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Author Topic: How to power a backpack?  (Read 1746 times)
United States United States

« on: October 28, 2010, 09:11:00 pm »

I want to make a box with moving parts. I want gauges with moving needles. I want gears that turn. I want lights to flash and flicker.

I know how to work with wood and I have some metal working experience, and if it matters I also know a bit of leather working, but I know only the bare minimum of electricity or other sources of power. How do people power their gizmos and how do I safely duplicate their efforts?

A few examples of what I have in mind:
How do I make gears turn? I know the clockwork method, but I’m hoping for an electrical means. Is it as simple as finding a small battery-operated motor? And if so, then how do I make a handy power switch? (Yes, I am that primitive)

How do I make use a trigger to increase or decrease the power going to one of my devices? Specifically, if I want the ability to curl my finger around a trigger to make lights light brighter.

How do I attach gauges to these things to give meaningless measurements that look cool? I would suppose it depends upon the gauge. Are there any that are better than others for the sorts of projects above?

What sorts of power supplies does everyone else use and where can I get a beginner's lesson on the subject?
United Kingdom United Kingdom

« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2010, 09:44:51 pm »

Generally electricity is the most convenient power source for portable devices as its reasonably safe at low voltages and modern batteries give good power density.

Simple electrical stuff like lights and motors are relatively straightforward. However is is something where you do really need at least a basic level of understanding before you start. There are loads of tutorials for specific projects on the web but if you have a bit of knowledge it will make it much easier to follow them. Your local library would be a good place to start, just say that you;re looking for a beginners guide to practical electronics.

As well as gears it's also worth considering some other types of mechanical devices, which can open up a much wider range of interesting types of movement. Things like cams, cranks, multi-bar linkages etc all are fairly simple if you have some fabricating experience. It's also well worth looking at some real devices for inspiration rather than just making up long gear trains. A lot of the 'pseudo functional' devices are let down by the fact that the gears very obviously don;t, and indeed couldn't possibly, do anything.  Again the library is a good place to start.

« Last Edit: October 28, 2010, 09:47:18 pm by Narsil » Logged

A man of eighty has outlived probably three new schools of painting, two of architecture and poetry and a hundred in dress.
Lord Byron
Deck Hand
Canada Canada

« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2010, 02:07:13 am »

Heres a great introductory web-text:

Barring that, there is an electronics for dummies book that isnt half bad, but I think everything is covered in that link above including projects.
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