Distance measuring with Arduino

After modifying a USB GPS receiver to use with Arduino, I continued to make a further attempt to measure distance between two locations with Arduino. The idea is straight-forward, when pressing a key, current location is stored and used as start location. The line distance of current location and the start location is calculated and displayed on the LCD on the spot. Next steps are: (1) allowing entering GPS coordinates of a location (2) calculating and displaying trip distance.

If the distance between two locations is not too long, the calculation of the line distance between them can be simplified a lot by treating the earth as flat.
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Modify USB GPS receiver to use with Arduino

Most common USB GPS receivers come with a USB connector with a UART-to-USB chip built in. That means the GPS receiver itself provides serial UART output. So they can be used with Arduino by replacing it's USB connector with Rx/Tx and VCC/GND connectors. My practical test has proved that this works. What you need to make sure of is the baudrate of the GPS receiver.

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Vehicle Telemetry Platform

Ever wondered what goes on under the hood of your car? Wish you could peek inside the engine management system and read values from it? Annoyed that your dashboard displays a cryptic “Check Engine” light (yep, the engine is still there) but gives absolutely no explanation what the problem might be?

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Arduino, OBD-II Kit, APC250 wireless module work together

After being able to let Arduino access vehicle data through my Arduino OBD-II Kit, I was thinking of putting on a wireless module on the Arduino and transmitting the OBD-II data to a remote place. XBee is a good choice but its high-power version is rather expensive and difficult to obtain. I chose APC250 wireless module finally to make the attempt.

As I’ve wrote a program on PC to display OBD-II data from USB and Bluetooth ELM327 adapter in the past, it doesn’t take me a lot time to modify it to receive data from a APC250 module plugged on a small TTL-to-USB adapter. Actually to a PC program, communication with APC250 is just plain serial port communication. Arduino connects with the other APC250 module. I connect the Rx and Tx pins to Arduino’s D2 and D3 ports and use SoftwareSerial to perform serial communication as the hardware UART is used to retrieve data from OBD-II UART adapter.

There is no technical difficulty as long as the wireless modules can talk to each other in transparent serial communication, but it’s fun and possibly useful to send out the vehicle data to a remote place which can be up to 1.8km with this APC250.

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Arduino OBD-II Kit available for order

After many researches and attempts to connect an Arduino with my car through the OBD-II port and having some successful works, I’ve finally made a kit which enables those who want to playing with Arduino and their cars to jump start quickly.

The Arduino OBD-II Kit consists of a OBD-II UART adapter based on a ELM327 compatible chip which provides an OBD-II to UART data bridge, and a dedicated open-source library for Arduino 1.0. The adapter outputs UART serial data and regulated 5V power supply sufficent for powering Arduino and some attached devices. The adapter can be used with any embedded system in addition to Arduino platform.

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DIY a digital tachometer with Arduino & RGB LED matrix (video)

Today I tried making something with the Arduino RGB LED matrix and adapter shield on hand. The idea is to let the pixels of the matrix change  in correspondent to the change of car’s engine RPM (or some other realtime data, maybe throttle position) and a step forward is to display a digit in different colors. The digit can even be displayed mirrored so the matrix can be put on the dashboard and reflect the digit on the window shield.


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Connect Arduino to your car through OBD-II

On-Board Diagnostics, or OBD, in an automotive context, is a generic term referring to a vehicle’s self-diagnostic and reporting capability. OBD systems give the vehicle owner or a repair technician access to state of health information for various vehicle sub-systems. The amount of diagnostic information available via OBD has varied widely since the introduction in the early 1980s of on-board vehicle computers, which made OBD possible. Continue reading

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