# DIY gauges??

Discussion in 'Instruments / Avionics / Electrical System' started by Aerowerx, Oct 6, 2014.

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1. Feb 22, 2016

### Aviator168

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Looks great. Please add true air speed in the inner band of the air speed indicator, and the barometer value used to get altitude.

Choppergirl, digital are great. But one thing digital can't do is it does not tell you how far you are from certain point, or number rather, in percents. Flying at 80, I can easily tell that I am almost at max speed of 85 because the analog needle almost touches the red band.

2. Feb 22, 2016

### cluttonfred

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3. Feb 29, 2016

### choppergirl

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I probably watched the Ben Heck Show... way too much...

I think I'd also like a numpad, with maybe one more row of digits (or simply switching modes and use whole display when numpad is depressed), for entering a verb and object to the computer, and an execute button, for changing internal values on the ground, like the Apollo spacecraft computer did. For example, high and low ranges for every display, go flash the dots and give a verbal warning when outside range. The speaker is so you can hear output on the ground without having to put ear phones in... and maybe an "attract mode" routine like pinball / arcade machines had, for the occasional kid that wants to sit in your plane.

Last edited: Feb 29, 2016
4. Feb 29, 2016

### saini flyer

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Is there anyone using Belite avionics. Any review on that. The price and weight make it ideal for UL.
I see that they will be a good fit for gyrocopters too given their operating environment and low spped.

5. Feb 29, 2016

### cluttonfred

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Hmm, my take on Belite is weight good, price...not so much. I don't know what his true cost is, including overhead, but if they were half the price they'd sell like hotcakes. As it is, $60 for an LCD voltmeter you can get for less than$10 elsewhere, no thanks. The small MGL EFIS starts to look like a great deal once you try to put a Belite panel together.

6. Mar 1, 2016

### choppergirl

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Raspberry Pi 3 has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, 64-bit chip, still just $35 | Ars Technica You know, now that I look at my gauge cluster mockup, I realize it as the exact dimensions and aspect ratio of a low end tablet. I could use a Nexus 7 2013 tablet in that orientation, or a cheap$30 chinese tablet... and just build a board and interface sensorsto that to send data to it via usb, bluetooth, or wifi. Write an android app to go full screen and display it just like in my mockup.

Plus, using a Nexus 7, you would already hage internally a compass, pitch, roll, acceleration data, and gps... plus map apps.

Someone built a device that just sends altitude and airspeed via bluetooth... thats all I need... but I think they wanted too much for...

All I have to to start is get busy to write the android app... this might be the way to go. For under \$200 bucks, you could have all your gauges on a glass panel plus voice synthesis plus cell data (if you wanted) plus map apps and navigation aids. If you crash, just send a message from you glass panel. If you get bored at an airshow, fire up an android game. Check your email. Post to HBA from your instrument gauge cluster glass panel!

And when your not using it, pop the tablet out and taje it home to use on your couch...

I already have the tablets so... just need to install the dev environment, learn how to write an android app, and get into sending airspeed and altitude data to a tablet without buyingvthe already existibg gadgets that do just that vulia bluetooth...

There are so many Android Flight apps... I think I'm going to go that route. A Play Store search of "Flight gauges" or "" Avare" turns up a ton of flight map aides. Also "FlightRadar" plots real time other aircraft position... and an app called "Aircraft Cockpit Demo" gives you 6 gauges including artificial horizon

There's also some flight logging software and radio chatter training apps...

Last edited: Mar 1, 2016
7. Mar 1, 2016

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8. Mar 1, 2016

### goldrush

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Minor point. Unlessd I am looking at a different App, Flight Radar shows delayed data from FAA scources...
"In addition to ADS-B data, we also display data from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). This data provides full coverage of the airspace above the United States and Canada. However, this data is slightly delayed (up to 5 minutes) due to FAA regulations. Because of this delay, the planes generated from FAA data are of a different color (orange) than the planes generated from real-time data (yellow). "

Worth looking at "Pilot Aware", a DIY system using raspberry Pie being developed in the UK outputs real time ADS aircraft positions to various GPS and also transmits your aircraft data via an open protocol (or transponder) to others.

Introduction - Home

9. Mar 1, 2016

### cluttonfred

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I think this solution makes a lot of sense. Why reinvent the wheel? It would be a relatively simple task to build an Arduino-based little box with off-the-shelf barometric and pitot to feed just that information to a little tablet. Combined with GPS and the tablet's internat sensors, you're doing pretty well right there for a modest investment. Then you are left with either buying an engine monitor or tackling a new and more complex project to make a little engine monitor box.

10. Mar 1, 2016

### Hot Wings

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Last edited: Mar 1, 2016
11. Mar 1, 2016

### phiatt

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Choppergirl,

You bring up an interesting point; I had at one time considered using a tablet, and for the same reasons stayed away from them. This system I have been working on is the most basic and easiest method I have been able to come up with. Using off the shelf devices; whereas if something becomes outdated or obsolete, it would still be possible to keep the unit functional. Not only that, the 4D systems LCD unit can be configure to display any type of gauge you desire; digital, bar graph or analog.

Here in the past few weeks I have a working and functional unit. At the moment I am still developing the software; as of now things are looking promising. I have decided to redesign the board and implement the uMicrocontroller on board due the fact that the Arduino does not have some very useful features of the Mega2560 routed to the pin headers. With this in mind I am able to use available features and pins from the 2560 in a more efficient manner. And, furthermore; placing the MPL3115 on board is not going to feasible or useful either. I have found out that the MPL3115 is flaky and extremely difficult to setup, thus i plan to use a BMP180 off board because the on board voltage regulators generate too much heat which causes the barometric sensor to produce erroneous readings and the BMP180 has been around for many years, so there is toms of code samples to pull ideas from.

Aside from that, a misplaced trace on the PCB, an incorrect device footprint, and a reduction in Analog inputs for VDO/Automotive sensors, everything works very well. Also, in the design of the new board, I plan to include a Arduino UNO shield footprint and headers so the end user can add additional shields for little cost.

Here are some pics;

12. Mar 1, 2016

### phiatt

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Guys,

I just now caught up with what you are talking about, GPS, BlueTooth and WIFI are not reliable means of transferring data. I do not mean that these methods cannot do the task at hand; what I am saying is wireless communications often drop packets and the radios often fail. GPS is only accurate within 20 meters, also significant cloud cover or other obstacles interfere with the signal, mountains, tress, etc.... My methods are hardwired and if any device fails, there are methods implemented to make this obvious to the user. GPS would be a good backup for altitude, airspeed and maybe in the future a moving map.

A single board computer is still possible for use, that is why in the new board design I am adding a Arduino shield footprint so a Ethernet shield can be added so the data can be streamed either to an app or a browser, and furthermore the communication pins, I2C and SPI are being broke out to add spatial orientation sensors such as accelerometers, magnetometers a second Baro or whatever.

And, this platform does everything, ENGINE and FLIGHT.

13. Mar 2, 2016

### cluttonfred

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On that last point from phiatt, I think there is a happy medium here. Using a tablet for GPS navigation seems pretty straightforward and the AHRS and compass are a bonus, none of that setup is essential for VFR flight if you have backup navigation. If you come up with your own Arduino-based ASI/ALT/VSI it can certainly have a small display to provide direct readings as well as transmitting the data to the tablet. A cheap 16x2 character LCD or OLED display would be plenty to display the basics like so:

----------------
|ASI mph XXX VSI|
|ALT ft XXXX ▲▲▲|
----------------

The ASI flashes for maximum and minium speeds, VSI flashes for max climb or descent rate, VSI flashes for maximum descent rate, climb/descent rate indicated by the number of ▲ or ▼ with ► ◄ for level. All indications would show --- if not receiving data. A couple of buttons on the front would allow entering the Kollsman value, choosing units, setting alarm limits, varying sensitivity of the VSI, etc.

Add a mechanical compass, a mechanical ASI or AOA indicator and an altimeter watch and you've got backup emergency systems if the data link or even the whole system goes down.

Last edited: Mar 2, 2016
14. Mar 4, 2016

### cluttonfred

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Last edited: Mar 4, 2016
15. Mar 5, 2016

### zoom

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From my perspective issue with this kind of display is that is too small to be fastly and easyly readable. I was thinking about similar one but decision was that display will be at least 4x40 chars and some crucial data will be displayed across two lines for better readability.

Stepan

16. Mar 9, 2016

### Slars

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Here is an option that I have been playing with. It is written using the Lazarus programming package which is open source (free) software based on the Free Pascal Compiler. It is compiled code and can be compiled to run on Windows or Linux. It could run on a tablet or just about any other computer.

I'm thinking of running this on a Raspberry Pi, since it is capable of running Linux. It's just a matter of using an AD/DA board and various sensors to get the information to display. Currently I'm using sliders at the bottom of the screen to test the display code.

It is a work in progress, but looks like it would be an inexpensive option to expensive name bran instrumentation. Now I just need to find a good transreflective LCD display.

The same could be done for engine instrumentation.

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17. Mar 11, 2016

### jcnaharro

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Hi, this is my first post after my presentation.

I am interested in starting a project, it is an EFIS as some of you, with the basics, instruments for navigation, monitoring engine parameters, trim and flaps position.
The initial idea is that would be similar to the Dynon, screen 10 '', but with free hardware and software.
I am considering Raspberry Pi 3, Arduino or mixed.
It would be for an experimental aircraft and essential instruments will be duplicated with analog.
I have several questions and requests.
1. What are the most reliable sensors for navigation (ias, vs, artificial horizon, altimeter) and what you believe are best for receiving engine parameters (chg, egt, oil pressure and temperature, amount of fuel,...)?
2. Specific exsisting libraries for designing the user interface and systems (depending on the platform you choose).
3. What specific tutorials on interface design and system recommends me.
4. Any others suggestions...

I have little programming experience, but it is a challenge for me and I really want to learn.

Regards,

Jose.

18. Mar 11, 2016

### spaschke

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Bosch makes a very accurate air pressure chip. Even the cheaper ones are probably more accurate than the average analog gauges.
There are many engine sensors in the market. The wire directly to an arduino, which can interperet the signals, digital or analog.
There are many libraries in development. Google DIY guages, DIY autopilot, RC autopilot, DIY airplane Navigation, DIY flight Controller, DIY ADSB and you will find most of them.
There are some projects like this going on you can find on the web. Some are in the R/C world.
My plan is to start with an open source project. Use Arduinos for the data gathering. Send the data to a Raspberry Pi or tablet for display.
The Pi, while a great platform would be bogged down if doing it all alone, graphics, processing, and data gathering from engine sensors, gps, and environmental sensors. I intend to make a loosely integrated system with engine monitoring, navigation, communication, and maybe a simple autopilot. 2 or 3 displays. Audio feedback for warnings. ADSB in, maybe out using SD radio. Maybe a 2nd radio using SD radio. I'll have 2 or 3 analog guages for backup.
I would also like to experiment with a LADAR for landing assistance.
All of this will take many years. I am starting with engine monitoring, environmental gauges and maybe navigation, depending on the project I will start from.
Steve

19. Apr 26, 2016

### jcnaharro

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Hello,
I've started to work.
I am familiarizing myself with Arduino and Processing.
I've started simulating aircraft lights control with leds and buttons, I have to work a lot. For example, strobo don't work well, but it's a start.

I leave the link to a video where you can see the result and a image with a draft of the interface.

Regards,

Jose

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20. Apr 26, 2016

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