Where to begin.
I have no experience with Arduino or other open based controller boards. I am very good at figuring stuff out and coming up with new ideas, have lots of wiring and soldering experience...
Over the last year I have been looking into Arduino boards.
I want to use one for automotive purposes and I know the Arduino can do a lot more than I want to use it for.
I am looking for a list of devices to look into and learn about and any suggestions or better ideas.
This is a growing plan and I am opened to anything.
The short version:
I want to use ground or 12v+ sensor signals to allow or deactivate a ground or 12V+ signal to a relay.
Added to list-
Activating a device for a timed period upon receiving a button activated signal.
Newest item to list-
Activating and deactivating output signals using a simple RF device.
Controlling radio volume and track select with RF device.
One of my cars runs a home made water/methanol injection kit made of salvaged and modified parts.
The mechanics of the system seem complicated but are very functional.
A typical kit has a tank, a high pressure pump, hoses, a controller and misting jets... The high pressure pump is expensive and prone to overheating and failure.
A guy in Australia made a set-up that runs on turbo boost (positive pressure above atmosphere) pressure that's used to pressurize a tank that injects water/methanol through an expensive misting nozzle and operates with his engine management system.
My car is a 1988, has no controllable engine management, it was a budget build using left over car parts and stuff I made.
The water/methanol system I made consists of:
-A 12V permanent mount air compressor/tire pump.
-A 1 way check valve.
-A 300ml air tank.
-A compressor regulator (set from 85-105psi)
-An air manifold, with pressure gauge, compressor quick connect (to fill tires), 130psi pressure relief valve, compressor air line relief valve and 3/8" air line to the main tank.
-A 1.5gallon holding tank with a level sensor and pickup tube at the bottom and a pressure switch at the top.
-A liquid pressure regulator.
-A 500ml accumulator tank.
-Braided stainless hose.
-2 solenoid valves with six misting nozzles.
It's operated through pressure switches, relays, solenoid valves and switches...
-All relays are cycled on/off by ground signals and send ground signals to the devices, 12V+ is ignition switch and constant.
The pump and system has a main toggle switch and relay.
The main toggle activates the main system relay through ground signal and turns on the pump, the same toggled ground signal runs through the tank level sensor and tank pressure switch to the injection system on button.
The system on button sends a ground signal to activate the front relay.
The front relay sends a ground signal to two normally opened pressure switches set for different pressures and to an adjustable 3 way air solenoid valve used to increase boost pressure.
The two normally opened pressure switches activate the injection solenoids at the misting nozzles.
Right now the only fail safes the system is running is the float sensor and tank pressure sensor, if the tank is low or the pressure is low ground signal is cut to the injection system on button, turning off the boost control solenoid and pressure switches/solenoid valves.
I have fabricated two brackets that mount to the top of the injection solenoid valves.
They hold brake fluid level normally opened magnetic hall effect sensors to detect the electromagnet activation in the solenoid valves. The only thing I can use these signals on at the moment are led warning lights.
The Magnetic sensors will run the same ground signal that activates the solenoid injection valves.
If I use two relays per LED warning light.
I would wire the ground signal after the magnetic sensor to a normally closed relay sending ground to the LED when there is no signal from the hall sensor.
I would wire the ground signal before the magnetic sensor to a normally open relay sending 12V+ through a resistor to the LED.
So only when ground activation is sent to the solenoid valve but the magnetic hall sensor doesn't send a ground signal will the LED's light up and actually be a warning light.
If I measure no volts at the NO and NC relay outputs when the solenoid valves are activated than I could interrupt the ground signal to the boost control solenoid with a normally closed relay which would cut ground/boost only when receiving both ground and 12V+ from the NO and NC warning relays.
But I expect a tiny delay between activation signal and magnetic signal and perhaps a flicker of the light which is enough to cancel the boost cut fail safe from the magnetic hall sensor output.
And this is a lot of relays.
And it still doesn't save the engine if the solenoid valves seize or the misting nozzles get plugged, there are inline flow sensors available but without a way to use the signal than they could only be used for warning lights. Which would be a waste.
Arduino can do all this.
The car runs a stand alone extra injector controller, unfortunately it's on board map sensor only reads up to 1.5 Bar/21psi above atmosphere, so I had to keep turning boost up until it matched the fuel delivery from the extra injectors at full cycle, 30psi boost was the proper point.
The car is much faster than I expected it to be, This winter I will replace the 2.5bar map pressure sensor in the extra injector controller with a 2.5bar gauge pressure sensor that starts reading only above atmosphere pressure. So I can run less boost.
I will also add a stand alone engine timing retarding controller to pull factory ignition timing when the higher boost on water methanol is run.
I read up on some of the ways people use the timing controller and found that one of the signal inputs can trigger an immediate timing delay designed to help with starting not factory set-up engines.
They use this feature for launching when drag racing to pull timing and power to limit wheel spin when starting down the track, they use an adjustable timed relay that they turn on and stays on for 2,3 or 4 seconds then turns itself off... The timer relay costs 92$
But then I though The Arduino can do this as well.
For the Injection system on button I wanted it in a very convenient location, I decided the shift knob was easier than the steering wheel. After a lot of internet searching I decided to carve my own shift knob that put the on/off button in a spot it wouldn't get pushed accidentally.
Then I made an adjustable throw custom shift rod that puts the shift knob at a forward angle in the exact same position and height as the factory shift knob.
I am also installing a 2way 12v normally opened (flows without power) solenoid valve before the primary boost controller, so with the solenoid valve shut the car runs wastegate level, opened is preset boost without water injection.
This will give me 3 stages of boost.
But I don't want to reach for a switch on the dash while trying to drive a straight line.
I have been driving a Mazda 3 base model car that has radio and cruise control buttons on the steering wheel.
I decided to look into how they work with more than one electrical function, older wheels use an isolated metal ring and sprung pin, the metal ring would turn and stay in contact with the pin, when pressing the horn a ground signal from the steering wheels metal connection to the car passes through the Isolated ring and the sprung pin to the horn relay.
Some fancier models had multiple isolated rings and pins.
New model cars use what is called an air bag clock spring, it is made with two plastic cups and a long winding of computer cable ribbon.
I could custom fit one to my steering column or make my own.
To fit it I would have to make a custom hub adapter and move the steering wheel a little closer to the driver, The cable ribbon would have to wind and unwind around the hub adapter, I would have to give up the signal light release mechanism and always turn off my signal lights by hand.