BASIC Stamp Project

elec_mech

Joined Nov 12, 2008
1,500
DRock,

You mentioned earlier,

I am trying to set it up so that I can have anywhere from 5-7 possible switches 50 yards or so away from the main base that will transmit a signal to the base when the circuit is completed.
Now my personal experience with IR is quite limited, but I made a simple two-digit counter that was incremented by the press of any button on a standard IR TV remote control. The max range was about 35 feet. Beyond that the receiver couldn't detect a signal. Above you state 50 yards, so if you really want to explore this option, I suggest making a single transmitter and receiver with a single pulse or pulse train and see if it sends and receives the distance you want in the environment you want - indoors with fluorescent lights or outdoor during the daytime for example. The enviroment will play a role in the range. I suspect this option won't give you the distance you originally mentioned, but you may be able to increase therange by amplifying the signal somehow.

Also, are you going to have each transmitter facing the receiver? Are all of the sensors and the receiver remaining stationary? IR is extremely directional to my knowledge, especially over long distances.

If you want to go simple, you could get you hands on some cheap TV remotes and use them as your transmitters. When sensor #1 is tripped, short a contact for the number one on the remote, number two for sensor #2, and so on. Then have a BS2 or PICAXE decode the signal.

I think you could still get away with a single 555 as well. In astable mode, you set the high and low pulse with a couple of resistors and a capacitor, so as long as the pulses are different enough from one sensor to another that your uC can tell the difference, you should be fine. Again, this is untested theory, so I may be wrong.
 

Thread Starter

DRock

Joined May 7, 2011
68
The whole system would be stationary and could be directed towards the receiver, and everything will be setup in a wide open area. I am going to mess around with IR after I perfect the RF approach because I already have some stuff coming this way...which unfortunately got delayed due to this hurricane.

I have a program now which is using two separate momentary buttons to simulate a switch tripping and it works well but is not a 100% accurate simulation of how the system will work. I need to figure out how to use a 555 now, but I think I may wait till Rev. 2 before I attempt to complicate things.

I am hoping everything gets here tomorrow, so I can give you guys a good update!

Thanks everyone for the help!
 

Thread Starter

DRock

Joined May 7, 2011
68
Well, I am stuck at the gate and cannot get my computer to communicate correctly with the PICAXE.

I am using the serial to stereo jack cable and then I am using the Dynex serial to USB adapter.

I installed the Prolific PL-2303 drivers already so that I can communicate using the Dynex adapter with my Stamp.

But when I try to use it to communicate with the PICAXE it doesn't work, do I have to install the AXE027 drivers also? I have been trying to do that but Windows 7 won't let me install both of them, it says the PL-2303 is already the best driver.

I am confused because I am not using the AXE027 cable, I am using my Stereo to Serial to USB.

I have no idea how to get this working, I have been messing around for a couple hours now and cannot figure it out.

Is anyone else using a similar setup or do they know how I can fix this?

Thanks!
 

elec_mech

Joined Nov 12, 2008
1,500
DRock,

I haven't used PICAXE, but I found this:

http://profmason.com/?p=218

Double-check your connections from the stereo plug to the PICAXE - I'm sure you have, but I have to say as much just in case. Do you have the resistors in place as shown in the link, the 10kΩ and the 22kΩ?
 

Thread Starter

DRock

Joined May 7, 2011
68
I am using this kit:

http://www.sparkfun.com/products/8331

Everything is labeled correctly and soldered in the right place, which is why I am unsure where I went wrong.

EDIT:

I follow this to troubleshoot:

1) Connect the download cable (and USB adapter if required) to the computer.
2) Make sure the PICAXE chip is inserted and powered (4.5 to 5V).
3) Use a multimeter on the DC Volts setting to measure the voltage between the PICAXE serial input pin and 0V.
4) When the LED is off, the signal should be between 0V and -1V.
5) When you click on the LED the signal should switch high.

If the signal does not change it indicates that:
-the wrong serial port is selected, or
-there is an incorrect connection, or
-the USB adapter is not suitable (does not support the RS232 'break' command). Use part AXE027 or USB010 instead.

I connect my DMM to Pin 2 (Serial In) and Pin 8 (0V) and get a reading of 5.28V when the virtual LED is off...it is supposed to be between 0V and -1V. It is weird that I am getting 5.28V, I am using 3 AA Alkaline batteries at 1.5V each which put out a total of 4.82V...
 
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elec_mech

Joined Nov 12, 2008
1,500
DRock,

Unfortunately, I don't have any PICAXE experience, so I don't know where the problem lies. I'd suggest searching this forum for connecting a PICAXE to a PC and, failing that, posting a new thread with PICAXE in the title so you get the right people to help you.
 

Thread Starter

DRock

Joined May 7, 2011
68
I appreciate the help anyways! I am trying to remain patient but electronics and I don't get along too well at this point in time haha. Once I figure out how to get it communicating I will be all set...it's probably something really simple like usual.
 
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