Okay, completely new to the forum, and to most electronics, I've done a search, and a few similar things but I'm struggling to scale it up. I've been a bit bored recently and had this idea for a while.
What i want to do is make a frame to hold a set of driving lights that can both rotate side to side, and pivot up and down. Easy enough.
The tricky part is, i want them to rotate with the steering wheel. So if i turn the wheel to the right, i want the the lights to turn to the right, and it would be even better if i could get it to do it at the same speed.
I was thinking of using some kind of potentiometer mounted on the steering column for the direction, and hopefully speed, then send that to the Arduino, and with (from what i gather) some simply coding, it should happen. I was thinking of using an electric clutch like the type found on air conditioning compressors, to hold it in place in the vertical axis if i need to.
To aim it up and down i was thinking of buying or making a vacuum solenoid and just using two settings independent of the electrical system, or even maybe a linear actuator? Ideas please.
Being a car, everything will need to be 12v if possible.
If anyone could help me with what the exact parts ill need, and more importantly how to carry it out, (diagram maybe) that would be greatly appreciated!
Hope I haven't forgotten any thing, cheers.
p.s ive got a hundred dollar bet with my brother, if i can build it.
p.p.s ill be ordering most things through rs-components.com, or jaycar. Any actuators probably through linearactuatorsaustralia.com
Assuming the rig you build to hold the lights is made right I think you could probably control both axis of movement with two large scale hobby servos. They aren't cheap though, so I don't know what your budget is, but then again neither are actuators. As for detecting steering rotation I think what you're looking for is an absolute rotorary encoder but as you'll see when you search they aren't the easiest things to build or use correctly, at least not if you're new to programming. You could use a potenetiometer but would need to devise a way of gearing it so the steering rotation doesn't exceed the rotation of the pot.
Cars that have done this sort of thing in the past achieved it by mechanically linking the lights to the steering mechanism without any clever electronic sensors or motors - wouldn't that be simpler?
I guess that depends on the type of car. It would seem to me that mechanically linking driving lights to the steering rack on most modern cars would be much harder than doing it electronically. I believe some high end luxury cars have lights that point in the direction of the turn and they most definitely aren't mechanically linked to the steering.
Thanks fellas, I understand what I’m trying to do is quite an ask.
Find someone with an early 70's model Citroen and ask them how it works.
Swivelling the lights with servos will work. You will need to make some kind of gimbal mechanism for the two
dimensions but that won't be too hard, at least for a prototype.
If putting a rotary encoder on the steering column is difficult , you could try putting a linear position encoder
to move with the end of the steering rack.