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Topic: Open Source Portable Measurement Tool (Read 898 times) previous topic - next topic

Open Source Portable Measurement Tool

I've had an idea, but I'm not sure what others will think. I work as an industrial engineer and am constantly poking around panels, testing voltages and field devices, working away from a desk.

Sometimes it would be helpful to have a processor that can execute code, manipulate IO, read values from pins, and be programmed on the fly.

Say you wanted to generate 4-20mA signal, 0-10V, or sweep through the range, measure the EMI in a panel, or know the temperature. Some more sophisticated applications could be stimulation of a proportional valve with a step input and sampling the response from the feedback signal. Or sticking this thing on a field device and leaving it there, monitoring and recording the current/voltage to be reviewed at a later time.

Most of the time my Fluke will work for basic applications, but the other 10% time I really want something that I can manipulate a little better.

I'm imagining two PCB's held together with pin headers, much like two Arduino shields, forming something that resembles a handheld, a screen on top (16x2), some buttons, maybe a pot for selection, terminals, headers. On the lower PCB a battery and spot to plug in a USB mass storage device.

On the top there would be a USB plug that hubs (GL850G) out to four more lines. One connecting into the programming lines of a USB compliant uC, the other to a USB mass storage device, one to a FTDI serial converter, one spare (Or something else!).

The idea behind the USB drive is that you can keep your IDE on it, and your .cpp ... Once you plug in this device you will see the MSD and you're uC, spark the IDE and you're good to go.

It doesn't really have a "Purpose", some of the IO would be broken out at the pins, some would go through SCAs, buffers, level shifters, sensors, DAC, ADCs, whatever... you could even stick a mini breadboard on the bottom? Different firmware would serve different applications, and could be switched on the fly.

I just thought of this today, and I've done not much more then read a few documents and sketch a few drawings. Let me know what you guys think? good idea / bad idea / medium idea ... I'm very open to suggestions? Would you use it?

I'll post progress when I continue with the design.


Re: Open Source Portable Measurement Tool

Reply #1
how about mcu with small basic interpreter where you can quickly code whatever you want to output? some read_adc functions, some digital_write functions ... if you google for it I'm sure you can find already some basic interpreter already available, adapt it to your need, implement few additional functions you know you will need and open hardware it