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Monthly Archives: March 2015

Update Mar 30

By |March 30th, 2015|COMPONENT BUILD|0 Comments

No cutting today.
I have weighed most components to double check with the calculated weight in the cad model. So far all is good, my entry doors were actually 7kg lighter than assumed in the model. Windows, steps, legs, baggage doors, tanks were pretty much spot on.

Finished the program (sketch) for the Arduino to be functioning as a gateway between Ethernet and CAN bus.
Works well, have included a page on the website about that.

I also have received my current sensors for the Arduino and will connect and play with them tonight.
I will use those current sensors to monitor if actually […]

Water Quality Sensors

By |March 28th, 2015|COMPONENT BUILD|0 Comments

Another couple of sensors arrived and I put the boards together to connect them to the can bus. They are sensors to measure
salinity and water quality of the output of our water processor to automatically stop or redirect the output if quality goes below a given threshold. The important bit here is where and how to mount them to get reliable readings. I will have to experiment a bit.

I have also ordered inspection lids for my water tanks since I have to open them to install my senders. They all have pre installed fixed level probes, but I don’t […]

Gate Valve Control

By |March 28th, 2015|COMPONENT BUILD|0 Comments

On the electronic front I have done a few more things.
Designed, built and tested the Arduino interface for the electric gate valves for my holding tanks using a relay board to create the reverse polarity switch for the motor wires. Works well including a reed switch telling me via a digital input that the gate is actually open.

Above image shows the gate valve with the reed switch, currently just taped to the body. Will glue it though.
below is a schematic of the wiring for the gate valve and the picture below that shows the actual relay board.





Cutting Material

By |March 28th, 2015|CHASSIS BUILD|0 Comments

I made a bit of progress in several areas.
Cutting is going quite ok, have done the two beams with the most cuts. Two more with only a couple of cuts, because they are the main ones, and one more mixed length one.
The number of puzzle pieces is growing. We will start welding on the weekend after the next long one.

The picture below show the cut off of beam two. This is about the average cut off. Less then 10cm from a total of 49.5m.

Rear Deck – Thoughts

By |March 28th, 2015|CHASSIS BUILD|0 Comments

We had a discussion about the rear deck again and have decided that we want the deck but not the sky-deck from Melbourne for several reasons. One is price of course. 15k is over the top, but more importantly it has a design problem.
After looking closely and making a few calculations, and also some statements from the conversation on the phone made me sceptical. I was told that the sky-deck does not like a twisting body at all and that internal stiffening is important.
This made me think. The fact that the sky deck has only the support from the roof end […]

The First Cut

By |March 25th, 2015|CHASSIS BUILD|0 Comments

Today I adjusted the saw to a perfect 90 degree angle to the blade to make sure that I have very nice right angle cuts. I used one of the machined mounting blocks which I have from my machinist for the trailing arm hanger. These blocks are absolutely perfectly square and ideal for the job.

Having done that I realised that this angle is ok to adjust without additional tools but the other problem is the vertical angle. Over a length of 9m a minimal angle away from a perfect horizontal level will result in a not so perfect vertical […]

Ethernet CAN Bus Gateway

By |March 25th, 2015|CONCEPTS|0 Comments

The TAS has two Ethernet/CAN bus gateways for reason of redundancy. If one fails to respond the second one is activated to take over the message relais function. The gateway simply forwards the CAN bus message sent over Ethernet to the CAN bus client and realais the response back to the sender over Ethernet. I stated at another occasion that I decided to use the CAN bus because of the number of client processors and the fact that Ethernet would require far too many switches (ports) and cables to connect each client. The CAN bus is a real bus […]

Solar Panels Arrived

I added a couple of pages to the website.
One about the 240V system and one about my first cut with a little video of the saw in action.

I have adjusted the saw perfectly square and will get a laser level tomorrow for the vertical adjustment.

The solar panels came today, so now all my components for the 240V system are here, the batteries, inverter/charger,
solar charge controller and flexible solar panels.

The cables on the solar panels are pretty long, I will have to shorten them in groups of 4 because the panels will be rather close and I don’t like the long […]

Receiving components and thoughts

Done lots of things, little stuff but lots. Today I picked up the steel for the trailing arms and the rods to make the jig for the suspension hangers. Will talk about that later .. The trailing arms are made from 65x65x5 C450 galvanised steel (Duragal Plus).
I could get away with 4mm but decided to have more safety margin, I have a 6t rated chassis after all, so the trailing arms should not be the weakest link. I push comes to shove I can fit an air over hydraulic unit instead of the electric over hydraulic unit and go […]

CAN Bus Program

By |March 22nd, 2015|CONCEPTS|0 Comments

This chapter is not really for every one. Maybe a little too technical for the average auto electrician. This is an early version of an Arduino sketch for a network node reading temperature values from digital temperature sensors ($1.80 each) and sending the data to a gateway with Ethernet port to be forwarded to the central processor for processing and display. This is not a programming lesson, but the few who might be interested to see what an Arduino sketch looks like may have something to ponder over. For an IT person this is probably peanuts, since I used […]


By |March 22nd, 2015|CONCEPTS|0 Comments

All the electric signals in the van are going to be controlled by the TAS and all sensors have to be connected also. The signals and sensors are spread all over the van and it would be rather daunting to connect them all back to the central processor. One reduces the complexity of such an installation by building a network of nodes, which are processors handling local signals and being connected with each other for communication.

I am using Ethernet for some of the connections but with a larger amount of nodes in the network Ethernet is not really the […]

Machined Custom Parts

By |March 22nd, 2015|SETTING UP|0 Comments

Today I picked up all the parts for the running gear which were machined for me by George from J&L Engineering. Great man and very meticulous in his work, unlike some of the trailer places where you get told that 2mm play is good enough for a trailer.

Above pictures shows the mounting blocks with brass bushes, the suspension bolts (1.25″) with grease nipples and lock nuts. These blocks are going to be welded onto the trailing arm and are mounted onto the hanger plate with the bolts. It is a perfect fit, with less the .2mm play, just enough […]

A Van With A Balcony

By |March 21st, 2015|SPECIFICATIONS|0 Comments

After the last visit to the Caravan & Camping show I got some more homework to do. We have seen a caravan with a fold down deck. However it was in the front of the van over the A-frame, which is not really an option for us and it was done in a way I would not want to do it for our van.

The deck looked nice and all detail was well thought through, but there were a couple of aspects, which I would want to do differently. First of all it was too heavy with over 100kg added […]

Optimising Cuts

By |March 13th, 2015|SETTING UP|0 Comments

Cutting a long, custom made beam is a bit like formatting a long used hard drive. You never feel certain that you do the right thing. If a cut goes terribly wrong you are in trouble because the material is not retainable anymore or only at a great loss. So preparing the cuts is as important to me as the cutting itself.

I had done something like this before I actually ordered the material to optimise the beam length for the best price/length ratio. The longer and fewer beams the cheaper the whole lot with the constraint to meet the […]

Laser Cuts – Suspension Mount

By |March 12th, 2015|SETTING UP|0 Comments

Today I picked up the suspension mounts, counter plate and the airbag mount plate.

The pieces above need to be welded on the main mount plate and the little tabs are for location and strength. Everything fits perfect apart from a little mishap.

Something got lost in translation. I missed to specify the different thickness of the material. The counter plate was meant to be done in 6mm and not 8mm like the main mount. Now I am 1mm out with the distance between the proper mount point of the counter plate and the front edge flange of the mount. I […]

By |March 12th, 2015|CHASSIS BUILD|0 Comments

Today I picked up the suspension mount from the laser cutter people.
Cutting, drilling, bending – great work ..
Had a bit of a problem though with one part. Material thickness too high, but i was my fault.
Have written about it here .. Suspension

Also today the CAN bus shields for my Arduinos arrived, so I have a bit work for the night or the next couple of nights.

I am just now finishing the drawings for the coupling mount. Since I am happy with the laser cutter people I will now get
all the remaining parts done. I like it – it is so […]

Test Environment

By |March 11th, 2015|CONCEPTS|0 Comments

Most of my tests have been done on the breadboard or free air connections between boards. This works with a few components on the desk but when it gets to the point that one wants to test any kind of integration between components it becomes difficult to keep an overview and more importantly making sure one does not create shorts or bad connections. I use lab power supplies, which ultimately is not a problem for shorts because the lab supplies handle that nicely by limiting the current or cutting the voltage. Nevertheless a more solid setup was needed.

I had […]

Machined Parts Picked Up

By |March 11th, 2015|CHASSIS BUILD|0 Comments

Picked up all my machined parts today .. here is the write up

Machined Parts

Early next week I will all the laser cut and bent components for the suspension mount and then we can start in ernest to put that thing together.

Security Cameras And Recorder

By |March 10th, 2015|COMPONENT BUILD|0 Comments

Right now I am still waiting for some CAN bus shields and digital temp sensors, but they are expected soon. Yesterday my NVR arrived (Network attached Video Recorder). I did put in an old SATA drive (Will use an SSD in the production version) and the thing was working very well only after a few minutes. The IP camera is great, good image quality and very sensitive in motion detection. The recorder starts automatically with motion detection from any of the connected cameras.

Although I am very happy with the quality of the camera (both built quality and image quality) […]

Lab Testing Electronics

By |March 10th, 2015|COMPONENT BUILD|0 Comments

I was working on the electronics for the TAS (Teutanic Automation System). I have tested most individual signal types on their own and now have mounted all the different board types I am using on a perspex plate to make a bit more solid test environment. I have too many individual pieces to just make it work free air on the desk. Not that I mount all the devices I am using, far from it, but enough of each type to test all the variations of the required control functions. Since we talk automotive electrics/electronics we deal mainly with […]