Hello, I am a complete novice. I enquired on an electronics forum some months ago about a project I had in mind. I was recommended to look at an Arduino.
I bought one each for my grandson and I to learn on, and have some fun, which we are doing, but my progress is slow.
My project is to make a collection box for a charity event, which lets lights flash and a bell sound when money is put in the box.
I am not going to be proficient enough to do this on my own, so I am requesting help.
It is the 50th Anniversary of a local Hospice, St. Ann’s Hospice in Heald Green, Cheshire, UK.
My wife and I are building a 3meter diameter (9.8feet) x 1m (3.2feet) high wooden framed ‘Cake’, which will be decorated with around 800 metal ‘forget me not’ flowers, purchased by donors in memory of loved ones cared for by the hospice, and so raising funds.
It is to be displayed in the Trafford Centre shopping mall, in Manchester, in June.
My idea is for the centre of the cake to have a single 10cm diameter ‘candle’ with seven LED bulbs at the top. A separate donation box will stand near the cake.
When the public place money inside the slot of the donation box it will cross an infrared beam, this will trigger a ‘bell’ sound at 262Hz and the first layer of lights to flash on at the same time. If a second coin is placed in quickly, then a higher pitch sound (330Hz) is heard and both the first and second-layer lights come on. If a third donation is given, again in fairly quick succession, the third tier of lights, along with the first two, and a higher-still pitch of sound (392Hz) come on. If a fourth donation is given, then all the lights flash four times with four pulses of the final highest pitch sound (523hz)
If the delay is too long between donations then it reverts to the first tier, as it does after the big final flash.
The idea is that children especially will be keen to keep adding coins to make the candle light up, helping boost the funds collected for the charity.
The charity ‘box’ is on a 3ft high plinth, and the electronics will be safely secured inside the back. It will be plugged into the mains electricity, and powered through a ‘Dais’ transformer, giving 12v to the system.
My big questions are whether the Arduino can firstly be programmed by my laptop, then to retain only the required information to stand alone and be powered by the transformer. Will the voltage have to be higher than 5 volts to reach the seven bulbs up to 3 meters (nearly 10 feet away) and if so I presume a relay will be needed?
I will send a sketch of what we plan, and my rough circuit idea.
My wife and I are both doing this without charge, and I am providing the equipment. The wood for the large cake structure has been donated by a local Hardware firm, as has the intumescent paint for all the wood, as it is on public display.
I am willing to pay for assistance, but my funds are limited, up to £100, but as it is for a charity perhaps someone could help for free?
Full credit will be given for your help.