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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, […]

BMS – Arduino Uno To Mega

By |September 16th, 2015|COMPONENT BUILD|0 Comments

Tonight I was working a bit more on the BMS. Yesterday I received the Arduino Mega 2560 to replace the Arduino UNO. The reason is that the Uno is limited with IO pins, I was using the IO extender, and has less memory for program and variables than the Mega.

I can remove the extender shield now. The top image shows a more compact setup, the horizontal extender keeps the configuration low and gives me space to mount the custom circuits. The picture shows 2 relays on one side of the extender. The other side will be used for the […]

BMS Version 2

By |September 8th, 2015|COMPONENT BUILD|0 Comments

Still working on the battery management system. Had some major trouble with that 4D software. It is buggy and inconvenient … simply not ready really for serious work, at least to my standards. Nevertheless I spent several hours testing and finding workarounds for various issues.

It was also an opportunity to start from scratch, almost, and this time I made a structure before I started putting the screens together and removed a bit of clutter.

There might be still a change here and there as I complete the software, but this is pretty much what I can see happening.

The top image […]

BMS Continued

By |September 5th, 2015|COMPONENT BUILD|0 Comments

Today was not really nice outside. I stayed in, worked on my commercial project and done a few things to the BMS. Yesterday after quite a few hours of work on the commercial project I could not resist to start that new resistor network for the BMS cell voltages. Since the trim pots had arrived I wanted to do a prototype. Not on the extender shield in case I still need changes but on a separate little board.

I adjusted the values to maximise the voltage range from measurement through the Arduino. This will be done again with the real […]

BMS Screen Modified

By |September 4th, 2015|COMPONENT BUILD|1 Comment

This morning I finished the data entry functions for the BMS. As I was testing the display and the functionality I grew really tired of their implementation of 7 Segment digits. They are difficult to read because the contrast between segment on and segment off is not high enough and the gaps between the segments are too big. They look like a cheap 7 segment display from the 60’s and I am not that nostalgic. So I declared them useless for the larger displays and implemented the display functions with string displays. Much cleaner and better to read as […]

BMS Coming Along

By |September 2nd, 2015|COMPONENT BUILD|0 Comments

I have completed the programming of the 4D display and with a decent power supply on the Arduino and no USB connected it behaves. Funny that is, as soon as I connect the USB it turns temperamental, no matter what the power supply.

Now I can remove this el cheapo chinzi keypad, which frees up 9 digital IO on the Arduino, not that I need them, the extension board has enough digital IO and I need this board for all the Analog inputs anyway.

The top image shows all the components wired up on the desk. This is it and a […]

BMS Screen On Arduino

By |September 1st, 2015|COMPONENT BUILD|0 Comments

Have the little screen connected to the Arduino and it is all working. Have finalised the design of the display graphics and implemented the 3 display pages I am going to use.

I also mounted the screen in its optional bezel for wall mounting.

Page 1 shows the bank voltage and the charge and load current, using 2 separate shunts measuring the incoming solar charge  and the outgoing load.
The image below shows this page on the screen with the Arduino connected. The second and third page have minor changes.

Page 2 shows the cell monitor and a couple of additional buttons and […]

BMS System Screen

By |August 31st, 2015|COMPONENT BUILD|0 Comments

Today my touch screen from 4D system arrived, finally. This was the second attempt via Australia Post. The order was placed over 3 weeks ago and they claimed to have it sent by express the next day. After 2 weeks I complained and they sent it again, by Express post. Neither the first, nor the second shipment was scanned by Australia Post and no tracking event was available. Today the second express satchel arrived after 5 days, Metro to Metro service, how pathetic.

I programmed it quickly with a test program to see if it works and discovered a problem. […]

Arduino Extender Shield

By |August 27th, 2015|COMPONENT BUILD|0 Comments

Today another Arduino gadget arrived from the US. It is a shield which allows to reduce the stack height of a configuration and use two stacks side by side instead of one. The shield also provides prototyping space for additional components.

I quickly tried it with the current component I have in test and that is the BMS.

For this particular configuration there is no benefit because the height of the stack is not reduced. It is only useful when I remove the screw shield and put the resistor array onto the extender shield. then I can reduce the stack height […]

BMS- Wired Up

By |August 13th, 2015|COMPONENT BUILD|0 Comments

Have wired up the components for the BMS. The image shows a couple of relays on the right which were not in the image further up. These are the relays for charge disconnect and load disconnect.
I will not use those, they are not latching, well at least not mechanically. I will use latching relays to avoid permanent power to the relay to avoid heat build up and power loss. The ones in the pic are latching but electronically. The processor stack has another shield on top. It is a IO extender because with this application I need more analog inputs […]

BMS Components

By |August 12th, 2015|COMPONENT BUILD|0 Comments

Have started to put together that bms system. These are the components ..
The bits at the top are just to simulate the battery input for testing.
The processor with Can bus interface and the screw shield on top with the resistor network for voltage division. I measure each cell to the same ground, makes it easier.
Left are the 4 relays to engage the DC chargers for each cell with a current sensor giving feedback about the additional charge going in. The other board is an opto coupler board for the arduinos outputs to 12V because I am using a 12V relay […]

Level System Parts List

By |August 8th, 2015|COMPONENT BUILD|0 Comments

Correction to the previous post.
Finished the documentation about the box including the parts list

Keypad 4×4 buttons $3.00
Arduino Uno R3 $5.00
Can Bus Shield $13.00
2 Line character Display $12
Box 150x120x90 $13.00
Gyro module $5.00
2 4 Relais boards $18.00
2 DC-DC power supllies $2
1 16 DIO IO Expander shield $9.50
1 Screw shield $8
1 Temperature sensor $1
1 Voltage reference $1.20
1 Opto DC In board $8.95
1 I2C Hub $4.95
6 panel connectors $2.40
Cables & internal connectors $3.00

Total: $108

So not $85 .. cost was $108 .. original plan was higher because I thought I use two boxes and one with waterproof connectors.

Now I have only one box and cheaper […]

Level System Remote Control

By |August 8th, 2015|COMPONENT BUILD|0 Comments

Cold and miserable outside.
Had a good day in the electronic lab..
Finished the levelling control unit completely. Tested all features and it works perfectly .. now I only need to make the cables  to connect right into the existing harness and it should work with the trailer. Am quite optimistic. Tilt switch is very sensitive, so I should get good reactions wherever I mount it.

Had a little bit of trouble fitting all in 32k of memory, and removed the orientation calibration – used fixed orientation – but now everything works and I might just add it again.

I also tested the Can bus […]

Level Control Box

By |August 6th, 2015|COMPONENT BUILD|0 Comments

Finally … the control box for the levelling system is closed and still working
Finished all the wiring tonight .. pretty tight.. usually I don’t like it that tight,
but if I would wire it following industrial standards it would be too big. It is a one
off, so developing a PC board for it would be really a bit over the top

Now I need to finish the software.. Manual mode is working. battery voltage and internal
temperature is read and displayed. Calibration function is done and now I need to finish
autolevel (grounding is done) and hitch/unhitch lift.

I will […]

Level Control Box

By |August 4th, 2015|COMPONENT BUILD|0 Comments

Level control box is almost done ..
All the components are in the box and it is still working   Need a few more wires and the connectors need to go in.  The USB panel connector is in, so I can still update the software
without opening the box.

The front plate. I was a bit impatient so the cut out was not perfect, but good enough for now.

Late now, so I will finish Wednesday. Later today I have other things to do. Anyway .. not too far away anymore from replacing the Bigfoot unit.


By |July 29th, 2015|COMPONENT BUILD|0 Comments

Tested the new accelerometer, I did order 2 different ones for evaluation, and found the one to use for the control unit of the levelling system. It has good resolution and I finished the function to read the raw data for x and y axis and converted to degrees.
Because the chassis is that long I only get small variations in tilt compared to the displacement of both ends. So I need good resolution for the values. This one delivers enough and is also very sensitive.
It is a good basis for the level control. This is pretty much solved now. […]

BMS DC Balancer

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

Today I received more parts, the proper low g accelerometer for my levelling system and a couple of other sensors, and also the DC-DC power supplies for my BMS to do active cell balancing. The little power supplies will be used to boost charge of a low cell.

The special thing about these power supplies is that they have a current limiter. I can adjust the charge current I want for cell balancing.

Will work on both, the levelling system and the BMS in the next time.

I have a couple of other boxes to finish and that is the valve controller ( […]

12V Hub

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

Rainy day in the office – done work on the website project.
Tonight I finished a 12V junction box for more processor box connections. It also doubles as CanBus junction box, at least for the moment. One can see the terminator plugged into the out connector.

I use standard 4 pole connectors for this, all the same despite the fact that I only  use two pins. The proper way would have been to use different pins for the 12V and the CanBus, but I decided to use the same. This makes testing easier but one has to be careful which plug goes where. […]

DMX-Manual Box

By |July 26th, 2015|COMPONENT BUILD|0 Comments

Tonight I have finished another control box. This is a combination of DMX bus for light control and RF remote dimmers for manual switching. This box allows both manual and central control of the monochrome strip lights connected to the box.
Three channels are combined in one box for 3 separate light circuits of monochrome strip lights.

More and more different types of boxes are getting to the prototype stage. One of each kind for final testing before I make the quantity required for each type of box.