Used the BoatPuter last year. It worked fine.
Ended up running 4 gage wire from the Perko switch up to the amp power distribution tray I installed. Bought a 1 farad capacitor to go with the amp dist tray, but haven't figured out how to handle the regular possibility of completely discharging the cap. Don't want to drain it completely then re-attach the batteries. So it remains un-installed.
To distribute the computer line level outs to the various amps, I installed an AudioControl Matrix. Works great! The single line out from the computer runs into the Matrix and then gets distributed into the 3 amps. Each of the 3 outs (stereo) has individual level adjust via the Matrix.
I built a little individual amp volume control box. Intent was to easily control (independently) the tower speakers, boat speakers, and sub from a little box installed near the touchscreen (convenience). Used log pots - result was all wrong. Wondering if I should have used linear pots for line level signals?? Dumped it and went straight from the Matrix to the amps. Matrix is fairly accessible where I installed it, but once I had it set, didn't play with it.
BoatPuter worked fine all last year. Major improvement area needed -- a touchscreen with LARGE buttons (play/pause, volume, track +/-). CarWings is nice, but when you're bouncing around on the water...
Upgrades planned for this year -- Ribbon LEDs! Just ordered a 5 meter roll of ribbon LEDs from LEDLIGHTSWORLD.COM. Initial plan is to use a currently unused dash switch to drive them. Will see how this all goes once I get the ribbon and start the install. Possible future enhancement is to control via the BoatPuter (FusionBrain?).
Also looking to install a Wireless Router. Goal is to use my Android phone to wirelessly control volume and track forward/back options in Winamp. Looks like it should be do-able - input to the Linksys router I have is 12vdc...
Mods are all second priority to water time though, so we'll see how far I get this summer!
im glad im not the only one doing this.
im surprised that your log pots aren't working correctly. luckily it's easy and cheap to try linear pots. they have some ip67 pots at mouser for 11 bucks each.
i have a skin that you can use/modify with large buttons. i ended up not going with an installed touchscreen and instead a tablet pc running win7. but it's still big enough for a 7" screen
here is a video of it on a tablet
i was able to control track listings and pumps via my phone as well. it's pretty simple if you use event ghost.
I'm also looking into fusionbrain right now. i want to integrate a position control of my power wedge and also integrate a depth gauge with possibly having an alarm. but there is an led controller already out there. check out the mjsgadget rgb led controller:
my progress has slowed down though... rather spend time on the board then tweaking the computer. :)
Installation pictures from long ago...
Looking down at the driver's console
Spent most of 2011 on the water, or breaking the bank on sound system upgrades.
One notable addition to the Boat 'Puter was adding a wireless router (Linksys) that I had sitting around unused. Wired up a small relay to switch power to the router. Relay was chosen with resistance sufficient to allow use of the amp turn on circuit (coming from 'puter) in parallel with use of the same circuit for the pre-amp and 3 amplifiers (probably getting close to maxing out the existing circuit).
I cut the connector off the AC brick, and soldered it up (common negative, positive to relay contact). All looked wonderful, and checked out fine on the bench. I installed it in the boat, expecting magic... No such luck. Lots of noise showed up sound system. Seemed like the Linksys was putting all sorts of nasty noise onto my power rail. Ended up adding a small capacitor at the relay (easy access point) to function as a noise filter. The cap filtered the noise right out, and all was working great!
Configured the router for the basics -- DHCP, no WAN... Next step was to install/configure the aWARemote software to allow remote control of Winamp. Extremely simple! Installed it on my Android phone (Samsung Galaxy S), tested it out. Done!!
The final test came at our Lake Powell trip. With my X30 docked at the rear of the houseboat, and all of us at the front of the houseboat, I had full control of Winamp via my cell phone (using the wireless router installed in the boat).
Just bought a FusionBrain!
Goals for 2012:
- Use 3 ballast pumps to fill 6 different tanks -- requires controlling 3 solenoids to route flow (added 3 sacs from Fly High last year)
- Eliminate mechanical switches for ballast pumps
- Eliminate mechanical switches for lighting
- Install LED light strips, and control via PC
- Finally get around to doing a proper install of the monitor
very cool. do you have issues with your cell with wet fingers? is it in a case? (btw... jealous you get to go to lake powel!)
i wish you would have gone the arduino route! we could have collaborated :)
Yeah, cell phone touchscreen doesn't work so well when fingers are wet. Fortunately, humidity is very low here in Denver (and Lake Powell), so fingers dry off super quick. It hasn't been a real issue for me.
Lake Powell isn't a bad trip from LA (once you get past Ontario)! I made the trek from HB a few times.
What are you doing with Arduino?
ah.. idont think i'm up for it. i googled it once and it was like 9 hours...not factoring in towing.
im going to be controlling the ballasts pumps, a power wedge, all my lighting, water and air temp, high amp relays for my batteries (to replace my perko switch), and adding a touchscreen glcd and a custom gauge that will show wedge angle and ballast pump state. Also the pumps will be on timers, (eventually i'll add some flow meters to the mix to get approx weight in each tank. I also have quick commands that will let me fill all tanks with one button.
the touchscreens are daylight readable and pretty small. you could possibly sneak one in if you wanted some extra control. I have some examples in my work log. going to be tightening up the interface to make it more aesthetically pleasing.
eventually i'll add a second screen on the right side of my dash (will mirror the left side) that will control an ipod or iphone (whichever i choose to get this summer)
I'll be more the happy to share my code with you if you go that route
Now that's something I hadn't considered... Ditching the perko for remotely controlled relays. That sounds very intriguing!! Lots of potential with that idea...
What made you decide to do it with an Arduino board?
I'd given some thought to monitoring ballast tank levels, but I tend to either completely fill all (boarding) or fill all but two (surfing), and then adjust levels based on where people are sitting. Didn't see a lot of utility in knowing levels. Although -- should be fairly easy to build a discrete level indicator - put a pair of conductors in the tank and detect a closed circuit state. Plenty of simple circuits for that I'm sure. Maybe the nifty factor of more precise water level indication (e.g. flowmeter) makes it worthwhile... It's certainly got a lot of nifty factor to it!
Regarding touchscreens -- one thing I really am interested in is multiple control of a single RR instance. The dream is -- passenger side touchscreen also installed so I can offload music duty to someone else while I worry about driving the boat. Haven't really explored it much yet though. As an interim, I picked up the Griffin Powermate knob to at least allow someone else to control volume and mute. Need to plug it in and play this year...
Appreciate the offer! Maybe in the future I'll look at integrating Iphone and Android -- already have too many projects that I want to do! For now I'll stick with the Fusion Brain, which should be arriving soon. Anxious to start on integrating it!
you can just get an android tablet and set that up with a winamp controller app. it will still work with RR... i believe. i did some tests before.
oh... one other thing you can explore. eventghost app on the android phone can control events in RR and probably FB.
the ultimate decision for arduino was the support forum. I think fb is great but there were; when i researched it, a ton of threads that were never resolved. a bunch of open ended issues. with arduino the community is amazing. 99% of the time i fnd my solutions witha simple search. also the libraries out there are vast. anything from reading gps, to controlling glcds. with my setup it'll be completely free from a pc (no boot up time), though it should be able to interact with RR if you choose.