$15 MS2 dashboard

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Re: $15 MS2 dashboard

Postby Bojerne » Mon Oct 30, 2017 11:17 pm

Hi Rob

That sounds great - the reason I asked about including the screen is because we have weird import taxes in Denmark, so it would probably be much cheaper for me to buy it in a single package - but it's definately not a deal breaker. I have some relatives in Denver that you can ship to and I'll take it from there - so please sign me up for one :)

Thanks
Michael
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Re: $15 MS2 dashboard

Postby robs » Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:57 pm

I'm in Sydney, so Denver is only a bit closer than Denmark. Oddly enough I did live in Colorado for a couple of years. Anyhow we can take that up in e-mail once I have something to deliver.

Being in Sydney, my $40 is in AU$ -- which is nearer US$30 at the moment. Sorry, should have been clearer on that.

I'll aim to allow 3 on top of firm commitments here. That gives some hope to people who don't look in here much -- not the busiest forum around. So with one for you, two for me and three spares, I'll now order parts for 6.

I have added the mounting holes and neatened up a few traces. Also added a solder bridge jumper near the DB9 pins. This is to connect pin-4 to ground. I'll build it bridged, with a 3-pin header in pins 2,3,4, but it leaves it open for this to removed and a proper DB9 soldered in if people prefer that.

I'm planning to order boards and parts early next week, so if anybody else wants one, let me know.

Have fun,

Rob.
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Re: $15 MS2 dashboard

Postby Bojerne » Tue Oct 31, 2017 11:55 pm

Hi Rob

Ah, sorry missed that part :) I'm definately still up for one. If you have a paypal I can send you the 30 AUD as a start - and then we can take the shipping afterwards :) ?
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Re: $15 MS2 dashboard

Postby KYWalker » Wed Nov 01, 2017 5:56 am

Rob, I almost ordered parts myself, so I'd be in for buying one of yours.
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Re: $15 MS2 dashboard

Postby robs » Thu Nov 02, 2017 4:59 pm

KYWalker: Ok, will now get parts for 7 boards.

Bojerne: No worries on the money at the moment -- I just want to know volumes. I'll get it built and working before nailing down delivery details, etc.

My plan is that AU$40 covers everything including postage -- notionally $25 per board, $15 postage, so bear that in mind if you might want multiple boards.

Rather than go on with these administrative things here, please both of you (and anybody else who wants one) send me a quick e-mail -- robsproj9@gmail.com. That will make it easier for me to contact you when I have them ready. We can also discuss how you would like it preconfigured. You will get the (user-unfriendly Linux-based) utility to reconfigure via RS-232 + null modem, but your first config is on me*. Again, that'll be once I have the things working. Maybe it'll all end up in the bin if my design isn't up to scratch.

I'm hopeful that won't happen -- the prototype has been working pretty nicely for well over a year now. In that time I've reconfigured it (i.e. no code changes) for MS2/Extra 3.4.2 (up from 3.3.0 IIRC), and changed the layout to have one more triled for EGOCorr, the LED going orange if correction ever goes > 5%.

Have fun,

Rob.

(*) Within reasonable limits.
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Re: $15 MS2 dashboard

Postby Bojerne » Thu Nov 02, 2017 11:00 pm

Hi Rob, sounds great - email sent :)
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Re: $15 MS2 dashboard

Postby robs » Wed Nov 15, 2017 4:42 pm

10 boards ordered, and parts for 7 (hope there aren't any duds amongst them). They should be here in a few weeks. Fingers crossed that I've got everything right.

Meanwhile, I've been tweaking the software slightly. I realised I didn't ever look at the ledbar, and wouldn't have minded being able to read RPM and MAP at a quick glance. So I ditched the ledbar from my config and added a new widget to the code. The seg7 is a double height widget with room for 4 digits. I've also shuffled around the other widgets a bit so tuning stuff is towards the top, while diagnostics are in the bottom three rows.

The code changes were a bit tougher than expected -- this is the first widget that spans down but not across -- but I've run it for hours in simulation now and it seems ok. Will load it onto the car for the next stage of testing.

The web page has been updated. Here's a snapshot of the new layout.

bignum.jpg
New layout with big numbers
bignum.jpg (70.38 KiB) Viewed 249 times

One last point -- to people who are buying the board: be sure to order the correct LCD display. There are at least three different models and, while the others will probably work, I've placed the mounting holes in alignment with the screens I have.

Have fun,

Rob.
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Re: $15 MS2 dashboard

Postby Bojerne » Wed Nov 15, 2017 11:16 pm

Hi Rob

Looks very promising - nice job ! Do you have an Ebay link to a "correct" display ?

Have a nice day
Michael
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Re: $15 MS2 dashboard

Postby robs » Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:03 pm

Sorry, should have thought of posting a link.

Not necessarily the cheapest, but this looks right to me.

Key points: blue, square corners, card slot on side (not end), just the 8-pin header attached. Mounting holes beside header at that end, but beside the display itself at the other end. This is only for the mounting holes. I think anything with an ST7735 controller and with the pins ordered as per the link (RST,CS,D/C,DIN,CLK,VCC,BL,GND) will plug straight in and work and no doubt the mounting could be worked around.

Have fun,

Rob.
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Re: $15 MS2 dashboard

Postby Bojerne » Fri Nov 17, 2017 12:35 am

Fantastic - thank you Rob. Have a nice weekend
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Re: $15 MS2 dashboard

Postby robs » Mon Nov 27, 2017 7:28 pm

The boards and parts have arrived and I've assembled up the first.
board.jpg
The assembled board
board.jpg (108.72 KiB) Viewed 239 times

running.jpg
New board running
running.jpg (85.56 KiB) Viewed 239 times

Have run it for over an hour and all seems fine. Satisfying to see it working but, as expected, a few lessons learnt.

Firstly, and most importantly, HO LEE COW, how small are those resistors!!I Should have checked the size -- they were up to my needs as far as power dissipation goes, but I guess they're designed for going into iPhones and the like. At 0.25mm x 0.125mm, magnificaiton is obviously essential. It's like carefully putting a grain of sand on the board, then soldering it on. Oddly enough, the soldering is the easy part, but the little blighters sure can hop around. On the plus side, it meant soldering on the chips was a piece of cake.

Secondly, I didn't get the holes in quite the ideal spot, but they line up OK if I solder in the socket slightly skewed.
I might move the power regulator to the back of the board, bent horizontal and heat-shrink wrapped. Where it is, it's too tall standing up, but hits the header pins if I bend it forward. Not a big deal, but it shows that there is more to design than just the electronics.

Anyhow, for the people who want one, it's time for you to think seriously how you want it configured. I'll assemble a second one for myself. That way I should end up with the beginner's mistakes. I'll then start building them ready to send out. I suspect, by the time we've negotiated configurations, they'll be heading out around mid-December. We can discuss configs and mailing addresses in e-mail.

Have fun,

Rob.
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Re: $15 MS2 dashboard

Postby Bojerne » Mon Nov 27, 2017 11:54 pm

Hi Rob

That sure looks very tidy - good job !
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Re: $15 MS2 dashboard

Postby VLC-05L » Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:01 pm

This is very interesting and potentially something I will look at when I finish a few of the 13 projects I have on the go... :mrgreen:
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Re: $15 MS2 dashboard

Postby robs » Fri Dec 01, 2017 4:26 pm

Not going so well now. I have built another three and none have worked. The MSP430 part is fine and the firmware runs OK, but comms is garbled. I was hoping it was flux residue or something, but a good clean hasn't fixed it up. After two failures I was really attentive to static, soldering technique and cleaning. Duly rewarded with a third failure.

So it's time to put down the soldering iron, get out the oscilloscope and perhaps write some test code to make sure it is what I think it is: dodgy MAX3232 chips -- just like the problem I had with the eBay RS232 modules. If anyone's interested, this is more or less what was going on with them. If so, I can get some ST3232 ICs for about $1 each from a local supplier (their MAX3232 is about $10!). That might get things back on the rails -- though I'm not looking forward to lifting the chip with those teeny-tiny capacitors right next to it. Then again, perhaps soldering those tiny capacitors has compromised them. I'm not sure any sane person would try to solder these by hand (which is where I come in).

Amazing that the first one worked like a charm. Posting here probably woke up Murphy and he applied his law.

Have fun,

Rob.
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Re: $15 MS2 dashboard

Postby jsmcortina » Sat Dec 02, 2017 5:35 am

0603 imperial is small enough.
Removing those chips is easy enough with a hot air gun. Pre-heat from 20cm away for a minute or so first, then move in closer. Lift the part off with tweezers once it is free.
Mask the surrounding areas with some cooking foil if you want to reduce the risk of the caps blowing away.

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Re: $15 MS2 dashboard

Postby robs » Sat Dec 02, 2017 3:58 pm

Thanks James. Great idea with the foil, but I'm relieved to say it doesn't look like I'll need it this time. Like a typical software guy, I was suspecting the hardware when it was software all along. There are three images that need to be flashed. For historical reasons, two write to the same chunk of config flash. When I was being careful with the first board I remembered to erase the config area before writing the final values. Didn't remember with the later boards. This meant that a bunch of 1 bits that should have been there, weren't. This messed up string lengths leading to all sorts of garbage being transmitted just like the config said. Erasing and reflashing the config has all four boards working now.

Of course this was all after more than an hour with the oscilloscope completely failing to find anything amiss with the hardware. Usual business of using an electron microscope to identify an elephant.

I was wrong about the size of the small components. That was for 0201 metric; these are 0201 Imperial: 0.6x0.3mm and plenty small enough. Not the sort of thing you want to work with while taking a break from hammer and chisel work.

Have fun,

Rob.
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Re: $15 MS2 dashboard

Postby robs » Wed Jan 03, 2018 8:12 pm

Finally installed this in place of the old hand-wired one in my car. Used the very first one I assembled on the basis that it should be the least reliable. Works pretty nicely and it survives all fiddling with the aircon that would sometimes upset its predecessor. However, I did catch a glimpse of one apparent reset (in ~2 hours of driving) which could be a software or hardware problem. Most likely is installation -- my previous board used a low power regulator and I had a resistor in line in the power wire to shed a good part of the 12V. There's no need for that resistor anymore, and it might well be causing brownouts in moments of higher demand.

Only a few people have provided mailing addresses so far and their boards have been sent out. I'll not be mailing out any more until I've used it for a while with the resistor removed and made sure it's reliable. Will also look for feedback from people who have got it. Don't want to lumber people with it if it's faulty. The board certainly tested well on the bench, but the world is different inside a car.

In the end I enjoyed soldering on those tiny parts. It was like an hour of zen meditation -- relaxed concentration -- carefully positioning the part, the actual soldering done in a fraction of a second. At the start it wasn't so relaxing, but there was some manic laughter as yet another capacitor disintegrated. Really thought I'd taken on the impossible. But now I'm missing the soldering sessions and thinking I'd take on 0201s again. Weird.

Have fun,

Rob.
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Re: $15 MS2 dashboard

Postby Bojerne » Wed Jan 03, 2018 11:49 pm

Fantastic effort mate ! Can't wait to see it live :)
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Re: $15 MS2 dashboard

Postby martroy » Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:45 pm

Hi Rob, it is possible to make it datalog on sdcard while live monitoring?

Thanks
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Re: $15 MS2 dashboard

Postby robs » Fri Jan 05, 2018 1:47 pm

Bojerne: posted from Munich on Thursday, so you should have it pretty soon.

Martroy: Not really. I did think about it -- would have been nice, but the processor only has 512 bytes of RAM, which isn't enough to do FAT filesystem. Could probaby have used raw writes to the card or invented my own minimal filesystem. Combine that with the display being inside the dash and the card slot being inaccessible and the idea wasn't so attractive.

Certainly not possible with the commercially built board since there is no connection to the SD card pins. This is related to a big lesson I've learnt from this project. I built the board to interface the MSP430 to this display with just the pins required connected as needed. This left six MSP430 pins unused and unconnected. It would have been much smarter to bring those six pins out too. The display wouldn't have used them, but it would make the board much more general-purpose -- MSP430 + RS-232 talking to any SPI + GPIO -- and just so happens to plug straight into this SPI driven display. I'll bear that in mind if there's ever a V2.

Have fun,

Rob.
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