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toozie21

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Posts posted by toozie21

  1. How does the story get "told" now?  You said the nativity blowmold turns on in sequence and the star raises...is it just a sequence of events that tells the story (without narration, or text on a wall, or anything)?  I'm just trying to get a mental picture of what it is now.

    I have a video, but I need to get it onto youtube first.  You basically have the idea though:

    *All is off

    *Mary/Joseph and farm animals come on

    *Jesus comes on

    *The start turns on and then I pull it to its height

    *The shepard and his sheep come on

    *Lastly the wisemen and a camel come on

    *Then they all turn off and the star resets itself

     

    The whole process takes about 55 seconds to go through the progressions.

     

    Yeah, I was trying to workout something for the pages turning, but it seems like it might be too complicated.

     

    The scrim idea is really interesting.  I hadn't heard that term, but I know the effect you are talking about.  I will definitely have to look that up!

  2. This year I automated my blowmold nativity so that it turns on in sequence to tell the story (along with a star that physically gets raised).  I think for next year I need to physically tell the story along with the animation to complete the setup, but I am struggling with how to go about it.

     

    One thought I had was an outdoor projector that when triggered would show different slides that told the story, but I am having trouble finding projectors that can do that (as opposed to just showing a single slide all the time).

     

    Another thought was to have a large book (think 3ft tall) that have the pages be physically turned.  I like this idea the best, but I think logistically that could be really tough, and I worry about the wind catching the pages and making it hard on the motor (not sure what the pages would be made out of, wood, coro, etc.).

     

    I also thought about having an MP3 player broadcast the story (I am not broadcasting anything right now), but I am not sure I want to set everything up for a 60sec  of repeating sound, and then I have to worry about switching "tracks" when the microcontroller goes to the next stage.

     

    Lastly, I thought about normal signs that have lights that come on at each stage.  This is pretty easy and wouldn't be much of a step to get to there from what I have, but I think that the signs would be pretty readable even when their light is off, so it isn't super appealing to me.

     

    Anyone have other thoughts?  Just trying to give myself something to noodle over during my commutes.

  3. According to the TI datasheet, the maximum emitter current (that's the sum of all the channels) is 2.5A worst case. They also spec maximum die temperature so that's the second limit on power dissipation.

    /mike

    Doh! Not sure how I missed that!  You are right.  I looked through the specs, but I am not sure what phrase I was looking for, whatever it was, it wasn't that.

     

    Thanks for pointing to it!

  4. I have a carousel that is a number of years old that only seems to want to only go in reverse these days.  It doesn't have any twists in it and it inflates fine.  I had it setup in my garage and let it run for 2 days straight and it still had the issues, so I am not sure what to do.

     

    I've read that there is a sensor that tries to determine if there is a kink and will go in reverse to untwist it, so maybe that sensor is broken.  I have stopped/started it numerous times, so it doesn't appear to be realizing that everything is OK.  

     

    My thought is to reverse the power to the motor to force it to go the other direction (if it is indeed stuck going the one direction), but I haven't taken apart a carousel before, so I am not sure where to start.

     

    Does anyone have a different approach to take, or have done a similar thing to the motor?

  5. Basically, the snow machine will be supplying a constant 12V, when I don't want the snow machine to run, I pass that through.  When I want it to run, I need to pass 5V through (which I plan to make via an LDO).  What I am going to use to make the distinction is the opto-isolator detecting AC voltage on a section of the display.

     

    So when the output of the opto is low, I need to put out 5V from my little breakout board.  When the opto is high (I could pull it up to 5V or 12V), I need to pass the 12V out of my board.

     

    I am a little stumped on how to handle that.  I can invert the output of the opto-isolator which will clean things up some and mean it is active high, but I am not sure how to select between the two voltages.  Maybe something like an analog mux (or is there something more basic that could work)?

     

    Any suggestions?

     

    In case anyone stumbled upon this thread looking for a similar answer, I ordered a Maxim MAX4544 SPDT analog switch to solve this.  I haven't had a chance to test it out, but I can't imagine why it wouldn't work.

  6. David, Not sure if you are still lurking about, but I am back to working on this (though I would love to hear anyone's input).

     

    As I dive into the snow machine I want to control, I have a better understanding of how its inner controls work that I need to replicate.  

     

    Basically, the snow machine will be supplying a constant 12V, when I don't want the snow machine to run, I pass that through.  When I want it to run, I need to pass 5V through (which I plan to make via an LDO).  What I am going to use to make the distinction is the opto-isolator detecting AC voltage on a section of the display.

     

    So when the output of the opto is low, I need to put out 5V from my little breakout board.  When the opto is high (I could pull it up to 5V or 12V), I need to pass the 12V out of my board.

     

    I am a little stumped on how to handle that.  I can invert the output of the opto-isolator which will clean things up some and mean it is active high, but I am not sure how to select between the two voltages.  Maybe something like an analog mux (or is there something more basic that could work)?

     

    Any suggestions?

  7. I am once again prepping my big homemade Christmas Countdown to go out and am going through the yearly (and then throughout the season) process of replacing bad minis that have blown on it.  I switch cut-down strings of minis with 24VAC (10 minis per string).  I have a lot of bulbs go out and I think that there is either a voltage spike when changing the numbers (maybe noise on the line too), or an inrush when the numbers change.  One of the particularly painful issues is that when the bulb blows, ~80% of the time, the shunt doesn't short it and the whole segment goes down and I have to trouble-shoot in the cold/dark when I get home from work.

     

    It doesn't seem to happen more often with the seconds digits, than days digits, so I am a little stumped.

     

    I thought about putting a resistor on the return path to deaden the current through the individual strings a bit, but that would end up being a 24W resistor, and that isn't feesible.

     

    Anybody have some ideas to help keep me sane this year?

  8. Where is a good place to buy a geared pulley or large gears to make a rotating item for a santa tracker? I have been looking on ebay with limited luck, I either find a gear and belt or a belt or a small gear alone

    I had a similar issue for mine.  I ended up making mine out of a PVC toilet flange due to inexpensive cost and its durability compared to other options.  Yuo can see some of it here: http://tooz.us/northpolecommandcenter.html

  9. They easily could be.  It is at least the same design, though a decent umbrella is probably more robust than this (but I cheapo one might have the exact same insert).

  10. OK gotchya.  Have fun and be safe.  Post again if you have any questions.

     

    Something I meant to post earlier, this can help visualize the movement needed for the radar: http://www.robives.com/mechanisms/crank

     

    You can imagine the circle is attached to the wiper motor (in my case it is a piece of steel sticking out, not a circle), and then it can connect to your rotating piece (PVC flanges for me in this case, lazy susans in some of my other stuff) and it can rotate back and forth while going in a constant circle.

  11. I want to make some brackets to screw into a pvc pipe to make a spot for an axle to go through. the axle will be half inch bolts and will be bolted to the bracket on half and will be fixed on the other half (the bracket will rotate around it). This will be for a tiny conveyor belt display I am making.

    I know I can get flat bar from Home Depot, but it is way thicker than is necessary. Any idea what could be used instead that wouldn't be such overkill?

    I

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