Home Brew Data Logger

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My first project for 2017 is to build a data logger for use on track days, over the last couple of years I’ve used a Garmin ViRB Elite camera that provides data via GPS and a built in accelerometer. Although it does provide some basic timing/speed data for comparison it doesn’t provide any monitoring of engine parameters. There are a number of off the shelf solutions available but none of them really fit either my budget or requirements. I’ve got a background in electrical and software engineering so building something isn’t really a daunting prospect plus it means I get something that’s tailored to my needs.

I’d like to log the following data:

  • CAN data from Link ECU (includes oil temperature, oil pressure, water temperature, inlet air temperature, boost pressure, engine speed, air fuel ratio and ignition angle)
  • CAN data from Mini Bus (mainly for brake pressure)
  • GPS position data
  • Acceleration and yaw data

To a removable SD card.

After investigating a number of options I decided to go for an Arduino based solution, there are number of different boards available and I chose the Due because it provides a number of features not offered on the other boards. I particularly wanted something not constrained by limited RAM on board so I could log RAW data and perhaps do some interpolation if required. There is a also a twin CAN bus shield for the Due (I did have to order it from the US but it still works out cheaper than two CAN shields from UK suppliers and also deals with the requirement for the Due to run from a 3.3V power supply). There is also the added bonus of Arduino shields being available that provide the GPS and accelerometer data. All I need to do is connect the shields up and write some code to glue it all together.

Hopefully over the next few months I’ll be documenting the process of connecting the various shields up and getting the logger running.