Thermatic Fan Controller - Feedback

craigh

Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2011
Messages
19
Hi

During the build of my 71 I had a custom fan controller built by a friend as I could not find anything on the market that did exactly what I wanted.

- Automatically control both fans at user preset temperatures
- Provide full control of on, off, etc
- Display the fan status and water temperature via color LED's
- Adjust the fan off points up or down
- Use the existing temperature sender in the car
- Uee factory harness wiring where possible
- Integrate controls into the ash tray so it would be hidden
- Force 2nd fan on when A/C comes on.

We tried to make it very simple.

The Fan Controller installs like this

- Tap into the 3 wires behind the passenger dash panel that go to the temperature gauge for the control unit.
- Mount control module behind dash. Around 2.5"x1"
- Replace your ashtray with one with controls and plug it into the control unit
- Run 2 wires to your relays to trigger them (negative trip)
- Run wire to aircon circuit to trigger second fan.
- Hold down the Fan 1 and Fan 2 button once your Vette gets to your preferred trigger temperature and thats it -

After running it since 2011 we have had a number of people ask us if we could make them one so we decided to update the design a bit for my vette and integrate what we have learned from using it for a few years.

We also wanted to ask the broader Vette community do we have the logic sort of right and would there really be any interest out there for something like this.

We only made this as I said because I could not find a unit on the market that gave the flexibility I wanted for my vette and my friend Ralph likes to build things as a hobby.

Here are some pictures of the latest one ready to go into my 71.

Control2.png


Control3.png


Control1.png


This is the original control unit, the new one Ralph is building is much smaller and an integrated module.

FanC1.jpg


It wires up like this

Fans.jpg


So what do you think ..we would love some feedback.

Craig
 
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mrvette

Phantom of the Opera
Joined
Mar 24, 2008
Messages
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Location
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First guess is a 555 timer and a quad op-amp to me, so to run comparators....

honestly I don't see the need, a couple switches in the coolant and do the same thing, one set at 195f for the second fan, first one set at 180f just for giggles, and when A/C is demanded....both relays close....

what? 3 relays and a few diodes and two temp sensors to ground the relay coils....etc....

:crutches:

OH, forgot to add, on my '72 the Spals just turn on/off at once, both of them, for years now, via the ECM on the engine....I been thinking of maybe changing that around....I muddle it over once in a while, but come to the same conclusion, there IS NO conclusion.....so to speak....
 
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vette427sbc

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 25, 2008
Messages
1,015
Location
Jersey Shore
I like that it uses the factory or existing temp sender, but the adjustability seems like more of a cool factor. (pun intended) I dont see a need to adjust when my fans come on or off
The only thing it allows you to do over a standard thermostatic switch is to be able to change the temp that the fans turn on/off. And has LEDs that tell you when the fans are on.
Cool gadget, but Ill stick to my rock solid reliable thermo-switch and 2 relays. (not saying yours isnt reliable, just more complex)
 

craigh

Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2011
Messages
19
Thanks for your comments guys,

The extra temp sender model works fine and is all that many people need but I had some very specific things that drove me to get this built.

I may be unusual in my needs but if feedback in the US is similar to Australia I will get those that see no value at all and those that love it and a mix in between.

What was essential for me was

- use factory sender so a relatively stock look can be maintained. (should work with most senders from 64- 80 as they use the same model of lowering resistance as the temperature goes up) I have used factory and wt203.

- let me choose when each fan comes on and go off and allow me to override that with a press of the button (on a hot day in traffic I may add a second fan early to ensure I don't get too much build up of heat)

- let me see what fans are on visually and have quick access to controls, that are hidden most of the time.

- it needed to be ultra reliable with fail safes so if sender wire falls off etc fans come on.

As part of this I also re calibrated the factory gauge with a variable resistor instead of the fixed one as all senders are a but different so I better know the real temp the engine is at.

As I said above it is not for everyone, it is a bit of extra control and has been flawless for me since 2011.
 

mrvette

Phantom of the Opera
Joined
Mar 24, 2008
Messages
15,207
Location
NE Florida
Thanks for your comments guys,

The extra temp sender model works fine and is all that many people need but I had some very specific things that drove me to get this built.

I may be unusual in my needs but if feedback in the US is similar to Australia I will get those that see no value at all and those that love it and a mix in between.

What was essential for me was

- use factory sender so a relatively stock look can be maintained. (should work with most senders from 64- 80 as they use the same model of lowering resistance as the temperature goes up) I have used factory and wt203.

- let me choose when each fan comes on and go off and allow me to override that with a press of the button (on a hot day in traffic I may add a second fan early to ensure I don't get too much build up of heat)

- let me see what fans are on visually and have quick access to controls, that are hidden most of the time.

- it needed to be ultra reliable with fail safes so if sender wire falls off etc fans come on.

As part of this I also re calibrated the factory gauge with a variable resistor instead of the fixed one as all senders are a but different so I better know the real temp the engine is at.

As I said above it is not for everyone, it is a bit of extra control and has been flawless for me since 2011.

Was I correct in my guess at what chips they are?? 555 timer and a quad op amp???, and yes, I have a blue 12v palel bulb on my inst panel for telling if the computer is calling for fans....being dual spal I can hear them when setting still, but I note that about 45 mph or so, computer no longer calls for fans....I had never known the before....

:nuts:
 

craigh

Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2011
Messages
19
Good question re the components in the original build, I found in one of the notes from Ralph that he uses a PIC16F690 to do all the monitoring and timing.

Does that help.

The revised version however has a different newer and much smaller logic chip in both controller and ash tray controls and has a bus in between.
 

denpo

Carburated Nihilist
Joined
Jul 14, 2010
Messages
2,523
Location
Montreal, QC
The revised version however has a different newer and much smaller logic chip in both controller and ash tray controls and has a bus in between.
an ATTiny13 should be all you'd need for this kind of job.
With an arduino, they're super easy to program.
 

craigh

Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2011
Messages
19
The one built in 2011 use the PIC16F690 and I load the code from Ralph in using a ICD-U64 In-Circuit Programmer/Debugger.

Now I am not the electronics guy, that is Ralph, he enjoys building stuff and in fact has a side business building building Model Rail-Road control panels and logic systems with another friend of ours.

http://controlpaneldesigns.com/

It funny he is not into Trains or Vettes but just likes the challenge to build things.

Ralph is in Perth and I am in Canberra (Australia) so as we worked on this he emailed me code revisions etc and I loaded, tested and re defined till we got to where we are today.

We will both be in Florida in a week to attend a conference (and then the NCRS event in Kisseemme) so I can ask more about what chips he is now using.

So after getting to a set-up that works great and running it for a few years Ralphs next move was lets build a better version, smaller, etc and make it so installation is super simple in a C3.

If we get the Packard 56 connectors install would be......

..... remove the factory plug from the temperature gauge and plug it into our system then plug our system into gauge then connect 2 wires to your relays.

Alll done.

The big hurdle on this job was strangely enough not the logic or hardware etc but having to use the factory sender that did not produce consistent results. The factory gauge handles it by heavily buffering the needle otherwise it would be all over the place.

Took us a while to crack that that one as I was firm on wanting to use the factory sender and every supplier (of Electronic Fan controllers) I spoke to said it could not be done reliably. Hence Ralphs Challenge.
 
Last edited:

mrvette

Phantom of the Opera
Joined
Mar 24, 2008
Messages
15,207
Location
NE Florida
The one built in 2011 use the PIC16F690 and I load the code from Ralph in using a ICD-U64 In-Circuit Programmer/Debugger.

Now I am not the electronics guy, that is Ralph, he enjoys building stuff and in fact has a side business building building Model Rail-Road control panels and logic systems with another friend of ours.

http://controlpaneldesigns.com/

It funny he is not into Trains or Vettes but just likes the challenge to build things.

Ralph is in Perth and I am in Canberra (Australia) so as we worked on this he emailed me code revisions etc and I loaded, tested and re defined till we got to where we are today.

We will both be in Florida in a week to attend a conference (and then the NCRS event in Kisseemme) so I can ask more about what chips he is now using.

So after getting to a set-up that works great and running it for a few years Ralphs next move was lets build a better version, smaller, etc and make it so installation is super simple in a C3.

If we get the Packard 56 connectors install would be......

..... remove the factory plug from the temperature gauge and plug it into our system then plug our system into gauge then connect 2 wires to your relays.

Alll done.

The big hurdle on this job was strangely enough not the logic or hardware etc but having to use the factory sender that did not produce consistent results. The factory gauge handles it by heavily buffering the needle otherwise it would be all over the place.

Took us a while to crack that that one as I was firm on wanting to use the factory sender and every supplier (of Electronic Fan controllers) I spoke to said it could not be done reliably. Hence Ralphs Challenge.

INteresting in that DAmoroso, and I are thinking of getting together and heading down to that even for at least a day, he live maybe 10 miles south of me, but doubtful we spend money on overnight.....I been there twice some years ago, he has never gone....we just talked about going not a day or so ago.....be neat if we could all get together for at least a lunch and some laughs over the show.....:nuts:
 

mrvette

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Joined
Mar 24, 2008
Messages
15,207
Location
NE Florida
http://controlpaneldesigns.com/


AND now I click on the link, and so to find of ALL things....


some fellow model Railroaders......which has been an on/off hobby for decades.....

but MY stuff was all LIONEL Electric and my last layout was 22' long 11' wide at far end, and 8' narrowed down for control/operator room I built it with my kids about 25 years ago....in the 3rd bay of my 3 car garage, sealed off the door, insulated it, ran electric heat, and so over a 4 year time span built a layout that ran 5 trains over 4 layers at once....but being the scale is twice what I suppose you run, the stuff was HUGE, by comparison, and dates back from my childhood in the early 50's....I remember my father building me a layout of two 4'x8' sheets of plywood in the basement....I went on to be a geek after that, (electronics).....I gave my trains to my nephew, who lost most of them, but then my sister offered me the old LOCO and some track out of her trash can, I just chanced to be there to find it....so it sat for maybe 6 years on top of my stereo speakers.....then one day I noted a adv. in the Sunday paper, and so it was for LIONEL trains....I called about parts for my old sad/tired locomotive....

and about SHIT when seeing Ray's basement, jerked back almost 30 years in time.....and so the hobby began again....through many layouts, marriages, divorces, moves, shipping, the whole mess....my son has my old loco today....been a few years.....

SO glad you guys from other side of the world are also enjoying the hobby....

looks like you are a tad further advanced than the dinosaur trains we ran.....

:crylol::shocking::shocking::clap:
 

craigh

Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2011
Messages
19
http://controlpaneldesigns.com/


AND now I click on the link, and so to find of ALL things....


some fellow model Railroaders......which has been an on/off hobby for decades.....

but MY stuff was all LIONEL Electric and my last layout was 22' long 11' wide at far end, and 8' narrowed down for control/operator room I built it with my kids about 25 years ago....in the 3rd bay of my 3 car garage, sealed off the door, insulated it, ran electric heat, and so over a 4 year time span built a layout that ran 5 trains over 4 layers at once....but being the scale is twice what I suppose you run, the stuff was HUGE, by comparison, and dates back from my childhood in the early 50's....I remember my father building me a layout of two 4'x8' sheets of plywood in the basement....I went on to be a geek after that, (electronics).....I gave my trains to my nephew, who lost most of them, but then my sister offered me the old LOCO and some track out of her trash can, I just chanced to be there to find it....so it sat for maybe 6 years on top of my stereo speakers.....then one day I noted a adv. in the Sunday paper, and so it was for LIONEL trains....I called about parts for my old sad/tired locomotive....

and about SHIT when seeing Ray's basement, jerked back almost 30 years in time.....and so the hobby began again....through many layouts, marriages, divorces, moves, shipping, the whole mess....my son has my old loco today....been a few years.....

SO glad you guys from other side of the world are also enjoying the hobby....

looks like you are a tad further advanced than the dinosaur trains we ran.....

:crylol::shocking::shocking::clap:

Its interesting I was into model trains (HO Scale) 30+ years ago, modeling Southern Pacific.

Have not been active since then ( have a few boxes packed away though) but my friend Ralph ended up helping another friend Brendan to build control panels that linked into the digital control systems he was using. And from that he ends up with a side buisness building them for modelers around the world from Perth Australia.
 

craigh

Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2011
Messages
19
The one built in 2011 use the PIC16F690 and I load the code from Ralph in using a ICD-U64 In-Circuit Programmer/Debugger.

Now I am not the electronics guy, that is Ralph, he enjoys building stuff and in fact has a side business building building Model Rail-Road control panels and logic systems with another friend of ours.

http://controlpaneldesigns.com/

It funny he is not into Trains or Vettes but just likes the challenge to build things.

Ralph is in Perth and I am in Canberra (Australia) so as we worked on this he emailed me code revisions etc and I loaded, tested and re defined till we got to where we are today.

We will both be in Florida in a week to attend a conference (and then the NCRS event in Kisseemme) so I can ask more about what chips he is now using.

So after getting to a set-up that works great and running it for a few years Ralphs next move was lets build a better version, smaller, etc and make it so installation is super simple in a C3.

If we get the Packard 56 connectors install would be......

..... remove the factory plug from the temperature gauge and plug it into our system then plug our system into gauge then connect 2 wires to your relays.

Alll done.

The big hurdle on this job was strangely enough not the logic or hardware etc but having to use the factory sender that did not produce consistent results. The factory gauge handles it by heavily buffering the needle otherwise it would be all over the place.

Took us a while to crack that that one as I was firm on wanting to use the factory sender and every supplier (of Electronic Fan controllers) I spoke to said it could not be done reliably. Hence Ralphs Challenge.

INteresting in that DAmoroso, and I are thinking of getting together and heading down to that even for at least a day, he live maybe 10 miles south of me, but doubtful we spend money on overnight.....I been there twice some years ago, he has never gone....we just talked about going not a day or so ago.....be neat if we could all get together for at least a lunch and some laughs over the show.....:nuts:

Hey that sounds great.

We have a work conference we are at as well so not 100% sure when we will be there but am hoping for possibly work gaps Thursday PM, Friday amd some of Saturday or Sunday.

Am staying at Disney so fairly close to get back and forth.

Will PM you my mobile # in case you decide to come.
 
Last edited:

mrvette

Phantom of the Opera
Joined
Mar 24, 2008
Messages
15,207
Location
NE Florida
The one built in 2011 use the PIC16F690 and I load the code from Ralph in using a ICD-U64 In-Circuit Programmer/Debugger.

Now I am not the electronics guy, that is Ralph, he enjoys building stuff and in fact has a side business building building Model Rail-Road control panels and logic systems with another friend of ours.

http://controlpaneldesigns.com/

It funny he is not into Trains or Vettes but just likes the challenge to build things.

Ralph is in Perth and I am in Canberra (Australia) so as we worked on this he emailed me code revisions etc and I loaded, tested and re defined till we got to where we are today.

We will both be in Florida in a week to attend a conference (and then the NCRS event in Kisseemme) so I can ask more about what chips he is now using.

So after getting to a set-up that works great and running it for a few years Ralphs next move was lets build a better version, smaller, etc and make it so installation is super simple in a C3.

If we get the Packard 56 connectors install would be......

..... remove the factory plug from the temperature gauge and plug it into our system then plug our system into gauge then connect 2 wires to your relays.

Alll done.

The big hurdle on this job was strangely enough not the logic or hardware etc but having to use the factory sender that did not produce consistent results. The factory gauge handles it by heavily buffering the needle otherwise it would be all over the place.

Took us a while to crack that that one as I was firm on wanting to use the factory sender and every supplier (of Electronic Fan controllers) I spoke to said it could not be done reliably. Hence Ralphs Challenge.

INteresting in that DAmoroso, and I are thinking of getting together and heading down to that even for at least a day, he live maybe 10 miles south of me, but doubtful we spend money on overnight.....I been there twice some years ago, he has never gone....we just talked about going not a day or so ago.....be neat if we could all get together for at least a lunch and some laughs over the show.....:nuts:

Hey that sounds great.

We have a work conference we are at as well so not 100% sure when we will be there but am hoping for possibly work gaps Thursday PM, Friday amd some of Saturday or Sunday.

Am staying at Disney so fairly close to get back and forth.

Will PM you my mobile # in case you decide to come.

I"m retarred, so my schedule is mine/wifey poo.....you know how THAT goes, but Dave still works so he in/out of town for odd times, but he sounded like it was a go for him.....

I remember a HO train club in York Pa. York Model RR club/society?? took my kids by there once, decades ago, it's a HO setup under construction in a old abandoned WW2 era warehouse they took over, they only open to the public around Holiday time for a few weeks.....the layout is just ASStoundingly HUGE....measured in 100's of yards... I remember one spot that was a hit with all the guys, this train circling the outside loop, goes over a gorge and down LO on the bottom was this couple him on top, bare naked at riverside.....and the train slows to a total CRAWL until the locomotive crew is outta range, then when the caboose goes by, it slows again......:devil: somehow that was the most memorable gig about that layout....:devil::D:yahoo:
 

mrvette

Phantom of the Opera
Joined
Mar 24, 2008
Messages
15,207
Location
NE Florida
No problem, will send u my number in case Dave or u make it.

Craig

61 is code for overseas calls, Wife used to call China all the time for an importer she worked it....but how does this work out if your presumable cphone is in USA??? We have no clue....I replied here on open forum, in case anyone else can answer.....

:eek:
 

craigh

Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2011
Messages
19
No problem, will send u my number in case Dave or u make it.

Craig

61 is code for overseas calls, Wife used to call China all the time for an importer she worked it....but how does this work out if your presumable cphone is in USA??? We have no clue....I replied here on open forum, in case anyone else can answer.....

:eek:

the +61 at the start of the number tells the US phone carrier its international and country 61 which is Australia, so an SMS will bounce to Australia and back to the US once they detect my phone is active in the US.

Works no problem.

Calls would be a bit expensive but an SMS is not that much more than normal and in fact I pick up half of the cost for routing it back to the US from Australia.

:)
.
 

craigh

Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2011
Messages
19
We will have one of the fan controllers with us at Kissimmee to discuss with a vendor so if anyone wants a look.

In a month of so we will also be looking for a couple of US testers to put it in their vettes and ensure we have it all ok before we finalise board and software designs.

Anyone interested PM me.
 

craigh

Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2011
Messages
19
After our feedback in January we have done some revisions to the controller package.

The controller...

- will now have points on all four corners so it can be easily mounted with stand off posts.

FanControllerV2-PCB-with-modular.png


- will have an input from the lighting circuit to dim the LED's at night.

The control heads...
- will now mount into any your existing ash tray and need just one hole drilled.
- will connect to the head unit with a simple phone handset style cable
- are able to fit the early and late C3 ash trays.

IMG_0687.jpeg


IMG_0682.jpeg


FanControllerV2-mFCR-PCB.png


Control2-1.png


- is able to be generic and mounted elsewhere using the horizontal version.
 
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