Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Major milestone! Posted v0.1.0 of the controller code!

Tonight I posted what I consider the 1st stable release of the Controller code, V0.1.0  (See "Source Code" link above).   No longer a development release (v0.0.x), this is what I would say is a good starting point for actual operation.

After leaving our winter port in Friday Harbor we have put over 100hrs on the generator, and it has been working very very well.  Over the past couple of months the area I have had to work the most was Throttle Control, specifically the ability to respond to changing loads while in the final stages of charging.  Not only does the Alternator need to be held off until RPMs come up, but also the controller now tends to stick at Higher RPMs for a while just in case a load is quickly cycling.

For this Summer we will be using the Generator with this version of code. (or not, we are getting into the Sunny days, and the Solar Cells are bring in more and more power).  I have not done anything with the Watermaker code.  That will wait until we actually start using the Watermaker.

This has been a fun project, and I a will likely do some more in the future.  Specifically - with the Arduino based LCD remote I might look into adding some ability to modify configuration parameters via the remote (as opposed to re-compiling the source).

One surprise I had from this is Auto-shut down.  We have found we tend to start the Generator before leaving the boat for a while, and it is great to have the knowledge that the Generator will automatically shut itself down when the batteries are fully charged!   Very very nice, and a feature I had not anticipated when starting this project.  With the adaptive throttle control we also tend to let the generator run longer, doing final topping off of the battery.  It is not that intrusive just idling away, and I am sure the batteries will be much much happier.  But it does rack up the running hours!

This summer I will continue to work on bugs, and post updates as they are ready.  And as I develop the stand-along Alternator regulator I might make some back edits into the this controller code.  Until then, will be enjoying our new SMART DC Generator!

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