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Thread: Non laser, electronics-ish help needed

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Detroit, USA

    Default Non laser, electronics-ish help needed

    Greetings PLers!

    I'm not sure if what I want to do is even possible, but I'll explain what I need as best I can. I would like to trigger a series of 110v solenoids 1 at a time for a predetermined amount of time using only one circuit and no external signal. Basically, if I have 4 confetti cannons lined up, I want to blast them all one at a time just by applying power; when I turn the power on, confetti cannon #1 goes BOOM!, when I turn the power off & back on again, confetti cannon #2 goes BOOM! and so on. If this is possible I imagine it would require some combination of latching relays & timer relays, but I understand that the equipment may need a constant voltage to work in addition to my 110v 'signal'; this would be acceptable. I would also like the solution to be scalable, so that I could hook up as many confetti/streamer cannons as I want, and they would fire one-by-one down the line.

    And now, no thread is complete without pictures:
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    And a video:

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008


    Why 110v solenoids... could be done with 12VDC solenoids and a battery supply
    for portability and a micro-controller for the logic.

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007
    1 hr from everything in SoCal


    I know you said you didn't want any "signal" but to be honest, these are certainly cheap enough and you can use them for any other triggers you may need, outside of this type of gig. The relays are 10A and should have no problems switching a pneumatic solenoid. 8 Relays so, it wouldn't exactly be scalable beyond 8 without some side stepping. Just a thought.
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  4. #4
    mixedgas's Avatar
    mixedgas is online now Creaky Old Award Winning Bastard Technologist
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    Join Date
    May 2007
    A lab with some dripping water on the floor.


    The way to do this with a relay is a sequencing relay from a old phone central exchange switch. Since each exchange had thousands of them, they still exist,the last were pulled from service in the early 90s, but they are out there. You'd need a DC supply for the coil, anyways. Their contacts can't handle much current, so each contact needs a booster relay. This is going to need more then two wires, anyway you do it. You really need a memory element relay, which flips like a mousetrap and is manually reset. Since I have no seen any that were not made in World War Two, I think you may have a issue finding those. I'm posting this just to answer your question, as relay trees are expensive to build.

    As for latching relays, The cost of the latching relays will exceed the cost of doing this with DMX. AC latching relays sell at well over 90$ new.

    I'd go for the DMX board myself. Or have a friend program you a microcontroller...

    Keywords: Strowger Switch, Uniselector, Stepping Switch, Step Relay.

    The Robber Barons of Nebraska have some, but pricy:

    Last edited by mixedgas; 07-13-2014 at 09:51.
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  5. #5
    Bradfo69's Avatar
    Bradfo69 is online now Pending BST Forum Purchases: $47,127,283.53
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Wilmington, DE


    I don't have an answer as I'm not electronically inclined but, I do have a question..... Why do you want/need to turn off the power in between each firing? Or is that your thought to a solution to only having one circuit and no external signal? And what's the issue with having an external signal? I'm asking mainly to understand the perceived challenges that's prompted the question. Sometimes I can see a different way to skin a cat.

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