Dave Erickson's Engineering Web Page
A chronicle of BoatBus: my EE hobby

Hi, I'm Dave Erickson, an EE. My real job is Principal EE at Infraredx where we make Cardiac Catheter systems. At home, I build electronics for home and instrument applications. I like to mix analog and digital hardware design and software in a complete system with sensors, data acquisition, processing, display and a bit of communications thrown in.

To an extent, this is to show what can be done at the hobby level, with a bt of time and ingenuity. Right now it's called BoatBus II for lack of a better name.  It uses processors, LCD displays controlled by FPGA, and lots of analog sensors. It uses a simple RS-485 network to allow multiple sensors and displays can talk to each other. I'm making it wide-open so others can use what I've developed. Schematics, PC layouts, FPGA's and source code are all posted here. Need FPGA code for an LCD controller? It's here. Need a simple graphics library? RS485 network protocol? All here. Enjoy!BoatBus I

For the past few years I've been working on this networked display and data acquisition system. It's a work in progress, and I plan to use it on both my boat and at home to display and control lots of stuff.  I did the first generation of a similar system about 12 years ago (1993). It used a surplus LCD panel, a 68hc11 micro, and a bunch of code and custom hardware, including an LCD controller in an FPGA. It was a single box system designed to provide my boat with a bunch of marine-type data: wind speed and direction, boat speed and direction. It also provided rudimentary navigation by maintaining a dead-reckoning track. I used it for two years aboard my old boat. When I moved to a newer, larger boat, I never installed it. It's size was inconvenient and not really wort the hassle to wire it all up.

Since then, LCDs and FPGAs have gotten a bit better, procesors are faster and more integrated, and C tools have gotten a bit better. The updated, BoatBus II uses modern technology and tools.

To contact me, use this email address. Sorry for the inconvenience that you'll need to type it in. This is my way to avoid spam

BoatBus Home
BoatBus Story

WeatherNode, the first real board
LCDs are a pain. but fun!
AVR Processors
FTDI: USB interfacing to a PC
How I prototype, and the Lab

Last Updated: May 20, 2011