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Topic: Actuating a full size airplane (Read 1 time) previous topic - next topic


All the existing wiring and motors were gutted in the name of making it lighter for the road race.  So now we are adding in the fun little stuff to show off.  I'm putting all the instrument panels (with factory gauges, switches, fake radio dials, and lighting).  The motors that used to drive the flaps are gone, but the cable pulleys are still there, so I can tie into those and maybe replace the steel cable if necessary.

I'm researching reversible 24v motors to see if it's feasible.  Since the flaps will operate in unison, I might be able to use a single motor.

I'm still trying to decide if i should use Arduino and relays to drive the motor and indicators or just go "old school".


It sounds like the only thing missing is a "flaps down" indicator.  Right?   I agree, you don't need to program an Arduino for that.

So, I'd use those same switches as my cut-offs for the motor as well?
Maybe...  It depends on how it's wired.    You should be able to "tap into" that switch's logic and possibly use a transistor as an inverter to turn the light on when the motor goes off.  You may need some additional logic to hold the indicator on, and then to keep it off when the motor is reversed. 

There are various logic circuits such as "and gates", "or gates", "inverters", and "flip-flops".   These don't need to be programmed with software.   Their function (and combined function) depends on how they are wired.    If the logic is fairly simple, and there's no "counting" or math, logic chips are usually easier.
When the circuit starts getting complicated, it becomes easier to do it in software (with a microcontroller).   

Note that most logic circuitry (as well as the Arduino) runs off 5 Volts.    "Converting" a 12V signal from  a switch down to 5V only takes a couple of resistors.   But, converting up to run a 12V lamp (if you don't want to use an LED) requires something like a MOSFET or transistor or relay.

Or, maybe there's an unused terminal on the switch (if it has normally-open and normaly-closed terminals).

Or, you may need to use an additional similar switch.


Ok, I see some conflicting interests here. On one hand you strip the Cessna of everything to save on mass, yet now you want to install some of the almost-original functionality back into it hoping to impress the audience. Do you want to win the race or just have fun?
Screw the arduino, motors, MOSFETs and transistors. Install a cable and pull the flaps by hand so you can wave at the audience while tipping over in a tight corner.

If you really want arduino, put some LEDs on the plane. Heck, put a whole bunch of them and set them up for an epilepsy inducing choreography. Audience is cheap and will be impress a lot more with shiny LEDs than flaps on an airplane.

Are you using the Cessna engine to power that thing?


It's powered by a Toyota Van wagon....

In this type of race, it's not the number of laps that make you win.  (although having a lot of laps does help).  There was no way to get the Toyota chassis, suspension, engine, and all that into the plane without gutting it. We have to put a roll cage in it too. (Safety 2nd!)

Adding a little bit of basics back to the plane for "showmanship" isn't the worst thing. We need lots of laps, and we'll have lots of fun too.

It's starting to seem like this isn't an Arduino setup.  Between some basic circuits, relays, and the existing switches / indicators, it can come back to life as long as i can get the motors I need.  I'll have to look around and see what's available.

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