Motor controled domination flags with scoring

So here is my project: Two opposing flags on a vertically oriented two pulley system(like a clothes line), when one flag comes down the opposite flag goes up. I want the movement of the flags to be motor driven and i would like some sort of a scoring system to keep track of which flag is up and for how long. This all needs to be battery powered. Now, I think you will all agree that this can all be done very simply and mostly mechanically, but... that's not why I'm here. So after three days of research into motors, motor controllers, programming, and various sensors I have come up with a general idea of what I need to do but I would like some input before I start buying parts.

My initial thoughts are to use a DC motor with an encoder attached. I figure this way the system could not only move the flag to any desired position but also keep track of flag position when the flags are moved manually without the motor being driven. (This is important because even though there will be buttons to make it easier, there are always people out there who have a problem following directions and will ignore the buttons and just pull the rope.) I was also thinking this would eliminate the need for limit switches because I can just use the encoder feedback to detect when the flags hit their physical stops. I think I can also use encoder position to trigger scoring, but this is all programming and I know there are already topics about this. None of this needs a great deal of accuracy because the positioning of the flags is purely for visual effect.

So, with that being said I think a direct drive 12v DC motor will be strong enough to move the flags without gear reduction and wont get damaged if its moved manually. In the interest of conserving battery I don't need it to actively hold position, just move to the desired position (maybe active braking to keep it from overshooting) and then it will just sit there.

I was hoping to incorporate wireless communication between the flag stations and some sort of central hub/network so that all the scores are added up in real time and can all stop scoring and reset in unison so it doesn’t require someone to walk around the field after every game to reset every flag station.

So that’s my project. Now, I have a good understanding of basic circuits, motors, simple logic, and soldering, but programming and wireless communication are not in my wheelhouse. I have no idea what boards or peripherals I will need to accomplish all of this but it doesn’t seem too complicated.

Things to keep in mind:
Size is not an issue.
Everything will be battery powered.
Precision of motor control is not important.
Wireless communication needs to reach at least 400ft and real time scoring is less important than battery life.
I’m not expecting a walkthrough, just some help getting me going in the right direction.

chainsaw_mcgraw:
Everything will be battery powered.

So how often do you propose to charge these batteries?

Once a day? Once a week?

chainsaw_mcgraw:
So here is my project: Two opposing flags on a vertically oriented two pulley system(like a clothes line), when one flag comes down the opposite flag goes up. I want the movement of the flags to be motor driven and i would like some sort of a scoring system to keep track of which flag is up and for how long.

A simple diagram with dimensions would be a big help.

I can't understand the purpose of the scoring system. If an Arduino controlled motor makes a flag go up, why would there be any doubt about whether it is up, or for how long?

...R

Robin2:
I can't understand the purpose of the scoring system. If an Arduino controlled motor makes a flag go up, why would there be any doubt about whether it is up, or for how long?

It sounds like there will be multiple flag stations and two teams of players are competing in a capture the flag(s) contest. Paintball I expect. Points need to be accumulated centrally to show which team is holding each flag and for how long.

How far apart are the flag stations? What's the terrain like? If my above guesses are correct, I'd expect trees in abundance. LoRa would be my first thought for comms.

Hi,
Welcome to the forum.

Please read the post at the start of any forum , entitled "How to use this Forum".
OR
http://forum.arduino.cc/index.php/topic,148850.0.html.

A diagram and explanation of scoring will help.

Thanks.. Tom... :slight_smile:

So yes, this is for airsoft/paintball and for the scoring it needs to time how long each of the two flags have been "up" so when one flag is down the timer pauses and when it goes up the timer starts again. Then at the end of the game(usually 20mins) whichever team has the highest score(time) wins. In the past we would use a ref standing by each flag station with a chess timer and they would manually keep track of the time, and when the game ended they would all stop the timers, get together, and add up the time. Mechanically connecting the flag station to a chess timer setup would work but when the game ended someone would have to go to each flag but the last flag checked would still be accumulating time until they got there to stop it.(you cant count on players to stop the timers)

The wireless communication part
The flag stations would be spaced sporadically around a 700ft by 500ft play area with areas of heavy to no vegetation. The denser areas have much shorter shrubs and small trees so it wouldn't be hard to extend the antenna above all that. Real time scoring would be cool but I understand that to conserve battery that might not be feasible. I really just want to be able to read and reset all the flag stations at the end of the game.

Since they will only be used once a month at this point I will have no problem charging the batteries between uses. I was also planning on using car batteries because the extra weight will help steady the base of the station. As for motors, I have a couple old 18v cordless drills that i was going to take apart.

I am having problems trying to upload the diagram. Once I get this straightened out I can upload a picture of the station.