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Old Jun 24, 2015, 03:09 PM
thnilsen is offline
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Joined Nov 2004
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DIY retract sequencer and LED controller

I was silly enough to think that it was a good idea to make my own retract sequencer and LED controller for my Hawker Tempest build. Time will tell if I was right or not...

The idea is to have one combined controller for both lights and retract sequencer. As I found very little other DIY or open/free projects relating to retract sequencer I thought it might try and document the progress here in case someone else would like to use build one - or just offer suggestions. I'm no professional programmer or hardware designer, so bear with me as there are bound to be a bunch of mistakes and errors along the way.

The idea is to use a Arduino Nano as the base for the controller. The following functions are planned:
  • 7 individual servo channels
  • 5 individual LED channels (4 x 1 LED + 1 x 4 LEDs).
  • Full control of both delay and speed on all servos
  • Blink rate of all LEDs (should allow high power LEDs to use little Ah)
  • 3 channel input for control
  • Input voltage will be 2-3S LiFe/LIPO since Arduino requires +6v or more
Components used so far are are few and cheap:
  • 1 x Arduino Nano v3
  • 5 x 2N2222A NPN transistor
  • 5 x 1K ohm resistors (SMD in v5)
  • Some headers and servo pin connectors
  • Some LEDs and some resistors depending on requirements.

The code lived on https://github.com/thnilsen/ardu-gear-led-controller if anyone wants to take a look. The design has been done in Fritzing which can be downloaded as controller.zip below. The code still needs quite a bit of work. At the moment most of the work has been done with the servo part. RX control of LEDs is incomplete. I will most likely also have to add some components for filtering the servo signals as I'm getting some jitter with certain servos. Anyone got any good suggestions on how to do that best?

This is a made up PCB of v3 which had a some minor routing faults. But this is the card I'm using for the development at the moment. I have a few more boards available if anyone wants to have a go at this and help out with the development. I'll send them for free.
Name: Hardware v3.jpg
Views: 10
Size: 664.0 KB
Description: Hardware of retract and LED sequencer v3.

Breadboard mock-up.
Name: Breadboard.png
Views: 13
Size: 279.7 KB
Description: Breadboard layout.

Schematics v5
Name: Schematics.png
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Size: 143.3 KB
Description: Schematics

PCB v5 - This has not yet been tested in real life..
Name: PVB-v5.png
Views: 6
Size: 222.0 KB
Description: PCB v5 of retract sequence and LED controller

That's it for now... more to follow later.

- Thomas
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Old Jun 25, 2015, 01:34 AM
pierrotm777 is offline
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Nice job, Thanks for this share
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Old Jun 26, 2015, 04:48 PM
thnilsen is offline
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Did some work on the code and found the bug causing the servo jitter.

I've posted a video of how the sequencer can be setup. The video shows 7 servos and 3 LEDs (4 really but one of them blew due to too high current).

DIY Retract Sequencer & LED controller (0 min 54 sec)


- Thomas
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