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Old 25-09-2022, 19:40   #1
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Adding temperature sensors to windows or linux

Hey all,
So I've been running opencpn in the cockpit with pypilot. Long story short, I love it. I have a waterproof touchscreen that (while only being single touch) works when wet. Did a 700 mile coastal voyage and it worked great!

Now, I want to start adding a bunch of temperature sensors. Like battery temp, mixing elbow, coolant, transmission etc. I'd really like to be able to use some basic temperature senders that send a voltage range to represent temperature range.

Ultimately, I want the results to live on a computer + screen (as opposed to individual physical gauges). Even being able to just list a slew of voltages would work, but i haven't found anything reasonably priced to do that. I was looking for a usb device that would have say 5 or 10 variable voltage inputs that could be monitored; that would be perfect.

I have already done forum and google searches etc but haven't found anything available. I'd really like to stick with windows but if the best solution is absolutely and only linux then I'll consider switching.

Thanks for any information!
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Old 27-09-2022, 06:55   #2
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Re: Adding temperature sensors to windows or linux

My gut feeling is that you won't find anything that's plug-and-play right off the shelf. (Though I'd love to be wrong about this)

That said, if you (or someone you know) know a little bit about electronics and a little bit more about programming, it should be feasible with a little bit of effort.

In which case, look into GPIO. You'll want something that supports analog IO rather than digital, but it's common to find modules that have both.

A quick search shows a few (more expensive) options, including various GPIO-to-USB adapters. However I expect you'd still need to do some programming to interface with them. Unless you are lucky enough to find software that already supports them.

Side note: it might be worth looking at Home Automation software such as Home Assistant to see if there's any overlap. While the software itself may or may not be useful for you, people have written integrations/drivers for all kinds of sensors and devices. You might be able to reuse/adapt some of the integration code for your purposes.

On the cheaper end (but requiring more skill/effort) would be a development board that has GPIO. Something like a raspberry pi, esp32 or maybe Arduino. But definitely more programming involved.

It sounds like a fun project. If I wasn't slammed with stuff right now, I'd offer to help you prototype something. Unfortunately I just won't have the time for the foreseeable future.
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Old 27-09-2022, 08:47   #3
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Re: Adding temperature sensors to windows or linux

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill_B View Post
My gut feeling is that you won't find anything that's plug-and-play right off the shelf. (Though I'd love to be wrong about this)

That said, if you (or someone you know) know a little bit about electronics and a little bit more about programming, it should be feasible with a little bit of effort.

In which case, look into GPIO. You'll want something that supports analog IO rather than digital, but it's common to find modules that have both.

A quick search shows a few (more expensive) options, including various GPIO-to-USB adapters. However I expect you'd still need to do some programming to interface with them. Unless you are lucky enough to find software that already supports them.

Side note: it might be worth looking at Home Automation software such as Home Assistant to see if there's any overlap. While the software itself may or may not be useful for you, people have written integrations/drivers for all kinds of sensors and devices. You might be able to reuse/adapt some of the integration code for your purposes.

On the cheaper end (but requiring more skill/effort) would be a development board that has GPIO. Something like a raspberry pi, esp32 or maybe Arduino. But definitely more programming involved.

It sounds like a fun project. If I wasn't slammed with stuff right now, I'd offer to help you prototype something. Unfortunately I just won't have the time for the foreseeable future.
I've been reading more and more, and it looks like the best solution for the marine use case is openplotter...so I'm gonna bite the bullet and switch over to raspberry pi. I've done a little programming in Javascript, but these days I'm more of a people programmer
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Old 27-09-2022, 09:58   #4
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Re: Adding temperature sensors to windows or linux

The first part of the answer to your question is look for I2C sensors.

The second part of the answer, is that is easy to connect I2C to a RaspberryPi as it already has an I2C interface. Plenty of tools to enable this and in particular for marine use, Open Plotter which includes SignalK Server and the Node-Red plugin will enable you to access supported temperature sensors. You will find plenty of info on the Open Plotter forums.

For Windows, a tad more hoops to jump through depending on what hardware platform. You can try installing Windows 10 IoT on a Pi, or there is also the Windows on Raspberry Pi (WoR) tool. There are then Windows API's to enable you to access the I2C stuff.

However more likely that you are using Windows on a x86/x64 computer in which case you will need to look for an I2C USB interface which will enable you to access the I2C stuff over serial comms.

Have fun.
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