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Installing a VO Controller
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I'm thinking of "upgrading" to a VO controller. My install now is a bit chaotic, and I'd like to start fresh, put all the relays in one box, streamline wiring etc. At the time I found the install a bit tricky, but now I understand everything.

So, is it worth it to get that extra level of control? Do I have to get the "premium" version? I already have the relays, inline temp sensor, fuel and temp gauge, etc.

Only my wife and I drive the car, and she's already pretty careful about switching over.

Thanks


Mike
2000 Jetta TDI
2-tank, three 3-way valves, TurboFyner heated filter, Vegtherm, Fattywagon ILHs, 10 plate FPHE, Greasecar trunk tank with HotFox
 
Registered: October 04, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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We sell the VOController, and we only sell the Premium Edition - the Starter Edition (lighted button only, while the Premium has the LCD screen) and they're wonderful, if pricey. I recommend them to anyone who has a rotating pool of drivers (companies with employees who drive the truck or trucks) or someone with a relative or spouse who isn't technologically savvy. So, no worries they won't purge (you can automate the purge, if desired - turn off the key, exit the vehicle, lock the doors and the engine will run until purge is complete. Or, manually purge, up to you.) And you don't have to worry that someone (or even you -Smile) will drive around all day on diesel - the Controller knows you want to drive on WVO as soon as the coolant is up to the (user programmable) target temperature.

Here's the page on my 'site that describes all of this: http://www.plantdrive.com/shop....php?productid=16134

And here's the text on that page:

Click HERE to download manual.
The VOControls controllers offer hands-off driving (except for those on the steering wheel of course) on vegetable oil - great for anyone who's afraid they or their spouse will forget to purge, or the commercial client with multiple drivers - no worrying that they’re forget to purge, or worse, drive around all day on purchased fuel!

Enter the vehicle, wait for the glowplug light to go out, and start the vehicle. No need to flip a switch or push a button: when the coolant's reached whatever temp you've programmed into the computer, the controller will switch to WVO.
Auto purging: Turn off the engine, exit the vehicle, lock the doors, and the engine will continue to run until it's purged. A VW Tdi, with 3 valves (the 3rd valve un-loops the looped return at purge, resulting in quicker purge times) purges in less than 30 seconds.
If the WVO in the tank drops to 17% of capacity then the controller switches to diesel - they'll never suck air while on WVO.
With the optional fuel pressure sender ($169) if the fuel pressure drops below stock, indicating a plugged Vormax or VegMax fuel filter, the controller will default to diesel. No stalling on WVO due to a plugged filter.
It is designed to let you fine tune the control parameters to suit your specific vehicle and conversion system. This tailoring maximizes the amount of VO used while minimizing the time and effort needed to use this environmentally friendly alternative fuel.

Using the controller to intelligently monitor your coolant and VO and adjust accordingly also helps minimize the risk to your engine. After all, it's hard for that radio shack switch to manage a system as complicated as a VO conversion.

Some of the benefits of running the VO Controller include:
Support for electric heaters, controlled by VO temperatures you specify.
Support for injection line heaters, including automatically preheating your lines before switching to VO.
Automatic purge runtime when you leave your vehicle, allowing you to drive all the way into your parking space on VO.
Temperature displays for both coolant and vegetable oil.
Pressure display for 0-100 PSI
Automatic and manual modes
Fahrenheit/PSI or Celsius/kPa modes
Fifteen user adjustable parameters for maximum flexibility
The reliability and peace of mind that comes with design and testing by professionals
Extensive (33+ page) documentation for installation and tuning
Delayed return valve switching. This innovative benefit reduces diesel fuel sent to your VO tank during the switch from diesel to VO.
If automatic purge and shutdown are not enabled, a buzzer reminds you if you forget to purge before shutting down.
SmartStart(TM) - If you shut down on VO for a quick stop the controller remembers this and automatically starts up on VO again.
USB "Mini-b" connector for laptop connections.
Windows-based software suite that allows:
Monitoring of all inputs (temperatures, pressures, voltages, fuel levels, etc.)
Monitoring of all outputs (all valves, heaters, and ignition relay.)
Graphing fuel pressure and fuel and coolant temperatures.
Coming soon: Saving and loading datalogs, on-the-fly firmware upgrades and a gauge display.
Included with the Premium Kit:
Attractive handheld user interface keypad with four line blue/white LCD display and four buttons for interaction.
Shows fuel and heater states (Diesel, VO, Manual, Auto, etc.)
VO fuel level display (calibrated for a standard marine fuel level sender)
Temperature and pressure displays.
Voltage display.
Easy access to the menu system to modify adjustable paramters.
Cat5E shielded cable for connection to the ECU.
USB "Mini-b" connector on the keypad for easy laptop connections.
USB "Mini-b" cable.
Three premium relays and wiring harnesses for various circuits.
Brass fittings and hose clamps for installing fuel and coolant temperature sensors.
Printed and bound manual.
All VO Controllers include various supporting items, including:
Color-coded wiring and connectors
Two temperature sensors and wiring harnesses
Precision screwdriver set
All VO Controllers are packed with 100% recycled peanuts and/or biodegradable corn starch peanuts.

NOTE: Requires the use of 2 or 3 3-port valves (see the Valves section of the store on the left side of this page.) Cannot be used with a single 6-port valve. To see more about the VOControl controller and to dowload the owner's manual/installation guide in PDF format, click HERE
Details
SKU SKU16134

Price: US$550.00


PlantDriver
http://www.PlantDrive.com
craigreece@plantdrive.com

Land Rover Defender/Series hybrid with 300Tdi, PlantDrive system: Vormax, Vegtherm, HotFox, manual brass 6-port valve

Wife's car: 2001 New Beetle, VegMax, Vegtherm, 2 gallon donut tank for start-stop fuel and WVO in stock tank, 3 - 3-port valves, controller.
 
Location: Berkeley, California, USA | Registered: November 28, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I would love one of those things but I think I want to get my Jeep converted first. It takes the place of the fuel gauge, the switch. Not to mention the walk away to flush sounds great but I am sure that is the hardest thing to hook up. And again it is $550.


Robert
In Fort Lauderdale running a 2006 Jeep Liberty CRD 2 veg tanks HOH 2 upgraded greasecar vavles 3/8 fuel line 5/8 heater line HOH Hose wrapped filter. Injector Line heater on the Common Rail. 2nd car 2005 Mercedes CDI, Raw Power fuel pump, 36 gallon veg tank in trunk coolant heated HOH, rubber hose wrapped fuel filter, FPHE, 3 greasecar valves, Common rail line heater.
 
Location: Ft Lauderdale, FL | Registered: June 01, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I made my own VO controller, it's Arduino based (open source platform), and an LCD panel, a few switches. The whole controller and add-on electronics was about $100.

I've put these features into mine:

temp sensor on every injector
temp sensor on FPHE monitors engine coolant temp, and decides when switch over is safe (engine not cold)
temp sensor on pre-IP and post-IP flows
displays temperatures at each point, and average injector temp
thermostatically controls injector line heaters, in 2 stages HOT, and HOTTER
controls aux coolant pump (through the VO heating path)
controls all VO valves, switch over, automatically, or manual override
controls switch back, with purge phasing to empty each valve in sequence along the source path
controls engine run-on (for "park and forget" purge cycle)
chimes when certain events happen, or are ready / about to happen
valet lockout (drives like a dummy on diesel tank only)


Best thing is the USB port to download any new feature I want... only limited by imagination. Make a new feature on laptop, download, test drive... Customize what you want, make it work the way you want. If you're a hobbyist, handy with a soldering iron, and have a software background check the platform out, and google around on arduino projects.
www.arduino.cc


Regards,
Scott
1987 Mercedes 300D - 2 tank VO
 
Location: Edmonton | Registered: April 22, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
temp sensor on every injector


what are you using for a sensor for the injectors?

any photo's

thanks
Omar
www.omarsales.com
 
Location: Kirkland | Registered: January 10, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I use NTC thermistors, cheap, very rugged, surprisingly accurate when calibrated properly. Pretty fast acting too...

They look a lot like this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:NTC_bead.jpg
and are so tiny can be tucked in anywhere, covered with foam and tape. And now you know the temp at that spot. I did not wrack my brains out trying to get the sensors in-flow. Strapped to the side of thin metal walled vessel (fuel line, hard line, filter) transmits the temps just fine!


see an early prototype of my Arduino based VO controller here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/s...show/with/4451917963

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Scott McPhee,


Regards,
Scott
1987 Mercedes 300D - 2 tank VO
 
Location: Edmonton | Registered: April 22, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post



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I found this the other day some of you folks may want to take a look at it

have fun Omar
www.omarsales.com


http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors...&hash=item4cef9d653c




PlantDriven™ PD1i automatic fuel controller for biodiesel/wvo/svo. The automatic controller allows drivers to operate vehicles that use biodiesel, WVO or SVO with comfort and convenience. PD1i has additional feature from PD1 by being able to automatically shutdown the engine when the purging is done.(This works like a turbo timer) PD1i is designed and tested by a engineers that want to make sure that driving cars that help an environment should be easy. This product let drivers put most of the concentration on the wheel and worry free about the alternative fuel management. This controller/switchover provides 30+ adjustable parameters. Our controller is currently the only controller on the market that can support wide range of plumbing types (currently 6 types). If you have decided to change your plumbing or selling it to other WVO users, the controller will work with the new car or the new plumbing.

For PD1i, user can specify startup mode to be either Automatic Mode or Manual Mode.

For Automatic mode, the PD1i will take full control of the fuel management including: turning on the heaters or pre-heaters, switching to wvo, monitor sensors, purging, and shutting down the car. When the car is started up in Automatic Mode, PD1i will turn on the VO heater. When the oil is warm enough and the there is enough VO in the tank, PD1i will switch to VO automatically and/or the injection line heater will be on. After switched, PD1i will monitor the fuel pressure sensor to see if the pressure is lower than the set parameter (plugged filter or line), PD1i will flush and switch back to diesel after the ignore time has been passed. The pressure sensor can also be disabled.While driving, user can see the amount of remaining fuel, coolant temperature and VO temperature on PD1i's lighted LCD. If VO level have become low at 18%(adjustable), PD1i will automatically flush or purge the system. Flush button can be pressed at any time regardless of running on diesel or VO. If the fuel is not low and the driver is about to get to the destination, driver can just press the red flush button to flush the system. After the flushing is done, PD1i will switch back the system to run on diesel and it will sound a small chime. Had the driver forgot to flush the system before turning off the car, PD1i will sound longer chime and display reminding message on the LCD that the driver had forgotten to flush the system. PD1i will show the message that the flush was not previously done and will automatically flush the system when the car is being started up again. User can suppress the flushing action by press down button. There is also an adjustable parameter that if the oil temperature is higher than what is specified, PD1i will not automatically flush when the car is being started up again but it will just show the message that the car was not previously flushed before last use.

For Manual mode, user will have control over when most of the aspects including turning on the heaters, switching fuel, purging. The user will receive important notifications such as fuel level low or fuel temperature is low to assist in operating the system in manual mode. There are more notifications such as low pressure, forget to flush, low oil temperature which will help assist driver to make driving in Manual mode as easy as driving in Automatic mode.

The controller also provide thermostat feature to the heater that is connected to the controller. User can specify the desired temperature or disable the heater at the setup menu on the keypad.

Some of the benefits of PD1i include:

Support 6 types of most available plumbings. Support system with lift pumps.
Automatic purging when you leave your vehicle, allowing you to drive all the way into your parking space on VO.
Automatic and Manual modes
30+ user adjustable parameters for maximum flexibility. Allow user to disable/enable some sensors and adjust their parameters if needed.
Support electric heaters which user can specify the turn on/off temperatures or disable/enable the heater.
Support an optional fuel pressure sensor.
Support for injection line heaters, including automatically preheating your lines before switching to VO. (pre-heating time is adjustable)
Delayed return valve switching on some applicable plumbings. This reduces diesel fuel sent to your VO tank during the switch from diesel to VO.
A buzzer reminds user if user forget to purge before shutting down.
LCD Shows fuel and heater states (Diesel, VO, Manual, Auto, etc.) and temperature displays for both coolant and vegetable oil. The controller will also provide important notification if there is an issue arises.
VO fuel level display which is compatible to most resistive type fuel senders.
User can adjust the brightness of the LCD and access the reset button directly on the keypad
Easy to install and tuning
Safety feature:

If the circuit fails, the system will automatically run on Diesel. There is no worry that your car will not function if the controller is malfunctioning.
The circuit is protected from the current surge from the relays.
Specification:

PD1i supports several system and plumbing which includes 1-tank and 2-tank systems, system with 2 3-way valves, system with 6-way pollak valve, etc. Although PD1i support most systems, please email us with the diagram or description to make sure your system is covered. We are working directly with the designer so please don't hesitate if you have a "special" system because we might be able to adjust the controller to suit your system.
Barb connectors for coolant hose ID.= 5/8" , fuel hose ID.= 3/8". Please email us if you need other sizes such as 1/4", 3/8", or 1/2".
Designed for use only in cars with a 12V negative ground system.
Although the system comes with default parameters and ready to run, user should adjust parameters to suite individual environment.
 
Location: Kirkland | Registered: January 10, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Scott McPhee:
I made my own VO controller, it's Arduino based (open source platform), and an LCD panel, a few switches. The whole controller and add-on electronics was about $100.


Best thing is the USB port to download any new feature I want... only limited by imagination. Make a new feature on laptop, download, test drive... Customize what you want, make it work the way you want.


Scott,

Hello do you have your parts list, schematic and source code still available? I'd be willing to pay for information and help to do this with my 91 350SD.

Thank you for any assistance you can provide.

Adrian M
 
Registered: March 31, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hi,
Scott McPhee, ould you mind sharing some of the arduino code?
I am a begginer with arduino and any pointers would help. Like what kind of LCD is easier to interface, any pointers to scrooll through menus, etc..
thanks
 
Location: NY | Registered: December 10, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Wow, I haven't checked here for years, and I find this discussion near the top.

I have 2 controllers, one is arduino based and manages the temperate switching of injector line heaters, on and off thermostatically, based on temp sensor feedback from each injector, and manages LCD display for that. I'm not proud of this code because it was a sloppy prototype, that, well, I never had the need to go back and officially make it better. Good enough. You can do better.

One thing I do recall is having to calibrate the NTC sensors. I did this using a scatter graph of data points of resistance (voltage) to temperature, punched the points into Excel spreadsheet, then had Excel generate a polynomial best fit to the 3rd degree.. then I used that equation coded back in the arduino to estimate the temperature based on the voltage (ladder) inputs.. Damn that worked well. It's really true except at the very low end of the scale (below 35*C and above... well beyond what I care about..) And surprised how from part to part the NTC's are very consistent (within a degree of error from one another).

The other controller is the work horse that manages switching the fuel back and forth, and auto-pilot mode for cut over when hot, and cut back after shutting off car (if you forget to) and keeps car idling for a few minutes until purge is complete. This controller is not arduino, but hand coded assembly on an Atmel AVR chip. You'd have to be comfortable with that to get any value from it. So specific to my setup that ... copying the code is probably not worth it.

My objective was to move controller #2 function to the arduino controller (that's why I bought a Mega model arduino) but... again never got around to it, so still have both in operation daily. Hell, I haven't even tucked all the wires up along under the dash, and have some hanging.

Anyway, safe to say... this journey has all been fine and working for years. I've saved enough on fuel to pay for what I paid for the car. Make sense? The car still pulls hard and is a champ... don't let anyone tell you veggy will ruin your car blah blah blah... IF YOU DO IT RIGHT it works forever.


Regards,
Scott
1987 Mercedes 300D - 2 tank VO
 
Location: Edmonton | Registered: April 22, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Oh, what I wanted to say and forgot was..

The automated switch over to veggy tank and back and all those convenience features I never use. I always hit the manual override switch and never let the computers I built decide. In the end, I would not suggest there is great value in any veggy controller. You should remain an active participant in all your switch events, and decide yourself. You need good input to decide, so I recommend you laden your car with temperature sensors to show you what's going on several points in the system.

I've been able to spot faults in the system (valve that fails to switch over completely, ... etc) simply by noticed the temperature at a point is not what it usually should be at.

Invest in awareness, not automation.

Of course, if you have a 3 valve system (like me) it would be tedious to always hit switch #1 then #2 then #3... so automating a short sequence to happen at the press of one button is worth it. But beyond that kind of thing, nope.


Regards,
Scott
1987 Mercedes 300D - 2 tank VO
 
Location: Edmonton | Registered: April 22, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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