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Old 10-09-2008, 11:48 AM
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Any one a electrical engineer or know digital electronics

I took a really cool concurrent digital electronics class in high school, and now for a college project, I want to apply it.

Basically I need a vehicle that will start in one spot completely stop 15 feet down, then fire some kind of projectile to land in a 6 inch circle... Of course theirs a bunch of rules and problems to get around - like getting it to go perfectly straight so its lined up with the target or its has to be done in 20 seconds, but nevermind that that will be easy.

So pretty much everyone is making a mechanical system that involves either springs, mouse traps, and screws with nuts.

I already made a mousetrap car in high school and I would really like to do something different.

My plan is to bread board a simple circuit that will count on/off - a pulse generator/clock, 0 1 0 1 0 1 etc.

Here's the quetion

I need some kind of circuit that will count those cycles, and then will flip on (1) after so many. I want to say I need some kind of J-K flip Flop thing or D-latch, but I cant remember what those do.

From this I can control a electric motor/firing system etc.

Any ideas?

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Old 10-09-2008, 01:23 PM
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Warrant,
the simplest way to do everything is with a off the shelf MICRO-PLC....

it has numerous timers/counters/shift registers/cam timers/etc/etc built in and around 16- 32 inputs and outputs available total combined....
get one with a few analog input/outputs capability and you can even steer the car and have "corrective" logic "sub-routines" to hit the target....(which is what they do use on Myth-Busters for remote car driving control)

you just program in the circuit logic and values and wire up the inputs/outputs to the terminal strip.....

most instrumentation and/or controls houses do have demo units...
ask if they will loan you one (and help with the programming) in return for their name on the car????

back when I was a regional mgr with Eagle Signal Controls, we supplied PLC systems on N/C loan to engineering schools for several student projects (they were fun!)....

so don't be shy about asking for help direct from any of the PLC manufacturers (AB/GE/SqD/etc),,,there are probably 20+ micro-plc mfg brands and any brand will work fine for your project...
(they are all mass produced off shore by about only 5 companies that work together to come up with a unique "brand" package)

Last edited by red65mustang; 10-09-2008 at 01:31 PM.
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Old 10-09-2008, 01:36 PM
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I agree with Red, some cheapo PLC will do for the processing, depending on what you drive it with a servo or stepper motor with encoder will give you the pulses.
Or use something like a red lion or dynapar RPG. Red lion also makes some small interfaces that you can direct feed. Limited I/O but you shouldn't need much.
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Old 10-09-2008, 01:52 PM
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digital Electronics

if I remember correctly for the count portion of this circuit you need a decade counter and you will only need to use the "1's" pin unless you count above 10,these chips have a pin for 1,10,100 and I believe you will need to use more counter chips if you count higher than 100.
On the J-K flip flop seems I remember that the out put is inverted(positive in...negative out) and it changes state on every input pulse.It has been 20 plus years since I worked with digital electronics so my memory is probably not what it should be ,but maybe this will point you in the right direction.

Kenny
Won't get fooled again.
Pete Townsend
The Who
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Old 10-09-2008, 02:36 PM
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forgot to post:

many/most do have RS232 and/or RS485 "live" control input/output plug in capability so if a simple communications wire to the car is allowed it's really easy and cheap to make it truly remote control for everything.....

here's the Eagle micro version to give you a idea of what we're talking about:

http://www.apptherm.com/ProductLines/Danaher/mx190.htm

Last edited by red65mustang; 10-09-2008 at 03:00 PM.
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Old 10-09-2008, 02:55 PM
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I agree, a cheap PLC is what you need. I have seen knock off's of Allen-Bradley SLC500's for around $200 brand new. The Allen-Bradley PLC5 is way overkill for what you want to do however.

Vince
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Old 10-09-2008, 03:50 PM
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Damn... 200 bucks Thats not going to work..

Im not even sure where to start to see if anyone has one around here to borrow

This thing has to fit in a 2x2ft square and cant be touched or radio controlled in any way after you set it off. It looks kind of big.
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Old 10-09-2008, 05:09 PM
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Digital countdown timer off the shelf with alarm will do the job. Hookup your stepper motor relay to the "start" button and your good to go. Alarm sets off your payload launcher and shuts down your drive motor.

Digital countdown timer.



Less than $20, PLC is way overkill for this simple project. More accuracy of position could be achieved with a stopwatch with millisecond readout. Depending on running surface, a tractor drive may provide better location accuracy.
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Old 10-09-2008, 05:51 PM
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check Ebay for used PLC's..


speaking of PLC's, my dad is thinking of using 1 to control the rotational headlights on his '66 Charger, to get rid of the 3 relay and point contact system.. they don't rotate now anyway.. says he may also use 1 for sequential taillights...
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Old 10-09-2008, 07:07 PM
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Warrent,
(duh!!!) I totally mis-read your post..
(vehicle means "car" to me, I thought you had to start it up and stop it and fire the projectile)

4Jaw is correct!!!!
all you need is a "interval" timer,,,,output is on while the timer is timing down (same as a microwave oven)
calculate your electric vehicle speed to know how many seconds to cover 15' and that's the setpoint....
alarm output (same as a microwave beeper) to fire the projectile and turn off the electric motor....

those are available in a plug in relay package with a pot or a plug in board package with dip switches as well as stand alone/keypad like 4-Jaw's in whatever DC volts the vehicle will use...
suggestion:
"hotwire" test the vehicle to know what timer range capability you actually need for 15',,,(10 seconds? 30 seconds? timer range) for more accuracy within the range

just so ya know:
there are much smaller and cheaper micro-plc's,,,
back then, Omron had a 12 I/O unit for about $100,,,today it's probably $50 and five times as capable!!!!

let us know if ya do hit the target!!!
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Old 10-09-2008, 11:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by red65mustang
Warrent,
(duh!!!) I totally mis-read your post..
(vehicle means "car" to me, I thought you had to start it up and stop it and fire the projectile)

4Jaw is correct!!!!
all you need is a "interval" timer,,,,output is on while the timer is timing down (same as a microwave oven)
calculate your electric vehicle speed to know how many seconds to cover 15' and that's the setpoint....
alarm output (same as a microwave beeper) to fire the projectile and turn off the electric motor....

those are available in a plug in relay package with a pot or a plug in board package with dip switches as well as stand alone/keypad like 4-Jaw's in whatever DC volts the vehicle will use...
suggestion:
"hotwire" test the vehicle to know what timer range capability you actually need for 15',,,(10 seconds? 30 seconds? timer range) for more accuracy within the range

just so ya know:
there are much smaller and cheaper micro-plc's,,,
back then, Omron had a 12 I/O unit for about $100,,,today it's probably $50 and five times as capable!!!!

let us know if ya do hit the target!!!
Oh yea a small little mobile device, guess I should have caught that considering this is a forum that has to do with vehicles

I remeber something called a PLD - Programmable Logic Device, were you would "burn" a circuit into the chip, I think some could even be reused. It was just a real small integrated chip.

The "car" has to stop in a stop zone and THEN fire, stopping an firing at the same time is risky. This is why I wanted a clock, then a simple circuit to count the pulses, because then I could use several of those, 1 to count to when to turn motor on, another to count to apply brake, and one release shooting mechanism. I suppose I could use several different timers. Could I have one timer trigger another timer? Also timers would be more edit-able.

Oh and its just running on a smooth basketball court.

Last edited by Warrant; 10-09-2008 at 11:23 PM.
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Old 10-09-2008, 11:26 PM
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Maybe I could just bread board a timer! come up with just a simple timer, or run like a 555 IC deal. Im really stuck on this bread boarding thing for control! haha
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Old 10-10-2008, 08:15 AM
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Warrent,
just gooogle: how to build a bread board timer

here's a pod cast video on how to build a time adjustable "on delay" (no output till the timer has timed out) board....which will work for waiting after stopping before firing the cannon....

http://blog.makezine.com/archive/200...d_elect_1.html

no need to daisy chain the timers, just 2 different timers (logic) types on a parallel circuit (start button iniates both):
first timer is a "off delay" timer, (motor is "on" till timed out) (like a cool down fan time cycle for home electric heat strips)... say for 16? seconds of vehicle travel time out of 20 allowed when you hit the start button...
second timer for the cannon is a "on delay" timer (no output till timed out) (like a drag strip tree lamp sequence) with a higher set point (18 seconds?) also initiated/started by the start button....

correction to my post: 4jaw's timer is a "off delay" not a "interval" timer
(I've killed way to many neurons, my brain is shot!)
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Old 10-10-2008, 10:50 AM
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If you want to go with an "Intellegent" electrionic solution you can investigate the PIC microcontrollers made by MicroChip (available through allied electronics and maybe digikey). The chip are real cheap, but the programing interface is $30-$50. May be able to find a cheaper solution to program.

This should give you enough I/O to turn a motor on/off, count (maybe with a hall effect switch? think HEI), and fire you projectile.

Might be a little bit of a learning curve, but definitly a fun project. You will also have to derive circuits for proper input/output to the microcontroller, which will probably be a few transistors.
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