"The Thing" is the working title for a device developed by RAT that serves as
vastly versatile development platform. Limitless potential applications
can be imagined.
Do you require a handheld wireless remote control for your product?
Or a data display mounted inside a vehicle or factory? Do you need something
to send out control messages on a CAN or serial network? Or an
end-of-line tester? Do you need to datalog an analog parameter together
with GPS coordinates, print them out or send them out over the Internet
If so RAT may well be able to use "The Thing" platform to provide a solution
for a fraction of the cost of using your own engineers to
develop a project from scratch.
E-mail Robin Arnold:
- Low per unit cost.
- Very low power requirements.
- Very robust (designed with the truck trailer workshop floor in mind!).
- Small size.
- Easy to use. No complicated operating system to go wrong. Instant boot.
- Display easy to read in both direct bright sunlight and total darkness.
- Fast software development in C.
- Current choice of microcontroller has capacity for about 18,000 lines of
- Easily interfaced to vast range of devices.
- Off-the-shelf hardware or custom designed to your requirements.
- Tested working reliable quality design.
- Uses latest 40 pin PIC microcontroller (currently PIC 18F4685) with ample
- On-board 433 Mhz 10 milliwatt radio transceiver module provides 2 way
data communications at 10 Kbits/second.
- LED backlit LCD character display module (up-to 40x4 characters).
- 4 push switches for user control of software and data input.
- Piezo beeper.
- CAN network interface. ISO 11898 and ISO 11992 physical layers supported
off the shelf.
- High speed UART serial communications interface (switchable in software
between 3 different devices).
- Analog-to-digital inputs.
- General purpose I/O pins.
- Wide supply voltage range, from 6 volts to 50 volts.
- On-board charging option for PP3 NimH 9 volt battery.
- Software switchable LED backlighting to conserve power.
- Supply voltage monitoring enables low battery warning.
truck trailer diagnostic tool
Doctor Air Brake.
The above currently uses less than 50% of available ROM memory of the
currently chosen microcontroller, leaving an ample amount for ongoing
- Plugs into truck trailer to read fault codes and other diagnostic
information from anti-lock braking system and ABS Electronic Control Units.
- Currently supports Wabco ECUs using ISO 9141 diagnostic network
and Haldex ECUs using proprietary serial communications diagnostic network
for older ABS ECUs and CAN for EBS ECUs. Knorr Bremse diagnostics over
ISO 11992 currently being developed.
- Firmware contains small database of fault code descriptions so that
the tool can give the mechanic a meaningful description rather than just a
cryptic fault code.
- Unit also functions as two way radio remote control for portable truck
trailer light tester. Operators can connect light tester to front of truck
trailer and walk to back of vehicle and use unit to check operation of rear
lights. Wire colour and connector pin number descriptions given by tool.
Communications protocol provides complete integrity of control and
interoperability with future devices.
- Pneumatic air-brake response timer option available by pluging in external
pressure transducer. Measures both brake application and release time (as
well as functioning as a digital pressure gauge).
- Vast potential to develop support for other manufacturers and other
ECUs simply by updating firmware and developing new physical layer circuitry
to plug into HD15 connector.
- Thermal printer to produce per trailer hardcopies of air-brake response
- GPS and GPRS applications possible.
Off the shelf PCB available:
(c) 2008 Robin Arnold Technologies Ltd.
- 2 layer, through-hole component.
- 20mil tracks with 20mil clearance.
- Low via count. Good population density. Reasonably contiguous ground
plane for good Electro-Magnetic Conformance.
- Board size is 122mm x 67mm
- Good starting point for customised design. Significant scope for
minaturisation using surface mount components.