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Can Ez Robot Parts Be Used To Build A Dollhouse Elevator?

Hi! I have a large 6 story dollhouse that I want to build a motorized elevator for, but I'm having trouble finding parts & a tutorial. I was wondering if any of the parts/motors that are available from EZ Robot could be used to build one. Does anyone know? I want to be able to control it with a remote control and I would need it to stop at the right place for each floor of the dollhouse. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

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#2  
Yes, that all should work but there has gotta be a better and eaiser way.

I agree with two points Hhammoud gives; limit switches (but make sure you have blocking diodes installed on each on so you can reverse directions) and needing a computer of some kind to controll EZB with ARC software.

I think all you may need is a continuous servo with a pully and cable system attached to it. You can set the stop points in ARC. I'm a little unsure about that though. Not sure if a continuous servo can give feedback info as it's pot may be disabled. If so then you will have to add your own muilt turn pot and attach it to the ADC port of EZB. This way will give you the added benefit of useing a small DC Gear motor instead of a servo. They are stronger and quieter then a servo. Also this way you will need to write scripts to move the motor and have the motor stop at the different stop points determined by values returned by the pot. You can start this movement from other scripts. Each script can be one stopping point value. You would have 6 stop scripts, one for each floor. That way you only have to push the start button for the floor you want to stop at. Your laptop screen can be your remote and you could have the stop scripts arranged on your screen any way you want.

You could even have your doll house evevator be voice actavated. You could say, "Elevator, 2nd floor" and it would move there without even pushing the start button of the script. Just like in Star Trek.

I have already written scripts like this and can be found in my project "B9 Control" that is in EZ Cloud. I'd be happy to share them with you and help you with the adjustments needed.

EZB could also handle other things in your doll house like lights on and off, doors, water, furniture movement, sound & music or just about anything you can think of.

As far as finding parts you can go to venders on the internet like servo City and The Robot Shop. There are many more places but start there. You'll find most of what you need with them and they are great venders you can trust.

Keep us updated, post pics and vids, ask questions and just have fun!
Dave Schulpius
United Kingdom
#3  
What about a feedback pot, multiturn on through a gear box, and modified servo. At specific resistances it knows its in position.

sorry its brief, I'm on my phone, ill try to explain better when I get to a pc.

edit I guess I missed Dave mention the pot:)
#4  
Dave, I think your idea is the best.

( I thought the same thing;))
For an example.

first, add the modified servo control and run the servo up and down(forward/backward)(assuming you've already attached a rope or string to the servo).

Then, count how long it takes for the servo to lift the elevator to the second floor, third floor, ect. from the first floor.

Then take how long it took and put it into milliseconds(1 second = 1000 milliseconds).

then make a script like this for " first floor to second floor".

Code:

Move([servo port here], [Forward/backward]
Sleep([how many milliseconds you counted for first floor to second floor])
Move([servo port here], stop)
United Kingdom
#5  
I'd avoid time based movements, they aren't exactly accurate.

Switches at each position to trigger a stop or a feedback pot on an ADC for stopping are more accurate. Also, depending on the load in the lift (while minimal and may have little impact) it may take longer to rise up than if it's empty, plus slippage can occur, and over time the rope may stretch.
United Arab Emr
#6  
@dschulpius: I do agree with you and sure it is much cooler to use EZB and do a lot of fancy feature with minimal programing efforts.

My quick feedback based on my old previous experience with actual Elevators and Controllers work.
it was really advanced and complex electronics ;) before the introduction of all these new Micro-Controller Gadget nowadays, that made a big difference in operation simplicity and manageability.

@Anne2255 I am sure your daughter is lucky one that has a father going all the way to make her happy.
Do not hesitate to ask and we are ready to support.



H. Hammoud
United Arab Emr
#7  
Switch is the Standard method

Pot is great idea but not sure if it is limited with the number of Turns.

Another option is the Groove Infrared Switch can be used for speed and distance Measurement . It is used with the motor that is coupled to a measuring disk (Multi-holes for higher resolution) Sometimes used with the RC cars to control the speed and measure the distance .

Groove Infrared Switch
United Kingdom
#8  
Speaking of infra red, you could put a sharp IR distance sensor in the top or bottom of the shaft, connect to an ADC port and use the ADC values to determine position. Or a ultrasonic ping sensor. Much simpler.
United Arab Emr
#9  
@Rich : how much accurate/precise is the measurement in this case ?
United Kingdom
#10  
It depends on the sensor. The ones I use are 4cm to 30cm range and are extremely accurate, 26cm range accurate to around 1mm. It depends on the length of the shaft I guess, you could put one on top and one on the bottom, if one is out of range measure from the other to get the distance, so in effect 2 sensors can position something in a 60cm (2 foot) range.

There are other sensors which measure further too, but obviously the further you go the more each ACD value is equal to. If it was a 52cm range it would be around 2mm per ADC. Basically range/255 = distance per ADC value.
#11  
Hi guys,

Thanks so much for your ideas and interest in my problem. I'm afraid I don't have a clue about the items you are suggesting. I'm very mechanically minded, so I'm sure I can figure it out, but I'm totally new to electronics. Would it be possible for me to upload some photos and measurements so you can see the dollhouse and have one of you give me a list of parts I would need to purchase and some instructions as to how to put the whole thing together?

BTW, someone mentioned a rope or string stretching after time with a load in the elevator. I was hoping to use a chain or something stronger than a rope or string...

Thanks,

Anne
United Kingdom
#12  
That was me mentioning stretching:) I guess with a chain it wouldn't be an issue.

Do you know the length of the lift shaft? If you let me know that then I can give you the correct part number for the Infra Red Sensor and you can decide if you want to use that idea.

Something like the Sharp GP2Y0A02YK0F will basically plug in to an ADC port on the EZ-B, it then reports a voltage to the EZ-B, this voltage can be converted to distance, or if you stop the lift in position and read the value you know what to set it to stop at.

You then use scripts to move the lift, with some GetADC commands and loops etc. (I'll explain more if you go down this route) and the lift moves to the required position. It's very simple really.
United Arab Emr
#13  
Yes, it is better to have the description .

- The shaft length and design.
- Expected weight to hold.
- Functionality needed for the elevator and anything else for the dollhouse

Rich : I read that ping sensors readings are affected with the cable connection length . Is this applicable to IR ones also ?
United Kingdom
#14  
Not that I am aware but I also wasn't aware that some IR sensors distance/voltage is a curve not linear...

However, if the sensor is in place and the wiring is fixed the simplest way would be to install the lift, move it to position, record the value on the sensor and use that for reference.

i.e. move the lift to the ground floor, read the ADC, that value is ground floor, let's say a value of 27.
move the lift to the first floor, read the ADC, that value is the firs floor, let's say a value of 58.
and so on until all positions are known.

Then, the script to move to position checks the ADC, if moving to ground floor it moves until ADC=27 then it stops. If moving to first it moves until ADC=58 and stops. You get the idea.
#15  
Hi guys,

I called servo City today and talked with a tech. He said that all I need is a HS-785HB servo that turns 3.5 rotations and a Pololu controller with presets. He said that I would need to set a minimum and maximum pwm signal and then set points in-between for the stops at the various floors. He said that servo City carries the Servo, but that I would need to contact Pololu for the controller. So, I called Pololu and talked with a tech there as well. She said that she thought the best controller for my application was the twelve-channel Micro Maestro controller. She said that I would need to read the user guide for the controller to see if it is what I need. I told her I have no way of knowing, since I have never done anything like this before!

She didn't mention a power source, but I know I will need a power supply, and she suggested that I get some push button switches and a breadboard, since there is no remote control available.

So, are any of you familiar with these items? Are these what you were describing?

Anne
#16  
User-inserted image


This is what I have built so far of the dollhouse. It is 43" tall and there is approx 7" between the floors.
#17  
User-inserted image


I also love robots! This is the start of my collection. I also have an Omnibot that works, but is yellow from sun damage. After I build my dollhouse elevator I plan on painting it and adding some fun functions.

Anne
#18  
Oooops, I just realized that my last sentence wasn't very clear - I plan on painting the Omnibot, not the dollhouse elevator!
United Kingdom
#19  
Thats some dollhouse very impressive

Are you going to have lights in every room? and how are these going to be controlled EZ-B might be the easiest way to go if you want full (mini) home automation.

I think I would put a small magnet on the lift and a reed relay on each floor that switches in a resistor all wired in parrallel. The resistors would be different values and you could read them through on ADC port connected to the EZB. So if the ADC port reads 10 you are on floor 1 and 20 floor 2 etc. This cuts down on wiring and problems with cables or chains stretching

Diagram added. There are loads of people on here who can write the EZ-B scripts up for you just another idea to mull over

For doll safety I added 2 top and bottom limit switches but not strictly needed:)

User-inserted image
#20  
Hi winstn60,

Thank you for the diagram! In your message you highlighted the EZ-B, but the link took me to a page that shows a complete kit. Do I need the complete kit, or just the EZ-B board?

Also, is the Continuous servo one that turns continuously as opposed to the one that servo City suggested, which has 3.5 revolutions? Here is a link to the one they suggested:

Servo

I don't know anything about how to wire this system up, but I'm very eager to learn.

I would like to wire the dollhouse for lights, but haven't figured that part out yet. The dollhouse is built from pieces of 4 Playmobil Victorian Mansion dollhouses that I combined to build my multi level house. The Victorian mansion dollhouses are discontinued, so I find used ones on eBay. Playmobil made lighting kits for the houses, but I don't know if the light kits will work for my house since it is much larger than the original design. If you have any ideas about how to add lights I would be interested!

Thanks so much,

Anne
United Kingdom
#21  
Probably for this application just the EZ-B board but you will then also need a power supply and some connecting leads.

Yes as its a fairly long elevator shaft a continuous rotation servo not one thats limited to 3.5 turns you could use a geared motor with slow enough rpm they are quite reasonable from Solarbotics but a servo has easy mounting options and is an easy option with the EZ-B. The speed of rotation will be the crucial thing you dont want a high speed elevator! a large pulley wheel would help. Probably needs a bit of experimentation

Reed relays come in lots of different packages and some with an operating magnet. I like the small glass ones as you can actually see it operating

The EZ-B board can drive LED lights directly and some are very bright. You can get wide angle, coloured and even versions that change colour they can be very small indeed. It would just take on cable from the LED to the EZ-B board. You just need to work out the number of rooms you need to light One EZ-B as a maximum has 20 ports for various uses so say 18 lights and one lift servo and one sensor port to find where the lift is. Or some other combination

This all of course needs a PC/Laptop of some sort to drive the EZ-B board and do the programming

Glad your eager to learn! at some point you'll have a Eureka moment and it will get easier

Keep us posted with progress

Neil