5 Channel Thermocouple Gauge/Amp w Analog Out & More

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5 Channel Thermocouple Gauge/Amp w Analog Out & More

Postby loxxrider » Wed Apr 06, 2016 12:54 am

5 Channel Thermocouple Gauge/Amp w Analog Out & More


I'm currently developing a solution for us 5 cylinder guys (can be adapted to any number of cylinders, really) for per-cylinder EGT measurement and data handling.

Features:
-5 type-K thermocouple amplifiers
-RGB LCD which can be set to any color you wish and will display all 5 thermocouple temperatures simultaneously
-5 0-5V analog outputs for sending to any engine management or datalogging hardware
-Alarm/buzzer/siren output for an audible warning when ANY of the EGT's exceeds a preset value
-Visual over-temp warning via red LED mounted near the screen - possibly blink the offending value on the LCD screen as an additional indicator
-Peak and hold function for the gauge

You simply cannot find anything out there with this feature set, so I am taking matters into my own hands.

The only hurdle I am running into right now is getting the thermocouples to output more than 1000 degrees Celcius. I think I have a way around it, but it probably isn't necessary. Does anyone see the need to measure more than 1800 F? If not, things will be slightly simplified.

I am open to suggestions for more features.


Prototype time!

20160406_015334.jpg
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-Chris

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Re: 5 Channel Thermocouple Gauge/Amp w Analog Out & More

Postby audifreakjim » Wed Apr 06, 2016 12:35 pm

Aren't things melting at 1000C anyways?
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Re: 5 Channel Thermocouple Gauge/Amp w Analog Out & More

Postby PRY4SNO » Wed Apr 06, 2016 12:50 pm

In for results.

What's your ballpark timeline to get this up and running, Chris?
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Re: 5 Channel Thermocouple Gauge/Amp w Analog Out & More

Postby loxxrider » Wed Apr 06, 2016 3:04 pm

I do believe so Jim.

It's already up and running actually. At this point, I'm just refining things and haven't put almost any thought into packaging yet. I could provide a kit of components at this point for you to package yourself, but that's about it.

I've only been working on it for about 3 days though, so it's just a matter of me spending the time to finalize component selection and get the packaging deaign part going.
-Chris

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Re: 5 Channel Thermocouple Gauge/Amp w Analog Out & More

Postby audifreakjim » Wed Apr 06, 2016 3:33 pm

You should be tuned for below 1000C all the time, the only reason you should want to read above that is if you are curious to how bad the meltdown was ;) I guess there could be some peaks above that, but that's pretty edge case. I think for the masses 1000C is good and pretty standard.
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Re: 5 Channel Thermocouple Gauge/Amp w Analog Out & More

Postby loxxrider » Thu Apr 07, 2016 2:32 pm

What do you guys want in terms of packaging for the screen? As you can see, the one I have for prototyping isn't the most compact thing ever. I think a 20x4 character one works well for 5 readings. You can't easily get 5 on a 16x2 screen. I might be able to get a smaller 20x4 though.
-Chris

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Re: 5 Channel Thermocouple Gauge/Amp w Analog Out & More

Postby PRY4SNO » Thu Apr 07, 2016 5:04 pm

What about output to tablet or another device, bluetooth or otherwise?
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Re: 5 Channel Thermocouple Gauge/Amp w Analog Out & More

Postby loxxrider » Thu Apr 07, 2016 7:21 pm

I'm sure that could be arranged... I'll have to do some more research on that front though. That would be great for packaging though! Price would go up if you want this and an lcd, but I imagine it would be about the same without an lcd.
-Chris

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Re: 5 Channel Thermocouple Gauge/Amp w Analog Out & More

Postby loxxrider » Thu Apr 07, 2016 7:32 pm

Oh and I'm negotiating a deal for the thermocouple boards at the moment. The price will be very reasonable if we get 10 made. One could use them with my display package or standalone if you just want a cheap way to feed vems or whatever you want with the thermocouple signals.

Price would be around $60 for the 5 thermocouple amplifiers with analog output. Who'd be in? This helps me spread the risk in case people don't want to buy the entire solution I'm trying to develop.
-Chris

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Re: 5 Channel Thermocouple Gauge/Amp w Analog Out & More

Postby PRY4SNO » Thu Apr 07, 2016 7:57 pm

Count me in.
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Re: 5 Channel Thermocouple Gauge/Amp w Analog Out & More

Postby alxdgr8 » Thu Apr 07, 2016 8:04 pm

Would be interested in a 5ch one...and an 8ch :) But I'd imagine 8ch is pretty readily available commercially.

Edit: This is pretty cool, but pricey: http://thesensorconnection.com/gauges-p ... ge-display
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Re: 5 Channel Thermocouple Gauge/Amp w Analog Out & More

Postby loxxrider » Thu Apr 07, 2016 9:53 pm

Alex, I can make an 8 channel version of this product. The 4 channel boards are readily available, and I'd just stack two on top of one another to get to that result. I'm going to focus on 5 for now though.
-Chris

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Re: 5 Channel Thermocouple Gauge/Amp w Analog Out & More

Postby audifreakjim » Thu Apr 07, 2016 10:55 pm

For $60 I'd take one. What's your favorite sensor at the moment?
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Re: 5 Channel Thermocouple Gauge/Amp w Analog Out & More

Postby loxxrider » Fri Apr 08, 2016 12:20 am

Ok, I will offer them separately or as part of a gauge kit.

Favorite sensor or amplifier Jim? My favorite sensors are from the sensor connection. I wrote a little bit about the one I bought for my avant in the avant's thread. The reasons for buying one from them are many.

My thermocouple amp of choice is from playing with fusion. The main reason for buying from there is the reasonable pricing and ability to have them custom make a board. There is not really any meaningful difference between basic thermocouple amps in terms of accuracy, quality, etc. They're almost all based off of the same few chips on the market.

If they're offered separately, you will need to be mindful to only use it with 5v power. Not for the amp's sake, but for VEMS. If you supply the amp with more than 5v, it will be able to output higher Temps than 1000 C, but it will output more than 5 volts to do so. Tha will instantly kill your VEMS i/O chip.
Last edited by loxxrider on Fri Apr 08, 2016 12:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
-Chris

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Re: 5 Channel Thermocouple Gauge/Amp w Analog Out & More

Postby loxxrider » Fri Apr 08, 2016 12:28 am

alxdgr8 wrote:Would be interested in a 5ch one...and an 8ch :) But I'd imagine 8ch is pretty readily available commercially.

Edit: This is pretty cool, but pricey: http://thesensorconnection.com/gauges-p ... ge-display


Yeah, I like the sensor connection's stuff. They were the closest to having what I needed for a solution, but if you notice, that gauge does not include analog outputs. It's based on an airplane gauge by the way.

They do carry a gauge that has pretty much everything you could want, but it is about $80 and you only get one thermocouple input and output.

I'll be able to offer 8 and 10 channel versions as well for the big boys :)
-Chris

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Re: 5 Channel Thermocouple Gauge/Amp w Analog Out & More

Postby loxxrider » Fri Apr 08, 2016 4:03 pm

The order is in for the thermocouple amps. I'm having a run of 10 produced. Now for some questions for you guys.

I'm still struggling a little bit with lcd choice becuase it's hard to find one with enough space on it to fit all the readings (at least 3 lines and 16 characters wide), but also is small enough to make sense for packaging in a car. It's even harder to find one in a size like that while also not being a hideous color. However, I have found a potential solution, it's just that there will have to be some balancing done with the cost. That brings me to some questions for you all:

Does anyone NOT want to be able to use an lcd to view the temperatures at all times? If not, is there some other alternative you would want to use? (besides Bluetooth to another device... That's for later). I will of course offer a plain amp without an lcd, but then you dont get alarm functionality or a gauge (duh).

How important is it to you to have the correct color?

How do you envision mounting it?

I've found a smaller lcd which can still display the data I want while fitting in a reasonable amount of space (like the coin area in a 200 20v center stack). The problem is that the cost is higher if you want rgb (and thus the ability to make it any color you want ans match our instrumentation). It can also be had with a plain red backlight for a lot cheaper.

I can also get a smaller than normal 4 line lcd. It is available with a green/red backlight which would let us mix any kind of red or orange. This great for our cars. But it wouldn't work well for other cars with different colors. 4 lines isn't necessary either, it's just nice to have. It would be necessary for a v8 or v10 car though unless you wanted the screen to swap between banks of the engine periodically.
-Chris

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Re: 5 Channel Thermocouple Gauge/Amp w Analog Out & More

Postby loxxrider » Fri Apr 08, 2016 4:06 pm

Now that I think about it, I can offer any lcd you guys want on a per-order basis because there is no need to make an enclosure to fit the lcd. I don't know what I was thinking. For some reason I think I was thinking I would have to be packaging this with all the other electronics. I'm a big ole dummyhead.

I'd still like to know your preference though. 3 lines will only allow the temperatures themselves to be displayed. 4 lines will allow a header/title/info line at the top of all the temperature data. If you think you have a better idea of how to present the data, I'm all ears. I can do whatever we all want!
-Chris

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Re: 5 Channel Thermocouple Gauge/Amp w Analog Out & More

Postby PRY4SNO » Fri Apr 08, 2016 6:25 pm

I had only intended to monitor 5 cyl EGT until after the dyno tune was finished. Then my plan was to monitor one cylinder (likely cyl 5) and using Vems to display on either my phone or a tablet.

Having the independent alarm would be nice though, can Vems be triggered to do that without having the separate LCD?

As I think about things, what about possibly having a combination of parameters displayed on the EGT gauge, like say W/M set to also alarm outside a set range? In that case, I could go for one mounted in the glovebox or ashtray.
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5 Channel Thermocouple Gauge/Amp w Analog Out & More

Postby audifreakjim » Fri Apr 08, 2016 10:24 pm

I really like the bar graph on the gauge at sensor connection. Not sure if it's possible to do something like that. The most likely scenario for me is to have a display sitting in the glovebox or hidden. In the ashtray. I have one zeitronix multi gauge and that's the only think I have custom mounted. I'd still use one of the probes to feed this and vems, can you split the signal?

What else have you heard about expanding vems inputs?
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Re: 5 Channel Thermocouple Gauge/Amp w Analog Out & More

Postby loxxrider » Fri Apr 08, 2016 11:18 pm

PRY4SNO wrote:I had only intended to monitor 5 cyl EGT until after the dyno tune was finished. Then my plan was to monitor one cylinder (likely cyl 5) and using Vems to display on either my phone or a tablet.

Having the independent alarm would be nice though, can Vems be triggered to do that without having the separate LCD?

As I think about things, what about possibly having a combination of parameters displayed on the EGT gauge, like say W/M set to also alarm outside a set range? In that case, I could go for one mounted in the glovebox or ashtray.


You'd probably do well with something like this after you have the car tuned then if you don't want to monitor all 5.

http://thesensorconnection.com/egt-probe-thermocouples/instrumentation/meters/superlite_egt_meter.shtml

If you don't want an analog output, there is a cheaper version of that for about $20 cheaper. If you want made in USA, there is a very nice one (also with no analog out) for around $200. It's made for powerboat racing, so it might be a bit overkill, but I like overkill :)

Keep in mind, you might not be able to watch all 5 EGTs while tuning through VEMS until they come out with the new I/O hardware.

I'm not sure if VEMS can trigger an alarm based on the signal, but I would think it could.

I can display all sorts of things on the LCD, but that'd be more of a custom project. I don't intend to bring anything like that to market. To me, that's what VEMS is for. Once the main project here is all finished up, we can definitely talk about it!




audifreakjim wrote:I really like the bar graph on the gauge at sensor connection. Not sure if it's possible to do something like that. The most likely scenario for me is to have a display sitting in the glovebox or hidden. In the ashtray. I have one zeitronix multi gauge and that's the only think I have custom mounted. I'd still use one of the probes to feed this and vems, can you split the signal?

What else have you heard about expanding vems inputs?


Can you clarify what you mean about the bar graph at sensor connection? It probably is possible whatever it is. Yes, the signal will go to the electronics involved with the display and the alarms, and it will also go to the VEMS (that's what the analog output is for). Both the amplifier by itself and the gauge/amp/alarm package will have the analog outputs. You basically just have to choose whether you want the alarms and the information displayed on a gauge or if you just want a way to amplify 5 thermocouples and send analog signals to whatever you want (like VEMS).
-Chris

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Re: 5 Channel Thermocouple Gauge/Amp w Analog Out & More

Postby loxxrider » Sat Apr 09, 2016 7:00 am

I just realized that the display in my picture above is the exact same one that vems uses. Rgb is a huge upgrade to a single color lcd, and the rgb one only costs $25. LOL the profit margin on the vems display is quite large. There is absolutely nothing special about it. You can buy that same exact lcd for $15 and just wire it up the same way they did to their connector.

My solution for the lcd should be a lot nicer and fit in a lot more places than the vems lcd. You could even use it for a vems lcd if you wanted... Sweet! Maybe I'll come up with a slick way to do that for you guys. Sorry to vems and the vendors, but this is too obvious not to do.
-Chris

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Re: 5 Channel Thermocouple Gauge/Amp w Analog Out & More

Postby audifreakjim » Sat Apr 09, 2016 10:16 am

Do you have a picture of the LCD you are thinking about using? It would be nice to have a matching VEMS and EGT LCD that are smaller than the current VEMS, I can't stand having mismatched crap mounted all over the place which is why I only have one gauge.

Also, just to clarify, it can't do the gauge and analog output at the same time?
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Re: 5 Channel Thermocouple Gauge/Amp w Analog Out & More

Postby PRY4SNO » Sat Apr 09, 2016 10:30 am

Definitely prefer analouge but if you are able to make a combination VEMS and EGT LCD that matches the OEM gauge colours, that would be sweet. Preferred location for me would be the ashtray. Easy to cover, easy to access.

audifreakjim wrote:It would be nice to have a matching VEMS and EGT LCD that are smaller than the current VEMS, I can't stand having mismatched crap mounted all over the place


:metoo:
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Re: 5 Channel Thermocouple Gauge/Amp w Analog Out & More

Postby loxxrider » Sat Apr 09, 2016 3:18 pm

audifreakjim wrote:Do you have a picture of the LCD you are thinking about using? It would be nice to have a matching VEMS and EGT LCD that are smaller than the current VEMS, I can't stand having mismatched crap mounted all over the place which is why I only have one gauge.

Also, just to clarify, it can't do the gauge and analog output at the same time?


I don't have the LCDs in hand yet, but I did just order them. I'll take a picture next to the vems LCD so you can get an idea of how they look and the scale of both. I'll dig up a standard picture of one in the meantime. Either way, I can offer pretty much whatever LCD you guys want. I just wanted to find what I think is the best solution so you guys are informed. It's not easy to find a 3 or 4 mine lcd that isn't the exact same one used with vems. That must be the most common one period.

Yes, it will do the gauge, alarms, and analog output (for use with vems or whatever else you can dream up) all at the same time. What I meant was that if you don't have a need for the gauge and alarm, I will offer an option without those at a significantly lower cost. It'd just be those $60 thermocouple amps, plus the cost of a case to put them in. Or I could just offer them completely by themselves. You just let me know what you want/need.




PRY4SNO wrote:Definitely prefer analouge but if you are able to make a combination VEMS and EGT LCD that matches the OEM gauge colours, that would be sweet. Preferred location for me would be the ashtray. Easy to cover, easy to access.

audifreakjim wrote:It would be nice to have a matching VEMS and EGT LCD that are smaller than the current VEMS, I can't stand having mismatched crap mounted all over the place


:metoo:



You mean to say that you want an analog gauge? Like a mechanical boost gauge? I'm going for a but cleaner and compact solution than that here.

Combining the VEMS display and egt signals on one screen could probably be done through vems itself if you have a way to feed all the Egt signals into vems at the same time (in the future) and can freely manipulate what is displayed on the screen through vems. Of course you can't view all the data at once though since the screen can only display so many characters at one time. I could try to intercept the signal from vems to the egt lcd and use that somehow, but I don't think that's a great solution either. I think it's best to just keep them separate.

You will be able to use these screens for your vems and for this tc amplifier, but making the vems display color matched as well will add a little more complicatiom to the wiring. If you don't care about matching oem colors and just want red or something, it's a little simpler. Either way, just let me know individually what you want to do and i should be able to accommodate if given enough time.
-Chris

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