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Author Topic: New to Arduino and wanting some input on a project  (Read 1707 times)
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Hello

I build custom cars as a hobby and usually more comfortable with a wrench than a laptop. But I love learning new stuff and this is going to be a fun project.

Here is the breakdown of my project

I HATE aftermarket analog gauges in cars so I want to build an electronic display for a few things I want to monitor. And I'd like to keep tabs on my car at all times so I'm looking into a GPS/GSM shield. But the Sensor project is first.

I have 4 sensors that measure pressure (Oil, fuel, No2, boost / vacuum)
  Each of the senders (sensors) converts to the pressure to an voltage value between .5v and 4.5v DC
  for example
     0 lbs. pressure =.5v,
     62.5 lbs. pressure= 3v,
     87.5 lbs. pressure= 4v
     100lbs. pressure= 4.5v
     and so on

I'll need to take those voltage values and scale them to a pressure and then display them on a 2x40 VFD display. I would like to use a mouse scroll wheel to toggle between the monitored sensors


Here is my parts list and justification

Arduino Uno
GVS Shield (for the 4 analog sensors + expansion)
Standard LCD 16x2  (for testing)
Breadboard shield
Sensors (already have)
12v regulated power supply (Since Its going into a car)
mouse scroll wheel ( for selecting which sensor to display on the lcd)

A few questions

1. I'm not a programmer (yet), but from a code stand point, am I looking at 100 hours or 100 days of learning testing and coding these i/o's
2. Am I missing something obvious that I need to make this work? 
3. Any recommendations on making this as painless as possible, tutorials, youtube vids, etc.

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The mouse scroll wheel may not be so easy but sounds like the rest of the project is.

I would start by making the LCD screen work.  Then work to get each sensor working one by one .. on a different analog pin.

Once you can read/convert the sensors and the LCD screen is updating, then put it all together along with the method of changing display values.

You may end up with a button or two to change between modes.  In fact, you may consider four buttons .. one for each reading.  Someone else may chime in for an idea for how to get a scroll wheel working.

Sounds like you have done your research and it is just time to get your hands dirty smiley  If you hit questions along the way, posting your code and exact message details and/or results will help you realize your goal.

Best of luck
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For that -- get the Mega2560 to prototype -- more inputs and outputs. The scale down for your final.


Get a couple of sensors --say accelerometer and barometer and a clock and then download the Compiler and run through every example provided that comes with the compiler. A few switches, a mini speaker etc a few LEDS...

It will take about 30 days to come up to speed if you follow the examples, the code on the playground, hunt down a few additional libraries and so on...

Get the Arduino Cookbook for a reference and the Evil Genius for some simple fun projects as well.

It will cost you about $200 - $300 -- most stuff will be reusable for your project.

At the end of 30 days if you do your homework religiously -- you will have had some fun and be able to ask the right questions about how to put it all together.

That''s how I tackled it.

And I searched every forum, read every example I thought was relevant -- and stuck to lurking and reading till I had some working code and accomplished most of my learning objectives.

« Last Edit: March 29, 2011, 10:31:40 am by WillR » Logged

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1. I'm not a programmer (yet), but from a code stand point, am I looking at 100 hours or 100 days of learning testing and coding these i/o's

That really depends on how fast you pick up learning the programming language used for the Arduino. Fortunately there are lots of example sketches on the Arduino IDE that show simple examples of say, how to send characters to a LCD display and others that show how to read a analog input pin. So combining those two things into one sketch is not a hard thing to do and I'm sure you will get the hang of it if your patient. Often when learning it's better not to start off trying to write the final sketch all at once, but rather first just prove to yourself that you can write a simple sketch to read your sensors and send the values to the PC where you can see the results with the serial monitor function in the IDE. Later you wire up the display to your board and prove you can send simple print statements to it. Then you are ready to combine the functions and build a simple menu setup and display your sensor data to your display device. Baby steps so to speak.  smiley-grin

2. Am I missing something obvious that I need to make this work?

I don't think so. You will have to pay some attention to how you power your project via your car's 12vdc system, it can be a noisy and spiky environment and there are recommended power filtering methods that can protect your board/project from harm.
  
3. Any recommendations on making this as painless as possible, tutorials, youtube vids, etc.

As I said I learned best by reading other peoples code and learning from their examples.

I think the AnalogInOutSerial sketch in the arduino IDE File/Examples/Analog is a good first sketch to study. You should be able to wire one of your sensors up and see it displayed on the PC. Then you can modify the sketch to read more sensors that you wire up to the board.

Then the HelloWorld sketch from the File/Examples/LiquidCrystal is a good starting point if you are using a compatible lcd display.

Jump in the water is fine.

Lefty
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Well the sensors I already have because they are specialized for the automotive industry. I was thinking about the Mega board But I don't see using any more sensors because it'll become to much to monitor.

I've got about 200 on my 'wish list' so far But I've not pullled the trigger yet. trying to find a store with everything I need and the book that was recommended.  

I've been lurking alot for the last 6 weeks since I noticed I had to order 4 gauges and trying to figure out where to put them so they're not so ugly.

The tronixstuff tutorials have be totally awesome and has given me some confidence that I can do this reasonably.

Im thinking I may not need the GVS board It may be just neater with it, which I don't mind.

Thanks for all the input guys I hope to pull the trigger in the next couple of days.
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Most automotive sensors do not output + voltage. All that I have seen work on resistance. VDO oil pressure sender 10-180 ohm 0-80psi. What sensors are you using. What type engine will you be monitoring. I've built many cars over the years and you have peaked my curiosity. Maybe you have seen a few from Exotic Illusions.
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I may be able to shed a little light on what you are trying to achieve. I myself am more of a car guy, previously being in the industry for 8 years working at a reputable fab shop building turbo kits alone with a plethora of other stuff we sold. I had the same idea you had at one time for my drag car. It is called a Neptune Tunerview. If your vehicle is not a Honda, I am sure you could still use the display and software in conjunction with a Arduino board connected to your sensors as inputs rather than to a ECU sending signals.
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--Good suggestions already.  I'm sure you can do this. It's just a different set of tools and materials..

The GVS (I assume you mean a Sensor Shield like this: http://arduino-info.wikispaces.com/SensorShield) is a good way to quickly try out different input and output devices..

I have some Arduino Learning stuff  that might help, here: http://yourduino.com/ but you'll be past that pretty quickly.. The TronixStuff tutorials are great and if you're making some sense of that you're in good shape.. 

Get each sensor working, just sending data to the Serial Monitor. Get the LCD working separately. You can stitch it all back together later. Divide and conquer.

We'll be watching for your news  smiley
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Regards, Terry King  ..On the Red Sea at KAUST.edu.sa
terry@yourduino.com  LEARN! DO! (Arduino Boards, Sensors, Parts @ http://yourduino.com

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I may be able to shed a little light on what you are trying to achieve. I myself am more of a car guy, previously being in the industry for 8 years working at a reputable fab shop building turbo kits alone with a plethora of other stuff we sold. I had the same idea you had at one time for my drag car. It is called a Neptune Tunerview. If your vehicle is not a Honda, I am sure you could still use the display and software in conjunction with a Arduino board connected to your sensors as inputs rather than to a ECU sending signals.

Nope no Honda here, A Lincoln Mark VIII with about 500Hp. The sensors are monitoring things that are not attached to the PCM / ECU.

I'm using the Autometer sensors since I have most them and I have the voltage to pressure scale on my laptop now.


Update:

I found a local guy that had 'some' of the stuff I wanted, So heres what I got...

1 Arduino uno SMD (1 month old)
1 proto shield kit (unassembled)
a ziplok bag full of resistors
a ziplock bag half full of ceramic disk caps
about 40 LED's
10 tricolor LED's
2 small breadboards
couple hand fulls of switches
couple hand fulls of pots
couple hand fulls of breadboard jumpers
a 3v 5v 12v dc / 120VAC power supply
a breadboard voltage regulator (not working)
2 16X2 parallel LCD's one backlit one not
and a bag of misc. stuff (chips, sockets, sensors, etc)that I haven't gone through yet.

all for $100 and a promise to post the final sketch and to show him the project when finished.

I'd say about 90% of the stuff hasn't been used so its my turn to abuse it. 

I decided to go head long into getting something work so I'm in the middle of troubleshooting the LCD 'Hello world' example. I've got it wired up and my laptop is talking to the uno now, but its not showing the text 'hello world' so i'm off to the tutorials to figure it out what i'm missing. I've been at this for about 3 hours so I feel I'm at a good place.

Terry:
nice site already in my bookmarks
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This sounds like such an awesome project.

I'm working on a fairly considerable project at the moment, getting my current project up to date on my new Arduino based web blog, but I'm absolutely certain I can crack that mouse wheel technology when I get the chance. It's just an encoder wheel and a button, the hard part is getting it out of the mouse and onto an Arduino shield, but even that looks fairly straight forward.

Oh, and I have an Event manager system on my blog that may be of use to you. Check it out! The url is in the signature below.

I apologize for hawking my blog... it's pretty weak at the moment.
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I have a few scroll wheel mice laying around the house, I took them apart and and noticed that all of them were USB and they seem to be pretty complex I found a really old PS/2 mouse with a ball (yea I know) and the board look simple. I'm going to meter it out when I get my "Hello world" test done.
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I have a few scroll wheel mice laying around the house, I took them apart and and noticed that all of them were USB and they seem to be pretty complex I found a really old PS/2 mouse with a ball (yea I know) and the board look simple. I'm going to meter it out when I get my "Hello world" test done.

The hard part wouldn't be getting the wheel itself working, basically with each "notch" of the scroll wheel, your arduino will see the input line go to 5v for a split second, then back down.

The hard part would be figuring out how to get the LCD to update and show the next/previous sensor input. Not impossible but it will take some thinking/work. Like marklar said, if you were to just use buttons, then it would be easy to just say "If button 1 is pressed, show nos reading". (the code would look different than that but that's the very basic example)
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Instead of a mouse wheel you could use a potentiometer turned on it's side instead of a knob attach a wheel read the voltage change on the analog pins and select an item based on those results. Here is a simple example of the hook up.

http://www.arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/AnalogInput
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Or a rotary encoder might be a better solution. Here is a link to an old post.

http://www.arduino.cc/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1289942534
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meden:

Not as good. Mouse wheels have a 'click' when you rotate them. It's part of their 'feel'. It's really just a spring clicking into slots on the inside of the wheel, but it's an iconic part of the interface.

Sure, you could just use an encoder wheel... or a pot... or a button. but that wouldn't deliver the user interface experience of a mouse wheel.

In the context of a car's user interface, where you just want to reach over there and click it while barely looking...a mouse wheel click would be damn cool.
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