Object detection circuit help

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by Poetsmantra, Oct 27, 2012.

  1. Poetsmantra

    Thread Starter New Member

    Apr 29, 2010
    3
    0
    Hello all,

    I have a small project that I am in need of assistance with. I'll try to make this as easy to understand as possible..

    In my kitchen island I built a beer bottle chute. This chute dumps into a container in my basement for collection. What I would like to do is have a simple notification system in place that lets me know when the container is full. My plan is to put a Red/Green LED in the island next to the opening. It will remain green until the bin is full thus changing to red. I want this to be as simple as possible so I would like to use a garage door safety sensor mounted to the bin for detection.

    I am sure this is laughably simple to design but I just haven't the electrical knowledge at this level!

    Thank you!

    Josh
     
  2. SPQR

    Member

    Nov 4, 2011
    379
    48
    Howdy,
    Hmmmmm...counting beer bottles....interesting idea.:)

    Let's start with some general concepts, and see which one you like best.

    1. Counting as they descend through the chute into the terminal container.
    HERE's one counter.
    HERE's a honey bee counter.
    HERE's something a bit more complex.

    2. Detecting the space occupied by the container with and without bottles.
    Microwaves, xrays, ultrasound.

    2. Observing the weight of the container.
    Use a flex or pressure sensor combined with an Arduino and have the light go on when a certain value is reached.

    Make a little gadget that you put under the container. The gadget is a "pressure sensor" made up of a SPDT micro switch, a lever and a spring. The spring is adjusted to allow the switch to change state at a certain weight. Two LEDs would be upstairs, the green is always on (NC switch activated), and when the switch changes state, a red one comes on.
    You need - 2 pieces of wood, a hinge, a spring, some metal pieces, a microswitch a 9 volt wall wart, two 330Ω resistors, two LEDs and some wire.

    3. Purchase a dog.
    Train the dog to run downstairs every 10 minutes, if the container is not full, the dog runs back upstairs and barks once. If the container is full, the dog will bark twice.

    My favorite would be #3, but the more practical is in blue.
    :D

    Let's see what others might suggest...
     
  3. Sensacell

    Well-Known Member

    Jun 19, 2012
    1,134
    268
    I would say this could be "laughably simple" of "fiendishly difficult"
    depending on what your definition of "full" is, the variation of the objects to be disposed, and the size and shape of the receiving bin.
     
  4. spinnaker

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 29, 2009
    4,887
    1,019
    The only good empty beer bottle container is a full beer bottle container anyway. :)

    Why not the same kind of infrared detector that is used on self serve checkout counters at the supermarket?
     
  5. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
    12,452
    3,371
    Geez. How many bottles of beer do you go through in a day?
    It would seem to me like an easy chore to take the bottles down to the basement.
     
  6. spinnaker

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 29, 2009
    4,887
    1,019
    Or do away with the bottles (probably more environmentally friendly) and install a keg and tap into an old refrigerator. My uncle had this. His neighbor did one better. He had a porch next to his garage. Refrigerator in the garage with a hose leading to the wall, a tap in the wall with his easy chair under the tap. He didn't even need to get out of his chair to get a beer.
     
  7. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
    12,452
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    In that case why sit under the tap? You might as well just stay in bed and have an IV straight from the keg. You don't have to lift a finger.
     
  8. Poetsmantra

    Thread Starter New Member

    Apr 29, 2010
    3
    0
    A little more information (by the way, thanks for the great ideas!)

    The container collecting the beer/soda bottles is a large rolling trash bin. the whole idea behind this contraption was that I had extra space in the island and my buddies just couldn't seem to take care of their empties! This has trained them well..

    I am not looking to get an actual count of how many bottles/cans are in the container, I just want to know when it is full.

    I have uploaded a couple images that I hope you will find helpful.. And as you can see, the basement is very old/dank/unfinished... It is a less than desirable place to spend any amount of time in

    PS.. I do have a couple dogs but I am still working on them bringing me a FULL beer ;)

    Thanks for all your help guys.

    Josh
     
  9. MrChips

    Moderator

    Oct 2, 2009
    12,452
    3,371
    Do the bottles break?
    How about a conveyor belt and a robotic arm to pack the bottles into the carton?
     
  10. SPQR

    Member

    Nov 4, 2011
    379
    48
    Ok, how about the attached diagram? - easy, minimal electronics.
    Just get the polarity of the LEDs right.

    Plywood - cheap
    Hinge - Lowes, cheap
    Misc Metal - you probably have at home. Cut a piece out of the dryer that I see in the background of your picture:)
    Spring - get the box of springs at Harbor Freight - use the one that works best
    LEDs - Radio Shack (or any other supplier you're familiar with)
    Wire - Radio Shack (or any other supplier you're familiar with)
    Micro Switch - Radio Shack (or any other supplier you're familiar with)
    Resistor - Radio Shack (or any other supplier you're familiar with)
    Wall wart - you probably have an old one. (9V or less)
    Shrink fit tubing - for the soldered connections - Harbor Freight

    Drink up boys!:D
     
  11. Sensacell

    Well-Known Member

    Jun 19, 2012
    1,134
    268
    Ok,

    Here is my two cents- from the photo, you have a nice sloping chute that delivers the bottles to the trash can, you could install a little wire 'feeler' probe through the wall of the tube, attached to a small micro-switch. Wire the switch to a reset-able counter module to count each bottle that goes by.

    You can arbitrarily decide when it's full by the count.
     
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