Systems Monitor....... Would You Buy It?

Discussion in '1965 - 1973 Classic Mustangs -General/Talk-' started by jerthemost, Aug 6, 2012.

  1. I have a 68 mustang coupe. A couple of years ago overheated and blew a head. Very expensive matter. As you all know our older cars do not have the montoring systems available on todays cars. I scan my guages constantly but an engine can overheat and blow in 30 seconds. I am an old retired engineer and my hobby is electronics so I have been thinking about building a microprocessor based monitoring and control system for our old cars. Maybe just a basic system to alert you to look at the guages. I could easily add led lights, like green, yellow and red. OK, warning and alarm. I can also add control of multi-stage electric rad fans and even a scrolling LCD readout of oil pressure, engine temp and alternator voltage.

    If I could build and sell something like this for $90 to $200 or so depending on options would anyone be interested? I am for sure going to build one for myself so I thought I might as well try to sell a few.

    And if you have some ideas on what you would like to have included in such a gadget let me hear from you. All comments welcome.
  2. Jert....It might be a nice novelty to add to an older car. I haven't witnessed an older engine overheat so quickly though....not to say it couldn't happen. Usually, with the older systems, you get other indications like steam under the hood. If it were my choice, I'd buy a system with an audible warning. Just like you...we constantly monitor guages and lights....but an audible wouldn't go unnoticed. Yeah...if there were such a system that went for around $100...I'd eventually buy one as an insurance policy.
  3. Um... maybe. But only if it were inexpensive, unobtrusive, and easy to install. The best part about these cars is that they are simple to work on. Everything can be figured out just by looking at it and troubleshooting. I love that my car works without the need or even use of a computer of any sorts. The CD player in the glove box is the most complicated thing in the car. If I were to consider one, I wouldn't want one that had a digital screen on it. And I'd probably try to disable any kind of audible alarm as soon as I got it (unless it were used only in a dangerous condition). I prefer analog style gauges on a classic. But I'm sure there are some out there that would love a taste of moddern comfort in their old stang.
  4. Thanks for the constructive comment. As for seeing steam first ...... when I knew I had a problem was when I saw steam and the damage was done. I will never let my car get hot enough again to cause steam. So far 2 comments don't tell me much but yours helps. So maybe a non-intrusive audible alarm by itself would be eneough. I would never drive my car without full detailed guages it would just be nice not to have to watch them constantly. I think I could monitor oil, engine temp and alternator and include sensors for about $99 or so plus freight.
  5. Thanks for your constructive feedback, it helps. I too only want analog guages as my first stage of monitoring and I don't want anything complicated. Like you I bought an old car for a daily driver because I can work on it. I do not want fuel injection or any car that relies on computers to run.
    The audible would only come on in emergency high or low alarm situation. Or maybe just chirp once on startup to confirm is working. There would also be a silence pushbutton switch. I would think once it alarms you are going to look at guages and shut the car down. Or maybe program it to silence itself after a few seconds. There is no point in it keeping on sounding off. If you are like me you are going to be on the side of the road and shut down in about 3 seconds of seeing a problem if that long. But maybe a pre-alarm might be good, something like temp is rising and gets to a certain point but not critical yet. Maybe a short 3 chirps or something. Anyway thanks guys for your input.
  6. Something no one thinks about is the transmission temperature. And I admit, it would be nice to have a better number on the water temp rather than just a needle that moves between a C line and an H line. I have overheated before too. Gets over 100 deg fahrenheit in the summer here. I put in an electric fan, but I still keep one eye trained on the temp gauge every time I drive now. Been playing around with the idea of getting a more accurate way to gauge that. So, I'd still be interested to see what you come up with.
  7. Hi,
    I, for one, prefer the simplicity of the gauges. If properly installed and of good quality, they will give anyone an indication of the overall condition at any given time. However, I think it would be a cool project to get into.
  8. i also prefer the simplicity of gauges, but you can add, very easily i might say, idiot lights as well above each gauge, just use a different color for each gauge, that would come on telling you that something is wrong and you need to check it out. take the temp gauge for instance, add a sending unit for the light from say a 68 ford custom and you not only get a high temp indicator, but a low temp indicator as well. wire the high temp side to a red LED, and the low temp side to a blue LED, and you can then tell when you can romp on the engine without worrying if you have enough temperature in the motor or not.
  9. Thanks guys for all the helpful comments and suggestions. And the idea of using the Ford Custom lights is a good one but I am thinking more along just 1, 2, or 3 leds. In fact I can actually do it with just one that will change color depeding on condition. Say green when normal, yellow when iffy and red for alarm. And of course a buzzer in case you don't see the light.

    Also if the electric fan control option is used I can program it to run fans for a bit after car is turned off and turn on fans if a/c is turned on. The beautiful part of this is if I am monitoring and input or controlling an output I can do all sorts of things extra just by modifying the program.

    So far your input looks promising so I am going to order some parts and get started. Will keep you posted on results. Will take a while though so keep any product suggestions coming.
  10. Running the fan for a few mins after the car is turned off is a cool idea. Rather than just having it run till the engine cools, or have it switched off with the ignition, further heating the engine. But don't electric fan thermostat controls already have the option to turn on automatically when the AC is on? Mine does. I just didn't hook it up because I don't have AC. It's just a wire that connects to the AC compressor which overides the fan thermostat if the compressor turns on.
  11. Why use extra sensors and run extra wires? Test the sensors that are already in place and set up your system to operate at the voltage or ohms of the sensor in a "near danger" condition. Easy/Peasy! Not to mention, if a temp sensor isn't in direct contact with the main body/flow of coolant, it won't give an accurate picture and most intakes only have one port into the coolant before the thermostat. Oil pressure is a different story.
    Just My $.02,
  12. A very cool idea. It would be great for old, pre-obd cars. Perhaps something on- or -under dash that would be easy to plug in and remove for shows and simple cruises.
  13. Gene, I am looking into the possibility of using the existing sending units. Does anyone know exactly what the signals for oil and temp are? I assume resistance but don't know for sure. It could be voltage. Right now i use an add on mechanical temp guage, much more accurate than the dash guage. Is 7 degs lower than water going back to radiator.

    And no pocketlint most electric fan controllers do not have the capability to run fans after shutdown. In fact I think I have only run across one. That's why I thought about that option. And since i would already be monitoring system voltage i could program it to look at time and temp and shut off if voltage dropped below a certain point to keep from running down the battery. Most controllers also do not have the A/C option as standard. I looked and a good 2 stage controller will cost $150 and up just to control fans. I may be able to everything for about that or less.

    And as far as plug in or remove it could be easily done but I'm thinking more along the line of just being unseen if not using the display version, just led and audible warning. The audible device could be behind the dash out of sight or in glove box, whatever.

    Thanks guys and please keep the ideas coming. If i do this i will send out some beta's for testing and keep you contributors in mind first.
  14. Moved to Talk
  15. I always thought it would be cool if the back-lighting changed color accordingly. (ex. back-light on the temp gauge turn red if temp gets high, red if oil pressure gets low, etc.)