The Title!

So I have been debating on the exact title of my roadtest design and so far I have really come up with ugly names to say the least. The functionality is really general purpose and I intend to stuff as much into this design as I can.┬áRight now I think I will name my design “Smart Container For Perishable Material Transport with Data logging”

WOW that seems more like a description than a title. How about SCPMT? The name is not that important, what is important is that it be useful and usable. HELP!

I am starting the design document and freezing the final specs(along with a few last minute surprise features that TI might find interesting). I have a PhD to work on simultaneously so I hope the two works don’t collide. I’m also contemplating getting a permanent video recording setup so I can do video logs instead of written ones. I do not think I can do justice to what I am doing by using simple diagrams and paragraphs.

On a side not, I asked if we could use the allotted budget as per requirement basis. This would allow us to build modules at a time. Somehow we can only buy stuff in one go so that’s a bummer. I was hoping to save element14 some money but too bad.
I have to dig up everything I already have and try to put humpty dumpty together.

I will be posting blogs with the title IP:NUMBER so that they are easy to track.


My Design Idea got selected for a contest! YAY!!

Well I got selected for the road test and design contest so yay! I am not sure as to when we begin since I have not received any notification of the kits having been dispatched. Once that happens, I will start counting the days when I actually receive the materials and I can do some measurements for the final design enclosure.

So what is my Idea?
For transporting perishable materials, there is a need to monitor the good. I initially had an idea as to how I can use wireless power in an application where the device or in my case, a smart container has the electronics integrated into the product and we can charge up the battery wirelessly. The concept still is more or less the same, but I am beginning to add other components to the mix. I am now looking into using the Raspberry pi as a wireless base station that will talk to the container and convey various parameters such as temperature, orientation and sudden acceleration and de-acceleration for the box. The applications are vast and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

The challenge will be doing programming for the MSP430, python for Pi and what not all the while designing the SYSTEM not the modules.
Right now I am waiting for the kits to arrive. The cadsoft eagle will be useful but I would have liked it if they had gone with a free forever license rather than the 12 month one.
I need a drawing board…

Phases Of Design:

a. The Design:
I am almost clear as to what I want. The following parts are going to be essential

i. The Container using MSP430. I am going to use MOSTLY Ti parts this time around even though I am comfortable using arduino instead. This is suppose to be a challenge and I would love to push my limits as well. I have never used code composer studio but I will be starting with that. I will be using the fuel booster pack from TI.

P1: The controller is expected to collect data from 2 temperature sensors, an accelerometer, limit switch for container hatch and some signal strength data from an Xbee module.

P2: It will also monitor the status of the battery and will do sleep and wakeups.

P3: It will send this data over XBee to the base station for logging.

P4: It will detect and manage the wireless charging functions. (More on this once I get the kits)

S1: It will sync its RTC with the base station at regular intervals. No external RTC will be attached but the system will try to maintain time in software thereby reducing system costs.

S2: I might replace the Xbee with CC2500 modules that I already have.

ii. The Base Station: The base station will be responsible for collecting data from the containers. In our case, a single container. If I have enough time I might jump into an arduino base station as:

P1: Arduino interface with xbee to talk to the container.

P2: Log data to memory card.

P3: Send data over GPRS for display

S1: Integrate GPS to give global position

If I dont have enough time, I can:

P1: Use python code on a PC to communicate over Xbee and log data.

P2: Use the python script to send data over Ethernet instead of GPRS.

P3: Use Python to get approximate position as well.

iii. The enclosure: Make the whole thing presentable. This is actually tougher than it sounds and needs to be done right. I would have liked to use a 3d printer but since there is not one in a 100mile radius, I will have to do stuff by hand.

Thats a lot of planning but the actual implementation is going to take more energy and time.

Please vote and support and all suggestions are welcome.