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Thread: Custom Controller for OPUS 120W

  1. #1
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    Custom Controller for OPUS 120W

    I have been very unhappy with the operation of my CarPC with regard to the software and the power supply. Most software, and this is only my preference, is much to busy. I am older and want much less information than what I normally see on front ends, so I plan on writing my own front end, but that is another project. After I put my CarPC together I had plan on
    spending time on the frontend software, but because of major problems with the way the power supply worked, I decided
    to tackle this area first.

    The 10 sec delay before starting was something I could not understand. And the only other control I had was how long I could keep the PC on after the Ign/acc was turn off. Also sometimes the PC just would not startup, so I would have to get out of the car and pull the power plug to get it to startup the PC. This was a problem with the OPUS.
    What follows is what I have done.


    Goal: Control the Startup and Shutdown of a PC in an Automotive environment. The Controller does the following:

    Check for remote door unlock signal. This will begin the startup sequence of the PC before I enter the car.

    Check for Interior lights turning on or door being opened. If not already started this will begin the startup sequence of the PC. If light or Door Open signal remains on and no Ign/Acc switch within 10 min. PC will begin a shutdown sequence.

    Check for 3 remote lock signals within 5 seconds after initial remote door lock, (4 total) to enter fast turn off mode. This will begin the PC shutdown sequence in 30 sec.

    Valet mode allows for an extended 3hr turn off delay. Instead of the normal 1 hr. delay This mode is activated by a switch in the console. If the switch is left in the On position, the logic will ignore this and only run 1 long valet timeout per activation. Switch must go from Off to On while PC is On to enable a single valet mode sequence.

    Just below the valet switch I have placed a keyswitch that I use to Reset the PC if needed. The signal goes to the Controller and picks up a relay whose normally Open contact are wired to the motherboard's reset pin on the header.

    One output contact drives the Xenarc LCD. This just follows the state of the Ign/Acc switch. Another Output is available that is always turned on except when the controller puts the OPUS in standby. This is used to power the XM radio module.


    Notes: When a contact closure is sent to the motherboard on the ATX Power ON header, the motherboard will generate a low signal on "PS-ON". This will turn on the OPUS and startup the PC if off. This same contact
    closure will Shutdown the PC and turn off the OPUS if the PC is on.

    On the OPUS 120W PS, when the Ign/Acc and the 12v Power are connected, current draw is .18 amps. This is what I consider to be the OPUS On mode.
    If the Ign/Acc input is not tied to the 12 supply, the mode changes to what I call standby, and the current is very much lower.
    When coming out of Standby to On there is approximately a 10 sec startup delay and during this period, the OPUS cannot power up the PC.
    My logic will keep the OPUS On for about 10 hours, before switching it to Standby. This will limit the initial 10 sec delay to only 1 time during a 10 hour period.


    On my system the OPUS and motherboard draw 1.5 amps when Roadrunner is up. This increases to 1.65 amps when a video is playing and 1.56 amps with audio playing. This does not include any current draw from my USB GPS, USB to Serial Converter or the XM radio module. These were not hooked up when testing current draw on the bench.

    The good part about this is that I did this with a PIC contoller from futurlec at a cost of $23.00. This contoller comes with a built in Programmer. The software to write the program and download it to the chip is free. Hitech PICC lite 9.50, MPLAB IDE v7.40 and winPIC800.
    I was going to complete the install in the car this weekend, by Building a board to connect the inputs and outputs using optoisolator,but I also found on the Furturlec website already built for 9.90 and 12.90. At that price I could not buy the parts I neede so I ordered these and a another development board.

    1 PIC16F877CONT PIC16F877 Controller ETT
    22.90 22.9
    2 OPTODCIN DC Opto-Isolated Input Board
    9.90 19.8
    1 OPTORELAY Opto-Isolated Relay Output Board-ETT
    12.90 12.9

    http://www.futurlec.com/PICDevBoard.shtml

    http://www.futurlec.com/Opto_Relay_4.shtml

    http://www.futurlec.com/DC_Opto_Input_4.shtml

    If anyone is interested I can provide more info.

  2. #2
    FLAC is for flaccid parksgm's Avatar
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    Just saw this...very interesting, and economical for a fully configureable and controllable startup controller.

    I would like to know if interfacing the input/output boards to the main PIC board requires additional circuitry that you designed/implemented or is simply a matter of connecting the input/output boards to the PIC board.

    Thanks!

  3. #3
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    They I/O boards Connect to the PIC Controller through 10 pin connectors. Inputs and outputs are wired the same making for a very flexible system. Cables are supplied.
    The only thing to look out for is that some I/O is reversed. A 12v input signal comes into the controller as a 0 not a 1, but this is easy to correct in logic.

    Walt

  4. #4
    FLAC is for flaccid parksgm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by walttoinfiniti View Post
    They I/O boards Connect to the PIC Controller through 10 pin connectors. Inputs and outputs are wired the same making for a very flexible system. Cables are supplied.
    The only thing to look out for is that some I/O is reversed. A 12v input signal comes into the controller as a 0 not a 1, but this is easy to correct in logic.

    Walt
    Very nice...thanks for the info. Looks like a great, economical alternative to commercial controller with a LOT more flexibility. From browsing the site you linked, looks like all I'd need would be:

    • PIC dev board, which includes all cables and software necessary to program it
    • input board
    • output board
    • power supply


    One more question: I have no prior experience with PICs (although a good deal of electronics experience), and limited programming experience, but it seems like relatively straightforward coding from the examples I've seen on the web. Did you have difficulty learning writing the code/programming the PIC?

  5. #5
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    Actually, it is not to dificult after you get started. The problem is getting started. If you are like me you want to get right into the programming, but you will have to spend some time and do a lot of reading, to learn how to even start.
    But, I don't think you will have too much of a problem, but I find it best to have some examples to use. When I wrote mine I started with about 50 lines of someone elses code and stepped thru it in the debugger. There are a number of sites that you can find by searching google.

    Also, all the software to write and compile your code is free. Just look at the downloads from the PIC manufacturer Microchip. And if you use the controller board I used, the programmer comes with it. The software to run the programmer was also found on the internet and it is free. Don't have the name at this time, but can look on my laptop later.


    Walt

  6. #6
    DM2
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    I'm interested in this. Can you e-mail me or post your program and diagrams?
    Real world knowledge isn't dropped from a parachute in the sky but rather acquired in tiny increments from a variety of sources including panic and curiosity.

  7. #7
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    Have you contacted Opus about a custom firmware?
    I had mine slightly redone because I wanted different timing options and they went ahead and customized it for me. I would assume that if you tell them what you need, and it is possible to do, that they will be more than happy to do so. Worth a try, instead of investing in the additional components.

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