Recommended Arduino board for automotive project ??

Good evening. I am a mechanical engineer who likes to dabble in electronic design, especially when it comes to upgrades and gadgets for classic cars. I was looking for an automated headlight circuit to turn the lights on/off based on the ambient light. During my research, I came across a former Painless Performance product (#63040) that not only filled my headlight needs, but it also provided several additional options that I would like to use. Unfortunately, the product has not been produced for over 5 years so there are none available.

  • Dome Light Delay and Dimming- The delay feature will delay the dome light from turning off for 20 seconds after a door is closed (switch to ground) or until the ignition is turned to the “ON” position. Once the dome light is “commanded” to turn off, it will slowly dim over 5 seconds.
  • Radio Delay- After the ignition is turned off, the Radio will remain powered for 15 minutes or until a door is opened.
  • Headlight Delay- Headlight delay will keep the headlights turned on for 30 seconds after the vehicle’s ignition has been turned off. This will only operate if the headlights were on before the ignition was turned off.
  • Headlight Chime- The Chime will sound if the headlight switch is left in the headlights “ON” or park lights “ON” position and a door is opened.
  • Automatic Headlights - Using a light sensor, this feature will automatically turn your headlights On and Off according to the light conditions the sensor reads for 10 seconds. When the headlights are on, the sensor must see bright enough light levels for 5 minutes before the headlights are turned back off. The factory headlight switch will still be operational.
  • Turn Signal Alert- The Chime will sound if the turn signal has been left on for 90 seconds.
  • Door Lock/Unlock- When the car is an gear other than Park, the doors will lock. When in Park, they will unlock.

Based on my limited knowledge of coding and PICs, I feel Arduino would be the best route to pursue for these circuits. I am not yet knowledgeable enough to know which Arduino board to get for this project and am looking for recommendations. Also, any code or suggestions would also be appreciated. I am hoping to put the finished board in my '59 Impala build.

Thanks for your help and happy thanksgiving.

You might want to look at the SAFETY-CRITICAL, MILITARY, AND AUTOMOTIVE APPLICATIONS DISCLAIMER at the bottom of the datasheet before you start.

Sir - thanks for the reply although I am not sure the point. None of the planned modifications will connected to "safety devices". Which board is the ATmega328P associated with?

Uno, Nano, Promini.

burrism:
in my '59 Impala build.

That sounds nice. Any Arduino would do, but I think the humble Uno would be fine, at least to start with, as it is more convenient to use. All you really need is pins, there is not much processing power required.

Note that the plain vanilla Nano and Pro Mini are technically the same as Uno. Also note that the analogue pins may be used as digital.

It would be smart to use a good 5v, regulator no matter what the Arduino, and ensure the supply is smooth. I'm sure there are plenty of people around here who know all about that.

My feeling is that a ATmega2560 gives you a bazillion PWM and GPIO pin options that allows for all the features you want plus some.

The part is only rated to 85oC so for an automotive app you'd want to place it away from source of heat and preferably where some cooling air circulates. It won't run hot itself but it can get pretty hot but tucked under the dash with the windows up on a cloudless August day.

For a project like this I would rather generate a custom PCB with the required bits (e.g. connectors, power/protective circuit, MOSFETs and relay drivers etc) rather than trying to cobble stuff together on what is really a platform. You won't want to tolerate flakey lights because a shield worked loose or some wires popped out...

You can get '328P in higher temperature rating
https://www.digikey.com/en/products/filter/embedded-microcontrollers/685?s=N4IgjCBcoEwKwyqAxlAZgQwDYGcCmANCAPZQDaIMYMALAMwDsIAukQA4AuUIAyhwE4BLAHYBzEAF8iAWkTQQqSAICuhEuRBwW7LpBCSplDRg4BbPKIx0YADjYsJQA

125C rated parts used to be carried
https://www.digikey.com/en/products/detail/microchip-technology/atmega328p-15az/1914586
Now you'd likely have to buy a production runs worth.

2564 is available in the 125C rating, I don't know who makes boards that use it.
(8-bit Microcontroller with Low Power 2.4GHz Transceiver for ZigBee and IEEE 802.15.4)
https://www.digikey.com/en/products/detail/microchip-technology/atmega2564rfr2-zfr/4119464

I wonder how many years you have budgeted for this project?

Paul

Blackfin:
For a project like this I would rather generate a custom PCB with the required bits (e.g. connectors, power/protective circuit, MOSFETs and relay drivers etc) rather than trying to cobble stuff together on what is really a platform. You won't want to tolerate flakey lights because a shield worked loose or some wires popped out...

I totally agree my friend. But I gotta do what I can to get a working prototype then I can make a custom PCB. I was originally thinking 555 circuits for each but a PIC seems more logical (pun intended).

Paul_KD7HB:
I wonder how many years you have budgeted for this project?
Paul

Ha! Is that your way of volunteering? :slight_smile:

I have a few weeks of quarantine between travels and hope to have some free time while working at the US Embassy in Kabul. Hoping to have a functioning board in less than a year.

CrossRoads:
You can get '328P in higher temperature rating
https://www.digikey.com/en/products/filter/embedded-microcontrollers/685?s=N4IgjCBcoEwKwyqAxlAZgQwDYGcCmANCAPZQDaIMYMALAMwDsIAukQA4AuUIAyhwE4BLAHYBzEAF8iAWkTQQqSAICuhEuRBwW7LpBCSplDRg4BbPKIx0YADjYsJQA

125C rated parts used to be carried
https://www.digikey.com/en/products/detail/microchip-technology/atmega328p-15az/1914586
Now you'd likely have to buy a production runs worth.

2564 is available in the 125C rating, I don't know who makes boards that use it.
(8-bit Microcontroller with Low Power 2.4GHz Transceiver for ZigBee and IEEE 802.15.4)
https://www.digikey.com/en/products/detail/microchip-technology/atmega2564rfr2-zfr/4119464

I am not worried so much about the heat issues as the module is planned to reside inside the center console. I can also add a little fan if needed to ensure the appropriate temperatures.

Just go with a Mega then, 16 analog/digital, 54 digital.
Add a screw shield for more secure connections


Or wire up with one of these guys for a smaller permanent install. You can find then for around $11
Amazon.com: Mega 2560 Promini, ATmega2560-16AU, Compatible for Arduino Mega 2560. Mega 2560 Promini Compatible for Arduino Pro Mini and Atmega2560 (3.3V, no pinheaders): Computers & Accessories?

burrism:
Sir - thanks for the reply although I am not sure the point. None of the planned modifications will connected to "safety devices". Which board is the ATmega328P associated with?

Your headlights are critical safety devices. You should plan your system so the headlights will operate normally if the processor fails. The other stuff looks pretty harmless.

Yes ... you don’t want to going down a dark road and the headlights go off , dome light on , radio on , warning bleeper sounding ..... The safety considerations are real !

A lot of the devices you can get as separate add ons - the headlamp switching for example you can buy for a lot of cars .

Plan your functionality carefully; there are some very good tutorials on how to design your code within these forums (fora?). Most encourage the splitting-up of the code into discrete functions so each can be thoroughly de-bugged in isolation before being built into your full program a piece at a time.

Think about how a machine may misinterpret your commands.
e.g 'Once the dome light is "commanded" to turn off, it will slowly dim over 5 seconds.'

What do you expect to happen when, 2.5 seconds into this function, the door is re-opened?

Otherwise, with the exception of explaining why you want to bring a tupperwear pot with electronics, batteries, and wires into the US Embassy in Kabul, it sounds like a great way to start your Arduino adventure.

Glorymill:
Plan your functionality carefully; there are some very good tutorials on how to design your code within these forums (fora?). Most encourage the splitting-up of the code into discrete functions so each can be thoroughly de-bugged in isolation before being built into your full program a piece at a time.

Think about how a machine may misinterpret your commands.
e.g 'Once the dome light is "commanded" to turn off, it will slowly dim over 5 seconds.'

What do you expect to happen when, 2.5 seconds into this function, the door is re-opened?

Otherwise, with the exception of explaining why you want to bring a tupperwear pot with electronics, batteries, and wires into the US Embassy in Kabul, it sounds like a great way to start your Arduino adventure.

All good points. I plan to revive my coding skills from college in the late 90s and will work thru each of the blocks separately to ensure functionality prior to compiling into one build, for sure. I am slowly working my way thru the tutorials in here as well as watching YouTube videos.
Luckily for me, I will take my Tupperware of parts directly to my housing and won't have to worry about explaining it to the embassy security staff. :slight_smile:

Paul - not to brag or anything but I have two of (the easier) blocks finished. I am sure I just jinxed myself but hey....