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Device that sends a pulse through a serial port (Tripmaster)

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by xendelaar, May 27, 2013.

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  1. xendelaar

    xendelaar

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    May 27, 2013
    I just recently tried making a tripmaster using a GPS dongle. For the people who don't know what a tripmaster is: it's a device that accurately calculates the distance travelled by a vehicle.

    I used a gps dongle to calculate the travelled distance using vincenty's formula. I made some adjustments and it worked reasonably well. However, it wasn't accurate enough... So now I'm thinking of starting a new project!:D

    I want to make a device that counts the number of rotations from a tire. Imo it should be reasonably easy to make. I just need a sensor (optical, magnetic or something like that) with an usb jack that registers the pulses every time the tire rotates. for instance, I could assemble a magnet onto the tire and fix a sensor next to it..

    The only problem is... I don't know how to retrieve pulse signal from an usb device without any third party software. What kind of sensor would you guys suggest? I was thinking of building my own device for this project, but I don't have a data acquisition card to process any signals...perhaps a consumer sensor with third party software would be easier to start with, but I have no idea where to start looking. Do you guys have any suggestions where I should start looking? I'm a real n00b with electronics. Any help would be highly appreciated!

    greetings,

    xendelaar
     
  2. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    25,271
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    Jan 21, 2010
    An odometer?
     
  3. xendelaar

    xendelaar

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    May 27, 2013
    thanks for the input. that's exactly what I'm looking for. Now I just have to find a way to get a signal from an odometer to the computer! :)
     
  4. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    25,271
    2,718
    Jan 21, 2010
    First you need to get a manual for your vehicle and determine how its odometer works.

    If it has been built in the last 10 to 15 years, the odometer is probably an electronic signal generated by a hall effect sensor or similar. If the car is old, it may have a mechanical linkage. In that case you'll need to attach a magnet somewhere and your own hall effect sensor.

    As for how to connect it to your computer, a simple approach might be to use an arduino. This can detect the pulses and send a signal to your software running on the PC.

    What you do then is up to you. You could build in more smarts to the arduino interface or do it on the pc.
     
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