Long Time Delays

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by SinewaveMan, Jun 2, 2013.

  1. SinewaveMan

    Thread Starter New Member

    Apr 21, 2013
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    I have purchased a Velleman-kit (K6200) which offers "0 to 60 hour start/stop timer". It is really excellent for the requirement of long time delays. I will do significant modifications to use it as a intervalometer for my Panasonic FZ20 camera. One easy modification is to convert the output to a monostable, relatively short, pulse. If you require my current schematic I will send it. What I need is a method of calibrating long delays - like 1 hour to 24 hours. I have in mind to do something like a lap stopwatch, but triggered from an external source. I can write good VBA programs, but need assistance with a method of triggering the timer function. Can someone tell me how to trap a simple level change event from any of the following: Standard USB port, Ethernet port, Microphone input port. My laptop does NOT have serial RS232 or parallel printer ports.
     
  2. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    Welcome to AAC!

    A thread belongs to the OP (original poster). Trying to take over someone elses thread is called hijacking, which is not allowed at All About Circuits. I have therefore given you a thread of your very own.

    In addition, you have practiced the arcane art of necromancy, the revival of a long dead thread. Likely the OP (Original Poster) has solved his problem in the years that has passed, or thrown it away, or something.

    This was split from 24 hourTimer triggering a relay for 1 minute
     
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  3. t06afre

    AAC Fanatic!

    May 11, 2009
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    It would be better to dump that kit, and use a mirci-controller approach. But for this project do not use PICAXE. This will be a very accurate solution and since you have done some programming before it should be easy to adapt to micro-controllers
     
  4. KMoffett

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 19, 2007
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    Why not a PICAXE? Gut a battery powered desk /wall clock to get a tiny oscillator that outputs a very accurate 1-pulse-per-second or 1-pulse-per-2 seconds signal. Drive a PICAXE interrupt input. Program a count for whatever you want.

    Ken
     
  5. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
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    Or you could go for the 4060 solution, slightly more hardware but no programming involved...

    [​IMG]

    This is not the exact design you need, just very close. The diodes set the exact duration, when the 555 sets the on time.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2013
  6. SinewaveMan

    Thread Starter New Member

    Apr 21, 2013
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    Thanks Bill for the advice and starting a new thread; also to t06afre and Ken for comments. I stopped writing binary, assembler, fortran etc many years ago in favour of VB and VBA and don't relish the thought of going back. (Just lazy in old age I guess).

    Bill: your offered 4060 circuit is interesting as a concept. The 4536 as used in the Velleman kit does that all in one chip. I have modified the circuit a lot, added a 556 and 2 transistors, a simple RTL gate and a triac switch. This gives me the required timing plus a means of turning on a lamp for a few seconds before releasing the shutter. The fine adjustment for timing is analogue, and that's why I need to calibrate the whole thing - so need an accurate "counter/timer" as mentioned earlier.

    I will probably have to purchase a RS232 to USB converter cable but don't really want to spend unnecessarily. If I could detect "something" at the USB port without additional circuitry I would be happy!

    Any ideas?
     
  7. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
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    Or you can use a single mcu chip which will allow you to program in any delay from 1μs to 1M years.

    See my series of lessons in a blog on how to program the MSP430 to create a programmed delay:

    http://forum.allaboutcircuits.com/blog.php?b=543

    For an initial investment of $10 (used to be $4.30) you can get started, learn about mcu programming and have a lot of fun along the way.
     
  8. SinewaveMan

    Thread Starter New Member

    Apr 21, 2013
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    Thanks MrChips, but like I mentioned: I'm kind of past low level programming. Probaly forgotten most of what I learned way back then. Mostly quick, fairly accurate, cost effective (cheap - maybe?) results are what I'm after now.

    I just need to detect some kind of event at the USB (or ethernet) port whithout spending any more. Then I will do a counter type VB (VBA) application to calibrate my intervalometer, which is already half constructed and field tested.
     
  9. SinewaveMan

    Thread Starter New Member

    Apr 21, 2013
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    I think this belongs here - because it is an associated idea I have which someone may be able to help me with. If it belongs somewhere else then please move it and let me know.

    I want to measure the time (period) of long delay events generated by timers and related circuits. The times are from a few seconds to many hours. I have used "Audacity" to view the (square wave) input to the sound card. Because of AC coupling (and indeed the lower frequency limitation of the sound card), the resulting waveform is displayed as a differentiated pulse at each level transistion. With appropriate external filtering I can accurately determine the direction of level change and the exact time of the change. Using Audacity's zooming and editing features I can measure the time between transitions. When the periods are a number of minutes to maybe an hour or more (not yet tried), I can visually do the measurement. However you may understand that to measure (say) several hours may be difficult (if not impossible).

    Now, my idea is to "trap" the transition event(s) in VB or VBA and then write a trivial timer/counter application to display results. Please, can someone tell me how to "trap" those events from the sound card? I will write the rest of the application and share it, free of charge, with anyone who may be interested.
     
  10. t06afre

    AAC Fanatic!

    May 11, 2009
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    Why are you stubborn about not using a micro-controller. Not offended in ay way but quite puzzled. The days then you had to use assembler is long gone. And for the price. A full starter development kit do not cost much. As MrChips suggested a MSP430 is $10. You may also look at the Arduino platform. The way you want to things are quite awkward and clumsy.
    Just curious ;)
     
  11. KMoffett

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 19, 2007
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    I'm with t06afre. If you have any programing experience, the PICAXE with BASIC should be a piece of cake for you.
    All you need is one of these: http://www.picaxe.com/Hardware/PICAXE-Chips/PICAXE-08M2-microcontroller/
    Probably one of these, if you don't have a serial port (who does these days): http://www.picaxe.com/Hardware/Cables/PICAXE-USB-Download-Cable/
    Two or three resistors, depending on your pulse source and a 5VDC surplus wall wart, and the attached circuit made from a battery desk clock. You have all you need to test, count, and report to VB the time between input pulses down to +/- 1 second intervals.

    Ken
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2013
  12. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
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    It's a real shame that there are folks into electronics who just refuse to learn how to use microcontrollers for one reason or another. They just don't know what they are missing.

    I once knew an electronics tech who grew up with vacuum tubes and just refused to learn about transistors. Then when integrated circuits came along he had to go through the same trauma of making the transition. Then came along microprocessors. He quit at that point.

    At the risk of giving away my age, I grew up with vacuum tubes. One of my first home built projects was a darkroom timer using a 6SN7 tube.
     
  13. KMoffett

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 19, 2007
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    Sorry, SinewaveMan. A lot of us have been through the technological transitions that MrChips refered to. Once you step over a threshold, it's hard to see why anyone would want to stick to the old, more complicated hardware.

    So I still stand by my suggestion. :)

    (Mine was a single vacuum tube, VHF super-regen receiver. ;) )

    Ken
     
  14. SinewaveMan

    Thread Starter New Member

    Apr 21, 2013
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    Hi all. Thanks for your interest in my quest.

    Not stubborn - just exercising a long-ago learned culture of "fix or salvage" as opposed to "throw away and buy a new one". Except for the 4536, everything else is from my scrap box(es), including hardware: faceplates, knobs etc. I must admit the 68xxx is a bit difficult to get off the PC board, so I bypassed that one - btw the token ring controller I designed, built and programmed with a full set of on-board ISO layers 1 to 5 still works; the 2 Mbyte RAM required an extra daughter board!.

    My early experiences are still fascinating to me in view of the steps I have followed to the present. I can confidently say "been there, done that, got too many T-shirts!".

    My first was a single valve HF regen (around 35 Mhz). Later modified to a single channel (bang-bang) RC boat control receiver. Won a few international races with it.

    Other exploits: too many to bore you with (remember the Mullard 5-10 and packet radio?) - but suffice to say that I taught so many students at college the arts of GOOD microprocessor/computer design that I now relax with my scraps and salvaging. Semi retirement does that to you!

    Now here's the challenge: "Anyone know how to trap . . . . . . . . . "?
     
  15. SinewaveMan

    Thread Starter New Member

    Apr 21, 2013
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    At the risk of further "necromancy", here is my (possibly) final comment on this thread: I have successfully managed to measure long time delays for my intervalometer using an audio analyser application on my PC. If anyone is interested I can write a brief tutorial showing how. If two or more positive replies are received then I will do it.
     
  16. THE_RB

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
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    I'd like to see how you did it. :)

    I'd like to see how you did it. :)
     
  17. SinewaveMan

    Thread Starter New Member

    Apr 21, 2013
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    Hahahaha! Well done - OK, I will prepare a little tut for it.
     
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  18. JoeJester

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 26, 2005
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    If the poster was going to attempt to market an idea ... yes, by all means recommend the most current topologies and components. If they are doing it for their own gratification, let them work with whatever they want.

    I repaired equipments designed in the 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s. Beam Switching Tubes were in the divider circuits, phanastron oscillators were used in another suite of equipments, chopper relays distributed error signals, and the ever present vacuum tube multivibrators. Servos were quite common. If someone wanted to build a divide by 10 circuit using a beam switching tube ... good for them. Maybe they want the personal challenge associated with such a design.

    It certainly would be for an eccentric client if they wanted a phanastron oscillator circuit. :D

    The 741 still rears it's head ... why? ... because that is the most studied OP Amp out there. It's the easiest one to see op amp parameters. I believe that is why it's the premier chose of most of the students out there ... they are familiar with it. It would behoove the instructors out there to cite their specifications in a way that the student must choose something other than the 741.
     
  19. SinewaveMan

    Thread Starter New Member

    Apr 21, 2013
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    I don't know if this is the correct way to submit a tutorial. If not, please adjust and let me know.

    I really want to write a delay timer application. Please tell me how to trap those pulses as events in a VB program.

    Any questions: I'll be happy to answer as best I can.

    Best wishes to all for the festivities and celebrations at this time.
     
  20. THE_RB

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 11, 2008
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    It's probably best submitted as a forum thread? Some people don't like to open PDFs and in it's owm thread other people can contribute opinions and suggestions etc. It can also be searched for on the forum search or google search which are great at finding thread names. :)
     
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