Small DC Generator engine control and alternator regulator project

All,

I have started a project to build an 'Arduino like' (Using built in CPU, not shield) which will be used to control our Kubota EA-300 Diesel / 12v generator. The generator is already installed in our boat and has been used for over a year now, but I am unhappy with the maturity of the regulator. Specifically, I want a regulator that will monitor not only Voltage but Amps delivered- with the goal of managing battery Voltage AND work placed upon the Kubota (indirectly by monitoring Watts delivered by the alternator). In this way I hope to be able to maintain a constant load to the Kubota as the battery charges and its voltage changes.

And while I am at it, I figured that I would do a remote start/stop capability as well!

I have been working on the hardware design quite a bit, and the current rev 0.1.3 can be seen here: http://smartdcgenerator.blogspot.com/

I am about ready to order the trial PCBs and begin debugging the hardware as well as start into the firmware. Before sending off the PCB to the fab house, I though I would post it here to get any comments and input from folks.

Thank you -al-

======================= Update 4/22/2013:

Hardware is now in its 2nd PCB fab, and firmware is working very well. We are actively using the controller almost daily (until the Solar panels can take over). Key features include:

  • Integrated Alternator Regulator - managing Volts and Amps to mainte a fixed load on the engine
  • Optional Remote Panel with LCD display and control switches (featuring 2nd Arduino and extended I2C)
  • Engine Start / Stop control, as well as fault monitoring
  • Integrated throttle management, adjusting engine speed to match load
  • Fully adaptable to different Engines, Alternators, and charging voltages (12 - 48v batteries)
  • 3/4 stage charging profile, fully configurable. Optional temperature compensation
  • Hardware support for P or N type alternators
  • Extensive Failsafe and Fault handling - software checks, crowbar, watchdog, etc.

In the 2nd round of PCBs I also designed an LCD / buffered I2C back-pack using a 2nd Arduino - to allow a wider range of LCDs to be used while still communicating over the extended I2C buss.

Future enhancements may include Auto gen and Black-out periods based on RTC.