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Counter Project

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by GWS, Aug 28, 2010.

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  1. GWS


    Aug 27, 2010
    Counter Project (added some pictures)

    I use a progressive reloading press to load rifle ammunition at home. This press inserts primers into cases using strips of 25 primers. One primer is inserted, then the strip is advanced, for every stoke of the press handle. When a strip is nearly spent, I manually splice another strip to the previous strip and the process continues.

    I would like to build a down-counter that will buzz when a strip is almost done, so that I don't forget to splice the next strip in time. (missing that step makes for a bad day)

    I have mounted a levered micro-switch to the press so that each stoke of the handle will close the switch. I plan for that to be the input to the down-counter.

    My idea was to order THIS microcontroller-based down counter kit, that can be preset. I would have to preset the beginning count to 15 after the first strip is inserted, then 15 primers later it would buzz for the next strip. The trouble is, I would then have to go into "SET" mode again, for strip #2 change the preset from 15 to 25, because the strips actually have 25 primers.

    The first preset of 15 is necessary because the first strip will be past the point where the next strip can to spliced to it if preset is 25. But thereafter, the preset of 25 would position things perfectly at the buzzer, for the following splices.

    Question 1: Would the above work?

    Question 2: To vastly improve it, could the kit's AVR AT90S1200 be programmed to use the existing "SET" and "INC" switches to just toggle between the 15 and 25 presets, since those two options are the only two presets I want or need? Without altering the physical design?

    Thanks, for the help.


    BTW this is an old review of the down-counter module:
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2010
  2. GWS


    Aug 27, 2010
    Wow, no replies, not a great way to experience a new forum.

    Surely, I haven't offended anyone already.:eek:

    I did get one PM that was interesting and helpful, but I can't PM anybody until I post 13 more times!...for whatever reason.
  3. GWS


    Aug 27, 2010
    Thought I should post some pictures so it might be envisioned better, what I'm trying to accomplish.


    This first picture shows the primer strips (empty of primers) that I click into the press and splice together with a snap, when its time to add another. Notice there are 4 or five primers yet to go into the tool...the perfect time to add another strip. (When the down-counter should be at zero for the first strip. Then 25 operations later the counter would again need to be @ zero.


    This picture shows the two threaded holes on the front of the press that allows future "mods" to be added, such as the one I'm proposing. Also shown is the count input source...the micro-switch, which was simple to place perfectly, to close each time the shell holder hits bottom (also the moment a primer is inserted).


    This is a sample project box (from an old project). I'm showing it to show where I would mount the down-counter to the press, into the two threaded holes. On the bottom one, I would screw in a stud (all-thread), then a spacer, then the micro-switch mount, a nut to hold it tight, then the box, then a washer and nut inside the box. The top would mount similarly minus the micro-switch mount of course. I would have to have a longer spacer of course.

    So does this project still look bewildering crazy?? I'm am a neophyte, yes, but only because times have gone on without me, having chosen to be a building contractor instead of an electronics whiz. When I was young I built my first computer with a soldering iron back when the IBM PC just came out. It had the biggest hard drive I could find at the time...a whopping 20 mb drive that cost me 2500 dollars.:rolleyes: You guys are soooo spoiled! There was no such thing as a programmable ic, either....or if there was it was so expensive (and big) that only the government had them.

    Yes, I'm old, I learned to program on punch cards (now that was hell)...Cobol and Fortran, yuck!
  4. LTX71CM


    May 23, 2010
    If you're unhappy with a microcontroller solution you could use two 4516s and diode logic connected to the two switches to set them. To warn about running empty use a 4068 to verify a count of 0, when triggered it sets off a one-shot timer to power a buzzer for a second or two.
  5. GWS


    Aug 27, 2010
    Not at all unhappy about micro-controller IC's...on the contrary! Unhappy that I can't reply to PM's that members in the forum send me, until 11 more posts,...yes, slightly unhappy.

    I would love to have the know how to program such chips...but I don't...yet. I did order the counter circuit kit I posted about, but $30, counting shipping, isn't enough investment for me to consider other options closed.

    I think the kit will work as it is, as long as I reset after the first 15...but of course that's a pain. Programming it to do it on its own is the better goal.

    I'm noticing the "Mode C" on the kit auto-resets at count zero. That would be the only mode to use. Re-programming the micro-controller to do only that mode (slightly modified) would mean I'd only need one reset, where count 15 is the preset, and count 25 is the auto-preset occurring at the end of the first countdown to zero.
  6. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    Jan 21, 2010
    Aah, New Mexico. One of my favourite places in the US.

    It looks like a very simple task for a microcontroller. Have a look at PICAXE chips. They're well suited for this sort of thing.

    If you have even the slightest programming experience you'll find these a very easy "in" to using microcontrollers.
  7. GWS


    Aug 27, 2010
    New Mexico is a land of variable scenery, and climate. I live in the North where out of my windows I see the white capped mountains of Colorado. If you don't like the weather here, wait 2 hours.

    Your public info suggests you are from South Africa? Never had the privilege of visiting.

    PICAXE chips, huh. They are easier to program than the AVR? Interesting, how so? I'm not a circuit designer, I can build somebody else's design, but that's it...which is why I ordered the popular down-counter circuit designed by Frank Crivelli at Ozitronics, hoping it was suitable for what I want to do with it.

    BTW, one of the things I am expert in is Autocad. I use it to design buildings not circuits, but using that software is the same either way. I mention this because I can probably be of help to people trying to learn to use it. I replied to such a person tonight, and hopefully he got the answer he needed.
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