Big Plans - Start Small with help

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by CoachKalk, Sep 20, 2011.

  1. CoachKalk

    Thread Starter Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    First, as you all can see I am new to your forum. I have spent several hours reading through threads and looking at some videos and worksheets. Based on how unbelievably helpful you have been to others, I have decided to register and ask/beg for your help.

    Quick background - I have lots of ideas but zero experience. I have several things I would like to do and will list them below. I would greatly appreciate input on how realistic it is for a complete newbie to accomplish any of them. I do have experience with AC wiring (house), but NONE with the DC - small version components.

    These seemingly odd projects/ideas come from the fact that I coach a youth wrestling club and have a small youth center where I run games/competitions.

    1. Light Up for the Winner: I always have teams race against each other and I would like to have a way to have the winning team trigger a light if they win. I have looked at using a photocell/laser at the finish line but for simplicity purposes I would take even a push-button trigger. The main feature would be that once one team hits their button, the other teams light will not light up (like game show buttons).

    2. Wrestling Speed: I would like to have a way to measure the speed of moves for some of my older wrestlers. I am thinking laser/photocell again, but this time the wrestler would block one laser at the start of the move and 1 at the end. The lasers would then be used with some sort of digital display. The main thing with this idea is the flexibility to move the start and stop position based on the drill/move being timed.

    3. Poor Man's Maze: The pipe dream of my idea's is to have a bare bones maze of sorts where the kids would hit a green go button to activate a laser (and time display) and try to get to the other end to hit the red stop button (stop time). If/when the laser is blocked, the laser shuts off, time stops and a flashing light/siren goes off.

    So, let me have it. I have researched safe lasers, photocells, lights, sirens and specific electronic components. I have a very basic working knowledge of IC's. Are any of these projects within my reach? Is there any brave souls on here willing to guide me through or point me in the right direction? I have read over many worksheets but my main concern is putting all the individual lessons and ideas into a larger project. As well as knowing what I would like to do, but not knowing how/if it is possible.

    Thanks in advance for any help - or just run me out of town quick and put me out of my misery!

  2. tgotwalt1158


    Feb 28, 2011
    Very noble ideas and quest! I would like to help but I will show the path only, and you will search yourself your required projects. Here is the link :

    I hope you will find something relevant to your ideas. Good luck!
  3. CoachKalk

    Thread Starter Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Thank you so much. I am just asking for some guidance and help - which you have already helped with.

    I think I am just going to the local radio Shack and start "playing" with the basics. At some point I anticipate the need for more involved help transitioning from the ideas in the links to actual builds.

    I did find a worksheet problem where it showed a basic circuit and asked - now you do it in real life. It was basic but if you know of any other links that show schematics and then real layouts - that would be a huge help as well.

    Thanks again for the ideas - looks like another late night at the computer reading and learning!