Ruggedizing Case/Hardware to High End Commercial Standards

If you have ideas for a new board, for new features for existing boards, or want to suggest new applications for the I/O Extender, this is the place to post.

Ruggedizing Case/Hardware to High End Commercial Standards

Postby wes kiser » Fri Dec 04, 2009 1:48 pm

I feel the hardware capabilities of ms2 extra hardware have reached a point where they truly rival high end commercial ECU's. In the course of my life I have used Pectels, Motec's, Haltec's, AEM, etc.....

I now think there is a group of people that would actually be willing to spend 50-100$ extra on their setup to actually bring the hardware and casing to a level competitive with those systems.

My idea, is to build an adapter board to plug the microsquirt module into, that would interface with this case solution:
http://www.cinch.com/products/transport ... -enclosure

These are available from allied electronics. The adapter board would need 2 additional injector drivers (to provide sequential in the same manner as what DIY sells for their PnP), and at least logic level ignition drivers (I don't think high current is necessary, many people just use bosch ignitors or Lsx coils). A few active high and driver circuits (for things like nitrous control) as can be packaged would be relatively easy to implement as well. Two VR circuit offsetters on board would allow from most ignition input schemes.

I genuinely think there is a market for this. If I had time, I would do them myself. Does anyone else think this would appeal to many people?
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Re: Ruggedizing Case/Hardware to High End Commercial Standards

Postby jbelanger » Fri Dec 04, 2009 2:12 pm

It's interesting that you should bring up this subject because I was thinking of something along the same lines. And using this case would solve one of the issues I had. It is a bit bigger than what I would prefer but it has advantages that would compensate for it such as the integrated connector and the available heat sinks.

There are a few things I would add over what you mention: optional peak&hold drivers and an optional IAC stepper motor controller. It might also be interesting to have optional ignition drivers which would make a single box solution for almost everyone needing a 4-cylinder sequential setup.

The only issue I have is the initial investment. If I knew I would sell around 25 units in a short time then it would make sense. But I will have a closer look at this with this case in mind to see what could be done.

Jean
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Re: Ruggedizing Case/Hardware to High End Commercial Standards

Postby wes kiser » Fri Dec 04, 2009 4:45 pm

The peak and hold drivers would be of benefit (and if you would have asked me a year ago I would say even necessary). I have recently switched to newer generation high-z injectors, and they work amazingly well (so I tend to forgot about the peak and holds). My reason for switching was actually the typical low-z noise with the standard MS v3.0 drivers. I didn't mention peak and hold because I really didn't know how the packaging would work out. I would also attempt to package at least the SD card logger portion of your upcoming logger board. (unless that isn't feasible)

While that enclosure is a little larger, it is very thin except at the connectors.

The only problem I see is this same enclosure likely could not be applied to an MS3 based solution. It would allow for a excellent setup for a 4 cylinder (that would also work well on a v-8, just not sequential).
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Re: Ruggedizing Case/Hardware to High End Commercial Standards

Postby jbelanger » Fri Dec 04, 2009 5:01 pm

The problem with the SD card is that I don't see a way of having this and still keep the case sealed. And as mentioned in the other thread, it wouldn't be the logger board only because it doesn't have a CPU on it. A new logger board could be done but again the issue is how to do this and not destroy one of the reasons for going with such a case. It would be better to have an external box that wouldn't need to be rugged and sealed.

And using the Microsquirt module means that pretty much anything can be done because there is no licensing issue. Once you buy the module, you can put it on any board you want. With MS3 (and MS2) it's not the same so unless you have a licensing agreement, you'd have to use a V3.0 or v3.57 board plus MS3 and MS3x and then connect them to an add-on connector board. That's much more restrictive and limits the options a lot especially since all those boards are designed to slide in the standard taller MS case and I don't know if there are provisions for alternate mounting options.

Jean
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Re: Ruggedizing Case/Hardware to High End Commercial Standards

Postby wes kiser » Fri Dec 04, 2009 5:18 pm

If sd card memory can be "dumped" over serial, then it could just reside in the case (and if you need to remove it, the case does come apart). I didn't know if you were going to implement this, but I do know there was talk of it in the MS3 SD card discussion. For me, the "removability" of the SD card isn't an asset, but its huge amount of memory and cheapness is. That's the issue with this stuff (which I am sure you are much more aware of than me), my "must have" may be another guy's "so what" and vice versa. I tend to think in terms of features people like about commercial ecu's. Every since I have been using the MS, I love impressing friends with standalones. I am down to the point where the only place they "have me beat" is internal logging and the case/connectors.

Thanks again for the willingness to think abstractly and the clever solutions to specific needs your boards provide. I know of at least 5 people that would buy such a board, but that is definatley less than 25.
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Re: Ruggedizing Case/Hardware to High End Commercial Standards

Postby jbelanger » Fri Dec 04, 2009 7:57 pm

Good point about the fact that the SD card doesn't have to be removed. I hadn't given too much thought about the transfer of data over serial. It should be doable but I'll have to see what the impact of going through CAN would be. That may make it unbearably slow (or not).

And while 5 people is not enough, I'll be looking at the reaction on a few different forums so it's good to know of that potential.

Jean
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Re: Ruggedizing Case/Hardware to High End Commercial Standards

Postby slowquest » Sat Dec 05, 2009 4:44 am

What kind of cost would these have? I'd probably be interested in a few of them also.
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Re: Ruggedizing Case/Hardware to High End Commercial Standards

Postby jbelanger » Sat Dec 05, 2009 12:06 pm

It is difficult to say at this point. But this would be a fully assembled unit with 4 ignition and injection channels and as many extras as is possible with Microsquirt module. So with this in mind and the fact that the Microsquirt is $250 and it would use the case mentioned above, I would like to know what you think is reasonable. That would also help me see if it makes sense or not for me to do it.

I would probably have options for high current ignition drivers, peak&hold injector drivers and an add-on module with an SD card (or micro SD), a stepper controller and some additional I/Os.

Jean
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Re: Ruggedizing Case/Hardware to High End Commercial Standards

Postby slowquest » Mon Dec 07, 2009 11:17 am

Well, I have 3 current projects, 1 in process, that I could see using this on. All of them are 4 cylinders that I'd like to have sequential fuel and spark, boost control, launch control, and constant baro. NOS control and cooling fan control would also be nice, but not required. With that in mind, if the microsquirt could do ALL that (I have no idea, never checked out the micro) I would easily be willing to spend $500-$600 per unit, spread out over a reasonable time period for each project.

I'm so frustrated with the current build (MSII, V3.0, running your sequential driver board and dual VR board) that I would almost be willing to spend that much to have someone else figure it all out.
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Re: Ruggedizing Case/Hardware to High End Commercial Standards

Postby jbelanger » Mon Dec 07, 2009 11:42 am

That is about what I think it would cost from the very preliminary look I had at it. I still need to do quite a bit of work just to see everything that needs doing. And while the case is nice for a rugged environment and does include the heat sinks and connectors, it also has quite a few constraints in terms of board design and size.

As for the options, sequential fuel and spark, boost control, launch control and constant baro are possible and it would also be possible to have a second O2 sensor. However, there isn't any output left for NOS and cooling fan (unless FIDLE is not used). However, I'm also looking at doing the internal logger discussed in a previous post and that would allow me to have some additional I/Os to (hopefully) allow all the extras to be used at the same time. This would basically be a mini I/O Extender with a limited set of features.

Jean
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Re: Ruggedizing Case/Hardware to High End Commercial Standards

Postby tpsretard » Mon Dec 07, 2009 9:37 pm

i was thinking about this also.
sometime next year i am going to be working on a rally car and we have decided to run a MS.

The needed IO's are listed bellow.

4x Ignition.
4x Fuel.
2x VR
1 cooling fan
1 tach out
3 wire iac
flat shift
1 O2
constant baro

I think that is it, now with this all the outputs have been used with some still needed.
I mentioned to Jean a little while ago that it would be nice to get a smaller scaled down version of the IO board.
Something that could be mounted on the board. With that and the MS2 microsquirt then it would be easy to do.

I was thinking of using an AMP seal connector of some description or using the bosch 55pin connector. once i
could get the mail and female connectors new.

Nor sure if i will need low z yet but i will know sooner than later.
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Re: Ruggedizing Case/Hardware to High End Commercial Standards

Postby jbelanger » Fri Dec 11, 2009 1:48 am

I have had a look at fitting everything in the smaller SE case but it seems like a dead end. That's unfortunate because I did get an SE case and while it's wider than a standard MS case it it shorter and it doesn't look big when you have it in your hand. But there is not quite enough board space to fit both the Microsquirt module and a mini Extender for the data logging and some additional I/Os. I might be able to squeeze things and make it fit but the other issue is that there isn't enough pins with the 48-pin cover.

So I will look at using the LE case which gives me 1.5" more on both length and width of the board and can have a 60-pin cover (2 30-pin connectors). With the added board space I should be able to fit all the hardware without compromising things and the 12 extra connector pins should allow me more flexibility to get all the extras in.

I must say that I like the case: it seem well thought out, has a sturdy look, good seal and connectors and nicely sized heat sinks. The thing I don't like is that the available inside height is lower than it needs to be which wouldn't be an issue with a normal single board but requires some attention in this case since the piggyback Microsquirt module makes it quite tight.

If the projected case dimensions are an issue then let me know. The case is a bit less that 7" by 7" and the total width with the mounting tabs is about 7.45".

Jean
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Re: Ruggedizing Case/Hardware to High End Commercial Standards

Postby wes kiser » Fri Dec 11, 2009 6:26 pm

I should have specified I was considering only the LE enclosure.
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Re: Ruggedizing Case/Hardware to High End Commercial Standards

Postby twisted transistor » Sat Dec 12, 2009 1:49 pm

PLEASE GIVE ME MORE DETAILS!!!!!!!!! I am very intesesed in that case when you think will have it?
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Re: Ruggedizing Case/Hardware to High End Commercial Standards

Postby jbelanger » Sat Dec 12, 2009 2:09 pm

I don't have much more details at this time. I still need to do a bit more work to see how everything will fit and which options will be there. But with the LE case there's no question that there is enough space. However, even with the 60-pin connector, there won't be any unused pins when using the optional mini Extender.

As for when, I still don't know because while there is some interest, it is still limited so at this time it would be a bit too risky. However, I still need to work on this so by the time I have some concrete design it might have changed. But it is still a couple of months away if I want to be realistic.

I'll post updates when I have them.

Jean
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Re: Ruggedizing Case/Hardware to High End Commercial Standards

Postby twisted transistor » Mon Dec 14, 2009 9:45 pm

jbelanger wrote:I don't have much more details at this time. I still need to do a bit more work to see how everything will fit and which options will be there. But with the LE case there's no question that there is enough space. However, even with the 60-pin connector, there won't be any unused pins when using the optional mini Extender.

As for when, I still don't know because while there is some interest, it is still limited so at this time it would be a bit too risky. However, I still need to work on this so by the time I have some concrete design it might have changed. But it is still a couple of months away if I want to be realistic.

I'll post updates when I have them.

Jean


IF YOU NEED ANY HELP JUST ASK
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Re: Ruggedizing Case/Hardware to High End Commercial Standards

Postby tmsmini » Mon Jan 04, 2010 7:20 pm

Jean:
I would be interested in this as well. Although I built a few optical triggers for cameras many years ago, my soldering skills were never great.
I have two MPi engines to experiment with so I would be looking to use the existing Rover sensors and adding dual WB O2 sensors.

I would be interested in perhaps buying the components for the full size Megasquirt version now that would duplicate what will be in the ruggedized version. This way I could experiment with the current version with the engine outside of a car and then use the ruggedized version in the car at a later date. I think someone on Turbominis posted a component list like this.

Terry
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Re: Ruggedizing Case/Hardware to High End Commercial Standards

Postby SordFish » Sat Jan 09, 2010 7:31 pm

This would be a great idea, I've been holding off getting the gpio or Jean i/o board, as I really want a 1 box solution.

If you could design a board that used the US module and had full sequential, logging and extra I/O with maybe provisions for a NAW wideband controller.
I cant see why it wouldn't sell like hot cakes?

Using this Cinch case is nice but any case with a good connector gets my vote!

There's a couple of Grey area clones available at the moment but I'm put off as I don't feel they are licensed etc.

the Mtech V4 here
or the
kdata kdefi v1.3 here
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Re: Ruggedizing Case/Hardware to High End Commercial Standards

Postby jbelanger » Sat Jan 09, 2010 10:06 pm

Both of these are ripoffs. Moreover they can't do sequential injection (but I know at least one of them is planning a new version to use my code and has even put a link to my web site). So if you do get one of them, not only are you not supporting the development of new features, you won't be able to use them.

You have to be aware that the only people who benefit from these ripoffs are the ones selling them because they make money without having to do any development. They use other people's work without their consent. Some people don't care and think they will also benefit because they may get something that is not available in authorized hardware. These people are fooling themselves because they won't get the support from the people who created the firmware and it is hurting future development.

I won't remove the names or links but you know how I feel about them.

As for including a wideband controller, I doubt that I will do it. First, I don't know how much noise these generate and second, I haven't seen any actual unbiased data that this unit is accurate. Having unreliable data is even worse than no data at all.

I don't want to sound so negative because I'm glad you're interested in the overall concept. I just wanted to clarify the first point specifically because that's a particularly sensitive point.

Jean
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Re: Ruggedizing Case/Hardware to High End Commercial Standards

Postby SordFish » Mon Jan 11, 2010 6:50 pm

I feel the exact same way, I've seen many boards that steal yours and the MSextras team's work and its upsetting and unfair.
Unfortunately their idea works and seems to be selling well (only reason for posting), I wont be supporting them for that reason.
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