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Topic: Simple Ball Drop Project - NEWBIE (Read 1 time) previous topic - next topic


Just discovered the Arduino. I am trying to build a simple wireless ball drop. I just need to trigger a single relay (servo or solenoid) wirelessly. The receiver must be small, light weight and run on a 9 volt battery. I want to control it via my MacBookPro. I have Bluetooth built in and also can trigger hard wired DMX relays from there. What is the simplest solution?

Thanks for any advice and guidance.


Depends how small you want to go, but an UNO with a Bluetooth shield and approprate relay would do what you want.

To go smaller you would need to use a nano and a bluetooth breakout board.


Just discovered the Arduino


I am trying to build a simple wireless ball drop

Can you be more specific? What are you gonna use it for?

The receiver must be small, light weight and run on a 9 volt battery.

Ill go for the servo! Its much more lightweigted. But i wouldnt use a standart 9v battery. Go for a combination of 4 or 6 AA batteries. I prefer rechargeble.

I have Bluetooth

I depends on your range. Bluetooth will normally do 10m (cheaper modules class 2) or upto 100m with class 1 modules

There are loads of tutorials on bluetooth on the internet




And my site:  8)



Thanks for the quick reply. I am a juggler (http://nizer.com). At the beginning of my show I play a video of me hang gliding and juggling. I drop a ball "by accident", land as fast as I can and run on stage and catch the ball I dropped. It is released from a tin can with the bottom cut out that is attached to the ceiling with a pin thru the bottom and a string. When the string is pulled the ball drops.

I am now using Qlab, DMX and Bluetooth to run all lights, video, sound, midi, video dowser and the only thing left to automate is the ball drop. I want my mac (hopefully via Qlab) to tell a fully wireless device to drop the ball from the ceiling. The computer is about 50' from the ball drop and usually line of site. I want to use a easy to find battery power supply and bluetooth since that is already built into the MacBookPro.

I would be OK with 4 AA batteries. The BT shield looks perfect with a UNO. Can they both be powered via the 4 AA batteries. What else would I need to power the Servo. What else do I need to get to make this work.

I fly for 90% of my jobs and my luggage is already close to the limit. I can only travel with 1 pair of underwear ;-). SIMPLE - LIGHT - RELIABLE.



Well to make it a little simpler you could use an Arduino BT, which is essentially an UNO with the shield built in. It will be a little smaller.

It is a little stricter on the input voltage (5.5v max) so you are limted to 3 regular AAA/AA/C/D cells in series.

As for the actuator, then a little servo is probably your best option. It could move an arm away out of the way allowing the ball to drop.

P.S. Nice way to make an enterance...


Would I need anything to power the servo, or would it just plug into the Ardunio board.

This seems perfect. Thank you.

I have 2 hitec HS-300 RCD APOLLO 5 servos from a old RC plane.

I assume I would program this via bluetooth and a terminal program?


2 hitec HS-300 RCD APOLLO 5 servos

Hmm. These MIGHT draw quite a bit of current when they start a move..  A largish capacitor (say 2200uF at 10 or more volts) across the servo power leads would help.

But the real small servos like these can be found almost any place and they would run well directly on an Arduino:

DISCLAIMER: Mentioned stuff from my own shop...
Regards, Terry King terry@yourduino.com  - Check great prices, devices and Arduino-related boards at http://YourDuino.com
HOW-TO: http://ArduinoInfo.Info

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