Thoughts on Graphical/Visual Programming Languages

​I dont see a lot of information on personal blogs/diy projects regarding the use of Visual Programming Languages, but this is what I use in my current role as a Control System Engineer developing engine control and test systems. I actually call them graphical programming languages, so if I use the terms interchangably here then I’m actually talking about the same thing. We use visual programming languages for engine ECU control code and Test Cell control code (Simulink + Stateflow and Labview respectively). I believe graphical programming languages are pretty widely used in the automotive industry, and appear to have massive buy in from plenty of other industries too. I think its easy to see why.

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Separated Rotary Engine

This is a pretty interesting concept – very similar to a ‘split cycle’ engine – basically the rotary version. A split cycle engine has the benefit of being able to split the compression and expansion cycles of a traditional internal combustion engine. This allows for different geometries in the combustion and expansion chamber, allowing for things such as very high expansion ratios verses compression ratios, and also potentially volume combustion in the case of this particular engine.

It looks as though this engine would still suffer some of the difficulties of traditional rotary engines, but still a very interesting concept!

ESP8266 Successor – ESP32 released with CAN bus support 

So, the interesting little ESP8266 WiFi SoC finally has a younger brother which appears to be even more capable. Among other expansive updates, the 32 bit Dual Core microcontroller still supports WiFi, but also Bluetooth Low Energy, a DAC, many more ADCs, GPIO pins, etc. etc. Lots of good details here: 

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ESP8266 CAN Bus with MCP2515

I have just bought another ESP8266/NodeMCU development board cheapy from eBay (this one) with an ESP-12E chip on board. I’ve also bought an SPI-CAN bus interface with the common Microchip MCP2515 CAN controller to try and create a CAN-Wifi gateway.

The pinout for the ESP-12E NodeMCU board is apparently as below:
ESP-12E NodeMCU Pinout

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3SGTE Mk2 MR2 Turbo Lambda/Oxygen Sensor Part Number

I had real trouble finding a suitable alternative oxygen/lambda probe for my 1992 Rev 2 MR2 Turbo. I can’t find the original Denso part number at the moment, but I managed to find that a Denso DOX-0107 fits the flange size correctly and is 1-wire, it just requires soldering to the original connector. It’s got a Flange 44 type flange which apparently matches the 3SGTE.

I got it from

Duke Axial Engine

So a friend told me about the Duke Axial Engine the other day. It’s certainly a very interested idea and does produce some clever solutions to some of the fundamental complexities and disadvantages to the reciprocating internal combustion engine. I always like the idea of novel engine designs, and this one certainly looks like it has potential. Take a look at the video followed by some analysis after the break.

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