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Author Topic: Computer for Silverleaf VmsPC?  (Read 5762 times)
belfert
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« on: November 24, 2009, 04:36:20 AM »

What type of computer are folks using for running Silverleaf VmsPC? 

I was thinking about buying this little bitty PC not much bigger than a pack of cigarettes, but then I was thinking do I really want to spend $400 on the PC plus a monitor?  Netbooks and laptops are cheap, but they tend to get in the way more and there is some question if they will be made illegal as a driver distraction.

Jim, can you post a picture of your monitor install for VmsPC again?
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2009, 05:52:35 AM »

Brian, I have used several configurations.  Presently, I place the computer behind me and have a 15 inch monitor mounted on the overhead in front of me.  That does two things;  minimizes the sun "wash out" and minimizes the chance of having an issue with law enforcement (many states do not allow computers in the driver area).

The size of the monitor/computer is a function of what you want to display.  I use mine for the GPS as well as the engine data.  I do not use my normal gauges, so I want my display to be easy to read.  

I have changed the arrangement of the gauges so that the most important information is the bottom of the screen.  That way a quick glance up from the road gives me the information I need the most.  I had the gauges arranged differently when I had the computer on the dash.  Also note that I can get a quick reading of all of my PressurePro tire gauges at one glance (in both icon and actual pressure).

I have been looking on the E-place and there are a ton of cheap laptops.  The SilverLeaf program can run on just about any PC platform/operating system.  You could use a very old laptop with no issue.

Jim
« Last Edit: November 24, 2009, 05:54:08 AM by rv_safetyman » Logged

Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
85 Eagle 10/Series 60/Eaton AutoShift 10 speed transmission
Somewhere between a tin tent and a finished product
Bus Project details: http://beltguy.com/Bus_Project/busproject.htm
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« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2009, 06:27:37 AM »

Jim, that Is VERY COOL !!! Even Tells You The Tire Pressure.  WOW !!!!

Someday I Will Be COOL Like That...  Cool  Cool Like That...COOL Like That !!! Cool Cool Cool

JOHN
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« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2009, 06:29:40 AM »

An interesting project would be to integrate a Silverleaf system into a front end such as Streetdeck / Freeway / Roadrunner / Centrafuse etc. Touchscreen monitors are quite cheap nowadays too (just bought one for my car). With a bit of effort you could really go to town and have a 'full-coach' system that handles everything from engine diagnostics to your DVD library, complete with a dedicated skin to match your Eagle or MCI etc, or whatever you wanted.

For people who haven't come across these systems this is a good source of info:

http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/front-ends/


Jeremy

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« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2009, 06:44:03 AM »

Jim, do you have a picture of how you mounted your 15" monitor again?  I searched on vmspc and silverleaf, but the forum only finds this thread.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
Don Fairchild
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« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2009, 08:53:35 AM »

Jim;

You say you can use an older laptop, what is the speed and hard drive requirements for the silverleaf and tire monitor

Thanks

Don
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rv_safetyman
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« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2009, 10:56:18 AM »

Brian, I don't have a photo of the mounting.  Every monitor has a mounting surface on the back with four threaded holes.  I have had folks tell me that they used a wall TV mount.  My mount is quite custom because of my strange structure in the front.  If I had a more normal cabinet system, I would use a RAM mount (http://www.ram-mount.com/EmptyPages/COMPONENTS/BCOMPONENTS/tabid/1556/Default.aspx).  I use those in some installations and they are very sturdy and have a great deal of flexibility.  You would probably have to make a small adapter plate for the monitor bolt pattern.

Jeremy, SilverLeaf does make a full house system that can monitor and control most house systems.  Mostly an OEM product but could be used in a bus conversion.  All based on a multiplexed system per:  http://rv-c.com/.  That is a standard developed for the RV industry.  SilverLeaf is a major contributor to that standard project.

Don, the software is very simple and does not demand much in terms of computer resources/operating systems.  I know of some folks who have it running on an old Windows 95 system, so that should tell you about resources.  The software is a very small program.  It does generate some history files, but they are text files and very small in size.

Brian called with an interesting question.   He wondered if you loose your data if you drive without the computer hooked up.  The general answer is no.  Things like miles, gallons, etc are all based on the ECM data.  So, when you next plug in the computer it will query the ECM and add the new values to the base of the SilverLeaf gauge data and everything will be updated.  The one thing you will not record is any fault code that might come up when you don't have the computer attached.  It does not read the codes on the ECM.  It only records them as they occur.

John, yes it is neat technology, but only works with electronic engines.

BTW, I offer a discount to bus folks and you might want to write a letter to Santa Wink
« Last Edit: November 24, 2009, 11:00:03 AM by rv_safetyman » Logged

Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
85 Eagle 10/Series 60/Eaton AutoShift 10 speed transmission
Somewhere between a tin tent and a finished product
Bus Project details: http://beltguy.com/Bus_Project/busproject.htm
Blog:  http://rvsafetyman.blogspot.com/
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« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2009, 11:30:22 AM »

Jim, I have question for you will the SliverLeaf work on the older DDEC's up to IV without resetting the clock when you lose power to the ECM 


good luck
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belfert
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« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2009, 11:53:27 AM »

Brian, I don't have a photo of the mounting.  Every monitor has a mounting surface on the back with four threaded holes.  I have had folks tell me that they used a wall TV mount.  My mount is quite custom because of my strange structure in the front.  If I had a more normal cabinet system, I would use a RAM mount (http://www.ram-mount.com/EmptyPages/COMPONENTS/BCOMPONENTS/tabid/1556/Default.aspx).  I use those in some installations and they are very sturdy and have a great deal of flexibility.  You would probably have to make a small adapter plate for the monitor bolt pattern.


I'm looking for the picture of the 15" monitor actually mounted in your bus.  I know you have posted it before, but my searching doesn't find it.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2009, 03:37:08 PM »

Brian, I did not have a photo of the monitor mounted in the bus.  I just went out and took a photo.  I did have a photo of the mounting brackets I made.  In the photos you will see two monitors.  One is for the VMSpc (center) and the other one is for a backup monitor.  I am in the process of changing the BU camera display system.  As I said, my overhead structure is quite different from most and my photos will probably not help folks much.  Like most areas of the bus, I fabricate stuff and then change it more likely than not.  When I am not sure about the first cut, it tends to be a bit clunky and that is what this installation is.  Works great, but could look a lot better.

Clifford, I have a few customers with DDEC II and the system seems to work OK from what I can tell.  DDEC I is a challenge.  Larry Jones was working on his, but I am not sure if he got it running.  DDEC I was quite different from the other generations and has limited sensors.  DDEC III has no problems.

Jim
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Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
85 Eagle 10/Series 60/Eaton AutoShift 10 speed transmission
Somewhere between a tin tent and a finished product
Bus Project details: http://beltguy.com/Bus_Project/busproject.htm
Blog:  http://rvsafetyman.blogspot.com/
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« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2009, 03:56:05 PM »

Jim,I was wondering if the clock came into play on the Sliverleaf as for retrieving data because the III doesn't have a battery back up. 


good luck

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belfert
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« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2009, 04:30:32 PM »

Brian, I did not have a photo of the monitor mounted in the bus.  I just went out and took a photo.  I did have a photo of the mounting

Okay, I was sure I saw a photo of your monitor setup before, but maybe it was somebody else or I am remembering your bus from last year when I saw it in person.

Does having the monitor so high up cause an issue with seeing the gauges without taking eyes off the road?
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
edroelle
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« Reply #12 on: November 24, 2009, 05:37:29 PM »

I recently bought a Silverleaf VmsPC from Jim.  I am impressed and have been playing with it a lot.  I wish I would have bought it sooner to diagnosis some problems or confirm no problems.

BTW, it does work with 64 bit Windows7

Ed Roelle
Flint, MI
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Busted Knuckle
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« Reply #13 on: November 25, 2009, 07:26:02 AM »

Quote from: rv_safetyman
BTW, I offer a discount to bus folks and you might want to write a letter to Santa Wink

Dear Jim Santa,
I have 6 buses running DDEC systems and 1 that doesn't. I desperately need 6 Silver Leaf systems, and 7 tire monitoring systems.
Grin  BK  Grin

PS I know you have an elf who is a fellow busnut and has these items, can you get him to package them up for your late night run on 12/24/09? Grin
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Busted Knuckle aka Bryce Gaston
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Grin Keep SMILING it makes people wonder what yer up to! Grin (at least thats what momma always told me! Grin)
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« Reply #14 on: November 25, 2009, 07:34:21 AM »

BK, recall that I have you on the ignore list because of your snide comments about Sonnie dragging me to Quartzsite Grin Grin

Also recall that Santa only brings presents to the kids on the nice list Wink

Jim
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Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
85 Eagle 10/Series 60/Eaton AutoShift 10 speed transmission
Somewhere between a tin tent and a finished product
Bus Project details: http://beltguy.com/Bus_Project/busproject.htm
Blog:  http://rvsafetyman.blogspot.com/
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« Reply #15 on: November 25, 2009, 08:00:01 AM »

Quote from: rv_safetyman
BK, recall that I have you on the ignore list because of your snide comments about Sonnie dragging me to Quartzsite Grin Grin
Jim

I merely was trying to offer assistance! (Honest! Shoot I like Detroits too, at least I hope I do! (5) 60 Series, (2) 8V92 DDEC's, & (1) 6V92 MUI)

Quote from: rv_safetyman
Also recall that Santa only brings presents to the kids on the nice list Wink
Jim

I been really, really good I promise just ask Sonnie & Don! (not Cody, or my Sister they are jealous of me! Grin)
Grin  BK  Grin
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Busted Knuckle aka Bryce Gaston
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Grin Keep SMILING it makes people wonder what yer up to! Grin (at least thats what momma always told me! Grin)
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« Reply #16 on: November 25, 2009, 08:38:05 AM »

My plan right now is to get a netbook and external monitor to run this on.  There is an online deal Friday morning where I hope to get a netbook cheap.  If not, they aren't that expensive.

Yes, one can use a cheap old ued laptop, but they are bigger and one could get stuck with a lemon.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #17 on: November 27, 2009, 08:54:32 AM »

I was able to get really good deal on a Netbook through a Black Friday sale at Newegg.  $190 total including shipping.  This has the larger 6 cell battery, but I will be using the AC adapter most of the time anyhow.  Now, any deals on the Silverleaf VMSpc?
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #18 on: November 27, 2009, 09:35:41 AM »

I was able to get really good deal on a Netbook through a Black Friday sale at Newegg.  $190 total including shipping.  This has the larger 6 cell battery, but I will be using the AC adapter most of the time anyhow.  Now, any deals on the Silverleaf VMSpc?

Call Jim and see if he's having a Black Friday Blow out opps Sale (since blow out and bus should not be used in the same sentence! Cheesy)
Grin  BK  Grin
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Busted Knuckle aka Bryce Gaston
KY Lakeside Travel's Busted Knuckle Garage
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www.kylakesidetravel.net

Grin Keep SMILING it makes people wonder what yer up to! Grin (at least thats what momma always told me! Grin)
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« Reply #19 on: November 28, 2009, 03:58:53 PM »

I am a little upset with myself.  I was looking Friday morning for a 15" LCD monitor on Craigslist to display my future VMSpc on.

Later in the day Friday I had to help with cleaning out old electronics at work again.  I realized I had thrown a working 15" LCD monitor in the recyling dumpster earlier in the week.  I pulled it out, but it was wrecked with a large scratch.  I could have had a free monitor!
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
John316
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« Reply #20 on: November 28, 2009, 04:33:47 PM »

Jim,

How does the Silverleaf connect to the engine computer? Is it the diagnostic plug up front? Does it come with the connectors?

Thanks...You might have another sale...soon Grin Grin Grin
God bless,

John
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Sean
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« Reply #21 on: November 28, 2009, 04:37:42 PM »

I was able to get really good deal on a Netbook through a Black Friday sale at Newegg. ...


If your plan is to mount a whole netbook (or any other general-purpose computer, complete with keyboard or mouse) near the driver area, make sure you either stay out of California, or have the machine disconnected and out of reach of the driver and co-pilot when you enter the state...

For anyone who has just a screen mounted in the driver area, with the controls elsewhere, I strongly recommend maximizing the VMS window (or filling the whole display with a split screen of VMS and your favorite map display, as Jim does), then "hiding" the Windows task bar so that it is not obvious the display is connected to a general purpose computer.

Outside of "authorized emergency vehicles" including law enforcement and fire apparatus, it is illegal to have a computer display anywhere in view of the driver or accessible either to the driver or front seat passengers anywhere in the state.  I suspect this may be true in a handful of other jurisdictions as well, but I am only positive about CA.

There is no exemption for mapping or engine management applications, unless they are on a dedicated device like a GPS or engine monitor (and not merely a window on a general-purpose computer).

FWIW.

-Sean
http://OurOdyssey.BlogSpot.com
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« Reply #22 on: November 28, 2009, 05:50:42 PM »

I'm planning to put the netbook on a sliding tray that goes into the dash so the Netbook is out of sight.  The only time it should have to come out is to power on or power off.  The display will be on an external monitor of some sort.

No plans to ever go to California unless I someday move out west.  Just too far to drive from Minnesota for the kind of trips I do.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #23 on: November 28, 2009, 05:57:37 PM »

How does the Silverleaf connect to the engine computer? Is it the diagnostic plug up front? Does it come with the connectors?

Yes, it connects to the diagnostics plug.  The software is "free" (Not really).  You are paying for the little box that interfaces between the diagnostics port and the PC.

A new version of VMSpc just came out this fall that uses USB to connect to the computer.  The original version was serial port based.  Silverleaf is selling recertified versions of the old serial based units with warranty, but the trick is they have to have people who trade in old units for the new ones.  I decided to just do the USB based one for full price since who knows if the recertified ones would ever be available.
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Brian Elfert - 1995 Dina Viaggio 1000 Series 60/B500 - 75% done but usable - Minneapolis, MN
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« Reply #24 on: November 28, 2009, 07:38:44 PM »

John, Brian gave you a good answer.  I have not found a motorhome that did not have a data port in front.  However, the Freighliner chassis folks really go out of their way to hide them Angry.  I believe that all buses with electronic engines have the data port in front with somewhat easy access, so that engine problems could be observed with a ProLink while the bus was driven.

If you have a DDEC III or later engine, it will have a round plug with either a 6 pin or 9 pin configuration.  I will need to know which you have (most probably it will be a 6 pin).  If you have a DDEC II it will have a rectangular 12 pin connector and you will need to make an adapter (not hard).  If you have a World transmission, the SilverLeaf will give you some information (temp and gear selected/attained) if it is prior to 2002.  If it is later than 2002 I have a workaround that I think will get you the same data.

Jim
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Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
85 Eagle 10/Series 60/Eaton AutoShift 10 speed transmission
Somewhere between a tin tent and a finished product
Bus Project details: http://beltguy.com/Bus_Project/busproject.htm
Blog:  http://rvsafetyman.blogspot.com/
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« Reply #25 on: November 28, 2009, 09:19:03 PM »

Thanks for the info, Brian.

Jim,

I figured it hooked into that port. Only problem is, I gotta troubleshoot our port, that is up front, because it doesn't work. That shouldn't be too hard though. I just need a little free time, which comes in precious little around here Grin. Say, maybe you have some, you could send me Grin Cheesy Grin

We have the Allison B500 tranny (around the late 90's, but I would have to double check). We also have the round plug, but I will have to check how many pins.

What is the best way to order, through your website?

God bless,

John
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« Reply #26 on: November 29, 2009, 08:35:39 PM »

Hi John, I am in the process of moving my website to a new host and had to take the e-store down for a while.  Also, I did not have a way in the e-store to do discounts.  Give me a call three zero three 478 3501 and we can get your order going when you are ready.

To troubleshoot the data port, you will need to check four wires.  The power connections are at "C" (positive) and "E" (negative).  Some ports have power wires that are hot all the time and some are on the ignition switch.  The two data wires are on terminals "A" and "B".  With the ignition on (ECM powered on) you should have about 3-5 volts from "A" to "E" and about .3 to .5 volts from "B" to "E".  Those voltages are ball park.  You will probably see the voltages fluctuate a bit when you are taking the readings - this is normal.

Jim
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Jim Shepherd
Evergreen, CO
85 Eagle 10/Series 60/Eaton AutoShift 10 speed transmission
Somewhere between a tin tent and a finished product
Bus Project details: http://beltguy.com/Bus_Project/busproject.htm
Blog:  http://rvsafetyman.blogspot.com/
belfert
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« Reply #27 on: November 30, 2009, 05:50:19 AM »

Jim, I'll have to call you in couple months when I am ready to order the VMSpc.  I spent all my money for the moment.
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