Spydar II


This is a circuit monitoring device. It runs for over 10 days and can log up to 32k events both digital and analog. Samples are logged either on a timing basis (.01 to 2.5 seconds), or on a triggered basis. Four inputs are provided, up to three of which can be analog.

All setup and configuration is done via a terminal program. Once configured, the device can run stand-alone monitoring a circuit. The device can then be connected back to a terminal program for data retrieval.

The original SPYDAR device is shown for reference purposes HERE.

Any terminal program can be used to communicate with this device. Plug a standard DB-9 cable into the onboard connector and 8-24 volts into the power connector. Set the baud rate for 19200, full duplex, no parity, one stop bit and no hardware or software handshaking. (Note: only lines 2,3 and 5 are used for this function.)


Stand Alone Mode

The same DB-9 connector is used in the stand-alone mode. Simply make up a cable using a DB-9 male connector and any type of clips, connectors, or leads that you need. (Click on image above to see an example). In this mode, the connections are as follows:

pin-5 Ground
pin-7 8 to 24 Volts
pin-1 Input #1
pin-6 Input #2
pin-9 Input #3
pin-8 Input #4

(You will probably want to configure the unit for your specific use: see instructions below)

When power is applied to the unit with no computer connected, the LED flashes rapidly. This is the standby mode. Holding down the button for over 2 seconds causes the LED to go out. The unit is now armed and will react to changes in any of the 4 input lines (in the trigger mode), or just start storing (in the timing mode). After that, any event will cause a brief flash.

The data will be stored until one of the following occurs:

1. The 250 hour time limit is reached.
2. The 32k maximum events are stored.
3. The unit is powered off.

Once the data is captured, just disconnect it from the circuit you are testing. Then connect the unit to your computer running a terminal program and connect power to the units power connector. The device will sign on with something like...

Vers 2.1: Echo=OFF Dly=1 Trig=ON Ana=0

(Note: your serial cable must be connected before being powered up. The device uses the signal level to go into communications mode automatically)

Once here you have the following commands available. Use a single space between the command and any parameters.

INITIALIZE     Set Defaults and Erase EEPROM.
STAT           Show current configuration.
ECHO ON/OFF    Turn on live data feed to computer
DELAY n        Set delay factor for storage (1-255)
TRIGGER ON/OFF Enable trigger on event (otherwise time)
ANALOG 0-3     Set for 0,1,2, or 3 analog channels
STORE          Begin storing events (live mode)
EVENTS         Display the number of events stored.
DUMP           Dump all stored data.
(Any key)      Abort Store or Dump

The INITIALIZE, DUMP, and STORE operations can be aborted (eventually) by hitting any key (several times usually).

Before using the device, use the above commands to configure the operation. There are two modes of storing data: TRIGGER ON to store only when one of the Digital inputs changes. TRIGGER OFF to store samples based on the DELAY setting. Delay 1 takes samples at 100 per second. Delay 10 takes 10 samples, and Delay 250 takes on every 2.5 seconds.

Once your unit is configured, disconnect it from the computer and connect it to the circuit you wish to monitor, connect the power, and hold the button for 2 seconds to start storing.

When done logging the data, connect it back to the computer.

Normally, you should set up your terminal program to capture incoming data and use the DUMP command. Once the data stops calming in, save the file to disk. The data is formatted one line per event as follows ...

nnnnn hhh mm ss.tt d1 d2 d3 d4

nnnnn = event number
hhh   = hours
mm    = minutes
ss    = seconds
tt    = ticks, hundredths of a second
d1-4  = 0 or 1 for digital, 3 digits for analog

This data can be input into many data base or spreadsheet programs by specifying space as the delimiter for import. You may also just examine the file in a text editor.


Live Connect Mode

Another way to use the device is connected to your computer and the circuit you are monitoring at the same time. To do this, you will have to create an adapter as follows.

DB-9(male)       DB-9(fem)
<spydar>         <computer>

  1-- test1        1
  2----------------2 (recv)
  3----------------3 (xmit)
  4 n/c            4
  5-- test gnd ----5 (gnd)
  6-- test2        6
  7 (aux power)    7
  8-- test4        8
  9-- test3        9

With this setup, do the following.

INITIALIZE to clear the EEPROM memory and set
defaults.  This should only needed to be done once.

ECHO OFF  To store data in EEPROM and DUMP it later.

ECHO ON  To send data directly to your computer.

STORE to begin storing or sending data.
(Any key) to stop storing.

DUMP to send data to your computer if you had
selected ECHO OFF mode.

This process can be repeated as needed. Note that the devices pin-5 needs to be used for both the test ground connection and the computers ground.

Here are the files you need to produce this device. The SOURCE file is for reference only. It conforms to the Tech-Tools (Parallax) format we use here. The HEX file is fully compatible with any type of PIC programmer and can be used as-is. You are also welcome to use the provided LAYOUT along with the PARTS placement images and the SCHEMATIC - all provided in GIF format.

Note: the 'pull down' resistors on the inputs are not specified. They are mounted in a DIP socket so that different values can be changed out for various voltage levels. Currently, we are using 10k for the series resistors and 100k for the pulldowns. This makes the unit usable anywhere from 5 to 50 volts digital on the four inputs.

For analog inputs, you want to select a pair of resistors to divide the voltages down to the 0 to 5 volts range that the PIC can read.