Help getting started.

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by Carp, Feb 29, 2012.

  1. Carp

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 29, 2012
    9
    0
    Hey there everybody!

    Let me start by saying... I hope I have posted this in the correct forum.

    I want to start a project for mixing drinks. Yes ....Mixing drinks.

    I would like to have a series of solenoid valves. On the top end of the valve, I will have liquor's and at the bottom end all the tubes will come together to pour in a pint glass. (of whatever size)

    I will need to connect all the valves to a computer which will have custom software to tell each valve when to open, how long, etc...

    Can someone help me get started on this? What are the best solenoid's for this? I think, becuase it's mostly just math, I can write the software in BASIC? Do I need to put pressure on the bottles or just flip them upside down and let gravity do it's work?

    Any help or suggestions are greatly appreciated!

    Thank you.
     
  2. crutschow

    Expert

    Mar 14, 2008
    13,056
    3,245
    You want a solenoid value that is rated for drinking water use, such as those in refrigerators..

    Getting an accurate measurement is a concern. If you use gravity it well depend upon how full the bottle is. You could pressurize them all to a known pressure, which would make the flow more consistent. The pressure would have to be high enough to make pressure from gravity negligible. It wouldn't have to be high since gravity only gives about 0.43psi per foot of depth for water.

    So I take it you type in the type of drink you want and it is automatically mixed. Some bars might like that. I would think you would also want to automatically add water to the mix.
     
  3. jrm

    Member

    Oct 11, 2011
    38
    2
    I think I would try some method of sensing liquid levels in thge mix cup instead of relying on on/off valve timing. A peristaltic pump would also be an option but you would need one for every type of mix.
    How important is cross contamination? Will residual Scotch in a tube ruin a martini?
     
  4. Carp

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 29, 2012
    9
    0
    Thanks for the quick reply!

    I am just brainstorming right now. I did not think about the change of flow for when the bottles are emptying.

    Yes, I would like to have liquors, mixers, soda, and of course, water to be dispensed.

    Any hardware recommendations?
     
  5. Carp

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 29, 2012
    9
    0
    Maybe by weight?

    I don't know though because if adding ice, the weight will always be different...unless you take the weight after the ice is added.

    I also think using weight could mess up easily if someone touches the glass while its mixing.

    Any other suggestions?

    Thanks!
     
  6. Carp

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 29, 2012
    9
    0
  7. BSomer

    Member

    Dec 28, 2011
    433
    106
    You can use the outputs of the programmable to drive transistors and/or relays. I think that if you are going to use some sort of pressurized system, the 1/4" tubing will be sufficient for your needs. I did a similar project for my final in school which had 1/4" tubing coming off pumps to dump water into cups on a conveyor belt. The water flow was really good for the size.
     
  8. Carp

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 29, 2012
    9
    0

    What do you mean "the programmable?"
     
  9. Carp

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 29, 2012
    9
    0
    I'm sorry. Maybe I am getting in over my head? I am new to this.

    I am trying to research as much as possible.
     
  10. gerty

    AAC Fanatic!

    Aug 30, 2007
    1,153
    304
    Reminds me of a device a friend had years ago. It was a "Kar Bar", from a cooler in the trunk, it would pump the booze to the front of your car. UUnder the dash there was a lever type switch and a rotary selector switch. You would turn the selector to which type of booze you wanted , push your cup up against the lever switch, and it would pump the fluid forward. The pumps were like winshield washer pumps, with a hose input that was inserted into the bottle through a rubber stopper.
    All of this with no regard to drinking and driving, and yes he lost his system when he crashed his '64 Imala into a tree.
    It worked horribly with beer!!
     
  11. Carp

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 29, 2012
    9
    0
    Windshield washer pumps may be a good idea.

    I just need to figure out how to control them.
     
  12. BSomer

    Member

    Dec 28, 2011
    433
    106
    I was referring to the use of a microcontroller. You can probably get away from the microcontroller and just use various discrete components. However, using a microcontroller will make it easier to communicate from your input device (PC?) to your drink mixer.
     
  13. Carp

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 29, 2012
    9
    0
  14. BSomer

    Member

    Dec 28, 2011
    433
    106
    Yes an arduino will work, I have one but have not got to play around with it too much. The programming of it is fairly simple and there is a ton of resources out there for help.

    I think that you are correct in that you will need another board / breadboard / protoboard / whatever to connect the solenoids to. This would be necessary because the arduino cannot supply the voltage/current needed for all the solenoids.
     
  15. Carp

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 29, 2012
    9
    0
    And if I'm not mistaken....The breadboard would be powered differently to power the solenoids?

    Thanks.
     
  16. BSomer

    Member

    Dec 28, 2011
    433
    106
    Correct. The breadboard will have its own power supply connected to it for the solenoids and whatever else you want to control with the arduino. The arduino can supply power to low current devices at 5VDC and extremely low current devices at 3.3VDC. Though I would not recommend powering anything with the 3.3 voltage rail on the arduino, just use it as a reference voltage on some projects.
     
  17. @android

    Member

    Dec 15, 2011
    178
    9
    I guess first a raw architecture should be defined...may be a block diagram or so. Then we can look for desired components or hardware.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2012
  18. jrm

    Member

    Oct 11, 2011
    38
    2
    An ultrasonic range finder might be a good non-contact method of sensing the surface level of the fluids.
     
Loading...