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Thread: Controlling AC/Heater with computer

  1. #11
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    plaiming2,
    The left most knob is the blower speed control and is just a simple switch, so that should be easy. It appears that the blend door is already controlled by a servo of sorts since the middle knob is actually an electrical knob and not manually regulating a cable like in older cars. This should make controlling it a little easier. The direction control, right most knob, poses some interesting quirks. It has to send a request for ac when the defrost position is selected. Also, when multiple positions are selected, like floor and vent, both of the controlling motors will have to be activated. Is there a separate button to turn on the AC? I don't see one which leads me to believe that the BCM (Body Control Module) will see the position of the mix control and turn on the AC. Be careful when doing any hvac work around this system as to not destroy the BCM or the ECM since either one or both of those modules recieve information from the controls. Also, information has to be sent to the ECM in order for it to turn on the AC. HTH

    Mike

  2. #12
    Maximum Bitrate albysure's Avatar
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    i found a pc relay board that comes with software. it connects to your parallel port and has 8 5amp relays. price is $35.63us.

    http://www.mpja.com

    look under "kits"

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  3. #13
    Maximum Bitrate albysure's Avatar
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    ok. kinda hard to find
    here's the link...

    http://www.mpja.com/product.asp?product=6074+KT

    ------------------
    AMD K6-3 450, 15GB HD, 256M Ram
    DVD, 10.4" touchscreen, 2-5' lcd's, ati all in wonder 16mb, Wireless Keyboard, Alpine, MB Quart, JL, Audio Control,
    Winamp w/ Album List Plug-In

  4. #14
    Maximum Bitrate gizmomkr's Avatar
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    a note about the knobs and servo motors.

    Its a waste to use a servo to turn a knob in a new car. new cars dont use levers to control the vents or fan speed. the controls in new cars are simple switches and variable resistors / pots. you would be going from electrical energy to mechanical, back to electrical, highly in-effecient. It would much more accurate to bypas the buttons compleetly, and attach the wires directly to a PIC / STAMP / PC, and again, using a pic or stamp would allow a lot of flexibility, more than the relay card, because the relay card is only one way communication. A stamp / pic has 2 way capibilities. You couldnt use the relay card to measure room temp, humidity, Etc; But a stamp could. a stamp could sence condensation on the window, and automaticaly turn on the defroster.

    Im going to get a service manual and see waht I can dig up about my controls.
    Gizmo-
    Techonlogy on Wheels
    http://www.hjnetworks.com/car

  5. #15
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    TurboBuick87 : the rightmost knob in the 2 leftmost positions turns on the A/C (the far left is max A/C which recurculates the air already in the car as well as cooling it everytime thru. The next position brings in outside air and cools it before tossing it into the cab.

    gizmomkr : thanks for the info I guess I will be seeing if I can get ahold of a service manual for my car also to get more info on the controls I doubt that it will have the info I would like but I will have to see. I do know the fan speed in my car is controled by a resistor pack (because here was a recall on it) it runs at full speed by default and when you set it to lower speeds the resistor pack kicks in taking some of the current away? I dont know for sure but I do know that at lower speeds the resistor pack heats up quite a bit.

  6. #16
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    hey guys, thanks for all the help. this has turned into a pretty useful thread. Turbobuick, how do you know so much about
    a Ford? (anyway i agree with you assessment of the controls
    because i have openned it up and peaked. I think it is mostly
    switches, i am waiting to get the manual.) you guys who want
    service manuals might check Ebay, they have service CDs with
    all kinds of diagrams and stuff. Gizmo, you have been talking about these stamp/pic things. excuse my ignorance, but what are they, how do they work, and where can i get one? I was looking last night into how i would get the temperature into the
    pc and realized i would definetly need inputs/ not just a relay switch control board to get the temp and other info in.
    (man maybe i should just move the controls to the cubby hole)

    -paul

  7. #17
    Maximum Bitrate gizmomkr's Avatar
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    The one im most familiar with is the Paralax brand.

    this "thing" or stamp, has a serial interface, and 16 I/O lines.

    It is a computer ( 20 Mhz ) it runs on Pbasic, a modified form of basic. pbasic allows the computer to interface with the 16 i/o lines, the I/O lines can be customized with the software to read in data from sensors, switches, activate relays, annything. in the most basic form the pins read in or output a binary logic 1 or 0 on or off. when you combine that with some software, some servo's, and some adc's ( analog to digital converters ) You get one kick *** little computer.

    Arter you program the stamp ( via serial port) uppon powering the stamp on, it begins to execute the code you programed it for. it will read data from the i/o lines, send data to the pc, or control whatever you pluged into it. Its a pretty neat little chip, and fairly cheep 45.00 for the one I am using.

    Check out http://www.parallaxinc.com/ for info on the chip, or http://www.stampsinclass.com/html_fi...r_projects.htm for some ideas / examples.

    Right now my stamp controls a traffic light , and flashes the light in sequence with some data read from motion sensors.
    ( kinda lame, but its a good way to get started with programing it)

    [This message has been edited by gizmomkr (edited 03-22-2001).]
    Gizmo-
    Techonlogy on Wheels
    http://www.hjnetworks.com/car

  8. #18
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    I am working on learning how to program the PICMicro MCU from http://www.microchip.com/ they are the actual chips used on the basic stamps that gizmomkr is talking about so I think it will require a little more work most likely :-( but still looks like lots of fun to be had with this also check out http://www.piclist.com for more info/projects using MCU's. Anybody know of a good way to start figuring out what all my wires do before I manage to get ahold of the shop manuals ? trial and error is fine as long as somebody can tell me how to tell the errors when they are happening ;-)

  9. #19
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    Going back to the picture in the second post.

    I am guessing since I don't have that type pickup, if yours is truely all electronic then it is a different subject, but just in case it is half electric and half mechanical (or someone else is thinking about this) I offer the following. (remember that some wires going into the thing may be for the back lighting)

    I will bet that the blower switch is a multi ganged thing for motor speed. (rather than a resistor or something else to slow the motor down, they just have different windings for different speeds, probably a 3 prongd plug for the blower motor)

    The temp is a cable assembly to open or close the hot water line.

    The third is the vacuum powered valved, when you move the selector it sends vacuum to different valves to direct the air.

    Why not just move the whole assembly into the ash tray area, the cables and hoses should be long enough, and there will be no engineering hassle.

    To make it electronic (or at least electric, you will need some relays for the blower motor (easy) a servo motor to pull and releast the hot water cable (fairly easy), some sort of bizzarre electric powered vacuum valves connected to relays (I am sure they are available). All that would be hooked up to your stamp or serial interface board or whatever.

    It would be fancy...but what a lot of pain.

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    [This message has been edited by DodgeCummins (edited 03-22-2001).]

  10. #20
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    Dodge,
    I agree it is a lot of pain. I'm not going to try to do the computer
    controlled system if any othe controls are not switches. (easy
    off or on). My hope is that it is just a set of switches/relays
    that either go to the computer in the car to control the servos
    or to the servo controls directly. I'm not building anything
    that involves anything mechanical, i suck at that. I think moving
    the controls to the cubby hole probably is the best thing to do,
    but i want it to look good and i'm not sure how i would mount
    the controls in there and still have it look good.

    -paul

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