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Author Topic: Arduino, Stepper Motor, and a Gate Arm  (Read 568 times)
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Let me start by saying that I'm VERY new to Arduino, physical computing, and to this forum.  The only arduino projects I have completed so far are the "turn on the LED with a switch" type of projects.  I have an idea for a project I would like to complete and I'm here for some guidance on where to start.  Here is my idea:

I would like to develop an Arduino-driven "gate-arm" for a standard size doorway (~3ft).  Similiar to the gate arms for cars you see at a security gate...just on a smaller scale.  I would like to control the gate arm from a distance (IR, RFID, etc.).  I would like the actual arm to be made of vacuum pvc or ultra lightweight aluminum and to be controlled by a stepper motor and limited via limit switches.  The unit would be powered by A/C current.  Like I said, I'm very new to all of this, so here are some questions I have:

1.  Does anyone know of a good "starter" project that employs similar components(using stepper motors, limit switches, IR control) out there that I can complete so as to learn the basics of using arduino with these components?
2.  How do I go about determining the size of motor I need?
3.  What is best for controling the setup from a distance (120ft max) IR, RFID, or something else? In the end, I would like to build four of these units and control them all individually from the same remote control panel.

Any help or guidance you can provide will be most appreciated.  Thanks in advance!
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Hi

The first thing is to break your project into more easy to chew pieces.  Perhaps the first goal will be to get your motor moving from one extent to the other, controlled by a switch.

You may find using a stepper you won't need to have limit switches also, but it's not a bad thing to consider.  The Arduino has several libraries for controlling stepper motors - like this oneThis example talks through the method of controlling two types of steppers using a potentiometer.  That could simply be adapted for a switch in your instance.

I don't think either of those methods will be good for your 120ft goal, as RFID requires close proximity and iR is light so subject to inversed squared law for distance and also prone to daylight interference so that's something else you'll want to develop - whether it's done via some other wireless means, or wired, as you work your way up to this.

For an iR controller, there's some great tutorials and explanations over at Adafruit's learning system that I found very informative and contains everything you need not just to do the job, but also understand the theory.  I think you'll find they also have some good stuff on RFID too.

Stepper motors are DC so while you state it will be powered by AC I presume you mean you'll use some kind of power supply from a mains source - with a DC supply for your motor and driver circuit.

Hope there's something in there that's useful - all the best with your project !
Geoff
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Thanks for your helpful reply.  I will look into some of the suggestions you gave and return with any questions I come up with.  Thank you for taking to time to help me!
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