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Thread: PC / Vehicle interface

  1. #1
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    PC / Vehicle interface

    Hello All,

    Thanks for all of the useful info everyone has posted to these forums.

    I'm looking for ways to interface my pc w/ instruments mounted on the vehicle. I see some people are using OBDII to gather stats. Because of personal (possible paranoia?) problems (a little alliteration?), I have no interest in using such a system. In addition, its not installed on my vehicle.

    What I'd like to do is capture info such as fan speed, battery voltage, fuel usage, EGT, fluid temps, etc. I'm not too concerned about designing the sensors. I think the more difficult part is getting the info from the sensors back into the PC.

    What are you folks using to do this? I realize most people on this site are more into the entertainment side of having a pc in the car. If someone knows of a more appropriate site, please forward it too me.

    I'm leaning to a PC104 based solution where the SBC and modules would receive the info and then hand it off to the entertainment PC for storage/massaging/display on the screen I now use for music selection/etc. I wouldn't be opposed to pulling the data into the PC though. Devices to do this must be compatible w/ Linux or be able to modified so that they are.

    Once back in the driveway, the PC will pick up the wireless net and handoff the info to one of the servers for archival/etc.

    Thanks all,
    Mike Coles
    'bluelip'

  2. #2
    Low Bitrate ALonDonThinG's Avatar
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    Soz cant resist

    Step one : therapy
    step two : new car

    Epia SP1300\512 ddr\40g 3.5" hd\cartft-touchscreen\GPS-destinator \M1-ATX\Audigy1\Linksys-wirelessB\anafekkingbigamptojblspkrs.

  3. #3
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    Both would probably help.

    Should mention that the vehicle is a 94 Wrangler. It's a beast, but it's fun.

    I hadn't thought about decentralizing the 'smart' parts of the system until I saw this ethernet controller.

    http://www.hobbyengineering.com/SectionIN.html

    They're pricey, but it would allow for more sensors than could easily be done through the serial port.

    Yes, I'm a data whore.

    Mike Coles
    'bluelip'

  4. #4
    FLAC evandude's Avatar
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    there are plenty of ways to get such info. and using a SBC seems like complete overkill. reading sensors is something microcontrollers would be more than capable of. input to the PC could be as simple as a serial connection, continuously dumping a string of data; or could be done via the parallel port; or you could look into the phidgets boards, those are premade with available software, USB, and can be had with a handful of analog and digital inputs...

    *edit* that ethernet IO board looks pretty cool too... although you'd really be better off using microcontrollers to actually read the sensors themselves, and output more directly usable digital data. and also it would be much nicer if it had some analog inputs as well.
    But don't take it from me! here's a quote from a real, live newbie:
    Quote Originally Posted by Viscouse
    I am learning buttloads just by searching on this forum. I've learned 2 big things so far: 1-it's been done before, and 2-if it hasn't, there is a way to do it.
    eegeek.net

  5. #5
    Low Bitrate ALonDonThinG's Avatar
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    Well, i sure cant help you, but more than likely someone here will have suggestions good luck with it
    Epia SP1300\512 ddr\40g 3.5" hd\cartft-touchscreen\GPS-destinator \M1-ATX\Audigy1\Linksys-wirelessB\anafekkingbigamptojblspkrs.

  6. #6
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    Evandude,

    You're right, the microcontroller path is probably the most logical and economical.

    Is anyone working on pulling in that much info? I'm looking at having a couple dozen sensors. In addition to those already listed above, I'd even like to know when the AC clutch pulls in, whether the brake lights are on, turn signal, etc. It may seem like overkill. And it probably is. I realize that the benefit is small, but it would be cool to see by how much the AC running affects mileage over time. The turn signal sensor could prompt an audible warning "Hey dummy, turn the signal off!" Heck even include a tilt sensor to see how much an incline affects performance. Devices to measure acceleration, barometric pressure, and cargo weight would be nice to have as well.

    Did I mention I'm a data whore?

    I found a dealer on the web that has PC104 boards and modules that may work.

    http://www.embeddedarm.com/epc/prod_SBC.htm
    http://www.embeddedarm.com/epc/prod_PER.htm
    http://www.embeddedarm.com/epc/ts-ser4.php

    Looks like I've got some info to chew on.

    Thanks all.

    Mike Coles
    'bluelip'

  7. #7
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    Bugbyte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluelip
    I realize that the benefit is small, but it would be cool to see by how much the AC running affects mileage over time.
    Mythbusters already tested this.

    I don't understand your first post. What is the personal problem/paranoia that you have with getting data from the OBDII port? I can see that it's not an option on your vehicle but the effort you're going to have to go through to collect all this data is going to be huge.

    I won't say it would be cheaper to buy a car with OBDII built in, but it might be easier to do that and then add the additional sensors it doesn't give you.
    Quote Originally Posted by ghettocruzer View Post
    I was gung ho on building a PC [until] just recently. However, between my new phone having internet and GPS and all...and this kit...Im starting to have trouble justfiying it haha.
    Want to:
    -Find out about the new iBug iPad install?
    -Find out about carPC's in just 5 minutes? View the Car PC 101 video

  8. #8
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    I saw the mythbusters show. I think their results may have been different if they were allowed to travel at highway speeds.

    Paranoia isn't the right word. It's a little too stong. I don't like the fact that the inspection stations around here can plug into your car and download the data. I also don't like how the data can be had by law enforcement. It's a jeep, it's a good day when you get above 85 MPH. It bothers me my car could be used against me.

    Yes, I realize the data I collect could be used also, but I think the chances are better w/o OBD.

    Plus, I have too much time on my hands.

    Mike Coles
    'bluelip'

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