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  #11  
Old 12-09-2017
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Kiwi3 Kiwi3 is offline
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Tim, Andy is light years ahead of me on automation for Bluebirds. I'm sitting in a park in AZ right now, and after reading this I'm kinda feeling the desire to start working on it. Granted having a Fry's Electronics 16 miles away helps (they are a bigger version of RadioShack). Here are some of the projects that I have thought about.
1. I wouldn't mind building some cutouts to control which compressor is running and if they are providing air back and forth (bus tanks vs the microphor tank).
2. Tank monitoring is always a pain, and it would be nice to have a audible alert to let you know when the tanks are at 90%.
3. Better Primus control and Primus thermostat
4. Changing out the alert buzzers for something not so "nails on the chalkboard" sounding - maybe a chicklet panel with the option to silence the audible alarms until the alert resets (should be doable with just a relay).
5. And of course the battery status/solar status information

I'll have to start thinking the systems though and figure out what I need.
Andy, what kind of PCBs do you have spares of? Are they generic or for specific systems?
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  #12  
Old 12-09-2017
Tim M. Tim M. is offline
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Originally Posted by badandy View Post
For battery/power management you're going to have to DIY it. There's nothing out there that will do it. For my setup I have built several remote devices that have their own little CPU and gather up sensor data and send it back to the main control that has the touch screen attached. an Arduino, Pi Zero, ESP8266, these are usually the devices of choice.


The existing tank probes can be used without any trouble. I decided to build capacitive sensors for my tanks, the black tank was never right and it will be so much more accurate in the fresh water tank that I can measure consumption.
Did you utilize a voltage sensor like this?

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I found these and they are rated for 0-25 VDC, not sure if something like this would last for the batteries.
Do you have any drawings or pics of what you have put together so far? I'm thinking I may have some of the same ideas that you have already completed.

As for tank levels, I'm would like to see what you put together for it. I can understand the difficulty in getting accurate readings in the black tank. I was wondering if pressure sensors would be the way to go?
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  #13  
Old 12-09-2017
Tim M. Tim M. is offline
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Originally Posted by Mallie Lennon View Post
sound like some interesting project being kicked around.
I just learned of an interesting new dometic AC thermostat, Bluetooth. Can work them off your phone. If they would just include WiFi, you could monitor and adjust bus temps from anywhere, and it would send notice/e mails if temps get out of set range. Like a animal on the bus where you are out,, could quickly become overheated if elect is lost.
I know when we first got started in RV's, I had looked into a temperature alert. There are a few different designs out there and they can be set to send a text or email. They do however require some form of connectivity, be it from a wifi or cellular set up.

My wife's boss use to show Bouviers. They met several people that had lost show dogs because of failed AC's in coaches, be it from a power glitch from the campground, overloaded circuits, or what ever. We always travel with pets, so temperature has always been a concern. When we park in my parents driveway (in the old SOB) to visit with minimal power, we leave all the windows open and run several fans to help keep things cool. With the BB and a water cooled geny, I think we will decide to stay a little more comfortable.
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  #14  
Old 12-09-2017
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Mallie Lennon Mallie Lennon is offline
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This is the stat
https://www.makariosrv.com/dometic-w...y-3316255-000/
If there is a way to convert/ adapt the bluetooth to wifi. I don' think this will or can send text of e mail.
On my home wifi stat it has monitoring. But pretty sure home stat will not work on the dometic with out some creative adapting.
I would pay big bucks to have one stat on the coach that would monitor.
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  #15  
Old 12-09-2017
Tim M. Tim M. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiwi3 View Post
Tim, Andy is light years ahead of me on automation for Bluebirds. I'm sitting in a park in AZ right now, and after reading this I'm kinda feeling the desire to start working on it. Granted having a Fry's Electronics 16 miles away helps (they are a bigger version of RadioShack). Here are some of the projects that I have thought about.
1. I wouldn't mind building some cutouts to control which compressor is running and if they are providing air back and forth (bus tanks vs the microphor tank).
2. Tank monitoring is always a pain, and it would be nice to have a audible alert to let you know when the tanks are at 90%.
3. Better Primus control and Primus thermostat
4. Changing out the alert buzzers for something not so "nails on the chalkboard" sounding - maybe a chicklet panel with the option to silence the audible alarms until the alert resets (should be doable with just a relay).
5. And of course the battery status/solar status information

I'll have to start thinking the systems though and figure out what I need.
Andy, what kind of PCBs do you have spares of? Are they generic or for specific systems?
Indiana is the closets Frys for me (4 hours, 1 way). Micro Center however is just under an hour away. I haven't nosed around in there since I built my last desktop some 9 years ago.

Now as for your list of desires...

1, Can't help you there. I haven't used the toilet in my bird yet, I don't think it has the air line to it (I may be wrong)

2, I was kinda thinking the same thing. It would be nice to have a 85-90% alarm. I don't think this would be too challenging. When we see what Andy has put together, we can build up or down from that.

3, Primus, haven't dug in enough to confirm my Primus even works. I know they do ignite, so that's a good thing.

4, Good God yes!!! I have a 98 decibel back up alarm on my work van and its not nearly as annoying as the solenoid buzzer they put in the bird. I think this would be a simple replacement, we know it's a 12 vdc buzzer, replace with something more appealing. Maybe wire in a row of 6-8 LED's to flash in addition to the alarm. (I drove a 2017 Yukon (rental) and they had a row of led's recesssed in the dash. If you approached a stopped vehicle too quickly, they would flash and reflect off of the windshield).

5, Haven't done solar (yet), but I know there's a lot of stuff already out there to manage it. WOuld be nice to get everything integrated though.
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  #16  
Old 12-09-2017
Tim M. Tim M. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mallie Lennon View Post
This is the stat
https://www.makariosrv.com/dometic-w...y-3316255-000/
If there is a way to convert/ adapt the bluetooth to wifi. I don' think this will or can send text of e mail.
On my home wifi stat it has monitoring. But pretty sure home stat will not work on the dometic with out some creative adapting.
I would pay big bucks to have one stat on the coach that would monitor.
http://idealsciences.com/?gclid=EAIa...iABEgJjCPD_BwE

Something like this "Temp Stick" may work for monitoring temps. Obviously if the thermostat is set at 75 and you check the temp stick from the app and see it reading 82, there is a problem. Presumably, that problem is going to need to be resolved "in person". It is powered by 2 AA batteries, so even if the power goes out, you will still be able to retrieve the coach temperatures (as long as there is still wifi). And at $150, its not a bad deal. I'm sure it only has about $25 in parts
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  #17  
Old 12-09-2017
badandy badandy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiwi3 View Post
Andy, what kind of PCBs do you have spares of? Are they generic or for specific systems?

They are generic. I designed it to be plugged into a Raspberry Pi, so it's a big I/O expander for the Pi basically. It can control 8 DC relays directly, has 4 isolated on/off type inputs, 4 inputs to an analog to digital converter (measure voltage, resistance, etc), and it has a switched 5v output that I am using to power on/off the LCD (to save power when I'm not in the bus).


I have like 8 spares of this PCB. There is a lot of unused board space and I was thinking about adding a bunch of stuff and redoing them. Not hard or expensive, but would be useful.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim M. View Post
Did you utilize a voltage sensor like this?


Similar, but not the same. For voltage measurement I use a resistor divider and measure the voltage with an ADC and send it to the main control over ethernet or wifi. For current I've been playing with a current "sensor", like what the auto makers are using. Here's a link to one that GM uses on just about everything: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Battery-Cur...lZ~Ype&vxp=mtr

Attachment 52817

I found these and they are rated for 0-25 VDC, not sure if something like this would last for the batteries.
Do you have any drawings or pics of what you have put together so far? I'm thinking I may have some of the same ideas that you have already completed.

As for tank levels, I'm would like to see what you put together for it. I can understand the difficulty in getting accurate readings in the black tank. I was wondering if pressure sensors would be the way to go?

Capacitive sensing is the way to go with this and that's what I'm doing. I'm working on the actual sensors this week. It's very simple - two strips of copper tape on the tank connected to a small circuit that does the work and sends the data on to the main control. This is how the SeeLevel stuff works. I'm making an actual sensor to stick on the tanks so if something happens I can remove them and fix/replace. They are literally just 1.25" wide thin strips of nylon with two strips of copper tape stuck on one side. They will get "glued" to the tanks with some kind of removable adhesive.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim M. View Post
I know when we first got started in RV's, I had looked into a temperature alert. There are a few different designs out there and they can be set to send a text or email. They do however require some form of connectivity, be it from a wifi or cellular set up.

My wife's boss use to show Bouviers. They met several people that had lost show dogs because of failed AC's in coaches, be it from a power glitch from the campground, overloaded circuits, or what ever. We always travel with pets, so temperature has always been a concern. When we park in my parents driveway (in the old SOB) to visit with minimal power, we leave all the windows open and run several fans to help keep things cool. With the BB and a water cooled geny, I think we will decide to stay a little more comfortable.

We have 3 dogs that go with us and we had the same exact concerns. I can operate A/C and heat automatically and switch to battery power or start the gen if needed (power failure while plugged in, for example). My wife and I will get alerts on our phones if something goes haywire, including the actual temperature and status of the systems. This is a huge issue for us.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim M. View Post
http://idealsciences.com/?gclid=EAIa...iABEgJjCPD_BwE

Something like this "Temp Stick" may work for monitoring temps. Obviously if the thermostat is set at 75 and you check the temp stick from the app and see it reading 82, there is a problem. Presumably, that problem is going to need to be resolved "in person". It is powered by 2 AA batteries, so even if the power goes out, you will still be able to retrieve the coach temperatures (as long as there is still wifi). And at $150, its not a bad deal. I'm sure it only has about $25 in parts

There's about 100 ways to get temp and humidity for under $25, I wouldn't buy something like that!


Also, keep in mind is that a ton of this IOT/automation stuff is married to an internet connection. A lot of these things rely on an internet connection just to function, let alone connect to your phone. None of my stuff works this way. It's 100% bus-centric standalone, but if there's wifi or cell signal I can use it for alerts and control. Everything in the bus goes though the Pi and the Pi runs my touch screen. All actions start and end at the Pi.


There's software out there that you can run on the Pi that will interface to a lot of pre-made IOT devices - I've messed with a lot of them. Openhab, Node-Red, HASS.io, etc.


This is the PCB I made and the Pi. The 2nd photo is my touch screen control panel. I've been testing out different graphical stuff on it and I haven't settled on anything yet, but I like this look.





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  #18  
Old 12-09-2017
Tim M. Tim M. is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by badandy View Post

Capacitive sensing is the way to go with this and that's what I'm doing. I'm working on the actual sensors this week. It's very simple - two strips of copper tape on the tank connected to a small circuit that does the work and sends the data on to the main control. This is how the SeeLevel stuff works. I'm making an actual sensor to stick on the tanks so if something happens I can remove them and fix/replace. They are literally just 1.25" wide thin strips of nylon with two strips of copper tape stuck on one side. They will get "glued" to the tanks with some kind of removable adhesive.





We have 3 dogs that go with us and we had the same exact concerns. I can operate A/C and heat automatically and switch to battery power or start the gen if needed (power failure while plugged in, for example). My wife and I will get alerts on our phones if something goes haywire, including the actual temperature and status of the systems. This is a huge issue for us.





There's about 100 ways to get temp and humidity for under $25, I wouldn't buy something like that!


Also, keep in mind is that a ton of this IOT/automation stuff is married to an internet connection. A lot of these things rely on an internet connection just to function, let alone connect to your phone. None of my stuff works this way. It's 100% bus-centric standalone, but if there's wifi or cell signal I can use it for alerts and control. Everything in the bus goes though the Pi and the Pi runs my touch screen. All actions start and end at the Pi.


There's software out there that you can run on the Pi that will interface to a lot of pre-made IOT devices - I've messed with a lot of them. Openhab, Node-Red, HASS.io, etc.


This is the PCB I made and the Pi. The 2nd photo is my touch screen control panel. I've been testing out different graphical stuff on it and I haven't settled on anything yet, but I like this look.
The Wander Pi is impressive! What software do you prefer? Since I'm starting from zero, which software would you recommend running?

I know I want everything to be able to function without internet, as it is not always guaranteed. I know some functionality (like remote access)
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  #19  
Old 12-09-2017
badandy badandy is offline
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Originally Posted by Tim M. View Post
The Wander Pi is impressive! What software do you prefer? Since I'm starting from zero, which software would you recommend running?

I know I want everything to be able to function without internet, as it is not always guaranteed. I know some functionality (like remote access)

I have messed around with Openhab a lot and decided to go with Node-red along with a few custom-written things. Openhab gets a little too "German" for me - you can do anything with it, but it's a bit too complicated at times. I started to write my own frontend and basically decided that there's more to life than writing Javascript for every tiny little thing I wanted to do...


Starting from zero I would get a Pi 3 board and mess with node-red and get a feel for how it all works.
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  #20  
Old 12-11-2017
Tim M. Tim M. is offline
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Originally Posted by badandy View Post

Starting from zero I would get a Pi 3 board and mess with node-red and get a feel for how it all works.
So I started playing around with Node-red last night. Am I right in thinking it may be easiest to set up an Arduino for the tank sensors and then either link it to the Raspberry with cat 5 or with a wireless adapter? I like the ease of wireless, but love the simplicity of wired.

I'm also thinking I'd like to mount a 10" touchscreen on the dash and use it as my primary interface and tie in cameras as well.

I like the look of your interface. When you select one of the tabs, does it take you to sub menus? Example "holding tanks" does that open up a tab for fresh water, black, gray? Or does it display the data for all three of the tanks?

The capacitive copper strips you are using, I'm assuming they will be placed inside the holding tanks? Would it work to use 1/2" copper pipe. Or maybe 1/4" stainless rod? I'm just thinking of what I have laying around that may work.
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