THP Entry: Digital Gauges For Everything Automotive


Way back in 2007, someone on a VW TDI forum came up with a new boost gauge project. At the time, it was a remarkable feat of engineering, capable of displaying the manifold pressure on a tiny OLED on the dashboard. No project has yet reached this caliber since. [Digital Corpus] is revisiting the project, making it his own, adding a few upgrades, and entering it into the Hackaday Prize.

The D-DAQ, as [Digital] calls his new project is using an absolute pressure sensor, unlike its predecessor. This gives the turbo gauge a much larger range than the original project, and also allows the D-DAQ to measure partial vacuum in non-diesel turbos.

In addition, the D-DAQ has a much wider scope than the original project, and as such will function as much more than a simple boost gauge. [Digital] sees the D-DAQ as being a complete performance monitor and logger, capable of tracking the exhaust gas temperature, battery voltage, and just about anything else with 10 analog pins. Data will be saved to a MicroSD card, and instead of a single display, the D-DAQ will feature three 160×128 OLEDs.

It’s certainly not what you’d expect from a Hackaday Prize entry, but with these features, it’s very possible the D-DAQ could be a successful product

SpaceWrencherThe project featured in this post is an entry in The Hackaday Prize. Build something awesome and win a trip to space or hundreds of other prizes.

Frankenstein, The Open Source Engine Control Unit


The Engine Control Unit is a vital part of every car made in the last 40 years or so, but unlike just about every other electronic device, open source solutions just don’t exist. [Andrey] is trying to change that with rusEfi, a project that hopes to bring together hardware, software, and engines in one easy to use package. He’s even designed Frankenstein, a full ECU ‘shield’ for the STM32F4 Discovery dev board.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen [Andrey]‘s adventures in building an ECU. An earlier board was also powered by the STM32F4 Discovery, and he actually drove his 96 Ford Aspire around using this homebrew ECU. It was only firing on two cylinders, but that was only a loose solder connection.

Of course building an ECU from scratch is worthless without the proper firmware that balances and engine’s fuel economy and performance. This sort of testing must be done empirically and [Andrey] has a Kickstarter going for the development of this firmware and some dyno time. No rewards, but it’s worth chipping in a buck or two. I did.

Videos below.

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GEVCU – an Open Generalized Electric Vehicle Control Unit

At Hackaday we’re very happy to see the increasing number of open hardware devices that appear everyday on the internet, and we’re also quite thrilled about open-source electric cars. Pictured above is the GEVCU, an open source electric vehicle control unit (or ECU). It is in charge of processing different inputs (throttle position, brake pressure, vehicle sensors) then send the appropriate control commands to electric motor controllers (aka inverters) via CAN bus messages or digital / PWM signals.

The project started back in December 2012 and was originally based on an Arduino Due. Since then, the GEVCU went through several revisions and ultimately a complete custom board was produced, while still keeping the Cortex M3 ATSAM3X8E from the Due. As you may have guessed, the board also includes a Wifi transceiver so users may adjust the ECU parameters via a web based platform. All resources may be downloaded from the official GitHub.

An homemade 48cc V8 engine with injection

A few months ago we mentioned [Keith]‘s first project in the works, a 1/4 scale V8 engine. Today, we are amazed to see that his engine is finished and running really smoothly. What is even more impressive is that the entire project has been completed on manual mills and lathes. The thread on the Home Model Engine Machinist forum contains his build log in which he details how all the different parts were made. The engine has an electric starter, uses a fuel injection system and [Keith] even made his own injection molds for several plastic parts. The ECU is based on the Megasquirt-II, we guess it must have taken [Keith] many tries before correctly setting its parameters. A video of the engine in action can be viewed after the break.

You can find our previous coverage of this project as well as other miniature engines on this feature from last April.

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A black box for a motorcycle


[Lukusz] has a new motorcycle – a Yamaha XJ6SA – and since it hasn’t been in an accident yet, he thought building a black box to record telemetry from the last 30 minutes of riding would be a good idea. While the project isn’t complete yet, he’s already reading data coming straight from the engine control unit.

After figuring out most of the pinout for his bike’s ECU connector, [Lukasz] found one wire that didn’t actually do anything. This was his ECU’s K line, a serial output that is able to relay the state of the gauges to external devices. The electronic spec of the K line is a bit weird, though, but luckily after finding a chip to convert the signal into something a logic analyzer can understand.

With a logic analyzer connected to the K line – and setting it to receive on at 16064 baud – [Lukasz] was able to get a whole lot of data directly from his bike. In the future he plans to pass data such as speed, indicator lights, RPMs, and the current gear to a Raspberry Pi for logging.

Building a homebrew diesel ECU


Over the years automobile engines have become increasingly complex, and with this added complexity comes an increased reliance on intricate computer systems to run them. These control systems are typically the fruit of many hours of research and development, carefully protected by the auto makers who create them. Instead of relying on a closed system to power his car, a Finnish hacker that goes by the name [synkooppi] has decided to do away with his diesel engine’s ECU altogether and build one of his own with little more than an Arduino.

As you can see from his web site, [synkooppi] has created his DIY ECU using an Arduino Mega, which is capable of controlling diesel engines that employ a Bosch VP37 or other inline diesel pump. So far he has all of the basic workings in place, which allow him to run and control an Audi diesel motor.

While many details about his homebrew ECU are hard to come by, he does have a series of development videos posted on YouTube which should help satiate inquisitive minds. For those of you with a spare diesel motor laying around, [synkooppi] has made the first release of his code available to try out.

Stick around to see a video of the ECU in action.

[Thanks, perhof]

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Monitoring the Engine Control Unit

Is there a place in the dashboard of your high performance automobile for this Engine Control Unit feedback panel? There’s several methods of showing information at work here. The row of LEDs at the top of the bezel provide RPM feedback. The two red LEDs with chrome bezels are alarm indicators. But that big OLED display is the centerpiece of the unit. Not only can you scroll through a myriad of display options, but the screen packs more than enough contrast to be readable during the day. It looks like [Mathieu] is selling these units and has decided not to release source code because of this, but there’s a schematic available and a video after the break shows the menu system from which you can draw inspiration.

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