car still drives normally even if the radio tanks.

The community in this forum is overly harsh of people just looking to personalize their cars, I would even go so far as to say its discouraged.
I think it will become more open in time. As mentioned in this thread, the Volt is still a newish-vehicle that has significantly changed from 2011 to 2016. You will also always have those who say (quite correctly) that there is not much to change in the code that would not have some Other negative impact that the coder might not even see.

However, the Chevy Volt's battery is (I have found) considered a very Good EV battery (if one can get/afford them). I even bought a 72v piece of the main battery for which the seller provided analog BMSs. I'm now in the process of getting a full battery, and very much want to communicate with it for statistics gathering (not "hacking" it). Using the battery outside of a volt for a custom EV definitely creates a need to understand the CAN and Serial messages that BMS and Energy Control Module send out.

After starting my own EV project to build a large-sized, wheeled droid, I fell in love with the Volt (and I don't even own one - yet), and have spent weeks reading threads and information about the Volt. Today I got a set of service manuals so that I can Really understand what the battery and EV components do, what they say to one another, and how I can utilize that in my project.

So in conclusion, folks should keep an open mind about people wanting to talk to their Volt's computers - but I also agree with the Caution they recommend. Sometimes it comes across as harshness, but the truth is that we can cause major problems by changing the computer's code. I absolutely support folks wanting to do it, and I agr
 

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wouldnt it be insane to undergo a project like this without seeking collaborative help?

Highly doubt changing the startup sound or the image displayed in the radio will mess with the primary drive functions of the car, IIRC they are two separate systems. The car still drives normally even if the radio tanks.

The community in this forum is overly harsh of people just looking to personalize their cars, I would even go so far as to say its discouraged.
It's easier to provide reasons to not do something than it is to say "I don't know how." There's a fuzzy line at what's really the case, though, of "not only do I not know how, nobody knows how outside of Chevy." The discouragement is all involved in elaborating reasons why it's not in Chevy's interests to help it happen, especially on cars they've already been paid for.
 

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Knowing those numbers, how would it change the way you drove your Volt?

Once autonomous vehicles arrive...individual hacks may be looked at as criminal negligence...especially if that "hacked" vehicle were to be in an accident...:rolleyes:
Good reason to ban and ridicule the idea of autonomous cars.

We don't need more motivation to increase incompetance.
 

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Good reason to ban and ridicule the idea of autonomous cars.

We don't need more motivation to increase incompetance.
Heh. By that logic, we should probably ban shade-tree wrenching on any car system that's critical to the safety of others. No at-home work on brakes, suspension, emissions, ignition systems, etc. You'll be able to change the cabin air filter and hang a fresh little tree air freshener and that's about it... :)
 

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The security of gen 1 Volt software was created no later than 2010. It is now 2016. In terms of the never-ending battle between security makers and security breakers, that's forever. As for source code, programs are around to take obfuscated binary programs and recreate the source code without the meaningful labels and comments that hackers don't need anyway.

The reason we don't see the obvious hacks, such as digging deeper into the battery capacity, is that there's not enough money in it.

In the world of cyber security internals, the good guys make $170K+ and the bad guys do much better. How many gen 1 Volts are out there? How many owners haven't read their warranty and so are afraid of "bricking" the whole warranty? How many owners are willing to pay thousands of dollars for a good hack?

The only chance of a hack deep into the EV code is some bright high school student who takes it as a personal challenge.

BTW, if the Volt code is so scrambled that changing the switch-over point from EV to ICE mode can destabilize safety systems, GM needs to hire some more professional programmers.
 

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This might be the right place...How to display operating parameters?...coolant temperatures, battery temp, ICE temp, oil pressure, RPM, motor RPM, normal stuff!
Try MyGreenVolt.com for this. It is an android app that will give you the information along with a bluetooth ODB2 plugged into the car.
 

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But since it's all run by a computer, surely someone must have hacked into it. Can anyone tell me how to do that or how to find more information on the subject? I just don't want to live with what a Chevy software engineer 5 years ago deemed good enough.
  1. Extract the software from the radio.
  2. Decipher the software.
  3. Modify the software to do what you want.
  4. Inject the new software back into the radio (fulfilling any verification measures needed).
  5. Enjoy your perfectly tweaked radio.
The fancier these things get, the harder they are to "hack into". To protect their IP and avoid malicious software, they're purposely designed to be hard to hack (ideally, they'd like it to be impossible).

"Decipher the software" is purposely vague. You need to tear apart the program and figure out how it works. You're disassembling the executable, not looking through someone's poorly documented source code.

Once you've figured out how it works, then you can figure out how to change it to get your desired results. Depending on what you want to do and how the program works, the difficulty will vary. You might be able to change a logo by simply replacing a chunk of data with your own picture's data, or it might be some non-standard proprietary format that you have to decipher just to get your image in the right format. What you want to do might not be possible in the factory code, so you might have to write your own compatible functions and figure out how to get the radio to accept them. Your resulting program might be too big, so then you have to figure out what factory code you can strip out to make room for your new stuff, or find a different way of doing things that requires less code.

Then you just put the finished product back into the radio. There's probably a bit of verification in the code (to ensure it doesn't get corrupted), but not real security. If they really wanted to, it would be easy to design the hardware to run only code signed by GM. In that case, you'd need access to GM's internal software tools to authorize your modified code, or you'd have to defeat the signing system itself.

And then a year later, GM changes the radio hardware and everything you did is no longer applicable. It's a lot of work for relatively little reward.


Things like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will make this less of an issue in the future. With those, your car's radio hardware essentially becomes just another set of controls for your phone. The phone has all the smarts, and the radio just displays the image and sends commands to the phone. Your infotainment system gets upgraded every time your phone or one of its apps gets upgraded. The radio will still require OE software for basic functions without a phone, but they'll be able to stop trying to cram every popular new smartphone feature into a radio (usually poorly), and just access your popular new smartphone features directly on your phone.

Unfortunately, those are still relatively new. There's not a ton of support for them in the radios yet, and a lot of apps haven't been coded to support that mode. I don't think it should be too hard for them to add it to existing radios with an update, but I don't see them spending much effort on older models that have already been sold.


The security of gen 1 Volt software was created no later than 2010. It is now 2016. In terms of the never-ending battle between security makers and security breakers, that's forever.
The current standard TLS 1.2 that's used to secure all websites is from 2008. The SSL vulnerabilities from the past few years have been against old versions from the '90s (which were kept around for backwards-compatibility). Assuming it was properly implemented with decent parameters (even the strongest lock is easy to bypass if there are only 4 possible combinations to unlock it), the security should be acceptable for many years to come.

Most likely, there's minimal security, but tons of complexity and no public information about it.
 
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