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Author Topic: Arduino on elec scooter for clowns in parades  (Read 536 times)
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Gathering guidance for 1st project, after 2 yrs of consideration. I'm with a group of clowns that perform at parade and circus events for philanthropic fundraising. We currently have an electric car with golf cart 36V system. I have an elec scooter I want to incude. 24V, 500W Currie motor, Schwinn E500. Envisioning Arduino control of multiple buttons to control payload area on the back where things like bubble maker, smoke machine, flashing lights, and a small subwoofer, to start with. Silly stuff to support clowns. I have a small solar collector and controller for charging and looking for success with scooter that I can apply to elec car. Too many possibilities to share here. Searched your site and I find pieces of the puzzle but thought I'd throw this out for creative/practical review. Cheers.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2013, 03:16:03 pm by Happy8Cow » Logged

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Unsure of which Arduino model would be good to start with. Assuming I'd need to drop scooter 24V to 5V, just starting into designing system.
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Most start with an Arduino Uno and this appears suitable for your needs. You will have to either drop the 24V down to 5+V or use a seperate power supply, eg rechargeable battery. You may be able to charge this from your solar panel.
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I agree on the Uno.

I would first start figuring out what all you want your project to do (Ex "I want to turn on a bubble maker when I press a button"), figure out how you'll do those (Ex "I need a way to control the bubble maker, and a button input"), and simulate it (Ex "This LED is the bubble maker and this cheap button is the button.  When I press the button, the LED lights up until I press it again!")  at your desk before trying to hook it up to your scooter.  Voltage regulators are a cheap way to scale down to the voltage you need for an arduino, just keep an eye on your current load that you don't burn out the regulator.
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I made the pretty light blink.
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If what you want to do is simply turn things on and off with switches and buttons, I guess I'm hard pressed to see the need for a microcontroller.
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Most start with an Arduino Uno and this appears suitable for your needs.

Thank you.
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If what you want to do is simply turn things on and off with switches and buttons, I guess I'm hard pressed to see the need for a microcontroller.

I have bigger ideas that will require a microcontroller. I'm starting simple to get the infrastructure in place and learn as I go. I envision some robotic applications as well as controlling LED panels on front and sides. The motor shield should help with robotics but I haven't seen an LED panel shield that can control multiple LED panels yet. And, I don't know if an UNO can work with more than one shield.
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Update: Read thru most of tutorials from this and another site, published '09; good stuff. Thanks. I get it. Uno on the way with ultimate intro kit on sale. Looking forward to breadboard experimentation. Found local with previous exposure and skills. I may need reason garage isn't getting cleaned.
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I was caught with uncleaned garage and I've been working with Uno quietly. Received Maker's simple relay kit. Studying I2c and other issues. Project may continue thru winter.
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In terms of leds, you might want to look at WS2812 strands, which allow you to control each individual pixel with red, green, blue colors (and the power level can go from 0..255 on each color).  You can even have multiple pins controlling different strands.  Adafruit.com recently came out with a bunch of these called neopixels.  They have rings, sticks, individual pixels you can sew in costumes, maxtrixes, and pixels by the meter: http://www.adafruit.com/index.php?main_page=adasearch&q=neopixel.
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I appreciate the LED strand advice, Michael. Interesting, but not yet. My last posting was in the fall; Sep. For whomever still follows, parade season looms. Schwinn S500 (24V/500W) scooter now has faux engine and styrofoam fuel tank infrastructure (more work to do), and cool handlebars coming. I'm Intending to replicate 1936 Harley VLH Police Motorcycle for Keystone Kops, clowns without makeup. Shrine Hospital kind of thing. Philanthropy, yadda. The initial plan was for using Arduino Uno to control multiple effects on the scooter, like flashing LEDS, oogah horn, bubble machine, yadda. A rear deck having +/- jacks for each channel programed and driven by Arduino via buttons or sensors. I was inspired by Disney's night parade in Orlando. I was trying to get easier things going, then put the Arduino to work as it's intended. I then got sidetracked with shields for this and that, a little to much research into PWM regarding driving the engine, and now it's Spring. Garage still looks bad. Life has rudely intruded on a cool idea. Hopefully I have something interesting to share shortly.
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I'm Intending to replicate 1936 Harley VLH Police Motorcycle for Keystone Kops, clowns without makeup. Shrine Hospital kind of thing. Philanthropy, yadda.

Roger that, driver - 'yadda.' smiley

Quote
The initial plan was for using Arduino Uno to control multiple effects on the scooter, like flashing LEDS, oogah horn, bubble machine, yadda. A rear deck having +/- jacks for each channel programed and driven by Arduino via buttons or sensors. I was inspired by Disney's night parade in Orlando. I was trying to get easier things going, then put the Arduino to work as it's intended. I then got sidetracked with shields for this and that, ...

Sure, toss in am Arduino, but pick -one- project at a time. There's always next year to add the next feature. You can't finish it until after you start it.

The point of computerised automation is to... ummm.... 'automate' things. Except for the LEDs, all of the features you've described are most cheaply and easily controlled by a panel of switches. But, for example, if you want a -series- of features, executed by a cingle pushbutton, such as a 30 second bubble effect, with oogahs at the start, two short honks at the middle, and another at the end, then some automation is a -good- idea because it -frees- the driver from doing all that switch work and they can pay all attention to driving.

Again, pick one idea and put it in, and you can expand on it later.

I have two suggestions. smiley and smiley A smokestack with a propylene glycol heater. Smoke is  *BIG* crowd pleaser. Further ask if Andrew at mrrcsound.com can make a sound chip with a steam engine. His sound systems are **LOUD** and very small designed for model aircraft and trucks. OK, maybe not for the '36 Harley but for another vehicle.

BTW solar panels aren't -really- of much use because all of these effects added up require -tons- of amp-hours for a 30-60 min parade. Small auxiliary plain vanilla acid cells are best because they're 99.9% reliable, and weight isn't -that- much of an issue. Don't get me wrong - I'm a wool-died minimalist, but after a certain point it's not much worth the effort of going through -ALL- the possible power saving options. Having 2x more than enough power is MUCH better than running out of electrons only a hundred yards from the end of a parade. Build it and go and have fun.

BTBTW please post vids or URLs to vids. smiley
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