Sunday, August 4, 2013

Posted v0.1.2 of Source - Finial Version???

Today I posted v0.1.2 of the controller source (See link above).  This resolved a few small errors (ala, the
next key would not only restore backlighting on the LCD but also advance to the next screen, as opposed to only restoring backlighting), improved OneWire handling (Still think there is more to do there…), but mostly this version has been exercised using the Watermaker in conjunction with the ‘generator’.

The capability of producing some Amps while also driving the watermaker high pressure pump was the 2nd major goal for this project.   As commercial regulators did not give me sufficient control, previously I would turn off the alternator when making water.   Now I can get 800w (50+ amps) into the batteries WHILE also running the reverse osmosis watermaker.

At this point I consider this project largely completed.   Over the next months I will continue to correct any small bugs I find, but for the core of the project it is completed.   As next steps I see three potential opportunities:

  1. Add the ability to monitor critical Watermaker pressures (boost pump and High pressure pump), issuing warning when they are getting out of range, and faulting then they cross the line.
  2. Rollback hardware / software learning’s from the stand-alone alternator regulator projected (  E.g., the improved FET driver ckt, etc.
  3. Enhanced the User interface on the LCD display.  Now that it is based on its own Atmel CPU, I can add a binary communication protocol and do things like provide the ability to select ‘Quite Mode’ at startup for the generator (ala, starting it up, but limiting the RPMS, and of course Amps , to keep things at a nice quite noise level), or perhaps a gateway into NMEA-2000?   Who knows?

Overall I think the 1st item is critical, as I currently need to watch the watermaker settings every 15-20 minutes or so to make sure they do not drift out of allowable settings when the pre-filters clog up and / or the system changes as temperatures change.   I am debating to use a simple pre-existing China I2C A/D board with some jumper wires, or to do up a small 'expansion board' that will have a bit more functionality and also better physical mounting.   But this is all a Fall project as I do not have access to mail-drops until we return to a port somewhere for the winter.

And I still have one board set left, if anyone is interested.  Thanks again to all who have helped with this project, and to those building up aboard set – looking forward to hearing about your results!

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