The Eberspacher heaters can be controlled with a single switch, but it’s more convenient to have some temperature control & the option of a timer. Above is an ex-BT 701 series controller, with built in 7-day programmer. Being an ex-BT van version though, it’ll only switch the heater on for 1 hour at a time.
To get around this slight niggle, I fitted a bypass toggle switch.
For a bit of extra convenience, I got an RF remote controlled relay module from eBay (£5).
This allows me to switch things on remotely, so I can return to a nice toasty tent while camping.
There is an official RF remote for Eberspacher heaters, but I’ve no doubt they’re hideously expensive.
Here’s the receiver PCB, there’s an EEPROM & a microcontroller onboard for handling the codes the remotes send, but as the number has been scrubbed off the micro, no data there. This uses a standard RF receiver module.
Here’s the remote itself, this uses a 12v battery instead of a 3v lithium cell. A little of a pain since these batteries can be a bit pricey.
As this RF system operates on 315MHz, it’s technically illegal in the UK, but I was unable to find a 433MHz version with the features required. Nevermind ;).
Here’s the module installed in the controller casing. I have since run the antenna wire around the edge of the case to try & get the furthest range on receive. The relay contacts are just paralleled across the bypass switch, so when the relay energizes the heater fires up.
Luckily the thermostatic control portion of the 701 programmer is operational even when heating mode is not active.
Here’s a quick look at a Sainsmart frequency counter module. These are useful little gadgets, showing the locked frequency on a small LCD display.
It’s built around an ATMega328 microcontroller (µC), and an MB501L Prescaler IC. The circuit for this is very simple, and is easily traced out from the board.
Here’s the back of the board, with the µC on the left & the prescaler IC on the right. This uses a rather novel method for calibration, which is the trimmer capacitor next to the crystal. This trimmer varies the frequency of the µC’s oscillator, affecting the calibration.
Input protection is provided by a pair of 1N4148 diodes in inverse parallel. These will clamp the input to +/-1v.
The prescaler IC is set to 1/64 divide ratio. This means that for an input frequency of 433MHz, it will output a frequency of 6.765625MHz to the µC.
The software in the µC will then calculate the input frequency from this intermediate frequency. This is done because the ATMega controllers aren’t very cabable of measuring such high frequencies.
The calculated frequency is then displayed on the LCD. This is a standard HD44780 display module.
Power is provided by a 9v PP3 battery, which is then regulated down by a standard LM7805 linear regulator.
I’ve found it’s not very accurate at all at the lower frequencies, when I fed it 40MHz from a signal generator it displayed a frequency of around 74MHz. This is probably due to the prescaler & the software not being configured for such a low input. In the case for 40MHz input the scaled frequency would have been 625kHz.
This is the Current Cost CC128 Real Time Power Meter. Shown here is the display unit, British Gas issued these free to some customers.
This unit measures current power draw in Watts, cost of power currently being used (requires unit price to be set), overall kWh usage over the past 1, 7 or 30 days & power trends during the day, night & evening. Also displays current time & current room temperature.
Here the front panel of the display has been un-clipped. At the bottom are the RJ-45 serial port & power connections.
This unit uses a PIC micro-controller as it’s CPU (PIC18F85J90) Just above & left of the CPU is the 433MHz SPD radio receiver module. The chips on the right of the CPU are a 25LC128 SPI serial EEPROM for data storage & a 74HC4060 14 stage binary counter, to which is connected the 32kHz clock crystal. The red wire around the top of the display is the antenna for the radio receiver.
For more info on the CC128 in general, the serial port & software for computer data logging, see this link
See this link for Current Cost’s list of software
Closeup of the ICs on the mainboard.
Here we have the transmitter unit, with Current Transformer (CT). The red clamp fits around one of the electric meter tails & read the current going to the various circuits. This unit is powered by 2x D cells, rated at a life of 7 years.
The PCB inside the transmitter. Again very minimal design, unknown controller IC, 433MHz radio transmitter on right hand side with wire antenna. Two barrel connectors on left hand side of board allow connection of up to two more CT clamps for measurement of 3-phase power. Centre of board is unmarked header. (ICSP?)
CT unit. Inside is a coil of wire & an iron core which surrounds the cable to be measured.