NOTE: This is the initial post for this project. The project is now nearing completion and a chronological list of posts associated with it can be found at the bottom of the page.
I have been experimenting with the Texas Instruments MSP430FR2xx microcontrollers and have selected it for a project I have been thinking about for a while. The objective is to develop an open source AIS Alarm that alerts sailors that a new marine vessel with AIS is within range. AIS (Automatic Identification System) is a tracking system for ships that gives information on among other things location, direction, and speed. It is required on vessels of 300 or more gross tonnage and all passenger ships. Below is a cartoon of what I have in mind:
The real magic is the open source AIS radio receiver dAISy. I have used them for a couple of projects. There are also dual channel and Raspberry Pi hat versions.
I intend to power the dAISy module with a USB power stick like the ones sold for cell phone recharging. This will allow it to be disconnected from a laptop which is the way I normally power dAISy and thus reduce power / lengthen the life of the laptop battery. dAISy has serial output and a 5V terminal. This will be used to power a MSP430FR2111, a buzzer and a LED which will be placed in an enclosure with the dAISy receiver. When a new vessel is detected the AIS signal will be entered into a ring buffer in FRAM and the alert issued from a buzzer and flashing LED. The dAISy can then be unplugged from the power stick and plugged into the USB port of a computer running OpenCPN or other suitable navigation software. There will be a button on the user interface that will squirt the AIS information (which is still there since we are using FRAM) over to the laptop so that the vessel can be located on the screen.
I prototyped this with a MSP430F5529 and am comfortable I can make everything work.
The dAISy receiver in this video is one I collaborated on with Adrian, the developer of dAISy, sometime back that has an Ethernet adapter. I plan to put the finished project in an enclosure as well.
This is a medium range project as I seem to have a lot going on right now. I am posting something now in the hope it will give me extra incentive to finish in a timely manner.
Update 17 June 2018: Here is a photo of the first "production run" of the version 1.0 boards.