Accelerometer-logger With SD-card Memory




About: A tinker and a roller-coaster nerd

A logger unit for measure forces on a roller coaster and save them to a SD-card.
It's also possible to modify the software in the unit so it can measure other things if it can be connected to a i2c-bus.

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Step 1: Introduction

This is the fifth version of this unit (I know it's named v3, the fourth was called v3310 :) , it has also been a v0).
I have been working on this project in my spare time over two years now.

I use a LIS3LV02DQ from ST-Microelectronics to measure the forces, a uALFAT from to manage the SD-card, a HCMS2915 display and a PIC16F876 to control every thing. I also use a Canon NB-4L battery ( the same model i have in one of my cameras) to power the unit.

BOM (aka what you need) :

a PCB (a gcprevue-file to download)
a piece of Plexiglas 72.3x57x8 mm to the battery compartment
a piece of Plexiglas 3 mm thick to the front window
soldering iron with a small tip 0.4mm
some drills
some mill bits
thread cutter M3
Super glue and some regular glue stick
a X-Y table from Proxxon
a bench mounted drill
a battery (I use a CANON NB-4L).
a Microchip PICkit2 programmer.
a aluminum case 1455B802BK
a broken camera to get a battery connector from
and some surface and hole mounted components (BOM-file below).

Step 2: Prepare the PCB.

The PCB is in three parts and have to be separated before they can be populated with components.

(The new PCB layout has every thing cut out if it's ordered from a board-house and just needs to be broken apart.)

Step 3: Populate the PCB.

Start to populate the three PCBs. The 2 32KHz crystals has to be super glued to the PCB.
The trickiest part to solder was the sensor, that have all the connections on the bottom of the component (I borrowed the x-ray @ work to check that the soldering was perfect :) ).

Step 4: Mill Out the Plexiglas.

Start to glue a printout of the mounting drawing on to the Plexiglas using a glue stick.
Then start to measure and mill out space for the components that are to high.
Drill and cut threads in the four holes for the PCB.
Mill out the space for the battery ( you can use almost any camera battery, but it should not be bigger than 45x38x6.5mm).
Then mill out space for the battery connector ( the connector comes from a broken CANON camera :) ).
And finally mill out a canal for the sensor cable so when you pull the cable the connector don't damage.
Create a front window of 3mm thick Plexiglas.

Step 5: Final Preparations

Connect the battery and check that +3.3v_1, +3.3V_2 and +1.8V is correct.
Load the character map in to the external memory, then load a testing software to the uP to see if the unit is starting.
Prepare the sensor-board, it just need the sensor, some capacitors and a couple of wires.
Then connect the cable between the sensor and the main unit and check that the sensor is working.
The last thing to do is mount the uALFAT-chip and connect the SD-card.
Mount the PCB to Plexiglas with 4 screws.
Now you are ready to measure the forces in your car, bike and of course roller coasters. :)

Step 6: Conclusions

So far my brother and I have measured about 200 roller coasters in Europe, Asia and USA.

The unit is versatile platform to use for logging data that is collected from sensors that is connected though a i2c-bus, the only modification to do is in the software logging-loop.
The files the unit is creating is csv-format that is simple to create graph from in ex. Excel.

The next thing to do is make a new sensor that can measure more that +/-6g in the Z-axis.

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    41 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Both files won't download, could you reupload them please?


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Do you happen to have a schematic for this? I'd like to try remaking it with mostly through hole components.


    Reply 8 years ago on Step 6

    From a custom made QT4-software.


    Reply 8 years ago on Step 6

    How did you make that ? Coz I'm looking for an observational graph of the logged values that I've but don't have any platform for it.Can you help for the same ?


    9 years ago on Introduction

     I really like this project, but my skills arent good enough to make this. If I paid you, would you build one of these for me?

    technodude92chew socks

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    X is Forward Backward(roller coaster car speeding up/slowing down) Y is Left Right(turning etc.) Z is up down(falling sensation) P.S. someone correct me if I'm wrong

    Just to follow up with one accelerometer you will only get reliable displacement not rotation(turns), you can try with one but you will get better results with a gyro, compass(if you only care about rotation with respect to the ground it makes the math simpler) or second accelerometer.
    To further explain imagine two paths of travel; one strait along the x axis with rotation about the Z axis the sensor will read this as altering acceleration and reverses along the X and Y axises(plot the sin and cos of x to visualize the sensor data), the second starts traveling along the X axis then begins to decelerate to a stop at the same time acceleration along the Y axis begines and reaches maximum just at the point travel on the X axis stop.

    So given your accelerometer data did you just rotate a quarter step while riding the train or did you just get hit by it while traveling down the road?  I say this from the perspective of having played with an accelerometer and a holonomic drive system at the same time, both paths of travel are equally likely, sometimes you just need another sensor/data point.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    You have completely right. To explain some more: Red: Linear G Chest to Back is denoted +gx Red: Linear G Back to Chest is denoted -gx Green: Lateral G Right to Left is denoted +gy Green: Lateral G Left to Right is denoted -gy Blue: Positive G Head to Foot is denoted +gz Blue: Negative G Foot to Head is denoted -gz Marcus


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Hi, I´m civil engineer from mexico city and I do structure health monitoring, could you tell me if this great idea can function in the things that I do, I have a lot of questions, I appreciate if you contact me to, thank you and well job


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Hi lond, i make me best compliments. where you buy the special project pcb ?


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Hi Lond, i want make my compliments for the project. where i can buy a special Pcb project board?


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Nice project and a very good idea to make the large hole under the QFN package - I guess this is to make hand soldering of the centre pad possible :-)

    PCB Police