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Need a mentor for Out-of-my-league project

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by 12bflyn76, Aug 13, 2013.

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  1. 12bflyn76


    Aug 13, 2013
    *First post, first forum, and first question ever posted*

    I found this forum, and its members seem competent and willing to help; However, I have not really found a similar post or request like mine (unless I have missed it).
    Okay, of course I am another person who has no real knowledge of circuitry, or experience in electrical engineering, and who is trying to accomplish something I probably have no business trying- but still I have to ask.

    I recently got my hands on a "power wheels" jeep wrangler for my 3 yr. old (first) son.
    Being proficient with an airbrush and having other artistic talent, I decided to (or will do so once I can figure component placement) turn this "red" jeep into a military jeep complete with camouflage, and other military likenesses.
    And so began the vision of working LED's, lit switches, and other functional devices that would make this project a, "one- of- a- kind" for my son. So I hurried, and went online to various hobbyist stores purchasing kits, and components that I thought would be relevant to my ideas.
    As its stands, the kits have been assembled, but I am have one terrible time trying to gather information from various places to make sense of what I am trying to do.

    Here are my ideas. They are vague, but only because I do not have to ability to communicate professionally- this is where the mentor request comes in, in hopes that someone would be willing to guide me:

    (1) I would like the ability to have one 12v battery dedicated for driving the power wheels (motors only) and another 12v battery to drive devices, LED's, etc. It would also be wonderful to be able to switch the "device" source battery off through a main switch with the option to use its power to drive the power wheels if the other battery ran out of power.

    (2) I would like working headlights once a switch is turned on the dash, which also controls power to the brake lights (that are only activated once the "gas pedal" is not depressed).

    (3) I would like to install a machine gun turret behind the seat which is controlled by a joystick (movement needed is right to left 180 degrees). I bought a preamp kit and sound kit that I have uploaded wav files to which have machine gun sounds and horn sounds on it. I would like to wire the horn switch to the drivers wheel obviously and machine gun trigger to the top of joystick.
    (4) I would like to create a loudspeaker through an old CB mic that would work as normal when the trigger is depressed.

    I understand this description is vague but I believe it gives a general idea of what it is I am trying to accomplish. I need structured guidance, but my bank account does not allow me to invest in college. I have tried researching and have retained some information, but it is
    difficult for me to learn with direction like, " go here and read it", or "go to this site and they will tell you". I was hoping for guidance to the effect of, " let's start here", or, " once we understand this, this is what we can do".
    I understand the good people on this site cannot advise me without first knowing , how many LED's, what kind of components/ their ratings, or other pertinent information to provide an accurate explanation, but this post is asking for someone who would be willing to guide me (personally) and address my questions for this project. If you are willing, I will do my best to provide any necessary information to help you determine what it is I need to do this project.
    Your time will be respected, as it is being donated. I will not pressure, or be demanding of it. There is no real hurry for this project, I just want to say one day that I was able to do it for my son, that's all (before he is too big for this). I appreciate any response, including those that tell me to "get lost" because I am in over my head.
    Take care and I look forward to anyone's help. I hope to post the finished project at a later time.
  2. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    Jan 21, 2010
    My suggestion is that if you want a separate 12V for the drive, and another for the accessories, then you get a smaller battery of the same type. Assuming the existing battery is a lead acid battery, a small (say 7AH) battery for the accessories should be fine. With luck you can use the same charger to charge this as well (make sure it's a decent charger though!)

    The switch on the dash controlling the headlights should simply be in series with the smaller battery -- i.e. it should remove power completely from the accessories. Even better would be a switch which is pushed and remains on for only a certain amount of time before turning off. They used to make mechanical switches like this for outdoor lights. If you can get one, great. Making one may be a bit tricky without some experience.

    For headlights I would try to find some 1W LED downlight "bulbs" designed to run from 12V. You should simply be able to connect these to the 12V switched by the switch discussed above.

    Brake lights could be similar. To switch them when the accelerator is not pressed, get a (possibly lever activated) microswitch and mount it so that it gets activated when the pedal returns to its rest position. This switch is placed in series with the power from the "headlight switch" so that the brake lights are active only when the headlights are also on.

    With LED lights it is VERY important to get lights designed to be run from the correct voltage. If you just buy a LED and connect it, it will be very bright for a very short time and then dark forever...

    If cash is short, you can order cheap (although inevitably low quality) "lamps" from China. (I randomly picked one here. $2.99 for a 3W MR11 "globe") Just make sure it's 12V! Here is another option. Getting sockets for these may be a problem, or you can probably just solder wires t them.

    I would advise having a fuse in series with your battery in case something shorts out. Even small lead acid batteries are capable of very high currents, plenty to melt wires, cause burns, and/or start fires. Not what you want in a kids "car".
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