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Component Network

By |July 24th, 2015|COMPONENT BUILD|0 Comments

This is how the components will be connected.

The one in the foreground is still in the making, the others are finished.
The Ethernet gateway connected to the DMX controller and that connected to a DMX hub and all supplied from a 12V power hub. This is how the system will be built .. all little building blocks with different functions and everything connected with straight cables.

This part of the network is working and all the boxes will get a shake and rattle test before they go into the van. I will only have very limited wiring to do at the […]

Component Cables

By |July 23rd, 2015|COMPONENT BUILD|0 Comments

Have cleaned up my electronic desk and prepared for integration test and mass production. I still have a few components to finalise but will start doing the system testing.

Image shows the Ethernet/Can gateway, the DMX processors and a DMX control box with the properCan bus cable.

I still have to make a few cables for the test.

I also have prepared the material (boards, boxes, plugs etc) for the mass production of the network components.

First are the tank sender hubs, valve control boxes and tank processor boxes to go under the floor when I finish the tank installation. I still wait for […]

Tank Sender Hub

By |July 21st, 2015|COMPONENT BUILD|0 Comments

Finished a tank sender hub and it’s documentation in my development web. Decided to use only 4 per hub. That has to do with location and number of IOs of the processor and plugs.

The hub is fairly simple, it just provides connectors for 4 tank senders and the signal wire of the sender is connected to the 7 pin plug which connects to the processor.

I also have another one wire connector which allows to connect a one wire hub for temperature sensors.

Next is the valve and sender processing unit.


Ethernet Gateway

By |July 18th, 2015|COMPONENT BUILD|0 Comments

I have finished another processor box.
This is the Ethernet / Can bus gateway. The central Linux systems talks to all the local processors and this unit converts the Ethernet messages to can bus messages to the relevant processor.
I have decided not to connect any other sensors or input / output signals, but purely let this work as a gateway or translator if you prefer that term. I have two of these, one for the left side of the van and one for the right side. I can connect the two local can buses and drive it from one gateway […]

Battery Monitor

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

Today I have finished all the lights. Connected everything, just minimum required, side markers, front markers, tail lights, number plate light.

The lights, the levelling system ,the brake controller and ABS controller, brake away switch and battery connection and the brake lines used almost 100m split tube. I have not yet hooked up the hydraulic brake locks but have fitted the Cat5 cables for the cameras.

Tomorrow I will do the brake controller and the new trailer socket on the truck. I still have to put a 12V charge cable in, wanted to buy some 8B&S cable (30m roll), no stock […]

Level Control Unit

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

My night job today is to finish the command list and display for my own levelling system control.
The LCD display (16×2) came yesterday and today evening I connected it to an Arduino and started implementing the commands and keyboard controls for the system.

Will continue working on that tonight to finish the program skeleton. I am waiting for the accelerometer to make the tilt switch and then I can put everything together. Relay output for the legs, current sensor to verify that something is actually happening, digital input for the limiter switches, this is all pretty standard functionality. The original system […]

Dimmer Switch Hub

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

I also have done another building block. Started yesterday evening and finished today. It is a hub for my dimmer switches.
The first image shows one dimmer switch, I also have them for under surface mount (invisible). Most of the manual light  switches are done with RF switches (radio signal from switch to controller), but I also use these illuminated dimmer switches at various locations. However they do not control any light directly – so they are not designed as “manual” switches (independent) from the central system. This hub connects up to 6 switches and converts the 2-12V output dimmer signal to […]

DMX Box With USB

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

Another day with rain, getting annoying although we need the rain desperately, so I will not complain too much ..
Worked on my Internet project most of the day.

Some parts came in, amongst them the USB panel connectors, so I could finish the DMX processor box, which needed this as the last touch.

Above image shows the USB connector from inside and underneath from outside.







DMX Control Box

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

Done a bit more electronic stuff today.
Still waiting for the majority of the connectors (waterproof) I need to start producing some of the signal boxes. I also wait for some Ethernet panel connectors to finish the boxes with the Ethernet/Can bus gateway.
All my processors will sit in a square box like the one pictured below. This is a perfect format to take a stack of up to 4 shields and still have space around to fit the connectors without any problems. I also will put a USB panel connector in the boxes to be able to connect a USB cable for […]

Bigfoot Replacement

By |June 23rd, 2015|COMPONENT BUILD|0 Comments

Replacement for the Bigfoot control unit
Shortcomings of the Bigfoot control unit:
– Slow grounding of legs – only one at a time
– Automatic grounding of legs only as part of autolevel, not separate function
– Left to right position not programmable
– Pumps don’t stop when leg is up until last one is up
– Front to rear angle always 0 in dedicated display mode – works with auto level.
– System can be deadlocked and will not move when angle is too high – no manual override
– System stops when battery is low in retract all mode, does not use single legs for […]

Electrical Signals

By |June 18th, 2015|CONCEPTS|0 Comments

Most of the electrical signals which need connection and processing are defined. There are a few components not yet defined, but the majority is. This list groups the signals by signal type in order to identify the number and kind of interfaces the network nodes need.
The next step is to assign the signal to a location in the van, which then leads to the identification of connection boxes and network nodes and their location. All network nodes are connected via the CAN bus and exchange information with the central system.
Manually switched lights – (can be turned off by […]

One Wire Id

By |June 18th, 2015|COMPONENT BUILD|0 Comments

Also done some electronic stuff. An expansion shield with one wire interface and an ID chip for each can bus node. Now I have to produce a few of them. The Id shield lets me use screw terminals for the Arduino connections and I have added 3 sockets for one wire with a 5V power supply for the one wire bus. One of the sockets is used to connect a id chip giving the component an unique id and the two others are connected to a socket for external use. It can be connected to a temp sensor junction […]

DMX Controller

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

Done some clean up today, sanding sharp corners, cleaning welds.
I have also temporarily fitted the brake line (flexible) to one trailing arm to check how to route the lines. I need a couple of tabs on the trailing arm to fix the brake line brackets, which are connected to the flexible hose. I am using the same front end hoses as on my truck.

Checked the cable length for the hydraulic actuator and it’s position.

Later I built another building block of the control system. See image above.

This is a DMX junction box with 3 DMX clients, 3 channels each, to control […]

DC Junction Box

By |May 3rd, 2015|COMPONENT BUILD|0 Comments

The next prototype is finished.
It is the 12V junction box with One Wire Bus to connect up to 5 valve control boxes and an additional One Wire Bus junction box for additional temperature sensors.

All my connections and signal distributions will be done this way, like Lego blocks. At the end there will be only straight connections between these blocks. Cable harnesses will be pre-made before I connect everything up in the van.

One thread at the moment deals with robotics and automation. There are so many more aspects in building a van than just building a chassis or a body […]

Valve Box Connectors

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

Above is the image of the valve control box with the plugs in place but not yet connected.

Here is the image of the almost finished box with the 9 pin plug soldered and insulated. 9 pins is the maximum my nerves can handle, after that it gets really fiddly. I have one 48 pin plug in the system and I am not looking forward to solder that.

This takes a bit time but it is nice and compact. I did not feel like use a larger box, times 9 and it needs a lot of space.
This little box is just right […]

Valve Control Box

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

Yesterday I almost finished a prototype of the first production component of my electrical system. It is missing the panel plugs for external connection, which I will finish tomorrow. It is a component with 2 4 relay boards and is used to control 2 electric ball/gate valves. The ball valves have feedback signals for fully open and fully closed and are wired back to the microprocessor, which feeds this component. The unit is a very tight fit and with the lid on
(it is water proof) there is no movement inside the box. All connectors will be secured with a sealer and the […]

Current Sensors

By |April 24th, 2015|COMPONENT BUILD|0 Comments

Today I got some more current sensors. Some hall effect sensors for AC current measurement. Will start testing them tonight.
They will be used to determine 240V power use and if consumption goes close to the limit the system will automatically switch off secondary circuits with lower priority.

Above is a picture of one of the sensors.. I have different ones depending on amperage to be measured to keep resolution good for reasonable accuracy.

That’s it for today.
Will be a busy long weekend. One of my relations bought a new Prado and wants all the stuff she had in here previous car done […]

DMX Shield Test

By |April 24th, 2015|COMPONENT BUILD|0 Comments

Yesterday evening and today I tested the Arduino DMX shield and after a few issues with conflicting libraries I got it to work.

Above is the DMX-Ethernet client. I decided to use this concept for pretty much all my lights and not the PWM shield with the PWM drivers. I have 5 drivers I might use them but the DMX shield is far more elegant. I have small DMX clients coming which drive to strip lights and the installation and wiring is much more elegant with the DMX bus instead of star configurations with the PWM shield or individual Arduinos. The DMX bus […]

Waterproof Connectors

By |April 17th, 2015|COMPONENT BUILD|0 Comments

I received a bunch of connectors from China via AliExpress.

I had been looking for such connectors for quite some time. Panel connectors – meaning you mount the female side in the wall of a box and the other side is the male plug and all is waterproof. They are brilliant. 3,4,5,7,9 pole , the 3 pole ones for the tank senders and the one wire temperature senders, the 4 pole for the CAN bus with power and also the RGB strip lights, 5, 7 and 9 for other connections, mainly analog and digital input signals. I am really happy […]

PWM Shield

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

I have finished programming the PWM shield. This is mounted on a Visduino with a CAN bus shield and can drive 27 channels of PWM signal to drive LED lights. This can be used for up to 9 RGB strip light channels. The outputs are amplified to 12V outputs and are connected to strip light drivers which are good for up to 8A RGB.

Above is an image of the extended test program with the UI for the PWM client. Since I have now finished the communication framework for the gateway and the CAN bus clients it is quick and easy to […]