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  • Sensor Inputs (non-ecu)

    I hope you can help with this one please.

    I am restoring a 69 Mustang with a carb engine (so no engine ECU etc). I have installed a computer and screen etc, but would like to get some extra information from the engine into the computer for display on the frontend.

    I obviously have the Speedo on the screem (via GPS), but would like mainly to add the oil preasure, various water temp readings from various water sensors, perhaps an outside air temp, maybe also add (while I am doing this) an amp/voltage meter etc.

    Any ideas? I have USB, serial AND parallel ports on the laptop, so any type of connection can be done, but I have NO idea of how to do this or what frontend to use to view the data.

    Many thanks in advance. Please reply as if I were an idiot and you wouldn't be far wrong!

    Mick . . .

  • #2
    I've got a '63 Fairlane that I'm putting a Carputer in also. (I'm not cutting into the dash)...so I'm going to have to be inventive with how I put mine in, but I too will be looking for engine monitoring devices as well for non-ECU vehicles.

    Let me know if you find anything, and I'll do the same.

    Comment


    • #3
      One hardware-bundle I'd recommend is the Innovate Modular Tuning System. They have several modules with analog inputs and wideband O2 sensors that you can daisy-chain together with a simple interface to the PC. They have some PC software that you might integrate with a frontend or use a gauge system like DashDAQ.

      Another option is the USB Phidgets. That place makes temperature sensors, analog inputs, digital inputs, and even some output controls. They can still be a little pricey ($90 for one temperature input!) but it might be a good option if your carPC has a bunch of USB ports or you can stand using a hub. The wiring is a little tougher but it could be a good option if you want to make something yourself.

      Comment


      • #4
        not quite what I'm looking for. or maybe I'm just not seeing what I want there.

        I'm wanting to rig up a series of sensors. Oil Pressure, Water Temp, RPM, Speed...maybe even oil and transmission temp...(that'd be superfluous...)...low tech is fine...even if it's old school wiring to the LPT port of the PC...

        Comment


        • #5
          It's ok, it's complicated. The way I look at it you need three things:
          1. The raw sensor. It will measure something (flow, temperature, force, pressure) and output an electrical signal. Examples include K-Type thermocouple, a 0-5v wideband oxygen sensor, or a pressure sensor. Start by looking at www.omega.com, but I'm sure you'll find cheaper or more automotive-oriented stores out there.
          2. Electronic module. You'll need to convert the sensor's electrical signal into serial data, usb, ethernet, or something you can handle on the computer. Often you're dealing with a 0-5 volt signals. Take another look at the ones I recommended www.innovatemotorsports.com or www.phidgets.com for this piece of the puzzle.
          3. Computer software. This choice is probably dictated by #2. I think RoadRunner has some support for phidgets but I haven't seen a lot of examples. You might even need to do some programming yourself. Maybe somebody else has some advice?
          You might want to draw a wiring diagram and figure out which pieces you're going to use, and how they're going to connect. Also you might want to pick a frontend first and work backwards to make sure it has any support for what you're trying to do.

          Comment


          • #6
            Have a look at the range of interfaces from Labjack. The U9 has programmable gain which might come in handy for the different voltages from different sensors. Its got a USB interface as well.

            Failing that you could always resort to programming a PIC to convert the analogue data to RS232 data stream for your front end to decode and display.

            Comment


            • #7
              I'm kind curious about RPM speed, how would one measure that on a non-ecu vehicle? Put a photocell over the timing cover and paint a white mark on the TDC mark?

              Comment


              • #8
                Anybody looking at the phidgets boards should look at the Fusion Brain. Way better priced and more features. Any sensor will work with it too. And of course created by fellow members...
                Fusion Brain Version 6 Released!
                1.9in x 2.9in -- 47mm x 73mm
                30 Digital Outputs -- Directly drive a relay
                15 Analogue Inputs -- Read sensors like temperature, light, distance, acceleration, and more
                Buy now in the MP3Car.com Store

                Comment


                • #9
                  Just had a good look around the Fusion Brain website - on the surface looks a very good product with plenty of potential uses. I've moved my suggestions onto the Fusion Software Brain Feature Request Thread

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by DrStoooopid View Post
                    I'm kind curious about RPM speed, how would one measure that on a non-ecu vehicle? Put a photocell over the timing cover and paint a white mark on the TDC mark?
                    If your car has a mechanical tach you can run the cable into a converter too. Otherwise you take it from spark (coil/plug) with an inductive pickup just like a timing light. It looks like Autometer #9117 or #9118 might be what you would want to use?

                    Also click on Products -> Senders. They have electric oil pressure, boost/vac, temperature, and fuel level senders. Those sensors are good for some of the measurements you asked about earlier.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Dragpack View Post
                      I hope you can help with this one please.

                      I am restoring a 69 Mustang with a carb engine (so no engine ECU etc). I have installed a computer and screen etc, but would like to get some extra information from the engine into the computer for display on the frontend.

                      I obviously have the Speedo on the screem (via GPS), but would like mainly to add the oil preasure, various water temp readings from various water sensors, perhaps an outside air temp, maybe also add (while I am doing this) an amp/voltage meter etc.

                      Any ideas? I have USB, serial AND parallel ports on the laptop, so any type of connection can be done, but I have NO idea of how to do this or what frontend to use to view the data.

                      Many thanks in advance. Please reply as if I were an idiot and you wouldn't be far wrong!

                      Mick . . .
                      any updates on your 69?
                      69 Mustang
                      408 clevor AFD 2v heads - Viper T56
                      Audio:RUX-C701, PXA-H701, MRV-F545, (2) MRD-M1005, SIR-SC-H1, DMHD1000, Dayton Audio: (2) RS180-4, (2) RS28F-4, (2) RSS265HO-44 DVC

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        hi there,
                        i wish to do the same thing in my van,
                        i have heard of dakota digital dashes, they look great, but i was enquiring because i might want to create my own dash, speedo tacho, etc, on a computer screen, that i will build into my space left, where i threw out my existing dash, as it was garbage, could not see it at night, and hard to see in day as well,
                        so if it is too hard to do with car pc, i will get a dakota digital dash,
                        hope it helps,
                        cheers
                        fbear

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Nothing stopping you from going the CarPC route. If you do there are many options.

                          If you are having trouble seeing the screen because of sunlight, then you will probably want a transflective screen which are $$$ but you dont want to spend all this money and get something you cant see.
                          Fusion Brain Version 6 Released!
                          1.9in x 2.9in -- 47mm x 73mm
                          30 Digital Outputs -- Directly drive a relay
                          15 Analogue Inputs -- Read sensors like temperature, light, distance, acceleration, and more
                          Buy now in the MP3Car.com Store

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            hey thanks for that k1toaster,
                            i have been looking thru this site for hours and hours, and i must say, what a great site!
                            but i am finding it all a bit daunting,, as far as choosing any particular car pc, and then truble finding everything one would need to put it all together?
                            maybe after months of studying, and learning about all the possibilities, i might consider it?
                            their are just too many options, and it is far 2 confusing!
                            great to have consumer choice?
                            i suppose,
                            thnks though for your time
                            fbear

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              My carburetted engine has two sensors (oil temp and oil pressure) which I would love to convert to digital. If I'm right, they both work on wire resistivity (the oil temp is a lump of metal which, as it heats, increases/decreases the resistance of the single wire coming from it.) Has anyone come across any Phidgets or FusionBrain or similar devices that can convert this to the CarPC?
                              http://sticksout.blogspot.com

                              Comment

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