Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Small Disaster - Big Incentive

In early January I drove the J-bug down to Maastricht for the annual Kever Winter Festijn. Good turnout of Volksrods as usual and a good time was had by all. BUT ... Unfortunately whilst getting ready to leave the throttle cable broke (again). With the help of a few volksrodder friends, a repair was rigged and I was ready to head home with the guys. In total I have replaced the throttle cable three times in just one year so it's about time I did something to make a more robust and permanent solution.

Two years ago I was toying with the idea of an Arduino-based control and monitoring system for the car. It didn't get very far, but one of the ideas which stuck was a Drive-by-Wire throttle control. I planned to do some cosmetic surgery on the J-Bug anyway, so Ive decided to start the build as part of the upgrade. I'm in the process of picking up the necessary parts right now.

Thanks to e-Bay I now have an early Smart Car throttle pedal and connector, and I already had a good selection of different 'duino boards of one sort or another. All I need now is a servo motor and a bit of engineering to design the throttle actuator, but even without those I can start to design the pedal position detection algorithm and the failsafe tests to prevent dangerous situations.