Looking for advice on the correct board for a automotive project

Hello all im new to arduino and coding and im looking to get started on learning. Now im new to coding and have very little knowledge on microprocessors and electronics on this type of scale. I was hoping that someone could point me in the right direction for choosing the correct board for what im trying to accomplish down the road. being new, i know that this wont be a over night thing i can pick up and accomplish what im looking to do. I know it will take time but that doesn't sway me from trying to learn and work twords what im trying to accomplish.

So a little about what im trying to do. I have a race car that is ran by a megasquirt stand alone engine management system. Im currently looking at trying to create a input/output board that i can use to gather sensor data (0-5v analog sensors, hall and/or vr sensors for wheel speed and to control some solenoids for boost control). I would also like to add up to 2 small (5inch) screens to monitor data in the car. Now i would like all over this data to be sent over a can bus system that my cars ecu has so i can log the data and control the outputs directly from the megasquirt ecu. I know its possible as there are other i/o boxs you can buy that can already integrate with the megasquirt ecu. The reason im looking at this avenue instead of just buying a box thats already done and ready to go is, None of these premade boxs or boards have enough i/o for everything that i want to do and ive always wanted to learn how to program. so maybe i can kill 2 birds with one stone.

Now for my question, which board would be best for my needs? The more i/o i have available to me the better and cost really isnt an issue within reason. I know thats kind of vague, spending a few hundred on a board if needed isnt an issue. I was looking at the mega board but im not sure if this would be what i need or not or if it would work for what im trying to do. I understand that i would need to buy a can adapter but i havent started looking into that as of yet so im kind of lost there. Another issue is that the board would need to be able to work off the cars battery/charging system. I dont mind if i have to wire in some sort of adapter to power the board. I know the mega said over 12v and the regulator could overheat and cause damage so thats another problem i would have to sort.

I was also looking at using something along these lines for a display https://www.itead.cc/display/nextion.html

Anyone help and guideance on this would be greatly appreciated. I look forward to getting start with this project and learning how to program. thanks - outlaw1320

Bump.. anyone?

An analogy to what you're asking would be to say "I really want to become a brain surgeon so I need help with selecting the correct scalpel to buy".

Do you think we could teach you brain surgery over the Internet? Ultimately, it is impossible to know if you're even capable of such a task (building an ECU, not brain surgery). Do you have reference design for both the hardware and software to work from?

Without a predefined, known good starting point, your chances of "bitting off more than you can chew" are already defined by your admitted lack of experience. The Arduino ecosystem definitely lowers the bar of entry for micro-controller based systems but an ECU is not in the same league as blinking LED's or even controlling a 3D printer. Have you considered the fact that the Megasquirt folks have probably blown up a few engines along the way of perfecting what they're selling?

Do you have a block diagram of your system with all I/O labelled? Without that and your engine specs, you'd be going about the entire process... well, backwards.

IMO, It would be best to give that some serious thought and decide if you want to learn engine control in units of micro and milliseconds, spending perhaps many frustrating and expensive hours, days and months perfecting something that has already been perfected.

If it is important to you to have your own controller, then by all means, get started defining the features you want. If you think this is a just a good idea because the brand ABC controller doesn't do x,y or z but does everything else you need, it's probably a good time to re-evaluate how you want to spend your time and money for the next three to six months, minimum.

PS: Bumping your own posts usually gets them ignored.

I'm not sure if this is an attempt to make an ECU. I read it as more like an OBD2 data logger plus some additional inputs.

Start small. Start with an UNO, GPS and a SD card shield. Try to log just one analog input. The GPS is mainly to get an accurate clock that never needs setting.

Then add the CAN Bus shield for the OBD2 logging.

Then learn about input protection after you blow up one or two UNOs.

Then add a TFT screen. (Don't waste time with the 16x2 LCD screens.)

I don't see the bump as a bad thing: posts fall off the first page in just a few hours here.

Not really an attempt to make an ecu. Im trying to add inputs for additional logging. Since the car has an aftermarket ecu it doesnt have a obd2 port. The ecu has a can bus though and i can feed the sensor data to the aftermarket ecu and it will log the data for me.

avr_fred:
An analogy to what you're asking would be to say "I really want to become a brain surgeon so I need help with selecting the correct scalpel to buy".

Do you think we could teach you brain surgery over the Internet? Ultimately, it is impossible to know if you're even capable of such a task (building an ECU, not brain surgery). Do you have reference design for both the hardware and software to work from?

Without a predefined, known good starting point, your chances of "bitting off more than you can chew" are already defined by your admitted lack of experience. The Arduino ecosystem definitely lowers the bar of entry for micro-controller based systems but an ECU is not in the same league as blinking LED's or even controlling a 3D printer. Have you considered the fact that the Megasquirt folks have probably blown up a few engines along the way of perfecting what they're selling?

Do you have a block diagram of your system with all I/O labelled? Without that and your engine specs, you'd be going about the entire process... well, backwards.

IMO, It would be best to give that some serious thought and decide if you want to learn engine control in units of micro and milliseconds, spending perhaps many frustrating and expensive hours, days and months perfecting something that has already been perfected.

If it is important to you to have your own controller, then by all means, get started defining the features you want. If you think this is a just a good idea because the brand ABC controller doesn't do x,y or z but does everything else you need, it's probably a good time to re-evaluate how you want to spend your time and money for the next three to six months, minimum.

PS: Bumping your own posts usually gets them ignored.

I'm sorry I missed this reply before. I think there's a little bit of a misunderstanding of what exactly I'm trying to do. I'm not trying to make an engine management system. I'm rather happy with the engine management system that I'm already using. All that I'm trying to do is use an Arduino board for additional sensor inputs. With my current ECU I am out of analog inputs or adc inputs and I would like to add some additional sensors such as 3-axis accelerometer, cooling system pressure, suspension travel, oil temperature ect. And I want to gather the data using Arduino and pass it to my ECU over the can bus system and using the onboard Data Logger that the ECU has to log the data. Doing it this way I don't have to make a logging software program and my ECU will log data that the Arduino sends and I can view it directly with the logging software that I already have

Again I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel I'm basically trying to make an expansion board. I've already ordered a Arduino Mega I'm going to begin playing with it this weekend. I have a decent understanding already of how to program the Arduino to read 0 - 5 volt sensors. The tough part for me it will be learning how to use the can bus. I haven't really found any decent tutorials yet that explain exactly how to program that side of things. Once I figure out how to use or program the canbus side of things all the information is available from megasquirt for the can bus protocol

I didn't realize that bumping threads was a No-No around here I'll keep that in mind for the future. thanks