Searching Robust programmable telemetry hardware

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by Spek, Apr 20, 2011.

  1. Spek

    Thread Starter Member

    Feb 6, 2009

    Could someone guide me towards robust hardware for CANbus / GSM / GPRS (= Telemetrics) applications?

    We developed a system that picks data from the CANbus, then sends it to a server via GPRS. Data includes stuff like GPS coordinates and measurements on the machine. Since the data is pretty specific & different from trucks, we didn't chose for an out-of-the-box solution. Therefore, we like to have fully programmable hardware.

    The current system works fine, if it wasn't that the hardware is prone to failure. Especially the modem seems to give up. Not sure what the reasons are, but the environment is pretty harsh: sand, heat, cold, condens, shocks. And maybe even worse: clients tend to make short-circuits on the 24V system when installing a new radio into the cabin, they use quickstarts when the battery was drained, or will be welding on the machine.

    You can't exclude everything, but our IQAN hardware usually survices this. The Telemetrics hardware dies too often. It's not physically damaged, but it gets resetted, or cannot be programmed anymore suddenly. Time for a better solution:
    - Automotive hardware
    - Programmable (Micro)controller with CANbus support
    - GSM / GPRS modem & SIMcard holder
    - Proper protection against temperatures, condense, sand and electrical influences
    - Eventually a display and a few buttons so we can make adjustments (like changing the gateway settings settings).
    - Assembling it shouldn't cost too much work
    - Price... below 1.000 euro if possible ;)

    I saw several nice microcontroller based "do-it-yourself" packages like these:
    But I'm afraid it will cost too much effort to make such solutions "industrial proofed". Plus having an electricien putting hours into assembling each of these things is not desireable either.

    Another thing that came up is sort of a mobile-phone (with CANbus??) solution. Mobile devices can often be programmed with .NET these days, do have GPRS, GSM, a display and everything. These devices might be less resistant. Then again, if you easily detach it (like a car-radio), you will keep it out the cabin normally.

    A disadvantage of such devices is that they are often too general though. Don't want to bother the operator with starting up the "Telemetry App" first. It all has to run automatically. Plus these devices often erase custom programs when they are not charged for X weeks...