Saturday, September 29, 2012

Finishing Touches

I believe that I've about wrapped up the iOS programming side of things for what I'm going to use on the initial install. Still have a few minor things to get put into the code like the segment selector to output data along with the volume, temp, and fan speed. Those should come along pretty easily. Have the switches tied in though and thought I'd put up a short video showing the output on some LED's.  Also, got the music part of the app updated to allow for seeking through tracks with a slider... will update this for smoother time seeking is a bit jumpy.

iPad LED control via Serial  Port to PIC16F887

Track Time Update and Seeking

Hope you all enjoy!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Phase 2

Well it is getting closer to the time to work on getting all the signals I need in and out of the iPad...
First off I'm going to need to add some wires/resistors to get the iPad to charge when it is connected to the serial cable. Then I need to tap into the audio line out... which isn't to hard... I should know I built myself a cable to plug my phone into my kia out of hacked together broken chargers... worked great for being free... ended up getting a legit cable for christmas shortly after though...

Anyways here are some pictures of inside that little beast of a cable so you can all see where I'll be attaching some wire. Something that I have noticed is the serial cable appears to not be shielded... I might look into changing this out with something that provides shielding and allows me to bundle the extra wires all together nicely and a more manage length... pretty sure I dont really need 1 whole meter of wire hanging out in the dash...  

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Little Things

So I've been working on this a little at a time lately. Thought I'd post up some of the latest progress! Its looking more like something I can total visualize in the dash of my car! For a beginners project I think I've bit off quite a bit but things seem to be shaping up nicely. Still have some minor code to clean up... when I pause and restart it likes to jump back a track for a reason I've not yet figured out... Need to work on converting the seconds into a MM:SS format (also with the initial track time... having seconds with .XXX places is a bit dumb. Also, need to update the code so when the time slider is moved to scrub to a different track time it will update the remaining and elapsed time... haven't had time to set that up yet.

Timers Working... Kinda...


I took out the map portion of the previous app layout I was working on because switching from the main interface app over to the google or apple maps or which ever nav. app a person would want to use is really easy and does not effect the music playback.  Something I might however do is still add a Button to the main app screen to quick launch into maps just for ease of not having to find it in the main list of apps... 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Simple Life

So for the first go around while I'm still sharping the iOS programming skills I think I've found something that will be some what nice to look at and provide the essential controls. With the gestures enabled its really easy to switch between apple maps, pandora, and any other app that is open. Seems how I'll mostly listen to iPod music having those controls in this app will be handy along with a volume control that will be tied into the Alpine head unit currently installed in the car. Not to forget the most important part the ac controls! The will also be part of the app.

Screen Shot

That big empty place in the upper left hand side is the UIImage area for the album artwork. Might still add in an area to show the outside temperature which I think I'll get from an externally mounted temperature sensor wired up to the picmicro chip instead of via the web based on gps location like previous gui screen shots show.

Next task is linking up the controls for the music player again and setting up the links for the volume, and ac controls to talk with the microchip! Think things are moving along nicely!

Updated Screen Shot

Changed out some of the button text with symbols... still have some to go as you can see.. Also, opened up a song to show what it looks like with the title, artist, album, and artwork displayed! 

I'll put a video up on youtube either later tonight or sometime tomorrow! Let me know what you all think!

Sample video can be found on youtube @ iPad In Action

Monday, September 17, 2012

Its Alive!

So after some goofing around and finally diving into some assembly programing I've got a simple UI switch sending some data out the serial port of the iPad! when the switch is set to on it sends out a number 1 and a 0 when it is in the off position. The pic micro detects the sent data and saves it over to a memory location then uses that binary data to toggle on and off a set of 8 led's . 0 is represented by 00110000 and 1 by 00110001. This is a big step forward in setting up the communication scheme between the iPad app and micro chip. 

Short Video of the iPad and PIC16F887

I'm still pretty much just a rookie so getting this far has sparked a new excitement level for me!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

iPad to PIC16F887 and Back

So now that I've removed all the old stuff I had attached to my demo board I finally got around to soldering a few wires. Taking a quick look at the datasheet for this microchip showed me which pins I'd need for wiring it up. For those interested it was pin #1 and pin #44. (RC6-TX and RC7-RX)

PIC16F887 Demo Board

I had some magnet wire laying around from years back that just so happened to fit into the connector on the end of the iOS serial cable. Without actual pins to use this was perfect wire to use! It is somewhat stiff like a pin, does not short out to itself, and goes into the connector nicely.

Connector With Wire

After a bit of searching I found some sample code on the picmicro web page that related to serial communication utilizing the chips built in Enhanced Universal Synchronous Asynchronous Receiver Transmitter  aka (EUSART).  Using redparks demo software supplied with the SDK download I was able to pass data out of the iPad via the serial cable to the picmicro then back again.

 Demo Board Wired Up

Second Try

Sent a 1 and got a 1 back! I'm pretty certain it is working as it should. When the chip is not running the program nothing is returned to the Ipad which leads me to believe that it is receiving and passing the data back as it should.

Video Clip in Action

Some day I'll get a better camera... my phone can only do so much but it is very handy!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Getting Back In

Things are moving in the general direction of prototype land. I believe I'll scale the project back a bit initially as I've still got far to much to learn to create something that will accomplish everything I'm after all in one app. 

First working version I'm going with will have a few key features to make it worth while of installing. I'm going to have the app communicating with the micro chip to drive some transistor switches/relays for interfacing the iPad with the current controls in the car. Also, relocating the alpine headunit currently installed to the glove compartment. (this will make it so I'm not reinventing the wheel with a completely custom setup up for audio) However, the plan is to be able to keep it out of site and control the volume via micro chip connected to the iPad. 


Macbook Pro
  • Mac OS X 10.7.4
  • QuadCore Intel i7 2.4 GHz CPU
  • 4 GB DDR3
  • Xcode 4.4.1
  • Windows 7 Ultimate
  • QuadCore  AMD 9850 2.51 GHz
  • 4 GB DDR2
  • MPLab IDE Version 8.56
  • Pickit 2 programmer/debugger
  • 44pin demo board (PIC16F887) 
  • 16 GB wifi iPad
  • iOS 5.1.1
  • RedPark iOS serial cable
Need to find a small printer stand to move this printer off my desk to provide a bit more working room! It won't be much longer before I have wires going all over the place. Originally I wanted to run MPLab on the mac but it looks like the Pickit 2 usb device I have is not compatible with the new version on MPLab that will run on mac. 

Time to find a schematic for the Kia so I can layout a scheme for how I intend on wiring up to the controls. This will allow me to get a better idea on the route I'll take for the program for the microchip and the hardware I'll be hooking to it. 

Short PicMicro Debug Video

This is just a sample video of analog to digital conversion to display the value of the potentiometer in binary on the 8 led's that are on the demo board. This was just a test to refresh my memory on how to get around in MPLab as its been almost 3 years now.... will take some refreshing to get back to being proficient at this...

Monday, September 3, 2012

iOS Serial Cable!

Still just reading and taking in all the information I've run across. Going to get back to working on this project now with this new knowledge. Also, found out that I have a iOS TTL Serial Cable on its way to me! This puts me a bit closer to having a working prototype to toy around with! Will probably not be anymore updates to the blog until I get some assembly code written for the picmicro and have the ipad communicating with it. I will def. post up a video after I've completed this task. 


This is the cable that will be the vital link from the iPad to the car. Plans are to slightly modify the cable from its current state to allow for also charging the iPad when its plugged in and for passing audio. After getting some sneak peak photos of the inside of this thing looks like a little solder work and some additional wires and I'll be all set in this department.