pay/use electricity

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by ecjohnny, Jun 15, 2006.

  1. ecjohnny

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Jul 16, 2005
    142
    0
    Hey guys!!!
    my teacher has given me an idea for a project but i dont know where to start and do. can anyone gives my guildline on what i am suppose to do/start to make the described project worked???


    The idea of the project goes:
    my teacher is trying to make a project that can earn money from electric plug.
    Because mobility of electronic device is advancing, people can use stuff like laptops anywhere but "battery flat" is a concerned and they will actually go to hotspot where there are power socket avaliable and will start using the electricity(power) to use their laptops. Most people will use as long as they wish because its free. And the provider will be paying the unnecceasy electric bill.
    So we are trying to design a device and programming using smartcard to people pay if they wishes to use it for a long period of time.

    The rough idea of project is : When the user plug-in to the electricity power socket, electricity will flow for a period of time(timer) when the time reaches,the electricity will be cut off and the user will have to pay certain amount using the smartcard with a contactless card reader. and when this process is done,the electricity will regain flow and thats about it.

    i dont know if you guys understand my description but hope you get the idea.
    So from my knowlege, i know this require programming with VB or C++. and a PLC.

    Thanks a big alot!!!!!
     
  2. beenthere

    Retired Moderator

    Apr 20, 2004
    15,815
    282
    Hi,

    Great project. You also get to expand it to plug-ins for electric car chargers, etc.

    What's my cut in this venture? As potential designer, might I suggest $8000 for strat-up equipment and parts purchases, plus experimentation time. I think something on the order of 40% future profits might be in line.

    Hobbies are hobbies. Please expect to have a serious offer in mind for commercial projects.
     
  3. dar2525

    Member

    Jun 17, 2005
    21
    0
    It seems like there are two designs to this project you are interested in: electrical and software design.

    I would start from the electrical side. For instance, the first question I would ask myself: "How can I stop power flow from the socket, besides yanking the cord from the power socket or wall outlet". You will need some sort of a device to cut-off power flow from wall outlet once the time has exspired. So, some other device needs to go in the wall socket besides the consumer's power cord from the laptop.
    The consumer can then plug its power cord into the device and once the time has exspired an internal circuit in the device will stop power flow from the wall socket to the consumer's power cable (laptop).

    Just think of those coke machines that except credit card payment or even better at Kinkos when you want to copy paper. You stick your credit card in there and when you are done you remove the credit card. Use this same approach for your design: when the consumer wants to use the power, he/she slides the credit card and the timer starts, allowing power to flow.

    This design sounds challenging. Is it ok if I consider it for my senior deisgn project? I am a student also.
     
  4. ecjohnny

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Jul 16, 2005
    142
    0
    sure. but can anyone find me a pic of a exposed view of a power socket? And is that any pros on programming here that can help me?? i am weak on programming side(newb):D
     
  5. dar2525

    Member

    Jun 17, 2005
    21
    0


    There are plenty online, but poking around with the inside of a power socket could be dangerous.

    As far as the programming, it depends what you are trying to control with the software. All you or I am trying to is notify the timer to start counting down with some digital signal that will be triggered by the user. But actually this trigger will come from credit card scanner or something like this. Kind of hard to picture. A microproccesor can be used to control the display window for the user and output messages. What kind of help in programming do you need?
     
  6. radiosmoke

    Member

    May 30, 2006
    17
    0
    Rather than using electronics to accomplish this use the same mechanism used at self serv carwashes. They used to also use them in hotel rooms back in the 40-50s to play radios and TVs. Its nothing new.
     
  7. ecjohnny

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Jul 16, 2005
    142
    0
    thanks.. but i dont learn mechanism i do the electronic way. And i dont think there is smart card technology way back in 40-50s.
     
  8. ecjohnny

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Jul 16, 2005
    142
    0
    So anyone has any idea to stop the power(electricity) in the power socket from flowing temporary???
     
  9. thingmaker3

    Retired Moderator

    May 16, 2005
    5,072
    6
    I can think of two ways to deny electricity once time is up.

    The first is to make the gizmo large enough and heavy enough to physically block the wall outlet. Give it several numbered outlets of its own, a single coin slot, and a single card slot. (And possibly a bill slot.) Give it a way to select which numbered outlet is being paid for.

    The second idea is to have the gizmo permanantly installed in the device box that would house an ordinary outlet.


    There is one drawback to this whole idea that might need adressing / correcting: Somebody other than the buyer and seller always gets paid for point-of-purchase card use. Depending on the finanial details, it might cost the establishment more to sell their electricity than to give it away.
     
  10. ecjohnny

    Thread Starter Senior Member

    Jul 16, 2005
    142
    0
    i am not particular about the money/pricing. i am just trying to do a prototype of this project. And for smartcard it maybe just a serial code to it to activate the power. Thats require programming and is what i am corncern about. i am still struggling with 2 major factor here which is the "stopping the power from flowing" and the programming part which looks like this(to PLC):
    "power flow>timer activated>power stop flow>scan card>power flow>timer activated>power stop flow>scan card....(LOOP)."
    So i really need an expert in programming preferably in Visual basics willing to help me out on this.

    Anyway...thanks alot for that
     
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