Using PC as microcontroller

Discussion in 'Embedded Systems and Microcontrollers' started by ssembo, Jan 20, 2011.

  1. ssembo

    Thread Starter Member

    Dec 13, 2010
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    Hello, am designing a project where i will have switch between two generators say 5kW and 10kW to get either 5, 10 or 15kW depending on the load. will consider line current drawn.

    I would like to use microcontrollers to do the work and i want to use a PC (computer) to act as my microcontroller but i do not know how to do this.

    I am not familiar with microcontrollers but am willing to learn starting with the above and will learn the coding with your help.

    Thanks

    Colin
     
  2. spinnaker

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 29, 2009
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    What don't you use a microcontroller as a microcontroller? A PC will cost 2 or 3 hundred dollars US. A microcontroller can cost around one U.S. dollar.
     
  3. nsaspook

    AAC Fanatic!

    Aug 27, 2009
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    Not really a uC topic but try LabVIEW for PC controller options. http://www.ni.com/gettingstarted/labviewbasics/
     
  4. kubeek

    AAC Fanatic!

    Sep 20, 2005
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    Are you sure you need to switch between them? If they are both running at the time of the power change, you don´t really need to switch them, i.e. if they are capable of running in parallel you should leave them like that. I don´t see any benefit in switchnig them.
     
  5. t06afre

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    May 11, 2009
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  6. ssembo

    Thread Starter Member

    Dec 13, 2010
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    Tell me the specifications so that i may order it
     
  7. spinnaker

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 29, 2009
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    Sadly the new demo version does not allow you to save files. I wish it would limit you on just some of the more advanced features. Maybe limit it by pin count like some other software does.


    I'd like to be able to just put together some simple PIC projects but not being able to save is a real handicap. And the price to get the non crippled version is even a bigger handicap. :)
     
  8. ssembo

    Thread Starter Member

    Dec 13, 2010
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    How are distributed power generations connected to national grid? i think it depends on the purpose.

    The rest please help me out.
     
  9. spinnaker

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 29, 2009
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    It depends on where you live. In the US there are many places to buy including Mouser and Digikey.

    To get specs, you can go to the manufactures website. PIC is one. The website is www.microchip.com. They have a parametric search to help you determine the model of chip that you will need.

    For a beginner, I would suggest the b bit 18F family. You can easily program them in C.
     
  10. thatoneguy

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 19, 2009
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    Contact the manufacturer of the generators, they may already have a load balancing/switching solution. The generators will also need to be phase synchronized.

    With the power levels you are working at, safety is important, and there are a ton of items that a DIY project will often overlook.
     
  11. retched

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 5, 2009
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    Thats right. 1 little phase mis-match and POP goes your expensive generators.

    A little pop may only jab a breaker. But a BIG POP could lead to fused windings, smoked controller, and even fuel tank rupture. (Not pretty...well.... kind of ;) )

    Depending on how you connect to your "national grid" a little slip can dump thousands of Amperes into an improperly setup "Customer Generation Station"

    You also must have phase watchers, and cannot be out of the 50 or 60hz by more than 3hz for more than 2 cycles. Doing so can cause damage to your equiptment, the power companies equiptment, and regular customers appliances/computers/etc.

    This leads to HUGE fines on your part. SO, be sure not to play around. Do it right.

    If you are considering becoming a secondary generation station, call or contact your local power company. They will send people out to tell you exactly what to do, and even help you get some of the equipment you need. Often the power company can get you the equipment for far less money than you could yourself.
     
  12. Kermit2

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    Feb 5, 2010
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  13. retched

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 5, 2009
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    Wow, that brings back memories.

    I used to work on an old gen-backup that an old Kohler.

    It had a 450+ CI INTERNATIONAL engine and .. Super loud. and super powerful.

    It had to run a vet hospital life and environmental support, computer...

    The whole building. So, there was no sun-panel for what would be powered from the generator.

    There were by-pass relays(contactors) that "forced" the HVAC blowers to a slow speed. Kind of a "limp-home" mode for a hospital.


    The quarantine areas had (obviously) separate HVAC units, so they were much easier to handle load-wize simple mini-splits.


    OT: I highly found the Kohler stuff to be well priced and well spec'd.

    If I had to do it again, I would go with Kohler.
     
  14. ssembo

    Thread Starter Member

    Dec 13, 2010
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    Guys, i want to design this as my final year project. What are your views about it. Do i have all the points to make it viable?

    Just want to do something that will switch two generator sets. Am not dealing with the grid...just pointed that out trying to explain the need of switching instead of just providing a full range.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2011
  15. soda

    Active Member

    Dec 7, 2008
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    Hi

    Use this link http://www.rev-ed.co.uk/picaxe/ It will give you all the info about micro controllers, how to use it and set it up. Send them an e-mail to get even more info about what you wanted to do.
     
    ssembo likes this.
  16. atferrari

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 6, 2004
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    Also looking for peak shaving could help.
     
  17. ssembo

    Thread Starter Member

    Dec 13, 2010
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    How is the peak demand determined in such senerios? And how is connected to the supply?
     
  18. ssembo

    Thread Starter Member

    Dec 13, 2010
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    How can i interface a sensing circuit, in this case a CT (outputing a rectified 2-10Vdc) to a microcontroller (planning to use PC).

    Your response is highly appreciated

    Thanks
     
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