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Thread: Controlling AC/Heater with computer

  1. #1
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    Post Controlling AC/Heater with computer

    Alright, the sharp LCD 8.4" discussion digressed into a discussion about controlling the heating/AC with your computer, so i thought i would start a thread with the appropriate topic description. I have a newer vehicle but the problem is that the automatic climate control was not an option. As far as i know it can not be retrofitted with another Ford model unit either. Second I want the space where the controls are so that i can mount a bigger LCD. Now, i know that
    if the computer goes down you are then screwed, but hey,
    i hope to build a robust enought system that it won't be crashing that often, and if it does break down, then i will want to
    get it up and running ASAP, so i am not concerned about that. If anyone has links that might help do this, please post. I have searched alot and haven't found anything. I am going to try and buy the full repair manual for my vehicle so i can try and understand how the manual climate controls are wired.
    I don't think i would have any trouble writing the software, but assuming its just switches off and on, i don't know how to set up the interface to the pc.

    (i'll try and post a picture of the dash as soon as i figure out how to do that)

    regards,
    paul

  2. #2
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    heres what the inside of my truck looks like. (this isn't my truck)
    i want to take out the radio and climate controls and put my
    sharp in there.


  3. #3
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    I posted this to the old thread, and thought I would put it back here....

    I found an example of a guy that did it.
    Im going to send him an e-mail and see if he has anny sugestions.

    I have a bookmark of a site- http://ashleypowers.terrashare.com/index.htm
    This guy talks briefly about removing the ac controles, and hooking them to the pc.
    I have been looking into this for a while, I just dont have much free time to play with it right now. but here are some factors :

    1. Old cars use a lot of manual controles ( push rods, and vents and stuff) new cars use switches and POTS to controle stuff. The new stuff would be a lot easier to manipulate. Push rods would require some sort of actuator or servo.

    2. As previously mentioned, you dont want the pc crashing to mean the end of your AC,

    3. After you move them, you still have to plug up the holes , or make a new dash, and depending on your set-up, you might need to pick a new home for the controles.

    So far, my idea is : A Basic stamp.

    They are tiny computers that have a serial or parallel interface to the pc, but they have there own ram and can operate indipendantly of the pc.

    So, it would be pretty easy to hook up a Basic stamp to the ac / heater controles, throw in a temp sensor, and write the code for the stamp to control everything. and when you had the pc turned on, it could also relay the data to the pc, or allow the pc to adjust the tempature and stuff.

    I have big plans for my stamp, I want it to control the door locks, the windows, interface with the alarm.... it just takes time.
    Gizmo-
    Techonlogy on Wheels
    http://www.hjnetworks.com/car

  4. #4
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    Ok here goes one more post with way to much usfull and usless info from me.

    This sounds something like what ashley powers did with his MazdaPC he does not tell you much about what he did but this is his website http://ashleypowers.terrashare.com/ the actaul page that he says all that you can find out about it on his webpage is http://ashleypowers.terrashare.com/MazdaPCTour/ac.htm I belive he used a Mini SSC II from Scott Edwards Electronics, Inc you can find out more about that at http://www.seetron.com/ssc.htm to control hobby servos (servos can be found at http://www.towerhobbies.com as well as many other places on the web) and if you do figure out how to do it before I do be sure to tell all since I have a ford contour with the same type of A/C controls that I am starting to look at doing something like that in. I think most hobby servos are only 180 degrees of rotation? so you might need to modify them or hook up some sort of gearing to get those controls that go more than 180 on there. Of course if I ever get lots of free time I will be looking at doing more than that because I was thinking about having both automatic and manual controls in my car for the A/C.

    Automatic = put in temp and it will regulate the controls to keep the car at that temp.
    Manual = for those times you just want to set it to full blast A/C in the middle of the summer or full heat in the winter and get your body feeling good before you regulate the temp in the car.

  5. #5
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    moxnix,
    good info. it looks like i need to research the climate system
    controls for my vehicle now. my initial thought is that the
    controls are not "by wire", but actually digital switches.
    I might be wrong though. if you look at the picture, i took the
    radio out and the left knob has like 5 wires, the middle knob
    has like 3 wires, and the right nob had like 5 wires too.
    from that it would appear that maybe only the middle one is
    by wire (or mechanical) instead of computer controlled.

    -paul

  6. #6
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    Somebody relocated their ac controls to the roof, but I can't find them now

  7. #7
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    Hummm I am not sure what kind of controls they are I just figured with the type of external controls we had that you would need to do something to turn them but if it is something else that might be even better since in that case I might be able to do things that the current controls are not able to do.

  8. #8
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    relocation of the a/c panel is not that hard, there is normally enough wire to move it to the glove box or center console (in my first project i moved the panel down to accomadate the LCD... the only thing u need to do to control the A/C from your LCD is to get servos (or motors to turn the mechanism) and write the program to control the controller (easier said than done)....

    however the biggest problem i see with this is slow response from the cpu and the device... (i was considering controlling the windows with the screen (but figured it was too much trouble to boot the computer to roll down my windows

  9. #9
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    ok well it all depends on the car i havnt done it but i plan on doing it to my car (te cortina all manual cables and stuff no electronics except the fan)
    the links below are for computer interfaces so if everything is electronic ya can prolly use one of these if there manual there harder mine are all slide controls so im gonna use stepper motors to drag the control to where it needs to be
    hope someone finds this interesting

    btw the links are for a australian company but theres gotta be something like these in usa if anyone in usa wants anything gimme a email and we can prolly work something out

    cheers
    pcman
    [email protected]

    http://filemaker.webfactory.com.au/D...en=12692575&-f ind=

    http://filemaker.webfactory.com.au/D...en=12692575&-f ind=


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    donate to my team in the ****box rally all proceeds go to the cancer council http://www.everydayhero.com.au/dodgy_mechanics

  10. #10
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    pcman none of your links work :-( I am guess that they might contain session info in them that will not work with other pc's ?

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