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Thread: Motorized flag and curtain

  1. #1
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    Default Motorized flag and curtain

    I'm trying to create a motorized roller that can go both directions so I can unroll and roll back up a flag and I want to build a second one for a "curtain" made from a red bed sheet. The flag one will be 5 feet long and the curtain one will be 10 feet long. They have to be able roll 2 different ways so this is where I'm stuck as to what motor to use and what motor will have enough power to roll PVC pipe. Help please!!!


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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Motorized flag and curtain

    Gonna need a lot of torque in the motor. I'd probably start with a windshield wiper motor and pulleys... Then would look for bearings on eBay that would fit inside the PVC tube...

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Motorized flag and curtain

    I agree with rotorhead. I used a similar concept to pull my animated nativity star up/down (I don't have a write-up on my page for it yet, but here is a video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wAtDC-7jIE)

    I use a wiper motor and switched directions using relays to reverse the voltage. I used reed switches and magnets to detect when I got to the end of a run and signal a microcontroller. If something like that interests you, I can post some more detail on it for you.

    I am a little confused about you rolling a PVC tube. You are going to slide one tube over another one?

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  5. #4
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    Default Re: Motorized flag and curtain

    Yes and cut a slit in the outside one so the flag/curtain can unroll and roll back up. The inner pipe will be the one rolling, the outside one will just be a housing.


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  6. #5
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    Default Re: Motorized flag and curtain

    Quote Originally Posted by toozie21 View Post
    I agree with rotorhead. I used a similar concept to pull my animated nativity star up/down (I don't have a write-up on my page for it yet, but here is a video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3wAtDC-7jIE)

    I use a wiper motor and switched directions using relays to reverse the voltage. I used reed switches and magnets to detect when I got to the end of a run and signal a microcontroller. If something like that interests you, I can post some more detail on it for you.

    ?
    I love this, and have wanted to do this for a while, to hide star-like elements behind the hedges which are all over the front of the house. I would really appreciate you giving a bit more detail on your design.

  7. #6
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    Default Re: Motorized flag and curtain

    Quote Originally Posted by iflights View Post
    I love this, and have wanted to do this for a while, to hide star-like elements behind the hedges which are all over the front of the house. I would really appreciate you giving a bit more detail on your design.
    Sure. I had started to write-up a rough draft of what I was going to put on my website, but haven't gotten further. I'd be happy to share schematics, pics, videos, etc. if it helps (it will all end up on my site at some point anyway.

    Here is a snippet of what I wrote pertaining to the star (the links in here are placeholders to remind me to put those in in the end):
    Wanting to spice it up a little, I also made the star physically raise. It starts out by sitting turned off just behind the creche. When it turns on, a wiper motor (like the one used for a car's wiper blades) starts running, and it pulls the star up by using a pulley. At the end of the cycle, when everything turns off, the star then unwinds and lowers itself back to its starting position.

    The problem with the star is that my lights are on a timer, so I don't know where the star was the previous night when the show turned off, so I have to have a way to get back to a "home" position. I also wasn't sure about how consistent the turning would be, so I wanted a way to sense when the star was at an upper position as well. What I did to solve that was use a rare earth magnet [link] and some reed switches [link] as sensors (this system is very similar to what a lot of alarm sensors use to detect if a window opened on a house).


    The reed switch is a little device (about the size of a diode) that is always in an "open position" (meaning no current can flow through it it. But when a magnet gets close to it, the little switch inside "closes (it physically gets moved) and causes the switch to conduct electricity. So what I do is put 5 volts on one end of the switch all the time, then when I am doing one of my movements, I read the other end of the switch with the PIC and stop when I see 5V there (it is pulled down to ground with a weak pull-down so it is not floating). By doing this I can reset the star at the beginning of the night, and then I can detect when I am all the way up/down during the show.


    As a safety factor (for my motor mostly), I do have a timer in my code that if I am moving the star and it doesn't reach the end point in a given amount of time, I stop trying for the night and only turn the light on/off the rest of the night. This protects me for if the rope gets hung up on something or gets twisted and the star will never get to the end.


    To make the star go up and down, I setup the motor to run both directions. A wiper motor is a standard DC motor, meaning that if I put 5V and ground on one way, it will turn in one direction (say clockwise), and if I reverse the polarity, it will run the other (say counterclockwise). So what i did was setup two SPDT relays [link] that the microcontroller can activate and dictate which direction the motor turns. This allows me to wind up the string, or unwind it.

  8. #7
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    Default Re: Motorized flag and curtain

    Quote Originally Posted by JDAWGBAILZ View Post
    Yes and cut a slit in the outside one so the flag/curtain can unroll and roll back up. The inner pipe will be the one rolling, the outside one will just be a housing.


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    OK, I assume that this is for the vertical motion (the inner PVC will go up/down)? If so, I think that a pulley idea would work fine. I just don't know how much weight you would be pulling up, that could make it a little tough.

  9. #8
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    Default Re: Motorized flag and curtain

    The inner PVC pipe will spin and raise and lower the flag


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  10. #9
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    Default Re: Motorized flag and curtain

    Quote Originally Posted by toozie21 View Post
    I just don't know how much weight you would be pulling up, that could make it a little tough.
    If you need more torque, an old cordless drill can lift a lot of weight. Those old NiCad type can be found on Craigslist. Not worth buying a battery for them but they’re definitely good for hacking.

    I remember starting the snow blower with mine, so I know the torque is there.
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  11. #10
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    Default Re: Motorized flag and curtain

    Quote Originally Posted by ErnieHorning View Post
    If you need more torque, an old cordless drill can lift a lot of weight. Those old NiCad type can be found on Craigslist. Not worth buying a battery for them but they’re definitely good for hacking.

    I remember starting the snow blower with mine, so I know the torque is there.
    What about an old electric drill?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    2014 PLANS
    4 - RENARD 64XC's
    CLOSE TO 50,000 LIGHTS
    MAYBE... JUST MAYBE A PIXEL SCREEN OR TREE OR BOTH? ;)


    FACEBOOK... https://www.facebook.com/lightingupforesthill

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