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Old Nov 11, 2013, 08:43 AM
Aj Creations
Anjan Babu's Avatar
India, KA, Bangalore
Joined Dec 2011
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DIY- g-force measurement system

This is a fun and functional microcontroller based DIY, a g-force measurement system with data logging to SD card. Great for the RC car fanatics and professional racers for tuning car setup.

HARDWARE USED:

1) Arduino UNO w/ATmega328P
2) 3-axis accelerometer breakout
3) SD card
4) SD card breakout w/level shifting circuit
5) LED

HOW IT WORKS:

Basically, the system uses an accelerometer to measure g-force and a SD card to store the data. An Arduino UNO is used to process the data coming from the accelerometer and save it on to a SD card. The system was originally developed for setup tuning and performance optimization in RC cars. It makes use of Ch3 on the Rx for initiating or terminating the data logging sequence, which means you’ll need a three channel radio to make this work. However, if you’re familiar with Arduino, you can easily modify the code to substitute appropriate control actions and happily use it wherever and with whatever you want.

Technically, I’m using an ADXL335 3-axis accelerometer that can measure upto +/-3g. It doesn’t have an impressive output resolution, but I find it good enough for my application. The system reads data from all the three axes, which means it can measure a decent amount of useful data.
In RC cars, cornering forces, forward/reverse acceleration, breaking/collision forces, vertical shocks and suspension damping analysis data can be acquired. All this data is logged on to the SD card in independent .txt files for each axis.

HOW TO USE:

Mount the gForce gauge on to your RC car, wire it up to Ch3 on Rx, press Ch3 on your Tx to initiate data logging, do some hard acceleration/ breaking or take on some high speed corners or whatever you want to measure and press Ch3 again to terminate the data logging sequence. A small LED is used to indicate the data logging in process. Unplug the SD card, connect it to a computer and You have the data that you can analyse and make necessary changes to your RC car to make it run faster and smoother.

The Arduino schematic does not show the level-shifting circuit required for the SD card, but it’s necessary, refer to the “SDcard Breakout DIY” schematic.
Format the SD card to FAT32 file system before using. Please use older less capacity SD cards like 2 GB or less. Not tested with SDHCs yet and MicroSD cards with SD adapter can be used, but again, 2GB MicroSD cards or less only.
Please watch the voltage ratings of your I/O devices. My ADXL335 breakout board came with an on-board 3.3v voltage regulator, which is why my schematics show it connected to the 5v supply. The same applies to SD card breakout board. A few more warnings have been mentioned in the Arduino sketch itself, they’re worth noticing.

CONCLUSION:

It’s not that much of a complicated DIY, but you need intermediate electronics skills at minumum. Quite a few things can go wrong, I wouldn’t suggest you try this as your first electronics based project. However, nobody is stopping you- frying a microcontroller chip is a crime not punishable by law!

Original blog post: http://anjanbabu.wordpress.com/2013/...iy-gforce-1-0/

Download: (Arduino code, schematics, pictures) https://www.dropbox.com/s/lm5mcbca4p..._gForce1.0.zip

Good luck, DIYers!
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