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  #1  
Old 12-04-2002, 08:03 PM
Daless2 Daless2 is offline
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Anti-Braille Offroad Video Eyes (ABOVE) System

Anti-Braille Offroad Video Eyes (ABOVE) System

With winter fast setting in (it?s snowing here right now) I have this need to come up with a new project and here it is. I call it the Anti-Braille Offroad Video Eyes System, ABOVE System for short. (I have to call it something!)

As the name implies I intend to aid in eliminating those blind spots that I cannot see while wheeling. Right now I do the right side via a spotter when things get difficult, or via the Braille system as most of us do. On the drivers side there is always my body to lean out the doorway to get somewhat of a view of things.

I intend to install a video system, with four cameras, an in-cab LCD monitor and a video switch that will sequence the cameras at an adjustable interval or allow selection of any one or two cameras for display on the LCD monitor.

So here I am thinking out loud, and soliciting your input before I start assembling things.


The Cameras:

I picked up four Sony Black and White, Very low light, waterproof and fully submersible cameras (up to 150 feet).

These things are tiny, less then two inches long and 1.25-inches in diameter. They are NTSC video format capable of shooting 380 lines of resolution.

Each camera can see in as little as 0.1 Lux (Star Light) for15 feet.

The cameras also have 6 built in Infrared LEDS that enable Night Vision up to 35 feet.

The field of vision is 92 Degrees.

There is also a very small 360 degree adjustable mounting bracket which I will use once I figure the best real estate location on my Jeep to mount the cameras. (Any thoughts would be appreciated.)

I have some donut shaped magnets that I intend to screw to the bottoms of these mounts so I can move and stick the cameras around till I get the right location.

Do I want to watch the front tires actually climbing a rock, or do I want a larger field of vision and mount the cameras to a door hinges on each side?; perhaps one pointing forward and one backward on each side of my Jeep. (Maybe I will mount the two front cameras to the Currie Anti-Rock arms so they follow the suspension. Don?t know. Need to play a bit.)

These cameras, with IR LEDS on draw less then 150 mA of power each and operate on 10 to 15 volts DC. No problem with the Jeep?s 13.8 vdc.

Here?s a picture of the camera and mount.







LCD Monitor


The in-cab Color LCD Monitor will be a 5-inch LCD TFT Color TV/Monitor that I purchased at Wal-Mart for $99.

I intend to make a bracket to mount this monitor above the rear view mirror and the roll bar/windshield frame. It fits nicely up there.

The LCD Monitor has an A/V (Audio/Video) plug. The LCD operates on 11 to 14.9 Volts DC. No problem at the Jeep?s 13.8 vdc.

Here?s a picture of the LCD Monitor with one of the cameras next to it..






Camera Sequencing

I picked up a switch sequencer that I will plug all four cameras into. The sequencer will then control which camera is displayed on the monitor. The functions this will enable are:

* Manual selection of any one camera
* Manuel selection of any two cameras for shared LCD monitor viewing
* Auto sequencing of all four cameras with time selection of 0.5 to 30 seconds per camera

Here?s a picture of the sequencer. It is relatively small, about 4 inches across. I will mount this under the auxiliary switches/astray location.






Audio

This sequencer also has the ability to switch audio. While not a part of this project I do intend to use this ability for some under Jeep microphones (stethoscopes) to listen in on u-joints, differentials and the t/case transmission from time to time.

Anyway, that?s my plan, or at least my thoughts out loud folks.

Please feel free to add any and all comments, suggestions and ideas.

As I get this thing wired up and installed over the next few weeks I will keep you posted on my progress and evaluation as to how well, or how poorly it works.

Total cost for all off the shelf components is $412.00 All I still need to get is some shielded cable and a few connectors.

Frank
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  #2  
Old 12-04-2002, 08:26 PM
mrblaine mrblaine is offline
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I am not quite sure where to get it, but I can check. I am talking about a mixer that I use the puts all four cameras onto a 4 way split screen. It come out of the surveillance industry and is made for those types of cameras.

Were they mine, I would want them at the four corners of the t-case skid just inside the frame and angled enough to see out the front under the bumper and the same for the rear. This is also an easy spot to protect them in.

I would also want the little wipers across the lense that roll clear film past in small sections like the race car television cameras use. There is no place you can install them and keep the lense clear, so a wiper of some sort is needed.
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  #3  
Old 12-05-2002, 05:36 AM
Tumbleweed Tumbleweed is offline
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Frank: Here I thought I was getting in over my head with my project of making a disc parking brake for my driveshaft-using snowmobile calipers, etc. And then you show us this...
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  #4  
Old 12-05-2002, 03:33 PM
Daless2 Daless2 is offline
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Hi Blaine,

Thanks for your thoughts on where to mount the cameras. I certainly will try that location. Perhaps given the 92 degree field of view I will move them in from the frame rails more toward the center of the skid plate front and rear/ left and right edges for a bit more angle on things.

You know given the mud and muddy water I have to drive through at times I had not given any thought to how I would keep the lens clean other then Windex and paper towels. Since your suggestion I have come up with an idea that may or may not work but I plan to give it a try.

I?m thinking about going to the salvage yard and picking up a windshield washer fluid bottle and four spray nipples and a few feet of water hose.

The cameras are 1.250-inches in diameter, but have only a small 3mm lens opening. The remainder of the diameter is for the IR LEDS.

I?m thinking maybe I can rig the washer nozzles to point right at the lens and when they get dirty just throw an in-cab switch to wash them off. Kinda like how Mercedes use to wash their headlights off.

I?m going to give it a shot. What can it cost, $5? Thanks for getting me to think about this issue as I had not before.


Hi Don,

So when were you planning on sharing with the rest of us your parking brake design? Sounds interesting. Have any pictures? Give?m Up my friend!


Frank
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  #5  
Old 12-05-2002, 03:41 PM
Daless2 Daless2 is offline
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When I started thinking about this project I did a fair amount of investigating as to what type of cameras were out there, with what features and at what prices.

For my wheeling here in Kentucky I have to deal with mud and/or muddy standing pools of water to get to the rocks. So in my case waterproof was a requirement.

(I neglected to mention the camera mounts are the quick disconnect type. I do not plan to leave them on the Jeep when not off-roading.)



Non-water proof

For those of you in the So. Cal or AZ areas who don?t need to deal with water as an issue there are cameras available that are far less expensive then those I purchased.

Here?s one for only $35. (Model BB2827)



http://www.cctvimports.com/MINICAMERA1.htm



Bullet Proof (for real)
If you have an interest in cameras that are a bit more bullet proof I found some that are bullet proof. Able to withstand a direct hit from a 9MM round or shotgun. But they are pricey!

Model # 2001BTBI at a cost of $145 each.



http://www.cctvimports.com/infrared%20bullets1.htm



Color

There are countless flavors of similar cameras able to display color pictures. I didn?t think this was a big feature for the application I wanted to use these for.

Check out the http://www.cctvimports.com site for these. You can figure feature for feature, the color cameras cost about twice as much as the b/w cameras do.


Frank
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  #6  
Old 12-05-2002, 04:39 PM
speaceman speaceman is offline
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Blaine,

You can get the quad-processor screen splitter you are talking about from any company that sells security cameras and/or surveillance systems. We have had to buy them when they have burned out. They run around $100 or so, at least for the models we have bought. You'd probably end up paying more since you'd want something smaller.

I believe I also saw that Fry's electronics was selling a camera set that came with the splitter also. So I think you would probably be able to pick one up separately at Fry's.

Of course that means dealing with Fry's, but that's a separate issue entirely.
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  #7  
Old 12-05-2002, 05:44 PM
TJRON TJRON is offline
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Maybe after you hit them with windshied washer you can blast them with some on board air jets?
Also one more camera is need on the front of the hood so when you get bored and make your Jeep remote control you can see wher it's going.
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  #8  
Old 12-05-2002, 06:12 PM
Paradiddle Paradiddle is offline
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what happened to having your buddy jump out and spot you???



Jeff
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  #9  
Old 12-05-2002, 06:54 PM
Daless2 Daless2 is offline
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Hey Ron,

You and I are on the same page. Right after I put that post up I thought about that using the OBA system to dry the lens. Kinda like a mini brushless car wash, but for the cameras!


I like the idea about putting a camera on the front of the hood too. I'd take it one step farther though.

I'd put a motorized, 360 degree panning system in place. (Joystick controlled from in-cab of course, maybe voice actuated too!).

I don't anticipate ever going full remote control with my Jeep, but I figured if I do misplace my spotter I can use this camera to enable me to find him or her more easily from the drivers seat!!

Frank
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  #10  
Old 12-06-2002, 10:25 AM
BlueJeeper BlueJeeper is offline
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Frank,

I saw your question to me on JU but I can't get there to reply to it now. I see you have a discussion going here too so I'll respond here.

The heart of my system is micromachined accellerometers:

http://products.analog.com/products/...roduct=ADXL202

These accellerometers can be used to measure tilt. I am interfacing them with a microcontroller. In essence, it is polishing the ultimate turd accessory, the Inclin-O-Meter. Except I get to do a lot more things with the data and have more Inclin-O-Meters in strange places; namely, I can get data on any part of my vehicle that can exist in a plane, and can orient itself in up to 2 dimensions. The frame, axles, driveshafts, control arms, steering components, wheels, et al. I can also calculate how these different planes orient with respect to each other, which is really the most important part of the system. By using the parameters of my vehicle, I can basically reconstruct graphically what it's doing in real-time.

Then I can take it further. I could allow the driver to orient the graphical representation with respect to his own angle of inclination, or orient it with respect to the earth (flat). I plan to add infrared distance sensors to the system, so that when correctly positioned, they can notify me on my display when an object lies infront of or in back of a tire, or infront of a skid or other part, and display to me how close that object is. In addition I could add accellerometers to the wheels to determine wheel spin (and not just if wheel spin exists, but also to what degree it exists, and what forces are involved).

I could combine this data with USGS Topo data and a GPS module, and even a previous record of the trail using this system, and graphically superimpose this data on my display. To that I could add an RF module and have someone else in another vehicle some distance away see exactly where the vehicle is and what it is doing.

Ultimately, I could make such a system smart. It could determine that the vehicle is about to do an endo, and when wired into an electronic throttle control system, throttle out of a rollover if the driver doesn't respond in time. Or if one was travelling uphill and was about to roll backwards the system could shift an electronically controlled automatic transmission into neutral and let the vehicle roll back downhill instead of letting the driver use the stupid pedal to try and get it up and over when it is hopeless to even try such a move. Obviously such situations would have massive computational complexity to even work right (and work safely), but it could be taught to do that. Hopefully you are able to see where else this could go as there are an infinite number of possibilities with such a system that can do this kind of data acquisition.

Now, to take a step back into reality, I am currently only at the stage where I only have one accellerometer interfaced, and I am simply trying to filter out unwanted noise from that system (mainly vibration). That alone has proved time consuming and I hardly have time to work on this as it is. I don't have a graphical interface yet and have only really started to theorize about how I might develop that. I have several ideas thought out, ranging from just using a cheap lcd panel and nothing more than Pong-level graphics, to using an old Palm Pilot, to using an actual laptop and creating a rendered OpenGL display. Using OpenGL gives me the most freedom and capability but it would also be the most bulky and complex system. I hope to find some sort of happy medium.

Your system is far more practical and far less prone to failure than this one. I may never even get the system I have described off the ground at all. It is different in that I am less concerned about this actually being practical than seeing what I can actually learn from developing it. I infact expect NONE of it to be practical or useful, but I'm also not doing it for the gee-whiz factor. If something practical came of it, then I will probably stumble across that anyways.

As I said, this system would probably not be able to exist in place of a system like yours. Cameras provide way more visual information to the driver than my system ever could. Like I said, though, I think it might complement a system like yours nicely. That said, I don't think either of these systems could ever replace a human spotter--no way. However that doesn't seem to be the real goal with either of our projects; moreso, it is to provide the driver with more information than they would normally have.

Hope that makes sense.
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  #11  
Old 12-07-2002, 05:07 AM
Daless2 Daless2 is offline
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Hi Rick,

Please excuse my delay in responding to your post. I read it last evening but have been a bit under the weather.

Where have you been hiding Rick?

I have a significant interest in much of what you are doing, particularly sensing electronically the angle of my Jeep's Center of Gravity in relationship to either the horizontal or vertical plane if gravity. Sounds to me like you have this all figured out. I have a ton of question and keen interest in what you have developed. I don't know what your plans are for this (Commercial or just a hobby like mine) but if you have the desire to share your knowledge either here or via email email.id@worldnet.att.net you will find a willing student on this end.

From my perspective I have two of the three pieces of the puzzle. I can determine exactly where the C of G of my Jeep is located, and I have the ability to alter this location to some degree artificially. The piece I am needing is How to monitor the C of G location in relationship to the vertical plan of gravity dynamically.

If you have an interest and have not seen the write-up I did on "Determining the Center of Gravity and Rollover Angles of Your Jeep" and care to invest your time you can see where I am at and where I would like to go with it.

it is available for download as a MS Word document and Excel Spreadsheet at:

http://home.att.net/~email.id/wsb/ht...ome.html-.html

or online at

http://www.jeepaholics.com/tech/cog/

To artificially manage of effect the C of G and related rollover angles I have installed an AiROCK air spring suspension. Info on this is in a write-up at
http://www.jeepbbs.net/forums/showth...&threadid=3030

Now if I can "see" where my C of G is dynamically while I am wheeling via the method you have developed I think that would qualify for having my cake and eating it too!

How are you interfacing those accelerometers to measure tilt with the outside world? Basic Stamp programming and chip? Were are you collecting and storing the data? Are your data points processed dynamically or just collected and batch processes at later time?

Obviously I am very interested in what your doing. Please feel free to share more if that is what you would like to do. But please "dummy it up a little for me". I'm not quite as talented as you are in this arena.

Have a great day,

Frank

PS: Please know, 3/4 of all I do has very little practical application for 99% of the folks here, but I do them becuase I want to. I enjoy pushing things and learning new things as I go. While I can't say everyone on this board would have an interest in what you or I care to do, I can say you won't be discouraged from trying something new.

Go for it! And if I can help I'd be happy to.
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  #12  
Old 12-08-2002, 08:32 PM
BlueJeeper BlueJeeper is offline
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Hi Frank,

Sorry it has taken me so long to reply.

You know I remember your COG writeup and can't believe it didn't cross my mind to integrate that into this system. It could be done easily as long as you could define your center of gravity in 3-dimensional space. It would be easy to display this along with the other data I wish to display.

What's cooler is that it could easily be integrated with your AiRock system. When the angle between the line passing through your COG towards the center of the earth and the plane incident with the frame has reached a predetermined tolerance, you could theoretically control the AiRock very easily to air up a corner of your suspension to make the frame closer to being perpendicular with the line through your COG. It could be designed to be seamless, although it would probably take some getting used to on the driver's end. I don't suppose AiRock would be interested? Great idea, Frank. As you can see, there are lots of neat possibilities with a system like this.

I *am* using a Parallax Basic Stamp II to interface my accellerometers. I had thought about going to their new Javelin (I think that's what it's called) chip because it uses a Java subset, but I think I'll stay with the Stamp until it no longer suits my needs. I intend to process the data dynamically through an RS-232 serial port unless I decide differently later. The data could then be stored on a laptop or PDA for later examination as well. This is all TBD until I get to that point though.

I really have little intention of making a commercial endeavour out of this. As I said before it is more just a learning exercise for myself. It's definitely just part of my hobby and I'm happy to share my work with you. If any commercial work came of it that'd be great, but that's not my goal.

I actually thought up the idea over a year and a half ago but haven't had nearly the time to work on it that I'd like. After the holidays I will have significantly more time to work on it. Most of the work I have done has just been researching how it might be done, and learning about the components I want to use. You can actually get free samples of the accellerometers from Analog Devices, and I did this about a year ago. The accellerometers come in tiny, tiny packages with no leads.

I spent a lot of time trying to work with those, but trying to solder leads onto those tiny packages takes a very quick, steady hand. If you hold a soldering iron close to them for too long the internal components will melt. The benefit was that these samples were free, but they were too hard to work with.

I was aware at the time of the evaluation boards available for these accellerometers, which have all the necessary components pre-assembled and have leads attached. However, I believe Analog devices had just finished retooling from their old, larger accellerometer to the smaller one I had been working with, and there were no eval boards yet available. So I dropped the project for a while until only several months ago, when the boards were available again. You can now get them for about $30 each straight from Analog Devices, Parallax, or a company called Crossbow which you can find online.

These evaluation boards are extremely easy to work with and can be plugged right into most of the Basic Stamp programming boards. Unfortunately I have only had time to play around a bit with the eval board since I got it. I have nothing of much use yet but that will come as I get more time to work on it in the coming weeks.

In the future, when I am able to work on the graphical interface, I will probably have the Basic Stamp send the data from the accellerometers to a PDA or laptop through the serial port. The data will be recieved for each accelerometer as its angle in radians with respect to the flat earth plane. I will then write software that will display this data graphically. Initially I will start out with 3 accellerometers; one in the cab to measure the tilt of the body and frame, and one on each axle. On the display you would see a graphical representation of how these components relate to each other in 3D space. Simply put, you will see your Jeep "flexing" as it would appear to an outside observer. You could also display your COG as well as a number of other things. I will probably write this application in C code so that I might be able to use OpenGL, but will go with the flow when I get to that point and use whatever works.

As I said this project is still in the very early stages but I think it has some potential. I am glad that you see some use for it and that has inspired me to make time to work on it in the coming days. I would be happy to answer any questions you have for me about it, and sincerely appreciate your input and ideas. I will keep you up to date on how it is going and would be happy to share my code with you once I finally get a working prototype (which should hopefully be soon). It would be fun to have a Jeepin' open source project!

You can always contact me at rickbernotas@hotmail.com. My hotmail has been acting up the past few weeks and has been dropping some sent and recieved messages, so if I don't respond in a timely manner (usually 24 hrs.) just email me again. Of course you can always get me on the forums as well, I check them daily.

Rick
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Old 12-08-2002, 10:03 PM
mrblaine mrblaine is offline
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I read your stuff Rick and understand about 1/10 of 1% of it, but I have a question that you may have answered but that I did not understand.

Why wouldn't you use a body mounted dual axis digital inclinometer? I see that they are available from Digi-Key and wonder if that may slow down some of your program requirements?
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Old 12-09-2002, 08:50 AM
BlueJeeper BlueJeeper is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by mrblaine
I read your stuff Rick and understand about 1/10 of 1% of it, but I have a question that you may have answered but that I did not understand.

Why wouldn't you use a body mounted dual axis digital inclinometer? I see that they are available from Digi-Key and wonder if that may slow down some of your program requirements?
mrblaine,

If you are talking about the Digi-Key clinometers I think you are, I actually considered those early on in my design. They were my first consideration but then I ran across the Analog Devices accellerometers.

Reasons for picking the ADXL202/210 are that they are much smaller, they are really low-power, and they have a greater range. Typically the dielectric-based clinometers have a smaller range (i.e. up to only about 45 degrees). The micromachined silicon ADXL202 has a much better resolution and range. The ADXL202 evaluation board is also more easily interfaced with simple microcontrollers like the Basic Stamp, which increases the likelyhood of success were a novice to try and reproduce my design for themselves (and it makes it easier on me). Aditionally, the Analog Devices accellerometers can also provide me with information beyond just tilt-sensing, which may prove useful to me later on.

Largely though, I picked the ADXL202 because I wanted to learn how to use it. I am somewhat certain that they are the same accellerometer (or at the very least, the same type of sensing technology) that Dean Kamen is using in the Segway Human Transporter ("IT"). This also makes me a bit more confident that I will be successful with them for the purposes of my project, since that technology may already be used in a transportation device for dynamic data acquisition.

Moreover I have some friends here in Champaign-Urbana who are also tinkering with this accellerometer and so it allows us to swap geek stories

I have not ruled out the use of the Digi-Key clinometers though, because as I said I really don't have a complete proof of concept yet for the use of ADXL202. I may move to a different sensor before the project is finished.
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Old 12-12-2002, 01:14 PM
Daless2 Daless2 is offline
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Hi Rick,

Not ignoring your post, just have to find the time to respond. Life keeps getting in my way. I have more then a few questions for you.

More later.

Frank
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Old 12-15-2002, 06:00 AM
Daless2 Daless2 is offline
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Good Morning Rick,

Sorry for the delay in replying to your post.

I have to say, given the topic, your obvious interest in learning and your location Champaign-Urbana, IL, you must be connected to the University of Illinois.

Undergrad? Graduate? or are you on the University staff? EE or Comp Sci?

I can see a lot of possibilities, as you have, to integrate your work into a system that can dynamically monitor and provide real-time feedback on the location of the Jeep's Center of Gravity. And I really like the idea of interfacing the accelerometers, thought the Basic Stamp, directly to a pre programmed Palm type device.

My thoughts are to program the Palm to accurately calculate the physical location of the Jeep's C of G based on the previously collected data. Once this location is calculated the Palm could be interfaced to your system, while the Jeep was on level ground, to establish a "Neutral" of Home Calibrated C of G to the Accelerometers position.

Changes in the Accelerometers position, caused by tilting the Jeep, could then be extrapolated and converted (in real time) to not only the location of the Jeep's C of G but also to the gravitational length of the wheel track and wheel base.

Perhaps the Palm screen could be displayed in graphics which would be simple to digest while driving off-road.

Maybe something like the C of G represented as a point on top of the pyramid, balance within the gravitation patch as I described in my document.

Perhaps something like this.




And has the Jeep goes off camber or tilts up or down hill, or any combination of tilt along the X and Y axis, the simple pyramid graphic would change dynamically to reflect the C of G location in relationship to the gravity support patch and Roll Over potential.




Just some of my thoughts on this. I'm sure other can add a lot as well. I'd be very interested in working on something like this. I have or certainly can develop the algorithms that would need to be programmed on the Palm end, but I will have to confess upfront, my skill and abilities are limited in the arena in which you are working. Let me know if your interested, I believe between the two of us, and others we might be able to build something rather unique here. And if nothing else learn a lot in the process too!

Frank

PS: Sergey, speak up my friend! You're one of those young guy wiz kid techie guru's! Bring your value to the table! This could be fun!
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Old 12-16-2002, 11:01 AM
BlueJeeper BlueJeeper is offline
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Hi Frank,

I have a BS in Computer Science from the U of I. As well as having taken a few EE courses and labs, I had a specialization in applied physics, so those things help me stumble through this stuff a little better. That's really my only connection other than having a few friends on staff. I'm still here because my wife and I stuck around to work at a couple of the tech companies here. Are you connected to the industry in any way?

I really like your ideas about the display. I had not really thought about representing the information in other ways besides visual images of a Jeep or by raw numerical data. I can see now from your work that we might be able to come up with additional displays that would represent the information differently, which also might be more or equally as intuitive.

One thing I can think of right away, is that it might be useful to let the user define tolerances on their calculated COG. Fuel, human bodies, and other things that might shift will certainly change the COG a bit. Additionally, when off-camber, theoretically the orientation of unsprung mass as well as the reactive forces of the suspension on the frame may very well alter the COG or change rollover tendencies quite a bit?? Perhaps this might be estimated computationally based on the orientation of the axles to gravity and the frame? Just thinking out loud. The thing that sort of struck me when I saw your COG graphic is that in practice it might be useful to have a "red zone"; an x, y, and z tolerance component to the calculated COG that might be displayed (and trigger a light, piezo buzzer, etc.) so that the driver could know when their tolerance is exiting the gravitational track. Something simple, but something that might also prove quite useful in practice? I'm not sure.

If you would like to work on this then great! The more the merrier. It seems you want to work on the display end or with the COG algorithms?? I say go for it! I'm all for coming up with *many* different ways to represent the data so don't be bound by the fact that I mentioned a Palm device as a way to represent data. I would say as long as you could come up with some stuff that computes its results based on several inputs--angle of inclination of the body and frame (in 2 dimensions... front to back and side-to-side) with respect to the earth, and angle of inclination of the axles with respect to the earth--then we can probably somehow meet in the middle and go from there. Any of your input will definitely be massively useful!!

As for the accellerometers themselves; man, are these cool little devices. I have worked on the prototype some more in the past week in my copious spare time. I now understand them quite a bit better. The digital sampling period is set by a resistor and I need to go to Radio Shack this week to get some more resistors, because I currently have the resolution of the device to the point where there are about 250 datapoints per 90 degrees of tilt and I want better than that. With different resistors I can get thousands of points of resolution for every 90 degrees of tilt. One thing that introduces error into the system is acceleration in the direction of the axis being measured. This won't be much of a problem for the axle measurements, but it will be for the pitch measurement of the body and frame. With greater resolution and more frequent sampling I should be able to "average out" most of the error from the system; at least, hopefully, enough for the purposes of this experiment.

What I have found some people do to eliminate this error altogether is integrate a digital gyro to be able to subtract out this extra component of accelleration that we don't really want getting into our data. However, integrating a gyro with an accellerometer means adding lots of math to the solution (called "Quaternion") and I would like to stay away from that for now. Even with a gyro there eventually is a small amount of drift in the calculation so it is not perfect. Nonetheless, I'm pretty sure that just using the solid-state accellerometers should be good enough for our purposes with a little bit of averaging.

Rick
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  #18  
Old 12-16-2002, 02:21 PM
BlueJeeper BlueJeeper is offline
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Frank,

I ran across this today clicking through a link, and it looks like AiRock themselves may have already beat us to the punch as far as integrating it with the AiRock goes...

http://www.offroadonly.com/products/suspension/airock/

Needless to say, I was very, very surprised to see this. Especially given the timing and content of our discussion.

I wonder what accellerometer they are using?? I wouldn't be surprised at all if it were the same one...

Needless to say, I am very curious.

Rick
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  #19  
Old 12-16-2002, 04:33 PM
BlueJeeper BlueJeeper is offline
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Wow.

I shot offroadonly an email about their system and just got a reply back from one of their engineers.

I'll say this... what an unbelievable operation that place must be. Some of the products I was told they are developing are just way beyond the imagination. Just insanely great, to borrow a phrase.

You guys should shoot them email about the work they are doing. Way cool stuff. Way beyond any of this.

I'm in awe.
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  #20  
Old 12-16-2002, 07:17 PM
Daless2 Daless2 is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Rick Bernotas
Wow.

I shot offroadonly an email about their system and just got a reply back from one of their engineers.

I'll say this... what an unbelievable operation that place must be. Some of the products I was told they are developing are just way beyond the imagination. Just insanely great, to borrow a phrase.

You guys should shoot them email about the work they are doing. Way cool stuff. Way beyond any of this.

I'm in awe.

Hi Rick, I have been aware of the work Steve and his partner are doing over at ORO as I have the AiROCK system installed in my Jeep.

I could not honestly, or with any level of integrity, share anything they had shared with me in confidence, but now I have the ok from Steve to do so. I fully expect to have the upgrades installed in my Jeep in a week or two.

The system will have a microprocessor to manage the data streams coming in from three arenas; The accelerometers, The Speed sensor and four Potentiometers.

Data management will result in active and automatic management of the air suspension based on the speed of the vehicle and predefined user preferences.


Below 20 MPH both the driver and the automation will have operational control of the suspension.

Individual air springs can be adjusted via the drivers seat, as today, but there is a lot more. A driver can set up "Pre-programmed Profiles" that with one punch of a button will cause the AiROCK system to execute on. For example; Leaning the entire Jeep to the left, or raising the rear while lowering the front, ect.

Or you will be able to set the angle of your choice and have the system maintain that angle through the management of air pressure in the springs. Of course any angle includes "Maintaining Level" to within a certain degree.

Once over 20 MPH the system will automagically return to (user defined) ride height and maintain that ride height, adjusting as needed to compensate for cornering and breaking.

Over 50 MPH the system will remain at ride height but will apply "no dynamic" management of the air bags.


What ORO does not have is a display that would feed me exactly where my C of G is at in a simple graphic way easy to digest. (Now you know the source of my interest in this!)

I am waiting for Steve's ok to post some pictures of the new system components and a bit more of it's function. I expect that tomorrow.


Thank you for your very thoughtful response, you have many valid points. Something does indeed need to be done to address the unsprung weight issue as that weight does not follow the sprung weight in a 1 to 1 ratio, but is rather relative to some unknown ratio of angle-to weight-to spring rate.

My thoughts are similar to yours on the "red zone" I figured while working with angles I would use a 10% conservative alarm setting. I can tell you I have tested the C of R and ROA calculations out for real by employing a fork lift and a strap for safety to see how close they were on my actual Jeep. It was within 1/2 degree. However, this isn't the whole story becuase it did not account for the dynamic movement on the x or y axis, nor the effects of mass and momentum if and when a moving tire with unspring weight hits a rock with any kind of force.

I think the end result here is not going to be a perfect solution, but rather one in which a "relative Indicator" can be presented to a driver.

I really like your idea of a Palm Pilot becuase of it's small size. As I am sure you know real estate in a Jeep is somewhat limited. Yet I have no idea what the processing power of the Palm would be. Increasing data point over time would be great for accuracy, but the processing may have to be done in the Basic Stamp and then just the end result presented to the Palm for User display. Don't know. You're much more qualified then I am here.

Perhaps the gravitational patch could be color coded with a green, yellow and red bands. Then as the C of G moves between bands, and the track width and length change a driver could see a "relative indicator" of it's position in relationship to a roll over.

Just a thought.

Frank

I have a post on here with some notes from the install of the Generation I AiROCK system. If you have an interest it can be found here.

http://www.jeepbbs.net/forums/showth...hlight=project

I will update the Project Air Spring post with new info once I get my hands on the new hardware and firmware.
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  #21  
Old 01-08-2003, 09:42 PM
Daless2 Daless2 is offline
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I have been meaning to put a few more notes up on this thread as to what I have done and discovered so far during this project.

To begin with I have to tell you this works great! The issues I am dealing with right now all deal with camera mounting brackets, and mounting locations.

When I started this project I thought I would attach large donut shaped magnets to the bottoms of the camera?s so I could temporarily move them around from place to place to see which would provide the greatest benefit in location.

If you decide to try a video system, DO NOT use these magnets (CB Antenna Magnets). The magnetic field is too strong and interferes with the operations of the video cameras. If you don?t know this up front you will spend a few hours trying to figure out what just went wrong. (experience talking here.)


Camera Brackets
I made four camera-mounting brackets.

Each of these brackets can hold two cameras. And each bracket can be mounted behind the side view mirror mounts, or on two bolts inside the front wheel wheels where the flair meets the fender on my TJ.

To each bracket I mounted one or two camera swivel mounts.

Here is a picture of two brackets each having two camera swivel mounts attached.




The slots cut in the brackets allow for quickly mounting and de-mounting the brackets.

The camera swivel mounts allow the cameras to be attached with just a thumbscrew.

Here is a shot of a bracket mounted behind the mirror mount on the driver?s door with two cameras attached.

*Loosen the screws and slide the bracket in place.

*Attach the cameras and tighten the thumbscrews.





From this location, on both the drivers and passenger side doors I can see the entire sides of my Jeep, from about 3 feet in front of the front wheels, to about 2 feet behind the rear wheels as the camera field of vision overlap just a bit.

I have two more mounts inside the front wheel wells. I have moved the driver?s side cameras there to see how that performs. Again very well, but you can?t see everything. What I can say is I can see much much more then I can just with my eyes from the drivers seat.

Blaine gave me a great idea to mount the cameras on the four corners of the T/case skid plate. I tried this but couldn?t make it work because of the heat from the exhaust system.

I then tried to mount two cameras on the skid plate with one pointing forward and one backward. I couldn?t get enough angle out of this location to see very much with the drive shafts getting in the way. Thanks Blaine, it was a great idea that I just don?t seem to be able to make work. (I do have a few more thoughts on this one I still want to try.)

My intent is to mount these cameras only while off roading. The brackets and mounting system I am using make this very easy to do. I am estimating it will take less then 10 to 15 minutes to mount and point the cameras and monitor. While I have not completed this yet, I will wire my Jeep so the cameras simply plug in by the mounting brackets.


Monitor Location
When I started this project I thought of mounting the 5-inch LCD display up above the mirror on the windshield frame. I made a bracket and tried this but I wasn?t pleased with the location. There was far too much glare on the monitor when looking it from below and off to the side.

In looking around at the available real estate in my Jeep I came up with a much better location. On the Steering Wheel Collar.

I made a bracket that mounts the LCD to this location with a thumbscrew. The monitor does indeed block the entire Speedometer and tach, but I don?t see that as any great lose when off roading, and that will be the only time the LCD monitor is there.

Here is a picture of the monitor mounted at this location.





I think you can see that the entire LCD screen is viewable through the steering wheel.
(The glare in this shot is from my digital camera flash. The LCD monitor is actually very clear when viewed from this mounting location.)


Camera Selection[

The video sequencer works great, but I had to mount it all the way in front of my console. This is not a convenient location to access the two key controls; turning sequencing on and off, and selecting any individual camera.

While I have not done this yet I plane to wire up two micro-switches(in parallel to the sequencer switches) that will mount on my gear sifter so I can access and control these two functions more easily.

When I get the entire project worked out in full I will be sure to post a few more pictures and any other notes that may be of interest.

Have a nice evening.

Frank
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  #22  
Old 01-09-2003, 07:36 AM
Beast40 Beast40 is offline
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Sweet project, I've only seen one jeep before with a camera and it was attached a few inched above the rocker on the passenger side but used a much larger, bulkier camera.

Keep up the good work!
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  #23  
Old 05-23-2003, 10:59 AM
BlueJeeper BlueJeeper is offline
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Well, I think I will toss my stuff into the fray since I now have a working software proof of concept. It is nowhere on par with the ORO-type stuff (yet), but given that I probably have around 16 hrs. into this project over the past 9 months, I don't feel so bad.

The system consists of a Basic Stamp II microcontroller on a test board, and 3 Analog Devices ADXL202EB 2-axis accellerometers.

More info:
http://www.parallax.com
http://www.analog.com/Analog_Root/pr...L202%2C00.html

The contraption on the right is the microcontroller and board, with power source and an RS232 serial port hookup cable attached. There is also one ADXL202EB attached on the breadboard. When the project becomes more robust, this will be the unit inside the vehicle, that measures pitch and roll of the body and frame, and does all of the signal processing from the other ADXL202EB's.

The breadboard on the left tentatively holds 2 ADXL202EB's. Each would represent a unit that would be placed on an axle. These would each measure roll of the axles.



There are so far 3 code files for the project. One is the Basic Stamp code for managing the accellerometer output (Tilt_sensor.bs2) which needs to be flashed to the microcontroller over the serial port.

There are 2 Java classes. One handles the serial port communications with the hardware (eSpotter.java), and the other handles the GUI output (Jeep.java). I am truly embarrassed to show the code at this point, as it needs to be broken down into more subclasses, commented, and the serial flow control needs to be rewritten as it is *barely* adequate, but it is at a working point now, so there you go.

http://home.insightbb.com/~r.bernota...ilt_sensor.bs2
http://home.insightbb.com/~r.bernota.../eSpotter.java
http://home.insightbb.com/~r.bernota...tter/Jeep.java

This is an example of the output:



Excuse the rinky-dink Atari graphics please... I worked the GUI only to the point so that it was basic, fast, and demonstrable. I recently migrated the code to Java 1.4, which is where I wanted to get it so that I had what I wanted in terms of a graphics API. From here out, the GUI will dramatically improve.

The top left represents the front of the Jeep with 2 objects, one being the body and the other being the front axle. The bottom left represents the rear in the same manner (body/frame and rear axle). The right side of the screen represents the pitch of the vehicle from both sides.

The part that is not demonstrable in this post, is how well the software mirrors the tilting motion of the ADXL202EB sensors. The software mirrors my movement of the hardware almost perfectly, even at speed with no noticable lag.

I wrote the porgram in Java, so that it would be easily portable to many platforms. It is currently running in Windows, but can be ported to your favorite flavour of Unix by changing one line of code (the location of the serial port). I intend to eventually port this to PalmOS. There is a Java environment for Palm that supports serial communications. I don't have a laptop but am currently looking to acquire one cheap, so that I can wire it all up in my Jeep to try it out. The next step would be to port it to Palm, so that the form factor of the whole setup is better.

The hardware also needs a lot of work. I need to solder everything together, come up with durable enclosures for the hardware that will work, and come up with wiring and routing of the wiring. Among other things.

In the near future the plans are to integrate an improved GUI, GPS, Frank's ideas on COG and display, etc.

I am not that big into the project as far as cost goes. Each ADXL202EB is about $30, and I am borrowing the Basic Stamp hardware, but it could probably be acquired used at about $50 or less, or new if you were willing to go with a more basic board. There will be additional hardware cost only insofar as a portable display (old used laptop/used Palm), and enclosure and wiring. Everything else will pretty much be improvements in software from here on out, which only costs time.

Just tossing this out there to think out loud.

Rick
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  #24  
Old 05-23-2003, 11:40 AM
TObject TObject is offline
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Sweet!

You know, with accelerometers accurate enough, you don't even need a GPS. I think, that's how the submarines navigate to the North Pole under the polar cap, without surfacing.
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Old 05-23-2003, 12:37 PM
BlueJeeper BlueJeeper is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by TObject

You know, with accelerometers accurate enough, you don't even need a GPS.
Yep. An accellerometer alone would be able to do it... the thing is, that some amount of drift is introduced into the measurements, when you move in a direction parallel to the axis being measured. By adding in a gyro like this...

http://tinyurl.com/cik2

...you can calculate out the drift and get an exact measurement with no drift, using a system of calculations called "Quaternion."

In my research I found some folks who were doing this to a remote-control helocopter. The helo could basically navigate on its own from point A to B without any input, except the initial coordinates of points A and B, and no GPS. Pretty cool stuff.

For the purposes of this thing, I don't think a gyro will be needed. The reason I mention GPS, is because my GPS (Garmin) has a bunch of different output modes that can be transmitted over serial. That way, when data logging is integrated, you could have a GPS coordinate for each set of datapoints acquired for the pitch and roll of your Jeep.

A piece of software could be written such that you could "playback" a past record, and coordinate it with your current coordinates. You could effectively, sort of see what line you took before on a particular part of a trail. It could be done with an accelerometer and gyro--but an existing GPS unit already gives a great platform and interface to use.

It would be a great idea, though, as you mention for locations where GPS is not necessarily usable. Canyons, dense forests, etc. Hmmm.
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Old 05-23-2003, 01:08 PM
TObject TObject is offline
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Thumbs up

You know, this is actually an awesome idea. Hookup the playback to the jeep steering and drive controls.

Then you just put Garry Hall in a jeep, and record the whole trail like a macro. After that you can playback the recording, so anyone can drive exactly like Garry did.

One additional thing that would be required to make this system operational is the "Rolling Rock Tracking and Collision Avoidance" system, to compensate for the changes of the trail and other jeeps/spectators.

That should be doable. If the space control, at Cheyenne Mountain, tracks every single object larger than 10 centimeters orbiting Earth, we should be able to track rocks on a given stinking trail, no problem.
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Old 05-23-2003, 01:27 PM
BlueJeeper BlueJeeper is offline
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Actually I had thought about adding infrared distance sensors in strategic locations for that kind of purpose, among others. Like this:

http://www.junun.org/MarkIII/Info.jsp?item=25

I haven't done too much research on it though, and I'm not sure how well something like that would complement this.

But it could be kinda like a fish-finder. For your Jeep.
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  #28  
Old 05-23-2003, 01:31 PM
TObject TObject is offline
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Smile

One day, everybody will have a jeep that talks, predicts the weather, and shaped like a woman.
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Old 05-23-2003, 06:10 PM
Deaver Deaver is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by TObject
One day, everybody will have a jeep that talks, predicts the weather, and shaped like a woman.
Yeah, but can it cook?

Great stuff Frank
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  #30  
Old 05-23-2003, 06:24 PM
TObject TObject is offline
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Cool

Quote:
Originally posted by Deaver
Yeah, but can it cook?
MREs don't require cooking.
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