Friday, July 31, 2015

Scanner Control Box Mounted

I had been trying for a long time now to decide on a good place to mount my Scanner control box from Brenon. I thought for a while I was going to have to lengthen the wires in order to get it to go anywhere that would be good places to secure the Scanner box but with a little playing around with the wires under the hood and taking up as much of the slack on the wire looms as possible I was able to get a little more wire inside under the dash area to play around with more.

As you can see I have mounted the Scanner control box to the underside of the cover plate I am still working on. Once I get the dash completely settled as to where it will sit properly and I have drilled in holes to screw the side wings onto the stock OEM dash then I can work on completing the underside cover plate more which is going to involve a little work with making a temporary cardboard form so I can fabricate the fibreglass to fit. But anyways, that's a whole different ball game, for now I'm happy that we have our Scanner control box location all sorted out.

Monday, July 27, 2015

2 Low Input to 2 Higher Output Relay Board

I did up a quick diagram of the little PCB board I made with some great help from Andrea lannaccone from Face Book. There are smaller ways to do this but this is pretty small too, you can do this type of switching with a Transistor too. For what I am doing with my Top Countdown Indicator lights to activate the switch lights on my Lower Console I only need one side of the board but there was room on the board to have the same ability twice so at least I have an extra setup for should I need to do something similar again. :) 

PCB Board Installed

I installed the small PCB board later today just overtop of the other Relays board I had made a few weeks ago. I have the power wire (blue) going from the fuse panel I installed under the passenger side Hush panel into the magnetic coil and switch terminal of one of the mini Songo 12V 10 Amp Relays, this will supply power to energize the coil and provide power to one side of the Relay switch. The other blue wire you can see coming out of the top of the Relay is the 2nd power wire on the other Relay switch terminal, this wire goes into my Lower Console to supply power to the switch lights. The Relays switch will connect the two completing the circuit. The two input wires Red and Black that connect to the Optocoupler I have going into a couple of spare sockets I had available on my Molex connector for my LCD and GPS screens. Those will provide the low input signal to activate the Optocoupler once the Countdown indicator reaches it's last light, this will in turn activate the Relay making the connection as described before. Tomorrow will be the big day I test this out so if all goes well I'll be doing a video to demonstrate the final effect.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Two Relay Board Activated By Low Signal Optocouplers

There we go, I have a small PCB board set up with two 12V Mini 10 Amp Songo Relays that are each activated separately by two Optocouplers. I only need one side of this board for right now to complete the wiring scenario I mentioned in my last post for turning on the Lower Console switch lights as part of the Knight Rider dash start up sequence.
The Red and Black wires you see coming in from the left side end of the board will ultimately be spliced into the wires that connect from the Voice Box to the last set of lights in the Top Countdown indicators, this way when the Knight Rider V.B. activates those lights a signal will be sent to the Optocoupler, activating my Relay and closing the power connection to the Lower Console switch lights. I did a little tweaking to my diagram so here it is again just so you can see my minor tweaks ;)

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Lower Console Switch Lights As Part Of Dash Start Up Sequence

OK, here is a solution to something that has been kind of on my mind for a little while now....
So the Lower Console's button and switch lights are on all the time currently even if the ignition is off.... not good I know, bad, bad, bad... as these are not LED lights in this buttons and switches and given enough time would drain the battery for sure. So last night I had a thought pop into my head as I learn more and more about what many of the electronics components are capable of... my idea was this:

"Why not run a small 22 AWG wire from the last top countdown indicator on the top of the dash and run that to the base of a Transistor to activate a Relay that would turn on my Lower Console Switch and buttons lights?

That way when the dash did it's startup sequence, upon the lighting of the very last indicator a signal could be sent to activate my Lower Console lights."

Very simple I thought, so I got into a great conversation with Andrea lannaccone on Face Book this morning and we hashed out this wiring scheme. NOT using a Transistor as I had originally imagined but instead using an Optocoupler. Hey whatever works and is simple I always say ;)

You can see in the middle section of our diagram how we have introduced the wiring of the last countdown indicator LED to the Optocoupler which in turn triggers the SPST Relay which sends power to the Lower Console's switch lights making it an interactive part of the Dash start up sequence.... should be pretty cool when wired up and tested out ;)

Friday, July 24, 2015

Adafruit Mini Sound FX Board Wiring Diagram

I have worked out a wiring scheme (above) for the mini Adafruit 2MB Sound FX Board for supplying power to the board, wiring up the momentary buttons that activate the sound FX on the board and the audio out jack.

The power supply is simple, I'm basically using the same 12V to 5V step-down converter (right) or transformer model that I used for my GPS screen, I solder the 5V output wires onto the Adafruit board. I may introduce an on/off switch into the wiring scheme to have further control over if the board is powered or not. If I do I'll probably do that on the 12V input side of the step-down converter module. A simple switch to Relay should work well for that.
The momentary buttons to activate the various sound FX on the Adafruit board I will hook up to both my Lower Console's Space Matt buttons and my Switch Pod buttons. So far on the sound FX board I have:
  1. Knight Rider Theme (Narrated)
  2. Knight Rider Theme (Un-Narrated)
  3. File Open Sound FX
  4. File Close Sound FX
  5. Scanner Sound (Loop)
  6. Radar Sound (Loop)
  7. Turboboost
  8. K.I.T.T. Introduction
  9. Surveillance Mode FX
I have a little room to add more if I like but I think for anything more complex I will get the 16MB version of the same board in order to use more sound if I find I need more. But for now these should do for simple things.
The Knight Rider themes I have set on the board to play in next order so when you press the button the first theme plays and at the end of the theme when you press the button again the other version of the them plays.
The File Open sound FX I have sent to just play when the button is pressed, my thought is that I will have those sounds play when I turn on the LCD Screen or GPS Screen.
File Close sound FX will play when I turn off either monitor.
Scanner sound FX loop I have set as a "Latching" function on the Adafruit board, the sound plays until the button is pressed again, so looping sounds are best for the boards "Latching" function.
Same set up for the Radar and Surveillance sound FX loops. 
Turboboost FX is set as just a single play on button press same as K.I.T.T.s introduction. I could very easily add other introductions and have those play in a random order as the Adafruit sound FX board has a very nice feature for playing random sound files too, but for now I'm just using the classic K.I.T.T. introduction ;)

Here is a little additional work done on the diagram to include a power on off switch and to use the option of either a Relay or Optocoupler as switch option for the momentary button to activate the board sounds.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Adafruit Mini 2MB Sound FX Board Test

So I finally got around to testing out the Adafruit 2MB Flash Sound FX board I had picked up quite some time ago, I had been meaning to get around to it but was constantly getting side tracked with so many other projects. Today I hooked up the USB cord and plugged in the mini board and copied over the WAV and OGG files with the correct naming convention as per the instructions on the Adafruit web site. The board works like a charm and is very simple to use just like they say. This will be perfect for some sound FX that I know will get used a lot and I think should be built right into my K.I.T.T. project. I have a demo video here, I do apologize for the focus though but it's gets the point across as to what is going on and how easy it will be to hook up these contacts that activate the sounds on the board very easily to some of my Switch Pod and Space Matt buttons.

Monday, July 20, 2015

OEM Dash Center Air Vent Modifications

I had been sort of wondering for some time what to do about redirecting the airflow from the vent located in the middle of the stock OEM dash. I figured since I had that cover plate I had made out of Lexan plastic to help separate and protect the backs of the Knight Rider dash circuit boards from coming into contact with a bunch of loose flying wires I would see about somehow giving it another job as well, like attaching some sort of vent to allow the air to from through that vent opening in the OEM dash and more out from under the dash.

So what I came up with was to first make a rectangular box made from some high density foam rubber I picked up from a Craft store (Micheal's). I used black Gorilla Tape to hold the shape of the foam box together and then inserted it into the OEM dash vent opening. (above left). It's a snug fit and friction alone seems to keep it securely in place although I could glue it in with some contact cement if I find I need too. This box brings the vent opening up close to the back over my Lexan plastic cover plate.

I then cut out a square shaped hole in the Lexan plastic cover plate over the area of where the air vent matches up with the plate. I was looking for some sort of pre-made vent covering that I could use on the front part of my cover plate to redirect the air flow downwards but was not having a lot of luck, I did manage to find a small plastic tray from Dollarama for a buck that I could cut off one side that would pretty much do the trick (above right). I secured that to the front of my cover plate with 3 small bolts and some washers (left).

I'm not yet ready to secure the cover plate into place yet as I am still doing a fair bit of electrical wiring work in that area of the dash but when I am finished the cover plate will be secured into place and should serve the double purpose of protecting my wires from coming into contact with the back of my Knight Rider dash circuit boards and provide a nice opening to allow the airflow from the middle vent to flow downwards out under the dash.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Parking and Headlights Lower Console Auxiliary Switch Wiring

I have been collaborating with Lambros Vassiliou on Face Book on a wiring diagram for hooking up an auxiliary switch to activate the Parking and Headlights using one of the lower console's SPDT lighted white rocker switches. According to Lambros this diagram should work for wiring up the Headlights switch using this method on the 1982 Trans Am. I'm not sure about later models, I think it may depend on how the switch is wired so you will need to do some checking on that. Now I have not tested this wiring scheme yet. The Diodes that will be used are the 1N4007 Rectifier type (top right)
the Relays can be SPST or SPDT rated at 20 to 30 Amps, I have a couple of SPST 40 Amp relays so I'll be using those (right).

I think I have everything I need to give this a shot, I need to pick up some more solder and I'm not sure if I want to mount my Diodes onto a small piece of PCB board or just do them as "in-line" Diodes. But it looks like I should be pretty close to doing a video to show how this works. From what I can see of the wiring diagram it looks like it would be easy to even use one of the Upper Console DPDT lighted rockers for the Parking and Headlights too. ;)

Just to clarify, this is what the plug on my Parking/Headlights combo switch looks like. As you can see it has an Orange, Yellow, Brown, White and what looks to be a fat 14 AWG Red wire on it. Now in the diagram above there is nothing happening with the White wire so I'm still trying to get a straight answer on what if anything happens with that wire??


OK after some Multimeter testing on the stock OEM switch I had kicking around from the parts car it would appear that in the "OFF" position that there is a continuity between the White and Orange wire. Based on those findings I am going to try this diagram suggested by Mark Rolfe out as it seems to make the most sense with the white wire included into the scenario.
Since the white wire obviously has an internal connection on the stock switch in "OFF" position, the first SPDT Relay makes sense as in off position the white wire would be connected to the Red wire (You could use either Orange or Red as both are 12V). I'll be able to test this out when I have a SPDT Relay, right now I just have 2 SPST Relays and I need the one with the extra 87A pin for the White wire.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Headlights Switch Relocation

 I relocated my Headlights and Parking Lights switch onto that piece of Dash Trim that fit along the lower part of the stock OEM dash just below where the Gauge Cluster used to be. I had to do some cotton and modifying of the plastic part to make it fit into the space with my wire looms but got it to eventually fit in there nicely again. The next step was to make an aluminum bezel to fit over the Headlights switch. I cut out a piece of aluminum and cut out a hole the same size and shape of the hole that was in the stock OEM bezel that held both the Headlights and Dash illumination dimmer switches. I sanded it down (top left) and then marked where I would need to bend it (top right). If you have a "Metal Break" bending the aluminum is easy if not you can do what I did and use a Vice and a hammer.

I then cut out a hole in the plastic dash trim (left) big enough for the Headlights Switch and then fit the switch into place (right). I put the plug back on the end and test fit the whole thing back into the dash. I had to use my Dremel to do a little cutting in the stock OEM dash to make the plug fit into the space better because it's a big fat beast of a plug but with a little cutting work it can be made to fit nicely to the hole. I fed the wires from the plug in through the hole and down in through the underside of the dash, that way I can solder them the the other wires I have going into the wires that came out of the area of the stock OEM dash that the original plug was attached too. Basically all I am doing is extending the wires and relocating the switch to somewhere more convenient.

After bending the aluminum bezel into the right shape I fit it into place over the Headlights switch (left) and drilled in four holes to screw it onto the dash trim with. Next I sanded down the aluminum bezel one last time before giving it a good cleaning before painting it (right).

Once the paint was dry after baking in the hot sun for a few hours (left) I then attached the bezel to the plastic trim with four small black screws (right). With that job finally done the last thing to do was to attach the whole assembly onto the stock OEM dash and give the Headlights a test, something I was pretty sure I had never done since the car arrived almost two years ago. WOW! two years ago!! It's sometimes so surreal thinking about that, the time has gone by so fast and so much has been done on my K.I.T.T. Project.

Here is the final assembly in place, it's not screwed in yet as I have a lot more mucking about to do with wiring and such but it's in place and has been tested out, check out the two videos in my previous postings to see how that turned out. ;)

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

DTMF Tone Request Experimentations

In making sure that I well isolate the Voice Box's DTMF tone request from any momentary buttons I have I figured I would rig up a mini Songo 12V Relay very close to the Voce Box. Now what happens here is that when a DTMF Tone request is called by any momentary button I have hooked up to a wire that I am calling "DTMF Tone Request" THAT wire goes to the magnetic coil of this mini Songo 12V Relay's Ground (-), the other side of the magnetic coil goes to 12V (+). So this then trips the Relay's internal isolated switch which I then have connected to both the Voice Box's Ground (-) and also the DTMF Tone Request port. You will have to excuse my somewhat over sized piece of PCB board it was all I had kicking around that I could use to mount this small relay onto and connect wires too. I'll most likely change it later when I get some smaller pieces of PCB Proto-Board. The wires from the Switch Pods that request the DTMF tone I just have going directly into the Voice Box's DTMF Tone request port.

Now the other part of today's fun was to wire up my Relays board for some experimentation just to make sure that I am understanding correctly just what is going on with this thing and how it interacts with my buttons. All of this stuff gets pretty complicated if you are new to electronics like me. ;) My latest video that I posted to my blog explains best and visually how I have it all hooked up. But basically the Ground pulse buttons from my Space Matt buttons go into the ports on the board that connect to the Diodes, they connect to the DTMF Tone Request wire and also to the individual relays on the board. Each relays gets it's own ground pulse from each of the Space Matt buttons activating the Relays internal switch which I can hook up to any device I want to activate, in my case 5 of the Space Matt buttons are simply activating buttons that control the setting for my LCD screen. Although I have not yet hooked it up, a 6th button will cycle the Message Centre while producing a DTMF tone with each press of the button. The rest of the Space Matt buttons I don't have plans for just yet.

My Voice Projection unit activation button is wired up the same way as the Dash Power Button and makes a connection to ground to activate the Step Relay, this one was a little more tricky. You can see in the image above (middle left) that branching off from the wire that comes from the Normally Open terminal of the V.P. power button that I have placed a Diode in-line connecting to the DTMF Tone Request block.... which I moved onto the back of my Relays Board. Without the Diode in place the Space Matt buttons would activate the Step Relay for the Voice Projection unit as well, not good, so the Diode sure takes care of that as it only allows current to travel in one direction... taking me a while to get the hang of that but it works and it's cool... gotta love electronics ;)

So now with all of this in place I'll have to test it out on the Voice Box once the replacement I.C. Chip 01 comes in the mail. If everything works out well, and so far I can't see what not as a Relay does what a Relay does ;) But as I say if all goes well I can look into experimenting with the Optocouplers when they arrive and see if I can make a set up like this that takes up a lot less space. This would be fine if I only wanted to use a small amount of my Space Matt buttons but I can see eventually wanting to use more down the road as I trick out K.I.T.T. with more cool gadgets ;)   

Sunday, July 5, 2015

My Relays Board W.I.P.

Here is another way I might do basically the same thing but instead using my Diodes on a separate PCB Board and the Relays mounted to another board. I have not yet decided yet. So far the only thing I am pretty set on is having one wire going to the Voice Box to request the DTMF tone. The single wire will connect a ground pulse to activate a single small relay mounted close to the Voice Box, the switch side of that Relay will make connection on the Voice Box by connecting the DTMF Tone Request to the Ground on the Voice Box. That way the wires requesting the actual tone will be kept to a minimum and be as short as possible to help prevent any signal interference which I understand can sometimes happen if the DTMF tone request wires are too long. This will also well isolate the DTMF tone request from the actual switches needing to request that tone.