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Author Topic: Electronics help needed - cycling sirens?
Stibbons
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Icon 1 posted November 19, 2007 03:39      Profile for Stibbons   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Excuse the pun in the title - not intentional! I'm in the process of putting together a prototype EMS/police "blues and twos" system for bicycles, as the stuff that's already on the market is a) over priced and b) doesn't do what we want it to.

We've got the majority of it making sense, but the one major issue we've got at the moment is in making a useful siren. The siren we want to use has four modes - off, hi-low (neenawneenaw), yelp (rapid woowoowoo) and wail (slower wooooOOOOooooo). At the moment, you switch between these by twiddling a knob attached the the siren that sits in the middle of the handlebars, which is not a particularly sensible solution as the times you need to cycle through siren modes are those when you need to have best control of the bike (eg road junctions, cycling through crowds). We want to change this to single button operation, where one can cycle through the modes by pressing a button attached to one of the grips, in much the same way a modern emergency vehicle uses the horn.

The problem with this - none of us have any idea as to how to do this! Either this will have to be handled by firmware, which will put the price up, or something mechanical which was my idea (every push put the button slightly lower and so forms a different connection, much like a clicky pen).

So I'm opening this one up to you guys - have any of you got a plan as to how this might work please?

Posts: 1143 | From: UK | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
TheMoMan
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Icon 1 posted November 19, 2007 03:53      Profile for TheMoMan         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Stibbons ___________________________ Have you looked at a handheld electronic megaphone hailer. We have one here on the farm so the Mrs can get a hold of me when I am out on the tractor. Ours has a slide switch for mode, Maybe you could replace the mode switch and relocate it at the same time. This would require surgery on the siren body.

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Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.


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Posts: 5848 | From: Just South of the Huron National Forest, in the water shed of the Rifle River | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
Lady_Christy
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Icon 1 posted November 19, 2007 08:25      Profile for Lady_Christy     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Stibbons:
The siren we want to use has four modes - off, hi-low (neenawneenaw), yelp (rapid woowoowoo) and wail (slower wooooOOOOooooo).

Is it bad that I read those aloud for full effect? I think my roommates are wondering things about me... [ohwell]

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Posts: 207 | From: The Northwoods | Registered: Feb 2007  |  IP: Logged
Stereo

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Icon 1 posted November 19, 2007 10:08      Profile for Stereo     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Here's my thoughts:

A one button cycling through all four sirens would be really usefull only if either the driver really goes all four sirens as a cycle, or the device has a bit of a delay. Otherwise, I would think it could be confusing to have half a second of one siren sound, then 5-10 seconds (or more) of the other, then again half a second of the third before going back to the regular one - and again at the next intersection. (Change the half-second order to fit whatever it would really be.)

Second, there are probably already some buttons available on the market that already have the hardwire needed. Otherwise, I think it could be done with the following logic, using a feed-back loop:

Siren1() = (Siren1() XOR Button()) OR (Siren4() AND Button()) (Plus make it default.)
Siren2() = (Siren2() XOR Button()) OR (Siren1() AND Button())
Etc.

i.e.: A siren turns on when the preceeding siren is on and the button is pressed. A siren shut of when it is on and the button is pressed again. You may have to introduce some delay so two sirens don't come out at the same time (if only for a tenth of a second or two.)

It works in my head anyway, but I must warn you that I haven't done that since my only hardware course over ten years ago. But quite frankly, maybe just using another kind of control device - one that can be used with a single thumb - would be better, and easier.

Hey, what about having two buttons, one near each thumb? No button pressed = S1; first button held = S2; second button held = S3; both held = S4. Or could be two on-off switch if more than one siren can be used for more than a few seconds. In any case, you may want to analyse the siren usage patterns to select the most appropriate control device.

Good luck!

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CommanderShroom
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Icon 1 posted November 19, 2007 10:24      Profile for CommanderShroom     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Why not use something like a motorcycle turn-signal switch?

It is a lever switch left right with the off being activated by pressing the lever straight down in the center. Two sets of switches easily reached by the thumb and flicked on and off.

Now how to get it to work with the siren itself may be more difficult, but I would really take a close look at the motorcycling world for ideas on ways to set up a switch system. Since most are designed to allow a rider to control various items like lights, signals, horns, and even stereos without ever taking your hands from the bars.

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Posts: 2465 | From: Utarrrrggggghhh!!!!!!!! | Registered: Mar 2003  |  IP: Logged
dragonman97

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Icon 1 posted November 19, 2007 10:58      Profile for dragonman97   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Stereo: I'm pretty sure he was addressing the notion of a single button to cycle through the sounds as a cheap alternative to the knob. i.e. Making it 'accessible,' without the hard work of actually getting it into the desired mode another way.

I did just think of a really simple alternative...put a toggle on the mains. ;P

If you can leave the knob in the desired position, and keep the unit turned on, a simple bypass to the battery would solve things.

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There are three things you can be sure of in life: Death, taxes, and reading about fake illnesses online...

Posts: 9332 | From: Westchester County, New York | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Stibbons
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Icon 1 posted November 20, 2007 02:35      Profile for Stibbons   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Stereo:
A one button cycling through all four sirens would be really usefull only if either the driver really goes all four sirens as a cycle, or the device has a bit of a delay. Otherwise, I would think it could be confusing to have half a second of one siren sound, then 5-10 seconds (or more) of the other, then again half a second of the third before going back to the regular one - and again at the next intersection. (Change the half-second order to fit whatever it would really be.)

The reason for the tones is that each is useful in a different setting - the "wooooOOOOooooo" (for Lady_Christy) is used for keeping a path clear, the "woowoowoo" for moving people, and the "neenawneenaw" for being annoying). Eg you'd be coming up to a junction with your wail on to keep the traffic off to one side, then flick on to the yelp for actually getting through the junction. The other main use is for getting through crowds, where you would cycle through the sirens exactly as you described, probably 1-3s on each mode as it makes a horrible noise that shifts people out of the way. The order of the sirens would be such that the first press would but the wail on, then the yelp, then the hi-low.

quote:
Hey, what about having two buttons, one near each thumb? No button pressed = S1; first button held = S2; second button held = S3; both held = S4. Or could be two on-off switch if more than one siren can be used for more than a few seconds. In any case, you may want to analyse the siren usage patterns to select the most appropriate control device.
That's a geek answer [Smile] It would sit well with the guys developing the system, but it's supposed to be idiot proof (i.e. a cop could use it [Wink] ). This mode of control is used by ambulances and police cars in the UK (and probably the states), using the horn as the switch (the only difference is they use a double press for off) - unfortunately the Little Black Box they use is hideously expensive, heavy and uses too much power for a bike. Also, the other handle already has a button for a high-pitched squealing noise, for when people just aren't listening and want their ear-drums perforating.
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Mr. Dave
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Icon 5 posted November 24, 2007 21:44      Profile for Mr. Dave     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Did anyone else read this and get a mental image of a beat cop with flashing lights on his hat? [Confused]

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Posts: 193 | From: Leverkusen Institute of Paleocybernetics | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Dave
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Icon 3 posted November 26, 2007 17:31      Profile for Mr. Dave     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Actually, I know exactly what you want, but I can't remember how to build it. Back when I was studying electronics (that would be, um, two lifetimes ago?) we had a digital logic lab assignment where we built a simple sequencer out of TTL gates.

I also used to have a stack of model railroad books (#[email protected]% if I can find 'em now!) including a couple on simple electronic gadgets. Something like a chase-light driver or traffic-light controller with the input clock replaced with a push button, and the outputs hacked into the siren's rotary switch oughta do what you want.

Any hardware hackers out there think they can run with this?

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Posts: 193 | From: Leverkusen Institute of Paleocybernetics | Registered: Jan 2003  |  IP: Logged


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