Use of the Genboard to log not only engine parameters, but function as a collection point for all car/ race car data

This WIKI page came from the needs of MembersPage/RedMist and MembersPage/RichardBarrington to integrate all critical race car parameters into one serial stream for logging / out of bounds alerts on a PDA.

It was decided early on in the project that others may benefit from inclusion, and this was best to remain a collaborative effort of the VEMS team.


To produce an easily adaptable and affordable datalogger for logging all mission critical data in a race vehicle. This is to be kept as generic as possible so that any effort may be applied to the collaborative Genboard project and be easily adapted to the needs of the group.


In order for this project to become a collaborative effort success it must cater to as much of the existing group’s needs. As such I think it wise to keep as much of the standard Genboard functionality as possible, leverage off that code and develop an extension to the existing functions. This would also allow for the possibility of an extension to the project team or allow for maintenance or further development to be introduced back into the VEMS fold.

As such I propose that all the standard pinouts for Genboard be retained and additional channels be used where applicable for any additional requirements. Hall sensor input would be limited to a single channel as the other would be required by CAM angle sensor. However for those with datalogging only requirements both must be able to be used for wheel speed disparity, traction control, etc. Recent discussions on IRC suggest that there may be a possibility of adding a FV converter to the board in order to allow this function without taking up hall channels.

In order to keep the extension to the code simplistic and minimal I propose that the Genboard only be used for signal conditioning and processing of data so that it may be presented to an external data processor (PDA). Coding on said device would be easier and more open to feature addition without the necessity to worry about features tying up valuable processor cycles when needed to fire injectors or coils. It would also minimise the prospect of mission critical engine functions failing due to a coding error with the datalogging code.

This should be investigated further. If the numbercrunching (which kindof compresses data) happens offboard GenBoard, we might seriously limit what/how much can be logged to MMC. It would be nice if the user could select where he'd like the evaluation to take place.

Required Inputs

Please note that every input has first been given a requirement statement to ensure that the function is not developed as a toy.

Suspension position. Essential to enable the correct tuning of shock absorbers or metering of how rough a course is.

Steering angle. Necessary to meter slip angles, suspension change effectiveness, and possibly may be used as an input into traction control.

Wheel Speed, necessary to meter top speed, wheel slip, may be used as an input into traction control

Measurement of G-Forces. Required for virtual dyno, measurement of how rough a course is, suspension change effectiveness, cornering effectiveness, tyre performance.

A warning off switch. Specific requirement of the PDA system. With the Bunderson, and I suspect many other vehicles the PDA will be sealed and button function will not be accessible. If the PDA is programmed to supply out of bounds alerts the alerts must be able to be switched off given a toggle switch position. Unfortunately this button cannot be directly accessed by the PDA itself, however insertion of a toggle switch position in the Genboard serial stream would allow the audio warnings to be toggled off.

Tag Switch.

Used to tag the datalog with unusual events. Possibly the start of a race, stuttering, or perhaps environmental issues (bloody big jump).

Measurement of brake pressure or pedal movement. Requirement for metering the driver or the effectiveness of brakes during racing.

Lap timing trigger. Gives the driver the ability to meter his own effectiveness or meter the performance of the car given changes.

Engine Parameters. Allow virtual dyno to work, will give indication of mechanical or electrical failure.


At present the planned output is a simple serial stream. No standard ECU functions will be used, however no existing ECU pins are to be used by the datalogger function.

Coding Changes Necessary

PDA as a datalogging and out of bounds alert device

There is currently no intention to use a PDA as a tuning device, as MembersPage/RedMist believes that a laptop or the currently being developed GBA code should suffice. However there is every intention to use the cheap, solid state memory and interface of the PDA to log every race car critical parameter. In addition display and audio out of bounds alerts will certainly add to functionality. The communication should be the new generalized format as on GenBoard/BinaryProtocol (same for MMC/PDA logging, tuning and between computers on-deck).

A binary protocol with checksum is the best possible utilization of the available serial bandwidth: