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Old 13-09-2016, 06:19   #1
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Open Source - Project Idea

I have seen a few ideas for open source hardware projects on here, but I didn't think most of them were worth it. The ones I have seen just weren't worth the effort as commercial products were cheap, reliable and refined enough (e.g. MPPT battery charger).

However a recent thread may have revealed a great candidate for an open source project.

Fluid Level Gauges

The current offerings on the market are either very antiquated or grossly overpriced (or both). Its either 50 year old resistive based technology (still expensive) or one of the new digital gauges using a variety of measuring methods (capacitive, pressure, sonar). Although the new gauges are excellent, they are grossly overpriced (about $100-$150/tank).

I not only believe, I know that some pretty serious savings could be achieved with an open source project. I know this, as some years back I designed a similar capacitive based fluid gauge for the OEM RV market. The cost of the parts for those gauges was $26 for 3 tanks (in non bulk price). I'm pretty sure the price could be even cheaper today as the chips required (capacitive touch, canbus, atmel or pic) have rapidly dropped in price.

What does everyone think? Would there be any interest in such a project?
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Old 13-09-2016, 07:41   #2
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Re: Open Source - Project Idea

How are you measuring fluid? I know available on ebay:

$1 - float switch


Why not take 10 of these in a pipe and have each one wired to an LED with a resistor? Now for ~ $12 you have a simple gauge??
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Old 13-09-2016, 09:06   #3
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Re: Open Source - Project Idea

Quote:
Originally Posted by boat_alexandra View Post
How are you measuring fluid? I know available on ebay:

$1 - float switch


Why not take 10 of these in a pipe and have each one wired to an LED with a resistor? Now for ~ $12 you have a simple gauge??
$12 for a single tank.. I believe we could build a 3 tank capacitive version for around $30. Not only would it be about the same price as your idea but has some advantages:
1. No touching the liquid (no corrosion issues)
2. Software could be tweaked to be more precise in "rolly" conditions.
3. A single gauge shows all tanks
4. Or multiple gauges could be installed on the network.
5. Canbus conforms to NMEA 2000 standard so the software "could" theoretically send NMEA data to plotter/display
7. Super low power draw (although the LED idea would be pretty low)
8. Super cool LCD screen with sexy blue LED
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