Proximity Sensor for a Pool Table

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by Jojo_B, Jun 16, 2010.

  1. Jojo_B

    Thread Starter New Member

    Nov 17, 2009
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    I have a pool table and some free time on my hands, so I thought I'd try to make my table a little cheesy looking by putting some hardware in it.

    My goal is to outfit the outside/inside rails with maybe some LEDs or something similiar, so that when someone sucessfully shoots a billard ball into the hole, lights and sounds go off in a general frenzy.

    What I'm not sure how to implement is a sort of sensor that can detect when a ball as passed. I don't really want there to be a switch that the ball physically presses, but I was thinking of something along the lines of either maybe a photo diode that when the ball breaks the beam, it triggers an interrupt or induction sensing (which I'd rather implement). Billard Balls seem to be made of a polymer or something, so I'm not sure if it would create a flux within a coil to sense a passing. Ideally, the sense signal would go into a uC or something.

    Any ideas on implementing a proximity sensor by induction, or will this not work? Any better ideas?
     
  2. retched

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 5, 2009
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    Does your table have roll-away rails or actual pockets?

    If it is a rail type, you could put a LED and photosensor in each pocket. That should be fairly easy, AND you could have cool looking lights beaming from each pocket.
     
  3. Jojo_B

    Thread Starter New Member

    Nov 17, 2009
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    Nah, it has pockets actually, but I think that idea would work for that as well, I wanted to make it a bit more subtle though.
     
  4. retched

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 5, 2009
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    Yow could still use UV LEDs. Not visible, and just as effective.
     
  5. ericwertz

    Member

    Aug 26, 2009
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    Please note that I'm not a proximity sensor, nor do I play one on TV -- or the Internet, but...

    I'm unsure that either an inductive or capacitive sensor will work for you, if your balls (ahem) are standard resin balls.

    As you say, any sort of opto-break sensor would be fair game, as could many types of vibration sensors. Heck, even an audio pickup could be made to work, but you might have to get all analog-y to get that to work.

    The dead cheapest thing that I can think of that might be gotten to work would be one/two dirt-cheap ($0.50) ball-in-tube tilt switches per pocket hanging off the netting. Not that most opto-break are going to break the bank...
     
  6. retched

    AAC Fanatic!

    Dec 5, 2009
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    Using the tilt switches could work. However anyone bumping the pocket while walking around and playing would set off the sensor.

    Also, I have played with some "not-so-gentle" pool players. A severe SMACK into the pocket could render this thing kaput.

    Radio Shack has a cheap IR transmitter/receiver kit. I would build a prototype using it and decide if that is the route you want to go.

    There are MANY IR beam-break circuits on this site and the internet as a whole. ;)
     
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