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D_Turner last won the day on February 28 2019

D_Turner had the most liked content!


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Boat Info

  • Boat
    2017 Malibu VLX


  • Location
    Atlanta, GA

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  1. After purchase of my Malibu VLX, I quickly realized how much I would like a wireless charger in the Sport Dash phone holder. The phone holder worked great and held the phone where it was easy to see and use. The downside was cords hanging down around your knee or hands as you were moving around the boat. So the winter of 2017-2018 I set out to build myself one. I expected sooner or later Malibu would do something similar and for 2019 they released a wireless charging option that is basically just like mine. So this buildup may not be the best option for a Malibu anymore, but it might provide some inspiration into a buildup for other boats. So here is the buildup, start to finish with LOTS of pictures. It is basically a copy and paste from my post last year on The Malibu Crew. This build performed flawlessly during the entire 2018 summer season. ------------------------------------ In the perfect world, I would of started from a totally new dash I designed as there are a few things not ideal with the thickness and placement of some things in the stock dash metal housing. However, I wanted to keep the stock look without going through the trouble of making an entire new dash and do the plating and brushed finish of the stock piece. So to eliminate the steps of replicating that, I decided to purchase an extra sport dash from Malibu parts for modification. I did this so I could just do a total swap out of the dash. If the prototype didn't work or charging technology changes greatly over the next few years I will always have my stock dash to throw back in. So upon getting a new dash from Malibu, I measured everything up and modeled everything in CAD. Upon drawing all of it up, I realized due to the thickness of the aluminum stock dash where the pad and coil were going I only had 0.150" of thickness to work with. I would of loved to recess the Seadek flush to the top surface, but that was not possible with a 5mm pad thickness. So, the Seadek was going to be above the stock dash surface. This presented a minor problem of the left moving 'jaw' would hit the protruding Seadek pad if it closed to the full amount. Who has a phone that is that small anymore that you need the full slide of that stock Malibu jaw? I don't know of a phone that small.....maybe an iPod? Who uses those anymore? So I decided to make a new sliding back plate that would be wider and stop the left moving jaw just a few thousands from the Seadek pad. This still allows you to hold a phone several hundred thousandths narrower than an iPhone X. I will have to look back at my model to see exact numbers, but it will hold anything standard from iPhone 6 and up. This is the new sliding back versus stock back piece. The slot is for the wire to pass through from the coil and allow for sliding of the part. This is the back of the pieces. I machined the slots for the springs just for purposes of prototyping and test fitting. I had no intentions of sticking with the springs due to machine work you will see later. Any future part would not have the spring slots machined as they are useless upon final assembly.  I ended up sandblasting the machined back as it does show thru the slots from the front side so to knock down on the noticable 'shine' I sandblasted it. I also coated all bare aluminum with Everbrite which is supposed to protect bare aluminum in marine applications. We will see how it does. This is the development board I started from. I have since found a different one that I wish I started with as it would of eliminated a voltage convertor you will see later. I desoldered the coil from this board and incorporated the coil into the dash as you will see. The circuit board goes into a water tight box. Machine work taking place on the stock dash Here is the stock dash after machining modifications. I created a recess for the Seadek pad. I also left a pad for the coil to be industrial epoxied to. Charging coil wired up Charging coil in its pocket The back fully assembled. Since I was loosing the ability to use the stock springs for the tensioning, I used a gas cylinder. Since I was machining the stock dash and new sliding back, I did add two holes so I went with a shorter cylinder than he used and also mounted parallel to the movement of the sliding arm. The next issue was trying to mount the circuit board somewhere. I went to my boat in storage back in January '18 and looked for a decent place to mount the circuit board box. The box I was using is overkill and larger than a 'production' type box would be, but much easier for me to deal with working on my desk. There was really no good place(easy) to mount the box without drilling holes or something so I decided to make a backing plate to mount the circuit board box to. This way the dash would install exactly as the stock dash does. You would install the 4 washer/nuts as stock, then I would have .500" spacers that would space a backing plate above the gas cylinder, then you install 4 more locking nuts and it is basically an all self contained piece. Absolutely nothing stock on the boat is modified to mount it this way. No holes drilled in the boat anywhere, etc. I cut some 1.75" studs to replace the stock shorter studs in the stock dash to allow for the 0.500" spacers and backing plate + extra nut.  Backing plate being machined Backing plate finished, sandblasted, and coated. The square hole is for the coil wire to pass through. The round hole is for the sport knob wire to pass through. Circuit board box mounted to backing plate. The box as mentioned above is overkill, but it made for working in much easier. I don't have a picture of it, but the board was actually mounted to a piece of lexan cut to fit the inside of box to limit movement, wiring cleaned up, and foam placed to stop any vertical movement.  As I may of mentioned above, I kinda wished I had started from a different circuit board, but I didn't see it until way late in the project. It is not a big deal other than I had to add a 12V to 19V convertor as the circuit board requires 19V. Another application I could of used is 12V all the way through. I may purchase one of these sometime to tinker with. So here is the circuit board box and the wiring. Some of this wiring was made longer than needed while I prototyped on my desk. It can be shortened, but it is all hidden anyway under your dash. This shows the backing plate spaced above the gas cylinder to not interfere there. You can also see the longer studs and .500" spacers. Wireless chargers use magnetic fields to transfer power. Metal surfaces do not allow for the magnetic field to pass through which is why I had to place the coil on the topside of the aluminum dash and required all the work above. To cover this coil, I decided on Seadek. I got a test piece and verified it did not interfere with the magnetic field at all. So I set out to get some custom Seadek made. This turned into a 6 week ordeal which I finally got mostly what I wanted. I requested 5mm single color storm gray Seadek. The company I was dealing with does outstanding work, but they have been SUPER busy lately so it took them forever to get to my project. After checking up on the project, I got an email saying they didn't have 5mm storm gray instock so they decided to use 6mm storm gray over black. This makes the pad .040" thicker than I was expecting. Not a factor in functionality, but aesthetically I would of rather had the 5mm single color. You can barely see the black layer at the edge but not very noticeable especially installed and in the sun. The laser engraving turned out perfect. So here is the Seadek installed. It matches fairly well. Indoor lighting affects the matching depending on the light. Sunlight, it is pretty dang close. Installation in the boat. All went well other than I had to grind a little on my backing plate in the top corners near the stud as there is not a ton of room between the stud and the fiberglass. 5 minute fix and it went right in.  Here is the under side of dash. There is plenty of 12V and ground buses/terminals within inches of the dash so electrical hookup is a piece of cake. I used a 2 amp fast blow fuse to the 12V terminal so it is protected from drawing anything big. Should never draw much more than 1amp. Here are a couple pics of the finished(pretty) side installed in the boat. ------------------------------------------------ I have a second version where I used a different circuit board and I am also attempting to slice the seadeck pad in half with a hot wire cutter to allow the pad to sit more flush. I will update if I get that version wrapped up soon.
  2. Updated the project with the LCD box (above)
  3. Yes the sensors lay inside the bag. They are heavy so they will always stay at the bottom and designed to function submerged. As long as your bag repeats in how it takes shape each time, the height of the water in the bag should be fairly repeatable. My Sumo bags fill the same each time from the best I can tell. I have engine dividers and and then the inside of the hull containing the bag sides so when it fills with water, I think the bag shape is VERY similar each time they fill. The sensor just measures water pressure. The deeper the water, the higher the water pressure. A varying current is created from this pressure measurement. You use this current measurement to make a water level reading. Example: http://www.pvl.co.uk/user/Animations/Hydrostatic.jpg You can do an external sensor which can be much cheaper, but requires more plumbing which I wanted to avoid. Similar to this: http://www.te.com/content/dam/te-com/images/sensors/global/infographics/differential-transducers-on-tank.png The sensor I am using is 0-1.5 psi range so it will measure just over 3 ft water depths before maxing out. My bags are only right at 2ft tall filled. As for the screen designs, let me get it all functioning first then I may play around with other designs. Once it is up and going it will just be a 'firmware' update to the Arduino to change it. I thought trying to replicate the stock Malibu screen and colors look would be cool, but probably overkill. My LCD enclosure is supposed to ship this Friday from the 3D Printer so I hope to get that tested out next week and see if any changes need to be made to it.
  4. Since getting my Malibu almost 2 years ago, one thing that has bothered me is that we have such high tech boats that monitor our hard ballast tanks, but no way to monitor the bags. Malibu has since added L-shaped rear hard tanks that will monitor the rear bags, but for people with older boats there is not a good solution that I am aware of. Although I am no where near a level of riding that requires super precise filling of ballast bags, I still found myself lifting the rear cushions to look at the bags when dumping bags from full back to 1/2 or empty. So I decided this winter to head down the path of getting me a rear bag monitoring setup going. I started the research phase looking for a good water pressure sensor that I could use to just drop into the top of the bag. I ended up with a Maretron Submersible Pressure Transducer. The unit is kinda pricey, but has a very low psi range so provides a nice degree of accuracy for the only 2-3ft of water depth I will be measuring. It is also submersible so the idea is to just use a 1" NPT fitting to drop it into a spare top fitting on my Sumo bags. It is part number PTS-0-1.5PSI-01 Here are some of the technical details on the pressure transducer: https://www.maretron.com/support/manuals/Submersible Pressure Transducers Installation Instructions-T 2.1.html I replaced the metal mounting plate with a 1" to 1/2" NPT plastic adapter from amazon. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B008HQ725U?psc=1&pf_rd_p=454aaa48-6bbd-4d89-855c-bfb126bc7fa3&pf_rd_r=KRK1ANDC6JBDSEGN5WSH&pd_rd_wg=SCSSV&pd_rd_i=B008HQ725U&pd_rd_w=gkVHN&pd_rd_r=84b257a3-d744-4e15-876f-5b531e276cd5&ref_=pd_luc_rh_rp_330_01_04_t_img_lh This is what the sensor looks like. I will just drop the sensor with wiring into the top of the bags 1" NPT port. Screw the previously mentioned 1" to 1/2" NPT adapter onto the cable gland that comes with the sensor. Tighten the cable gland on the wire where there is plenty of wire inside the bag for the sensor to stay laying on the bottom of the bag even when full. That is about it for the bag and sensor. These sensors are typical 4-20mA current loop sensors. So I needed a way to measure these sensor outputs. I decided on 1 Arduino controller with 2 current to voltage converters(1 for each rear bag). The voltage output from the converters will be input into the Arduino on two Analog inputs. These signals then can be sent through the analog to digital converter in the Arduino for use. The following picture is from testing of the pressure transducer and the current to voltage converter. I just dropped the sensor into about 6 inches of water in a thermos bottle using this setup and measurements were super sensitive. While I was trying to get the above portions tested out and verify proof of concept, I was trying to decide how I wanted to display this ballast information. My first thought was to go easy and just use a cheap little character LCD. The following was some testing I did that used an adjustable voltage to change the numbers on the LCD. I wasn't super excited about this look compared to everything else in the boat. After some more time passed, I decided to mess around with a true LCD just because it could look MUCH MUCH better. So I purchased a touchscreen LCD to tinker with. This project probably will never require touchscreen functions, but I went ahead and got one because I could envision in the future creating a bow bag controller using this same screen with some tweaks to show rear and and front bag levels and to also fill/drain the front bag using the touchscreen. That is a project for way down the road. For now, I created a basic UI layout that just displays the rear bag levels in 25% increments. I can tweak this after I get it all setup and decide what works best. I am no Adobe Photoshop guru so I kept the screen designs basic. For initial setup, I will probably create a screen that shows raw voltages of my bag sensors. I can use that screen to determine exact voltage levels for empty/full/etc.. I can then setup some ranges in the Arduino code to show the correct percentages on the screen based on the inputs. I am planning on making a box to hold this LCD screen and place it in the little cubby hole to the right of the captains chair in a Malibu. I might come up with something better in the future, but this puts it out of the way. As for the electronics, I purchased a box to mount everything in. I drew most of it up in CAD to test the layout/fitment. I now have most everything on the box mounting plate. I just need to machine holes for the 3 wires to pass through the box. There will be one 2 wire cable that goes to 12V and ground. There will be a 4 wire cable that exits the box and heads to the rear of the boat for rear bag sensor hookups. There will also be a 12 wire cable that exists to the remote mounted LCD. I have to finish up the electronics box and the LCD housing box and it will be ready for initial testing in the boat. I hope to have it all ready to go in the boat when the season starts up around here in late March/early April. I am also using a lot of Deutsch connectors with boots, heat shrinks, etc. so I still got a little more to do to get all that wrapped up as well. I will update this when I get the box all finished up and the LCD housing built. I have had a couple requests to get this posted over here so here it is so far. There are several ways to do this much cheaper than the way I have chosen to do it. The wiring and pressure sensors are definitely on the high end of the spectrum. Feel free to ask any specifics about what I have done so far. I hope to be on the water testing it in about a month...bring on spring! UPDATE I got my LCD box back from the 3d printer at the first of the week. A few tolerances were a little tight for the LCD to fit so I had to do some slight machining on a mill today. I kinda expected that as I just had it printed out of ABS using a cheaper printing option so tolerance is not quite as close as for say a SLA 3d print is. The little brass 4-40 press in threaded inserts worked perfectly. I did also make a mistake on two of my LCD hold down holes. I ended up having to remove 2 of the 4. I should still be able to make it work, I will just have to drill 2 holes and make a different tab for one side of the LCD hold down. If you look at the back image of the LCD, you will notice only 2 brass threaded inserts...I had planned on 4 for hold downs. I plan to try to swing by the boat in storage this weekend and double check it will go in the little covey I want to put it in. It will be close. If it fits, I will cut a wire hole in the box and start trying to wire up the LCD. The white paper you see over the LCD is a piece of clear acrylic cut that will be the 'lense' for the LCD for protection. I will glue that in so it is water tight, then put the LCD behind that. Progress still being made and hope to have it ready to all go in the boat when it comes home for the spring.
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