I’m going to try something bigger next.
My plan is to build an integrated chart plotter with a microprocessor controlled autopilot using open sourced hardware and software. That means, in the end, I should spend less than $500, total, for a fully functional autopilot and chart plotter.
Chart plotter Parts List
- Raspberry Pi
- GPS Module
- 10″ Display (by far the most expensive item)
- LCD display
- Controls (buttons, etc)
Autopilot Parts List
As far as implementation is concerned, at this point I have only done some basic research and tests.
I have already hooked up the existing hydraulic pump directly to a 12v source, as you can see below:
The next steps include:
- Installing OpenCPN on a Raspberry Pi device and getting that to run. Once installed on the boat, just that will be a nice addition, since I currently use a small PC hooked up to the inverter to power OpenCPN on board.
- Build an install a relay shield on my Arduino, and code it to keep a compass heading (I already have a 3-axis compass breakout).
- Build and add an Ethernet shield to my Arduino, and get it to communicate with Raspberry Pi
- Add a rudder angle sensor to the Arduino module, and display the information on the LCD screen in the cockpit
- Extract the NMEA messages (crosstrack, etc) from OpenCPN, and set that as the heading to hold on the Arduino module
- Have a drink and let the boat drive itself
There are of course additional features I am planning:
- Configurable alarm to remind the “helmsman” to do a safety sweep
- Connect GPS output to VHF radio for DSC service
- Engine sensors (RPM, temperature, etc)