Multiple Items on One Switch?

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by macintosh1097, Oct 24, 2012.

  1. macintosh1097

    Thread Starter New Member

    Mar 18, 2012
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    Hi all,
    Every year I put up a Christmas Village and it's getting to be that time again. The village has about eight battery operated units which you have to pick up and turn over to switch on and off every time you want the village on or off. This has gotten to be very annoying so I wanted to make a circuit that would turn all of the battery operated units on and off by one switch. Each unit though has different amount of AA batteries, one has 2, one has 3 etc. So how would I go about doing this?

    Thanks!
     
  2. tracecom

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 16, 2010
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    It depends upon how the AA batteries are connected. If they are connected in parallel, then the entire village is powered by the same voltage: 1.5V. But if they are connected in series, the 2 cell houses use 3 volts and the 3 cell houses use 4.5 volts. Do you know which way they are connected?
     
  3. KJ6EAD

    Senior Member

    Apr 30, 2011
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    Switch the common ground bus.
     
  4. macintosh1097

    Thread Starter New Member

    Mar 18, 2012
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    I'm not sure if the batteries are run in parallel or series. I believe that they are run in series, though I will have to check. I believe the voltage is on the bottom of each house, but if not how could I tell?
     
  5. kc5tpa

    Member

    Sep 21, 2012
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    Agree with the above. Wire the grounds together and switch that on and off. Then how many batteries and to which load (house) won't matter.
     
  6. kc5tpa

    Member

    Sep 21, 2012
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    A picture may help with trying to see an easy way to tie the ground/common/negatives together.
     
  7. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
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    Are the lights incandescent or LED? If incandescent the single common ground switch ain't gonna work: the 3 AA batteries will try to charge into the 2 AA units. Even with all the same batteries the strong ones will try to charge the weak ones.

    Adding one common ground switch adds a sneak path.

    If I was doing this I'd chuck all the batteries and add a 4.5V wall wart. That can power the 3 AA battery units directly. The 2 AA battery units would need a resistor to drop a volt and a half, or just use two diodes in series for those not blessed with a multimeter to calculate the resistor.

    Wire em all together, then just plug the wart in when Christmas joy is in order.

    (Someone want to search out the availability of 4.5V warts and take a guess at the current he needs?)
     
  8. tracecom

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 16, 2010
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    If I was going to the trouble of wiring all the lights together, I would take the opportunity to convert them to LEDs. My wife's toy houses use incandescent bulbs and mains power, and I have considered converting them to LEDs, and power them with low VDC.
     
  9. macintosh1097

    Thread Starter New Member

    Mar 18, 2012
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    I checked all five units and they all run in series. The total voltages for each one would be (1) 1.5v, (3) 4.5 v, and (2) 3v. That adds to six total because the one unit has to separate circuits. I can't switch to LEDs because not all of them are incandescent lights. One unit is a fiber optic fountain, one has 9 very tiny incandescent lights, one unit has fiber optics and LEDs, one again is very tiny LEDs and the final one is actually a motor that spins with a flashing LED.
     
  10. KJ6EAD

    Senior Member

    Apr 30, 2011
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    :eek: That's right.
     
  11. tracecom

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 16, 2010
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    Then, you will need separate switches for each set of batteries. It can be done with relay(s); you will need one set of contacts for each set of batteries. This can be a single relay with six sets of contacts, or multiple relays with a total of six sets of contacts. And you will need a power source for the relay coil(s). Alternatively, you could build a small DC power supply with three separate voltage outputs: 1.5V, 3V, and 4.5V. Just think of how much you would save on AA batteries.
     
  12. macintosh1097

    Thread Starter New Member

    Mar 18, 2012
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    I don't think I really want to get into all of that, so I'll just have a separate switch for each voltage. I'm pretty sure I figured out what I have to do and all.

    Thanks for all your help!
     
  13. kc5tpa

    Member

    Sep 21, 2012
    48
    3
    Glue a bar to all the switches and glue another bar to all the boxes, then you can shift the bar one way for on, and the other way for off.
     
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