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SBC for DAQ - Suggestions?

Discussion in 'Embedded' started by MarkSix, Jan 27, 2008.

  1. MarkSix

    MarkSix Guest

    I want to build a device to capture engine performance (eg rpm, oil
    pressure, various temperatures) and flight data (eg altitude,
    airspeed, vertical speed) for use in an ultralight airplane and to
    display the processed data in alphanumeric and graphical form (dials,
    and bar graphs) on a color LCD.

    Does anyone have suggestions for a suitable OTS SBC with 8-channel
    analog DAQ which can output to a 320x240 TFT LCD? Alternatively, are
    there are schematics available to DIY using a microcontroller?

    I have NO electronic or programming skills, so it has to be simple to
    put together myself or pay someone to do it for me.

    MarkSix, Jan 27, 2008
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  2. MarkSix

    John Adair Guest


    There are plenty of companies like ourselves that could build you up
    something albeit at a cost. In an ultra-light aircraft your power
    supply/comsumption and even the mass of the boards may cause you a
    weight problem so be careful of whatever solution you go for. Some of
    our products have been doing a different processing and logging type
    as part of a customer design on model helicopters -
    where weight probably isn't so critical.

    It would also be worth having a detachable display for flight assuming
    you don't need it then to keep the mass down.

    Do you need to store data or are you planning to transmit that to a
    ground station as it is collected?

    John Adair
    Enterpoint Ltd.
    John Adair, Jan 27, 2008
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  3. MarkSix

    MarkSix Guest


    Thanks for the reply.

    The type of airplane I am thinking of weighs between 700-1200 pounds
    gross, so a couple of pounds of instrument isn't that critical. The
    device will have on-board display (maybe 5 inch TFT LCD) and run off
    the aircraft's 12 volt DC electrical system. The data logging
    requirement will be minimal, so removable storage media is an optional

    Any further thoughts?

    MarkSix, Jan 27, 2008
  4. MarkSix

    Tim Wescott Guest

    Assuming you don't have someone do the whole package for you, you
    probably want to go with a PC-104 stack. You can get a single board
    computer that's PC compatible and will talk to a 1/4-VGA display (or you
    could get a VGA-format display for greater compatibility), and there's a
    large choice of DAQ boards to go with it.

    You _will_ need some software to bolt it all together, though, and unless
    you're planning on learning how to write this software, you may want to
    find someone who wants to do the whole shebang for you.

    Tim Wescott
    Control systems and communications consulting

    Need to learn how to apply control theory in your embedded system?
    "Applied Control Theory for Embedded Systems" by Tim Wescott
    Elsevier/Newnes, http://www.wescottdesign.com/actfes/actfes.html
    Tim Wescott, Jan 27, 2008
  5. MarkSix

    linnix Guest

    You need both. You need a powerful SBC for the display side and a
    dedicated uC for the data side. Some time ago, we made some AVR
    boards with 8 channel A2D and RS232 talking to the SBC (or PC). The
    uC logs data periodically and upload to the SBC in burst.

    The customer disappears so we never follow-up on it. I still have 80
    prototype boards available, if you want some of them.
    linnix, Jan 27, 2008
  6. MarkSix

    msg Guest

    linnix wrote:

    Please tell us more; how much? Loaded with firmware and a blurb on
    how to use?

    msg, Jan 27, 2008
  7. MarkSix

    linnix Guest

    Second board of:

    1. Atmega649 (64K flash, 2K sram, 1K eeprom)
    2. Max2232 driver
    3. Analog multiplexer from 2 to 8.
    linnix, Jan 27, 2008
  8. MarkSix

    MarkSix Guest

    These boards might be suitable if the uC could continually cycle
    through the 8 data inputs and send them to the SBC to update the
    display in realtime. Like the speedo gauge in an auto.

    But like Michael asked -

    Please tell us more; how much? Loaded with firmware and a blurb on how
    to use?

    MarkSix, Jan 28, 2008
  9. MarkSix

    John Adair Guest


    That opens up your choices a lot. Assuming you have a reasonable
    current capability you can have effectively a PC on board if that is
    what you need. As mentioned elsewhere PC104/PC104+ is a good format
    for what you are doing. It's generally very robust. We have had some
    of Hollybush1 (PC104+/PCI104) products flying in real full sized
    helicopters and mechanically the customer on that had few problems as
    far I know. You do have to be careful of the vibration environment
    whether in a full sized aircraft or model size as has been done with
    our Darnaw1 product as mentioned in the previous post.

    Being basied the sort of thing I would suggest with our products would
    be to use a Hollybush1, or even better a sister product that we are
    just about to launch, as processor element. I would either then buy
    PC104/PC104+ boards to fill the gaps in the requirements and if really
    necessary do a simple mezzanine board to fit on our Hollybush1. There
    are lots of other possibilities I could offer but without a lot more
    background on your aims and requirements and your budget for that
    matter it is difficult to give a 100% answer as to what is best.

    John Adair
    Enterpoint Ltd.
    John Adair, Jan 28, 2008
  10. MarkSix

    linnix Guest

    It's just a matter of programming. One A2D input is monitoring the
    power supply voltage. Two of he A2D inputs are routed to an analog
    multiplexer selected by two port pins (2 out of 8). The inputs
    (buffered and protected by the multiplexer) are routed to a 10 pins
    header (8 + power & ground). Of course, you can disable Jtag (six
    pins header) and get 4 more analog inputs.

    During testings, we cycle through eight channels and pump it out to
    RS232 every few seconds. The uC speeds up (receiving +) or slows down
    (receiving -) according to RS232 commands from the host.

    The LCD signals (20x4) are routed to a 30 pins extra wide dip header.
    Probably $10 to $15 ea, depends on how much more work need to be done.
    linnix, Jan 28, 2008
  11. MarkSix

    MarkSix Guest


    Maybe I should write a design specification and send it to you offline
    for your consideration?

    MarkSix, Jan 29, 2008
  12. MarkSix

    MarkSix Guest


    The boards sound interesting and I may be able to take all of them off
    your hands if this works out. Maybe I should write a design
    specification and send it to you offline so you can advise how much
    more work needs to be done to the boards to make them suitable for my

    MarkSix, Jan 29, 2008
  13. MarkSix

    MarkSix Guest


    Could you please send me your email address so I can give you the
    design specification offline?

    MarkSix, Jan 30, 2008
  14. MarkSix

    MarkSix Guest


    Could you please send me your email address so I can give you the
    design specification offline?

    MarkSix, Jan 30, 2008
  15. MarkSix

    John Adair Guest


    If send anything to boardsales at our route address of
    enterpoint.co.uk and mark it for my attention it will be routed to me.
    The amount of spam we get on any published email address precludes me
    publishing a direct address in a public forum.

    John Adair
    John Adair, Jan 30, 2008
  16. MarkSix

    linnix Guest

    Emailed to MarkSix at yourdomain

    There is also a contact me form at the bottom of http://linnix.com/proto
    linnix, Jan 30, 2008
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