Monday, December 3, 2012

Sonic Screwdriver

I'm overdue for an update! Around Septemberish I made my furthest progress. It goes something like this: Attach drill to distributor, run drill, distributor signal read by microcontroller. Then, the microntroller will 1. Spark Coil at when the distributor is at TDC and 2. Send timing data over USART. Using a MAX232 chip and serial>USB converter I can read that USART data with a C# program and display the rpm!

It worked fairly well except for each spark semi-regularly resetting the mc! I think that's just a matter of high voltage messing up what would be a clean power supply.

Delays, Distractions and the evil Computer Demon
I haven't been able to work on it since. Uni work has been time consuming and finding a big free block of time has been difficult. As awesome as this stuff is, there's usually something more important or better to do! In addition I killed my dragon programmer, my laptop has been sent for repair twice (still waiting for it) AND 3 hard drives died on my file server in different ways (WTF??!!). I <3 backups="" br="">
The Plan
I think I've gotten as far as I can without a running engine to play with, so starting early next year I will be directly driving the coils and injectors on my car. It means the car will be off the road while I figure all this out, but it should work out well with the engine swap and new clutch to be fitted at the same time.

Sonic Screwdriver
In the meantime I'm working on another project. You know those cool toy sonic screwdrivers that light up and make sound effects?
Wouldn't it be cool if you could use it to control any device with an infrared sensor? A TV or airconditioner or pretty much anything with a remote control. My plan is to replace the innards with electronics that can record and playback an infrared signal. Yes, you can buy something like this already from thinkgeek but holy crap it's expensive and it's way more fun to build it yourself! I have a nearly working version that will be in my next post.