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E61 GSA Surf System Controller Development Thread


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Most of what's in these posts are out of date, but provide an interesting look into the process of prototyping an AVR based control system.  The final commercial product will ultimately look and function differently than the prototypes.  Thus, please don't rely on anything here when it comes to a buying decision.  

 

This all started as a frustrated surfer/boat owner's DIY project and grew from there when I met Ryan, who happened to need a control system for GoSurfAssist.  Thanks to everyone for their input and support. 

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I did all this because my wife hates driving a listed boat and I had to teach myself to ride goofy because that's how she rides ;-) Now we can all be happy with a simple push of a button.

Nah, just start sending them out. You can always just slap a "gen 2" sticker on it if you decide to change something down the road in 6 weeks

Most of what's in these posts are out of date, but provide an interesting look into the process of prototyping an AVR based control system.  The final commercial product will ultimately look and funct

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You may want to look up martinarcher on the malibu crew website. He has developed this already along with GPS chipset. Designed to work with gates and lenco actuators. Open at certain speed as well as retract. Also the ability to switch sides.

Thanks, I reached out to him for more info.

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I connected with Martinarcher and learned a lot about his controller.  It's really amazing the amount of work he put into it.  He went all out.  I don't envision doing something with a display and all of the other features he offers.  It definitely looks like a great option for anyone looking for the absolute best aftermarket option.  

 

I talked to a lot of folks that use the more complex systems on MasterCraft, Nautique, etc.. and the feedback was that they wish they had something that didn't require reading instructions, doesn't need a display, and "just worked".  Also looking at what's available from Lenco at the other end of the spectrum, I am aiming for the gap between what is extremely rudimentary from them and the higher-end from Martinarcher.  

 

The videos below show the basic premise of the design: one-click for surf left, right, or reset.  I've added a simple dial to fine-tune the wake, but it could easily stay at the 100% mark for most people.  The GPS retracts the tabs above 14 mph.  There is a lot more to the logic, but that's the gist of it.

 

First Test of Basic Actuator Automation

http://youtu.be/LGx-5dXtQ9E

 

Update to Include Manual Fine Tune

http://youtu.be/2vHSKjjkecA

 

Please don't hesitate to post suggestions, wishes, likes, dislikes, etc... Now is the time to chime in and influence the design, or convince me I'm waisting my time ;-)

 

Also, anyone interested in a simple (no GPS, basic up and down) alternative to the Lenco box and switches? Software for that is done.  I just need to finalize physical design if there is interest.

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That simple design you have in mind is similar to what I have in my Axis A24. Switch stays in the middle when not active, then it's either surf left or surf right or quick switch based on the driver switching the switch from one side to the other. Really simple as you describe. That's the best thing I like about it. What your working on is a great solution for those that want to add goose flappers to their boat.

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...or if in testing I realize I need it. Currently using other techniques to maintain positional awareness.

You could use Pin 6 or 7 with a pwm reading function.. I think its called PulseIn to determine the actuator position. I was toying with making a really simple pwm reader but when I tested something i HAD to retract the actuator to 0 or  home position for it to work properly.  

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Thanks to Mark (my neighbor, friend, and really good coder) we are almost ready with the software to hook up to the tabs and start testing.  The final remaining task beyond the unknown unknowns on the software side is to complete the GPS input/logic.  

 

Also, I'm ordering more hardware for the first real beta physical build this week - including a few pie in the sky options that may or may not pan out in roughly six weeks, or not ;-)  Stay tuned...

 

http://youtu.be/o_aerXaALhk

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I'm not saying it's the "right" way, but Malibu's system does autoretract and auto deploy.

 

Could you have "surf system on" where it always auto retracts and autodeploys?

 

Thanks, that's on the list of potential scenarios.  I was hoping to avoid that much unnecessary movement to keep the logic a little cleaner and the hardware more affordable for rev1.  Something like:

  • System doesn't do anything when engine isn't running
  • Start engine
  • Push surf-left or right, system drops a tab (or deploys flapper)
  • Surf
  • Rider falls
  • Reduce to idle speed
  • Then ?  Leave it alone for another set or retract?
  • If retract, it would either require hitting the surf button again, or writing more lines of code to remember where we were surfing.  More code = more complexity = potentially less reliable and/or more expensive controller hardware.

Then when done, right now you have to hit the middle (done/reset) button to get it to reset to all up.  In thinking about the auto-retract when switched power is off like the lenco controller, I'm concerned about safety.  It may not be safe to retract a flapper or huge surf tab (vs a small trim tab) automatically in the event someone is near the platform when the driver kills the engine.  For me that is a fairly common occurrence.

 

e.g., Driver pulls up, goes to neutral, I grab the handle by the platform or rope, then driver kills the engine and I climb in.  For me, I would rather risk bumping the tab than it closing on me.   Thoughts?

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Also, keep in mind this controller is more of an alternative to doing it almost entirely manually with a Lenco system vs. something for a similar price that automates the experience a bit better.  Replicating what Malibu, MC, Nautique are doing costs a lot more and has been done already by Martinarcher.  His controller is over $1k.  Hence me trying to find something in the middle.  So, where is the "deal-breaker" line for you guys?  Right now the only auto retract is >14mph.  Could you live with that?  If not, where else would you see auto-retract as more of a must rather than a nice to have?

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