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Thread: DIY SolidState Arduino Self Canceling Turn Signals

  1. #1
    Senior Member skidd's Avatar
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    DIY SolidState Arduino Self Canceling Turn Signals

    *edit* Newest version starts on post #54 https://thefactoryfiveforum.com/show...l=1#post331976 *edit*

    This weekend, I tackled the wiring... including an OpenSource solid state self canceling Turn Signal module that I've been designing and building. This is still in Early Alpha.. .and actually un-street-tested.. but.. I just had to share it none-the-less.

    So.. I'm no Electrical Engineer.. I'm a self-taught DIYer. I've built a few etched circuit boards and built a few different circuits. But. .I am a Software Engineer by profession, so the programming of a ATTiny85 Arudino was trivial. Add in a few other simple JellyBean components, and I was pretty sure I could come up with a pretty simple self-canceling turn signal system.

    It's powered by a simple ATTin85 arduino chip, with a couple of P-Channel MOSFETs to drive the hight-current loads of the signal lights. The "magic" is an Infrared sensor that can detect the turning of the steering wheel without the need for any mechanical connection. Just a bit of black paint on the steering shaft is all it took.

    Anyway.. I had been bench testing my prototype board for weeks.. this weekend I finally got to "install" it and see if it actually does what I expect it to do.. and it does!!



    The software for this module will be made full opensource, the circuit board design (it's pretty trivial anyway) will also be made full open source, as well as the PCB layout once I've done re-designing it. I'll also put together a full DIY writeup on my main build site for all to use. I tried to make it such that retro-fitting one of these into an already built car would not be too hard, and require minimal changes to an existing setup. They are still on their way to my house, but I ordered a small PVC mounting box to house the module. It won't be left perched on the frame like that.

    Specs:
    - Switched 12v and ground power the module. It's can handle 6v to 24v of input. Should be more than fine on a noisy 12v car electrical system.
    - The MOSFETs drive each of the left and right 12v+ outputs to the signal lights (should work with LEDs as well as regular incandescent bulbs).
    - The signal inputs are driven from a momentary SPDT (on)-off-(on) toggle switch, with all 3 pins wired to inputs on the module.
    - The IR sensor has 3 control wires, all plugged directly into the module.
    - Includes ability to act as Hazard flasher also ( I simply didn't use this feature and instead kept the hardware Flasher module and Diodes installed )


    Here's a pic of the prototype board after I was done soldering it all together



    Temporary Mounted to frame with some tape for Testing.



    The IR Sensor mounted in a piece of angle aluminum




    The steering shaft with the black paint applied for the IR Sensor to detect.



    The IR sensor mounted below the steering shaft.



    Anyway.. Like I said.. It worked.. couldn't wait to share... so .. voila!! Once I get this car actually driving.. and shake out any bugs.. I'll keep this thread informed.
    Last edited by skidd; 03-25-2019 at 08:16 AM.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Jdav's Avatar
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    Pretty cool!
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    Senior Member phileas_fogg's Avatar
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    Very cool.
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    I like it! My suggestion is to look at SAE J1113/11 to see just how bad an automotive electrical supply is, a lot worse than we would expect. The circuit is likely to see spikes of far more than 24 V so a filter or isolated DC-DC converter is probably necessary.

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    Senior Member skidd's Avatar
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    I used a OKI-78SR DC-DC voltage regulator to power up the ATTiny85. I miss-spoke.. it's actually capable of handling 7-36v of input. I wonder if a zener diode would be a good idea to add on it's input? I put in a simple small diode just to protect from reverse polarity connection issues... but.. a zener might have been better to use to protect from higher than desired spikes too. There's also a pair of opto-isolators driving the MOSFETs. I'm pretty optimistic it'll survive the noisy 12v car electrical system... (fingers crossed). That's part of the reason I can't wait for this fall, when I expect to have my cobra road-legal.... so I can shake out any bugs in the turn-signal system.

    *edit update* Instead of a zener, A TVS Diode is what I'm going to add for my final design. Looks like they are designed just for the purpose of suppressing high voltage spikes.
    Last edited by skidd; 05-30-2017 at 09:24 AM.

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    Very cool! I am contemplating something similar but had thought of using accelerometer input for the cancel function--I like your IR sensor approach better. Looking forward to your updates on this!

  8. #7
    Senior Member DaleG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phileas_fogg View Post
    Very cool.
    I'll say!!!
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    I had plans to create something similar to this but no need to now, this is awesome. Do you have any plans to have purpose built pcb made for this ?

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    Senior Member skidd's Avatar
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    Yep. I don't yet know what the rules are on here as far as non-vendors "suggesting" that they (aka me) are planning to build and sell a "thing"... so.. I was kind of being cautious. I'm a member of another forum (no not that forum) where they are uber strict about that sort or thing.. so.. I am just playing it safe.

    So.. to any mods reading this.. hope I'm not about to break a rule....

    But.. yes.. I plan to make the final PCB schematic OpenSource for DIYers to self-etch and build their own. I had also planned on getting a short run of a handfull of Chineesieum made PCBs to build up and "cough sell them if permitted". Then, provide a link to the same Chineesieum vendor for others to order more PCBs. The initial cost of a PCB being made off-shore is usually the initial tooling cost anyway.. so.. subsequent boards should be affordable. I don't know if I want to.. or am able to... build and sell completed modules. I'm thinking I might.. again... something to consider.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skidd View Post
    Yep. I don't yet know what the rules are on here as far as non-vendors "suggesting" that they (aka me) are planning to build and sell a "thing"... so.. I was kind of being cautious. I'm a member of another forum (no not that forum) where they are uber strict about that sort or thing.. so.. I am just playing it safe.

    So.. to any mods reading this.. hope I'm not about to break a rule....

    But.. yes.. I plan to make the final PCB schematic OpenSource for DIYers to self-etch and build their own. I had also planned on getting a short run of a handfull of Chineesieum made PCBs to build up and "cough sell them if permitted". Then, provide a link to the same Chineesieum vendor for others to order more PCBs. The initial cost of a PCB being made off-shore is usually the initial tooling cost anyway.. so.. subsequent boards should be affordable. I don't know if I want to.. or am able to... build and sell completed modules. I'm thinking I might.. again... something to consider.
    Cool, I was going to offer to do the layout if needed but sounds like you have what you need.

  12. #11
    Senior Member skidd's Avatar
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    Since my expertise is in software, I'll be happy to get some help on the electrical side to be sure I'm not making any obvious errors, like Trace thickness. Once I get all ducks in a row, I'll post in here my alpha versions.

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    Senior Member q4stix's Avatar
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    That is pretty slick! I'll be watching your progress for the final configuration and what the PCB looks like
    Gen 3 Type 65 Coupe builder

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    Question: being an IR sensor, I guess it should work just fine when driving at night, right?
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    Senior Member skidd's Avatar
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    Actually.. it should work even better at night.
    The is the sensor in question is one of these (TCRT5000L).

    It has an LED IR at one side that emits an IR light wave.
    and an IR sensor beside it, that detects the IR light reflecting/bouncing back off of "something" and back to the sensor.
    Hence.. the black and not-black painted parts on the steering shaft. the black paint absorbs and scatters the IR light, so the sensor reads nothing. But, the silver reflects the IR back to the sensor, and thus can be detected by the ATTiny85
    Magic!!

  16. #15
    Senior Member skidd's Avatar
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    Update:

    Found a good box to house this module in.
    Ordered two from DigiKey, and after measuring it.. it should be a perfect fit.
    What makes this box especially good is that the top just snaps on and off, instead of needing screws like most project boxes seem to use.

    https://www.digikey.com/product-deta...277-ND/5291579

    Here's my schematic of the board.
    TurnSignalSchematic-A.png

    So.. I took a run at laying out a PCB that would fit nicely inside that box.
    To handle the amps that the lights will pull from the MOSFETs, the short run from Q3 -> P3 and Q4 -> P4, plus the 12v in, I'll solder down some short copper bus bars from a bit of solid core romex wire.
    I tried (and succeeded) to keep every trace on one layer, and use thru-hole components. That way, anybody who is going to DIY this will have an easier time of it.
    Also.. for wire connection into this box, instead of using screw terminal like my prototype board, I intend to drill large enough holes, and solder lengths of wire directly to the board.
    The idea being they would be long enough to reach the places they need to reach, and then the 12v & ground would just need to be spliced in to a switched source.

    TurnSignalPCB-A.png

    Any electrical engineers out there that are willing to critique my work.. I'm all ears!!
    I'm still months away from driving my car even in go-kart phase, but what ever PCB I come up with.. will end up being road tested in my car and it's software tweaked as needed.
    I will most likely make 2 and ask someone with Arduino programming experience to help me road-test it... eventually.

    Remember.. all of this stuff is/will be made full OpenSource.. including the software.

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    What is the with of the 12V traces? Most hobby pcb shops use 1 oz copper as a base but I would recommend using 2 oz. The calculator below is a good tool to figure out the required trace width in order to keep temps down. Incandescent lamps draw a fair amount of current so I would recommend using a power plane for the 12V. One other tip would be dont have any 90 turns in the traces I would recommend changing all those to 45s.


    PCB Calculator

  18. #17
    mcwho's Avatar
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    Skidd,
    I am extremely interested in this project. I am an old "IT" guy that has been in the computer and networking business for years. A couple years ago I started to play with the Arduino. I was also interested in the Russ Thompson turn signals.

    I taught myself electronics when I was 16 and an avid reader of "popular electronics"

    I just recently had the cars alignment done and 4 corner weighting done.

    I realized that getting in and out of the car without a removable steering wheel was gonna be an issue. I have decide to put a steering wheel hub in with a quick disconnect.

    The russ Thompson has to go.

    as of now I have a SPDT switch on the dash for the signals.

    was thinking moving that switch to the area around the shifeter would be better.
    Last edited by mcwho; 06-03-2017 at 10:31 AM.
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  19. #18
    Senior Member skidd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 92sho16 View Post
    What is the with of the 12V traces? Most hobby pcb shops use 1 oz copper as a base but I would recommend using 2 oz. The calculator below is a good tool to figure out the required trace width in order to keep temps down. Incandescent lamps draw a fair amount of current so I would recommend using a power plane for the 12V. One other tip would be dont have any 90 turns in the traces I would recommend changing all those to 45s.


    PCB Calculator
    The copper pdb board I have on hand is indeed only 1oz. Currently, the 12v traces are only 0.04" from the 12v connection to the DC-DC converter, and 0.08" to and from the MOSFETs. I'm pretty sure the 0.04" should be plenty to feed the DC-DC converter and the arduino. I measured it's current consumption on my bench power supply, and it pulled a max of 0.02a of current, most of which was to turn on the red part of the RGB-LED. The traces between the 12v and the MOSFETs though, I tried to keep all those pins close together so I could use short pieces of copper bar or wire to handle the load of the lights. I tried a few different PCB trace width calculators, and even with 2oz boards, I was getting >0.2" traces needed to reach anywhere near 12a. Given my tight size constraints, it was a problem. Hence.. I was going to add the short copper bits. Actually.. what I had planned to do was drill a big enough hole at the 12v in/out points, and have the length of wire pull through far enough to actually reach all the way to the MOSFET pins. Basically, the 14awg wire would be tied right to the MOSFETs, which appear to be rated to a max of about 20a. Seems like a nice clean way to handle the amps.

    Like I said.. I tried to keep all my traces on one side.. to make this DIYable. But.. I guess if I really needed to use 2 sides.. so I could create a nice fat 12v plain, It would be doable. But.. with the idea of using the copper bars to handle the load.. I should be good right?

    I'll go back and try to round off a few more of those 90 corners in the traces. I guess the IT engineer in me likes sharp corners.

    Thanks for the feedback. It's much appreciated.

  20. #19
    Senior Member skidd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcwho View Post
    Skidd,
    I am extremely interested in this project. I am an old "IT" guy that has been in the computer and networking business for years. A couple years ago I started to play with the Arduino. I was also interested in the Russ Thompson turn signals.

    I taught myself electronics when I was 16 and an avid reader of "popular electronics"

    I just recently had the cars alignment done and 4 corner weighting done.

    I realized that getting in and out of the car without a removable steering wheel was gonna be an issue. I have decide to put a steering wheel hub in with a quick disconnect.

    The russ Thompson has to go.

    as of now I have a SPDT switch on the dash for the signals.

    was thinking moving that switch to the area around the shifeter would be better.
    Seems to me like you're a prime candidate for a new turn-signal system!!!

  21. #20
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    I have been thinking about something like this for a while. Have you thought about integrating the brake lights into this as well. This way you could set it up as a canceler so you could have both bulbs on each side work as brake and turn signal lights. Ideally you would want the brake lights to work even if the power is off to everything. I am not sure if can get a normally closed mosfet, but you could have the brake lights pass through and be more of a cancel of the brake lights. In doing this you might need some diodes to not back feed when you power the turn signals, but it should all be doable. I do like your optical sensor, the thought I have with that is I am guessing it can't see the direction the column is turning. It would be nice if it could work like most cars where it doesn't cancel until you turn the opposite way to straighten out. Probably a lot harder, but if it could be done it would make the system really cool.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DOHCCOBRA View Post
    I do like your optical sensor, the thought I have with that is I am guessing it can't see the direction the column is turning. It would be nice if it could work like most cars where it doesn't cancel until you turn the opposite way to straighten out. Probably a lot harder, but if it could be done it would make the system really cool.
    Like the electrical system people would say to the IT people, "how hard can it be, it's only software...".
    Reading direction *and* speed usually takes two sensors but reading only direction can be done with one. The black stripes around the steering column would form a simple bar code that reads differently depending on direction. The microcontroller can decode the pulses and detect which direction the column is turning. Simple!

    Well, not really but the microcontroller should have plenty of time and processing power to do this.

  23. #22
    Senior Member skidd's Avatar
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    The good news is, my system actually does detect the wheel on its way back. You see, the silver bars pass the sensor at 1/4 turn. I've found that on most (not all) corners we turn the wheel past 1/4 and typically not much more than 3/4 turn.

    OK.. So.. What the software does is count 2 passes of the silver bar. Turn on the signal, start your turn, going past 1/4 , 1st pass detected. Start turning back to straight, pass the silver bar again, 2nd pass, turn off the signal. It actually detects the moment the black comes back into view. Edge detection. The only catch is turning the wheel all the around past 3/4 will cancel too. But, I doubt that'll matter...if you turn that far, you are likely done your turn.

    I'm sure I'll be able to hammer all this out once I'm on the road.
    Last edited by skidd; 06-05-2017 at 08:17 PM.

  24. #23
    Senior Member chmhasy's Avatar
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    Skidd, There is a good online electronic circuit simulation at www.circuits.io I have found it problematic on IE but fire fox and chrome work well, It has Arduino boards in its components list

  25. #24
    Senior Member skidd's Avatar
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    Just a quick update... not that much has changed really.
    Playing around with "pretend" driving scenarios in my garage (car is still not road-worth) I realized that the 2 parts of black paint on the shaft were not necessary. I removed the "top" stripe of black paint. There is now only a single strip of black paint facing down towards the sensor when the wheel is straight. Now, the detection is really much more straight forward. The cpu simply watches as the wheel turns for the black stripe to turn silver.. then, back to black again. No longer is there a risk of turning the wheel 1/2 way and having the flashing stop. In hind site, I'm not quite sure why I did that anyway. Once I get my car road-worth (still quite a few months off) I'll be able to better assess the best thickness of the black stripe. I'm hoping to have a very small run of PCBs put together soon too.

  26. #25
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    Looking forward to one of those PCBs - any idea what you might have to charge?

    Todd
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  27. #26
    Senior Member skidd's Avatar
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    No idea what I'll charge.. but.. this is not really a big money making endeavor... just a fun project to help out fellow GearHeads... so.. It'll be reasonable.

  28. #27
    Senior Member Big Blocker's Avatar
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    I love your idea of using IR for detection. When I built my prototype years ago, I used reed relays and magnets to detect - worked fine except lane changes are NOT detected and the system wouldn't cancel [automatically] with only slight movement off of the straight ahead position. More then likely the fact that the reed relays needed more degrees of separation then IR would need. 1/4 turn is a lot - most [factory] cars only need about 20° to 30° of off-center movement, not 90°. You might want to consider making the "silver" surfaces closer together . . . the down side is that if they are too close together, cancelling comes too quickly, just barely thru your turn. It's a hit-or-miss process to get it right.

    Keep up the great work . . .

    Doc
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  29. #28
    Senior Member skidd's Avatar
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    Narrowing the black strip will be easy enough to reduce the cancel angle. Which by the way, is done when the black strip returns to the view of the or sensor, so the narrow stripe won't cancel too soon. In other words, cancel is triggered when the IR goes BLACK->SILVER->BLACK.

    As for lane changes, I have a hold-for-lane-change mode programmed too. If you hold for 1 second ,it will turn off when released. There is also a 4-way flasher mode, but I opted to keep the hardware flasher and diodes in my build.

  30. #29
    Senior Member skidd's Avatar
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    Update. Functional Prototype Built!
    I found that the layout I came up with for the PCB was pretty easy to translate onto a perf-board. So.. I did just that.
    Came out to have less, more direct traces than the original proof-of-concept.

    Top View. I soldered the wires directly to the board for added strength.


    Bottom Trace View


    Installed in the mounting box, with some "HotSnot" to keep the vibration from fatiguing the taller components.


    The complete prototype


    Next.. I plan to design an actual functional turn signal lever that will sit behind the wheel at the left side. It won't be just a toggle switch. It'll be an actual metal lever. I have a pretty elegant and simple design in mind.. and I really think it'll look quite trick.

  31. #30
    Senior Member Big Blocker's Avatar
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    SWEET . . . if these go into production, how is the "black-silver" line part taken care of - some sort of tape or decal for the steering column?
    Keep up the great work.

    Doc
    FFR3712K (MKII) in Lost Wages Nevada.
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  32. #31
    Senior Member skidd's Avatar
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    The black stripe can be pretty much anything. Black Tape, Sharpie, brushed on Paint. Anything that's black. the IR sensor is pretty sensitive, and has little trouble distinguishing between black, and not-black.
    The idea of using a good quality decal is a good one. That way, the "cancel" point in the rotation of the wheel can be fine tuned. People with a 3.5 ratio rack, might want a different width black strip compared to a quick ratio 2.0 rack.

    Stabbed it in today. Next is the turn lever design. I opted specifically to put it there for easy access to the Arduino chip inside for any required software updates.


    P.S. Yes, the engine-bay harness that hangs down low in that photo will be tied up and secured out of the way.
    Last edited by skidd; 08-28-2017 at 11:23 AM.

  33. #32
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    Skidd-

    Pretty cool mod, and I admire the way you have gone about getting it sorted!

    I look forward to seeing how it works when you get to optest it. Also excited to see your plans once completed.

    Well done, and thank you for sharing your work!

    Regards,

    Steve

  34. #33
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    awesome idea using Arduino! how has the IR sensor been, any issues? I wonder if magnet for hall effect would be easier.

  35. #34
    Senior Member Big Blocker's Avatar
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    See post #27 above - magnets have been tried with some success - about 70-30 with respect to cancelling. Doesn't work well with only slight wheel deflection, like lane changes.
    But . . . That being said, go for it, I'd love to see a mechanical solution to cancelling . . . unless skidd puts his prototype into production, then sign me up.

    Doc
    FFR3712K (MKII) in Lost Wages Nevada.
    5.0 w/tubular GT-40 EFI, E303 cam, Custom 4 into 4 headers, T5, 3-Link 3.73 rear. Full F5 tubular suspension. Drop Butt mod, Dash forward mod, custom foot box air vents, custom turn signal system. 13" PBR brakes, Fiero E-Brake mod, Flaming River 18:1 rack w/ F5 bump steer kit on Breeze bushings. 17" Chrome Cobra "R's" w/ 275 fronts and 315 rears. MKIV seats. FORD Royal Blue w/ Arctic White stripes.

  36. #35
    Senior Member skidd's Avatar
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    I'm still a few months away from proper road testing, but so far the ir sensor is working fine in driveway tests. I really expect it to work pretty well. I've had good success with these sensor in various projects, including a HamsterWheel sensor I built for my daughter. Using software, I included a simple DeBounce to the detection algorithm too.

    As for a production version... If this thing works out as well as I expect, I can't imagine not wanting to make it available to all.

  37. #36
    Senior Member skidd's Avatar
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    Installed my "turn" lever today.. and it works perfectly! In fact, it might be better than I expected. It's very smooth, easy to reach, and dead simple to operate. The best part, over-the counter parts and it's a very simple install.

    The 3 extra holes you see are a failed first attempt. I'm just going to cover the back with some aluminum, and fill the minor depression with some filler.


    A view from behind with the 3 control wires connected.


    The lever has a built in centering spring to keep it positioned between the switches. Switches are mounted to a piece of 3/4" oak I had. These switches are only $8 for 5 on Amazon.


    The main parts for the lever mechanism.



    A Gold star for who ever can figure out where the handle came from? My kids think it's the funnies thing.

  38. #37
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    Korky! I like it, can the arduino play a flushing sound when the lever is actuated?

  39. #38
    Papa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidd View Post
    Installed my "turn" lever today.. and it works perfectly! In fact, it might be better than I expected. It's very smooth, easy to reach, and dead simple to operate. The best part, over-the counter parts and it's a very simple install.

    The 3 extra holes you see are a failed first attempt. I'm just going to cover the back with some aluminum, and fill the minor depression with some filler.


    A view from behind with the 3 control wires connected.


    The lever has a built in centering spring to keep it positioned between the switches. Switches are mounted to a piece of 3/4" oak I had. These switches are only $8 for 5 on Amazon.


    The main parts for the lever mechanism.



    A Gold star for who ever can figure out where the handle came from? My kids think it's the funnies thing.
    Is the handle for a toilet?
    Last edited by Papa; 09-16-2017 at 07:09 PM.
    There are 10 types of people in this world;
    those who understand binary and those who don't.

    My Build Thread: http://thefactoryfiveforum.com/showt...ter-Build-9754

  40. #39
    Senior Member chmhasy's Avatar
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    toilet

  41. #40
    Senior Member skidd's Avatar
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    lol.. won't need the arduino to do that... the Carburetor already makes that sound when I press the skinny-pedal!

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