It’s been a little while since our last update but it doesn’t mean nothing has been going on, quite the opposite. We’ve been heads down on working on MuVIT and an associated project so I’ll take a few minutes to give you an update.
We’re redesigning a throttle set for MuVIT, it needs to be more robust to handle the boat show crowd, but I’m not sure anything can survive that for any length of time to be honest; LOL. Both dual and single engine configurations are in this development cycle. It takes a lot of time because of the amount of CAD work and running it through a 3D printer. Neither of those is quick. Then you find an error and have to correct it, lather, rinse, repeat… eventually you get a working model and all the parts mesh the way you want them to.
Concurrently we’re coding the drivers, there is plenty of time for that while the 3D printer is churning out the prototypes, those take 6-12 hours. The chipset we selected is the Arduino because of the number of switch inputs and analog inputs for joysticks which is what the throttles really are, from the software perspective. On TV someone would have it working in 10 minutes…it doesn’t work that way in real life. The good news is we have the baseline code working so now it is a matter of integration with the hardware and putting the housing together.
We hope before the Governing Board meeting to have included a few other features such as a key switch to start the engines as well as a blower switch. Our intent is to require the blower to be on before the key will start the engine. Also, a lanyard cutoff so the engine won’t start without it connected and it will shut down the engine if unplugged. None of these are big items but time is as always at a premium as the clock ticks down.
The associated project mentioned earlier is to see if this MuVIT throttle could be made to work with the BSVT laptop software. With a little tweaking, it should. The code is slightly different in how it presents to the software but that should be able to be selected by a switch as to which protocol to use, so not a big deal from the user perspective.
We’ve been testing various vessels and the scenery to make sure they all work as expected and of course testing the OpnCPN interface. One feature we’re quite excited about is the ability of multiple users to operate within the same environment concurrently. This has tremendous teaching potential when the vessels/students can interact in real-time. We look forward to demonstrating that at the Governing Board next month.
If we can fit it in, it would be nice to get another video or two out on Youtube. Maybe one on the use of the integrated Chartplotter to define waypoints and build routes. Definitely one is in the works for interfacing to OpenCPN.
And of course there is all the time spent prepping for the MuVIT seminar to be presented on Friday September 16, make sure to mark your calendars, we look forward to seeing you there.