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Thread: Motion sensor for activating lights in passenger cars

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    Lightbulb Motion sensor for activating lights in passenger cars

    I'm thinkin of installing lighting in my passenger cars, led strips etc.

    Ideally, I think of a system that switches the lights automatically when the car is in motion. Using some kind of vibration sensor that triggers the lighting for some minutes (so cars keep lit in short station stops), and when the car stops longer time, lights switch off.

    Does anyone have experience in building this? What kind of sensor or circuit can be used?

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    Have not built one but I'd probably try something like this: https://www.adafruit.com/product/1766 coupled with a 555 timer circuit wired to generate a single long pulse when triggered.

    -or-

    If you're taking power through the wheels, you could also use a voltage comparator to sense the voltage level. The output would go high when a certain voltage was reached and stay high until the voltage fell below a certain point. The output would enable a pulse generator (555 timer) to light the bulbs/LEDs.


    GDR

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Rowan View Post
    If you're taking power through the wheels, you could also use a voltage comparator to sense the voltage level. The output would go high when a certain voltage was reached and stay high until the voltage fell below a certain point. The output would enable a pulse generator (555 timer) to light the bulbs/LEDs.
    That would work for DC on the rails. For DCC the sensor switch would seem a better solution. Depends on how sensitive it is; would "slinky effect" couplers cause the lights to go on-off, on-off or could the 555 circuitry compensate for that? Might require a keep-alive cap at the threshold. ...Just musing.
    Paul Schmidt

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Schmidt View Post
    would "slinky effect" couplers cause the lights to go on-off, on-off or could the 555 circuitry compensate for that?
    I believe that once triggered, the 555 would stay on for the duration of the timing interval, eliminating any 'bounce' from the sensor.

    Here's a couple of links for reference:

    http://www.circuitbasics.com/555-tim...nostable-mode/
    https://circuitdigest.com/electronic...ircuit-diagram

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    In the UK Train Tech do such things, including sound modules:

    http://www.train-tech.com/index.php/...coach-lighting.

    They are a bit big for N though.

    Simon

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Rowan View Post
    I believe that once triggered, the 555 would stay on for the duration of the timing interval, eliminating any 'bounce' from the sensor.

    Here's a couple of links for reference:

    http://www.circuitbasics.com/555-tim...nostable-mode/
    https://circuitdigest.com/electronic...ircuit-diagram
    Yeah, that would do it. Would require some fussy work to fit into an N scale passenger car. But the parts are cheap.

    So, @Gary Rowan, are you thinking that the fast sensor switch would be wired one side to ground and the other to the trigger of the 555? Then a large-value tantalum cap for C1 and large value for R1 to keep the threshold below two-thirds VCC for a long duration? That's what I'd try first.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Schmidt View Post
    are you thinking that the fast sensor switch would be wired one side to ground and the other to the trigger of the 555? Then a large-value tantalum cap for C1 and large value for R1 to keep the threshold below two-thirds VCC for a long duration? That's what I'd try first.
    @Paul Schmidt,

    I would build the circuit as shown in the circuitbasics.com link, substituting the sensor for the push-button switch. My preference would be to use an electrolytic cap instead of a tantalum. That sort of depends on whether or not you can get a large enough tantalum for the desired timing duration according to the formula in the link.

    It's not to hard to fit into an N scale car. Years ago, I built a 555 flasher circuit for a FRED that fit nicely in an N scale caboose.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Rowan View Post
    It's not to hard to fit into an N scale car. Years ago, I built a 555 flasher circuit for a FRED that fit nicely in an N scale caboose.
    No kidding! But sure, it could be done, 555s being so small. Did you power it from the track?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Schmidt View Post
    No kidding! But sure, it could be done, 555s being so small. Did you power it from the track?
    If I recall correctly, I used some axles and pickups from a dead steam loco tender and swapped them into the caboose.

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    I would use a decoder and tell it to turn on with the loco that was pulling them.

    ___________Just do it in Vinyl!__________


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    Quote Originally Posted by Comfortably numb View Post
    I would use a decoder and tell it to turn on with the loco that was pulling them.
    But that would take all the fun out of cramming something we made ourselves into a passenger car body!
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    You still have to build it and then program it , so it close.

    ___________Just do it in Vinyl!__________


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