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Valve Connections

By |July 22nd, 2018|BUILD, COMPONENT BUILD|0 Comments

It is over five months that I posted last. Unbelievable, I have been busy, busy, busy. My commercial project took a lot of time including another trip to Melbourne and Sydney and a quick stint to Brisbane. Lots of hours looking after the project covering all kinds of aspects. I also have done a few hours on the caravan once in a while.  A long list of little things, I will eventually post about it and show some more pictures.

The most recent activity was putting some cables together for the motorised ball valve for the inlets and outlets of […]

Motorised Ball Valve Control Unit

Another component I have been working on during the last days, apart from the plumbing I have done, is the unit to control the motorised ball valves for the heating elements as well as some valves installed with the water tanks.

The complete unit comprises two components, the relay component and the processor component. Above image shows the relay board with 16 relays driving 12 ball valves. The connectors are 5 pin plugs connecting each ball valve. Two wires drive the motor. Changing polarity changes the direction of the valve movement. The other 3 wires are used for the feedback […]

Main 12V Control

As part of the electrical work I was doing over the last few weeks I was working on the main switch component for the 12V supply. The main reason for such a switch component is the goal to minimise power consumption. Each control component like a valve control, dmx control unit, slide-out controller and any other component use power even on standby. Audio PC, video PC, cameras, NVR and other 12V units add significantly to an idle current which could amount to 3-5 Amp, which is almost as much as a small 12V fridge would use when running continuously, […]

MultiControl Installation

This afternoon after another meeting I finally installed the MultiControl replacement in the van. It sits above the fridge next to the main switchboard. I have fans for air circulation around the fridge walls and this will also let the air flow over all the components installed in the space above the fridge.


Below to the right, visible only as a white surface, is the 8 port router to connect some of the components to the LAN. On the left below the 5V power supply for the router one can see the UDOO Linux main processor, which is connected to […]

MultiControl Field Test

By |March 15th, 2017|COMPONENT BUILD, ELECTRONICS|0 Comments

Long time no post. Been really busy with my commercial project and was in Melbourne and Sydney for presentations, 4 days each location. And did I say I was and still am really busy with that :). However I need to get going with my van. We want to get away this October/November so I have to get into it again.

I have done some more work on the body, but this is for another post.

I just finished my internal documentation for the Victron MultiControl replacement after I have done a field test (in the van) and made a couple […]

Phone Battery Monitor

By |December 29th, 2016|COMPONENT BUILD, ELECTRONICS|0 Comments

Was mainly working on my commercial project today and the last few days, but still manage to do a little bit for the van. Today I felt like doing something for the Android phone app. The first version is done. I made a generic application which loads a parameter list from the central app via Wifi and creates the display page dynamically. If one has a large number of signals to deal with it is very daunting to write apps for each application component with each signal in a hard coded way. Just not really efficient. I have created […]

Victron Multi Control Replacement Part2

The touch screen is mounted in its bezel, the connection cable for the screen is made and the components are in their box. I use two step down power supplies, one for the Arduino and one for the display. I found the display to be unreliable when powered from the Arduino, it draws too much power and with the Ethernet shield in the stack, which also draws a fair bit of power it would be a bit too much for the Arduino internal power supply. I run 7 V to the Arduino, if I power it directly from 12V […]

Victron Multi Control Replacement

Have finished the programming and testing of my Multi Control replacement. Have changed the main screen a little over the first version. At first I emulated the original with a round knob. Not really easy to use with a touch screen. The slider was better but it was still a bit tedious to set an exact limit. This is mainly useful when we only have a 10 amp plug or only one lead connected. I made buttons for the mainly used limits and anything in between can be done with the slider. I did not visualise the charger mode […]

Victron CCGX And Arduino Uno

After finishing the replacement for the Digital Multi Control screen functions I wanted to add the Modbus communication and test the connection, but it was not as easy as I expected from the Java experience.

The information about Modbus TCP for Arduino is a total mess on the web. Lots of pages for serial communication but not much on TCP, and the stuff you find is dated, unfinished, too big for an Uno and none of the three library attempts were working with the CCGX. I just could not get a proper response. The CCGX received but I always got […]

More functions of the control application

Have added two more functions to my central application. The first lists all actively sampled signals, from all connected bus systems and shows the call duration as well as the sampling interval for each value. This is done to test the quality of the network and to help with testing when installing all electronic components. I can easily see if the software as well as the hardware is doing what it is supposed to to. I will also have a function to manually start the sampling of a single value. I will also have dozens of digital signals, simple […]

Central Application – Sample Pages

Amongst other things I have been mainly working on the Java application for my central system. One main part of the new functions was the integration of the Victron devices via Modbus/TCP. Had a few minor hurdles but all good in the end. Still a few open questions with some of the functions of the Victron components but that is for a later stage. I have not yet connected both solar controllers and battery monitors. The chassis battery is not yet in place, also working on that one. I have tested the BMS and the CAN bus connection to […]

Lithium Charging And Balancing – Proof of Concept

By |December 8th, 2016|COMPONENT BUILD, ELECTRONICS|0 Comments

I have made changes to the DC-DC charger and finished programming the BMS and the DC-DC charger in a first version. Both are working, however the DC-DC charger needs a few more network functions to communicate to the central system . I have also made a link between the two, the BMS can now disable the charger if required.

The change I made to the charger had to do with safety margin in terms of heat development and robustness of the power sources. I replaced the cheapish power supplies with better ones and the larger one (30A max) is fan […]

Lithium Batteries 101 and BMS

I thought I post some information about Lithium batteries. Since the most frequented forum about caravans gets moderated to death I have seen an increase in emails I receive about Lithium batteries. Half information, scare mongering and totally inflated prices have confused a lot of people in the market. Caravan manufacturers go even that far to refuse warranty when somebody wants to install their own battery system.

I have built my own BMS (Battery MANAGEMENT System) as opposed to a Battery MONITORING System. The difference is that it actually balances the cells actively if something goes wrong or switches of […]

DC-DC Charger and IOT

By |November 21st, 2016|COMPONENT BUILD, ELECTRONICS|0 Comments

IOT stands for “Internet Of Things” for those who have not heard the term yet. It means the connection of all things which can talk to other things but are not really computers as such. Of course they are some sort of computer in the broadest sense but they are not PCs or systems meant for any interaction other than a specific purpose. Some say “anything that has an on/off switch” can be part of IoT eventually.  This includes fridges, washing machines, microwaves, lights, heaters and so on. Many have a smart TV which is connected to the Internet. […]

DC-DC Charger Finished

By |November 15th, 2016|COMPONENT BUILD, ELECTRONICS|0 Comments

Yesterday the case for the DC-DC charge arrived from China. After 6 weeks they shipped a second one because the first did not arrive. Now I do not know if it was the first or the second one. Anyway, it arrived and I put the DC-DC charger boards into the case and made the cuts in the back wall.

The case is spacious, but that is a good thing for ventilation. I mounted a temperature sensor on the step-up units to monitor any heat build up. I could even fit a small fran in that case if I have to. […]

DC Contactor

By |November 8th, 2016|COMPONENT BUILD, ELECTRONICS|0 Comments

Long time no post. Been busy with several things. Summer is coming, had to do a bit of whipper snipping around the property. Took several days to clear all the knee high grass and weeds in the main areas. Computer work and kiting reduces time for the van. Nevertheless I have been working on the Network Of Things as it is called in modern terminology. At this stage it is important to define where things go to make sure all the required connections are in. Despite the bus system there are still a fair few connections to be made […]

Relay Controller

By |October 31st, 2016|COMPONENT BUILD, ELECTRONICS|0 Comments

Have finished programming and putting together two more electronic components, however not yet in boxes. I am waiting for some larger boxes to take the 16 relay board. Both components are connected to the CAN bus and use similar coding. The 16 relays are used for 5 latching relays in the main switch board. Five groups of  3 relays, 2 to create the direction polarity for the coil and a power relay to actually switch on the 12V to activate the latching coil. The power is only on for a short time just enough to create the impulse required […]

Central Processor

Have fitted the touch screen. It is the wall to the left at the front entry. The fridge is behind that wall. There is not much cable from the processor to the display and the controller board. It is a LVDS display and I did not feel like extending those tiny, flimsy cables. I picked a height to allow the processor to be mounted above the fridge.


The images above show the rear of the display and the processor box. All the connections to the processor go into the right (rear) of the box. The processor is fan less […]

BMS mounted in box

By |October 7th, 2015|COMPONENT BUILD|0 Comments

Today I also mounted the components of the BMS in a new box. I needed something bigger than the waterproof boxes I am using for the other components. It is still tight, but I did fit everything. I decided not to integrate the current sensors for the load and charge into the BMS although the Arduino mega has enough IO and programming space. I prefer this to be a separate node in the network.

The components are all in the box now. Next step is to prepare the front and rear panels of the box for the plugs to connect to […]

Overdue Update

By |September 30th, 2015|CHASSIS BUILD, COMPONENT BUILD|0 Comments

If you read this on facebook you are missing 11 images. Only the website has all the images in a post.

Ten days now since I posted last. Lot’s of things were happening including some rubbish removal and clean up, electronic work, many little things on the chassis, my commercial project, some kite surfing, fitted the exhaust of the truck again  and some more shopping for parts.

More than 20 years of my IT history went into the rubbish. A shame really, all still working but nobody would use a 21″ tube screen anymore. I also dumped my NeXT computers, […]