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Thread: Smart 24/7 PC/Car Startup Controller

  1. #1
    fka - Nextabyte_Matt ioi8's Avatar
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    Smart 24/7 PC/Car Startup Controller

    Many of you here may have seen the progress with using the Plug Computer (aka Sheeva) as the second-tier low-power computer that stays on 24/7. This secondary computer stays on 24/7 to wake up the main PC, offline BT, WIFI, GPS, etc... and more. However, it has been noted that even though the Sheeva uses only 1-2 W of power, it can still drain a standard car battery in less than 24 hours.

    My idea is to use an embedded board to replace the Sheeva as the secondary PC module. Using the existing usb arduino (aka Arduino Duemilanove), we should be able to replace all functionality of the Sheeva with this device. Due to the embedded nature of this device, it can be left running in full power mode for weeks or in reduced power sleep states for months.

    Estimated functionality of the proposed unit:
    1. Use any control line to power the IGN line-in of smart DC/DC controller PSUs
    2. Turn on the car from any wireless signal (with appropriate external HW)
    3. Turn on the PC/car at specified times and dates
    4. Enable 24/7 logging of GPS/WIFI/BT/3G to sense if the car is stolen or moved
    5. Enable digital/analog input/out via USB/WIFI/BT/3G
    6. High-power control using external relays




    Numbers 1,3, and 5 can all be accomplished with minimal additional HW. The only things needed would be an arduino shield and minimal amount of ICs. The others would require embedded BT/WIFI/3G which would require extra coding and expensive HW to implement.

    Any thoughts on this?

  2. #2
    North of the land of Hey Huns
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    An addition to this:

    Due to the stackable shield nature of the Arduino, it would be easy to make this extremely modular, allowing non hardware people to add only the features they want simply by plugging in a new daughterboard, and downloading the appropriate module. I am working on some software that will allow custom firmware to be put on the board at runtime, while allowing a very easy to use UI to configure it. For example, a gui would allow you to essentially give it this logic:

    When Input 1 goes high (Ignition on) I want Output 2 to go high for 1 second (Turn on carpc)

    And press "upload" and all that is left is plugging in your wires.

    Just an example as a possible use:
    Press a button on your carpc if you want your car to start at 5:00am in the morning the next morning (I go to work at the same time every morning, this would be useful for me)
    "stop with the REINSTALLS, what do you think we got some lame-o installer!!!" - mitchjs
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  3. #3
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    with the diagram you have up above, you can use a picaxe 08m to control everything if you aren't using the wireless option.
    the picaxe is 3 dollars, cheap and can be chained and has 5 i/o, it even has servo control and adc built in. the arduinos (for a full board) start at 30 dollars, and each piece of hardware (or shield) is extra.
    i understand that there are more i/o's on the arduino, i am just giving an alternative to it for people who may want an option (numbers 1, 3, 6 on your list can be done for 3 dollars).
    i am trying to do exactly what you are talking about in another thread in the hardware section.
    if you need help programming the arduino or want to see the capability of the picaxe, just let me know.

  4. #4
    North of the land of Hey Huns
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    You can do the same thing with a base AVR chip, which only costs $4, it's all the supporting infrastructure that costs money. By the time you put the picaxe into a package capable of what the Arduino is capable of, it starts adding up .

    Another reason behind the Arduino is because it is a commercially available solution, already tried tested and true. There are even already shields available for a good amount of functionality. This is a solution for people who aren't electronically inclined... which is a huge stopping point for a project like this to many people, this is not so much intended for the kind of people who can take a picaxe or atmega chip and program it themselves.
    "stop with the REINSTALLS, what do you think we got some lame-o installer!!!" - mitchjs
    RevFE
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  5. #5
    fka - Nextabyte_Matt ioi8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by malcom2073 View Post

    When Input 1 goes high (Ignition on) I want Output 2 to go high for 1 second (Turn on carpc)
    Remember, this is supposed to work in conjunction with the smart PSUs, so we want the output to remain "on". While this could potentially bypass those smart PSUs, those PSUs already contain the logic needed to handle shutting down and powering on the PCs with stop timers and whatnot.

    Basically this would be a 2 "state" FSM. Those incoming signals will either make the state go from "off" to "on" and vice versa. I suggest we look at this from a FSM perspective than multiple IF statements.

  6. #6
    Newbie ARN1382's Avatar
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    Its a nice idea, I already have an arduino working on my car "but with a completely different approach", i would like to think about this idea a little bit and give it shape, if I would love to help with this if I can .

    My Arduino project: Kia Spectra 2005 Knight Rider Mod
    REQUIRED HARDWARE [50%]
    CARPUTER INSTALLATION [0%]
    LCD IN DASH FRABRICATION [??%]

    Additional mods:
    KNIGHT RIDER LED MOD:[99%]
    Worklog Album

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