November 19, 2013

Alternator and small engine control with Arduino

After making a combination DC power generator/water maker for their boat, the skipper continued development of the project by considering methods of maximising the power output whilst minimising the engine hours and thus fuel consumption. The result of this project is their Arduino-powered device that monitors the voltage and current flow from the generator, battery temperature and charge level, as well as monitoring other parameters that in combination maintain a safe battery charge level, various fault detection circuits and automatic control of the generator motor. 

By introducing such a level of automation the creator can minimise the amount of time worrying over the power and water supply, have more information about the system operation, a greater level of safety and of course use less fuel. The end result also has a professional control panel as shown below:

Although not the simplest of projects, the creators have published the entire project including schematics, firmware, PCB files and everything required to reproduce your own under a Creative Commons licence. So if you're interested in finding synergy between engine management and Arduino, check out the dedicated project website. And for more, we're on twitter and Google+, so follow us for news and product updates as well. 

If you're wanting to make your own Arduino-compatible project for permanent installation, you'll need an ATmega328P MCUs with Arduino Uno bootloader:

This is the same Atmel AVR ATmega328P microcontroller used in the official Arduino Uno, as well as our ElevenEtherTenUSBDroid, and other boards. Perfect for building your own Arduino-compatible project directly on a breadboard or on a custom PCB, or for replacing the MCU in an existing board. Comes with the Arduino Uno bootloader pre-installed. Better still, it even has a special label stuck on top with details of the pinout, so you don't even need to look up the datasheet when connecting it up in your project! For more information and to order, click here!

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