Solenoid Start Gate Circuit

Discussions on buying or building timers, solenoid start gates, light trees, weigh scales, and other race related electronics.
*5 J's*
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Re: Start Gate

Post by *5 J's* » Thu Feb 14, 2013 1:03 pm

simply put a lighted switch in series with SW1. When switch SW1 is closed switch 2 will light. When switch 2 is depressed, the solenoid will activate. In series both need to be depressed - if in parallel solenoid will activate is either is depressed.



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Re: Start Gate

Post by TimInOhio » Thu Feb 14, 2013 4:01 pm

5 J's, I'm working on testing just the manual start switch of my gate release. When I connect power, the solenoid trips and stays latched. IF I remove the wire that connects D2 and R1 to the gate of Q1, the start switch works great - although I haven't checked the connection to the serial port. Any suggestions as to where I should start looking? I've been going over it for a good part of the afternoon so far.

Thanks for any suggestions.



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Re: Start Gate

Post by *5 J's* » Thu Feb 14, 2013 10:21 pm

TimInOhio wrote:5 J's, I'm working on testing just the manual start switch of my gate release. When I connect power, the solenoid trips and stays latched. IF I remove the wire that connects D2 and R1 to the gate of Q1, the start switch works great - although I haven't checked the connection to the serial port. Any suggestions as to where I should start looking? I've been going over it for a good part of the afternoon so far.

Thanks for any suggestions.
Okay - the issue is Q1 is always conducting.

First question - what do you have Q1 mounted to? The body of Q1 cannot be grounded or it will always conduct.

Second - if you have a multimeter, with power disconnected, measure the resitance from the wire that connects D2 and R1 to ground. Make sure you have 100,000 ohms (+/- 20%).

Third - with the wire that connects D2 and R1 to the gate of Q1 disconnected. Plug the power in. Set your multimeter to DC Voltage. Place the red lead on either tab of the solenoid and the black lead on ground, or the tab of the pushbutton that ties to ground. Record the voltage noting if it's (+) or (-).



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Re: Start Gate

Post by TimInOhio » Fri Feb 15, 2013 8:10 am

*5 J's* wrote:
TimInOhio wrote:5 J's, I'm working on testing just the manual start switch of my gate release. When I connect power, the solenoid trips and stays latched. IF I remove the wire that connects D2 and R1 to the gate of Q1, the start switch works great - although I haven't checked the connection to the serial port. Any suggestions as to where I should start looking? I've been going over it for a good part of the afternoon so far.

Thanks for any suggestions.
Okay - the issue is Q1 is always conducting.

First question - what do you have Q1 mounted to? The body of Q1 cannot be grounded or it will always conduct.
Q1 is not mounted to anything yet - it is supported by the wires attached to it for now. I have a piece of insulator and a nylon screw to attach it to the box.
*5 J's* wrote:Second - if you have a multimeter, with power disconnected, measure the resitance from the wire that connects D2 and R1 to ground. Make sure you have 100,000 ohms (+/- 20%).
Across the resistor I am getting 98,700 ohms. Across the diode I am getting 2M ohms in one direction and infinity in the other direction.
*5 J's* wrote:Third - with the wire that connects D2 and R1 to the gate of Q1 disconnected. Plug the power in. Set your multimeter to DC Voltage. Place the red lead on either tab of the solenoid and the black lead on ground, or the tab of the pushbutton that ties to ground. Record the voltage noting if it's (+) or (-).
I did this test with the wired that connects D2 and R2 to the gate of Q1 disconnected, and with the wire coming from the solenoid connected to the drain of Q1, and the source of Q1 connected to ground: I get +12VDC using one lug of the solenoid, and +7VDC using the other lug of the solenoid, and connecting the other lead to ground. And, during this test, I noticed that Q1 gets really hot, so hot that I can't touch it. That doesn't sound good.



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Re: Start Gate

Post by TimInOhio » Fri Feb 15, 2013 8:19 am

I should also mention that I used the datasheet here and the diagram here to determine which part of the circuit went to which pin on Q1.



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Re: Start Gate

Post by TimInOhio » Fri Feb 15, 2013 9:21 am

Ugh. I discovered that this circuit (at least as far as the manual switch is concerned - I haven't tested anything else yet) works MUCH better if you actually connect the ground from R1 to the GROUND. Thanks, 5 J's, for the help.

On to testing the rest of it...



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Re: Start Gate

Post by TimInOhio » Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:51 pm

Everything works great! I fired up the trial version of GPRM and tested the hardware settings and the serial port is firing the solenoid perfectly. I don't run GPRM for our actual Pinewood Derby, but I'm thinking that once the hardware settings are adjusted on our actual race computer, it should be a piece of cake. Am I missing anything regarding tying GPRM to the circuit?

Thanks for putting this together, 5 J's, and all the help.



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Re: Start Gate

Post by gpraceman » Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:57 pm

TimInOhio wrote:Everything works great! I fired up the trial version of GPRM and tested the hardware settings and the serial port is firing the solenoid perfectly. I don't run GPRM for our actual Pinewood Derby, but I'm thinking that once the hardware settings are adjusted on our actual race computer, it should be a piece of cake. Am I missing anything regarding tying GPRM to the circuit?
Not sure what you mean by your question, if you are not using GPRM for your race.


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Re: Start Gate

Post by TimInOhio » Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:56 pm

gpraceman wrote:
TimInOhio wrote:Everything works great! I fired up the trial version of GPRM and tested the hardware settings and the serial port is firing the solenoid perfectly. I don't run GPRM for our actual Pinewood Derby, but I'm thinking that once the hardware settings are adjusted on our actual race computer, it should be a piece of cake. Am I missing anything regarding tying GPRM to the circuit?
Not sure what you mean by your question, if you are not using GPRM for your race.
My fault for not being clear: my Pack uses GPRM, but I am not the person that runs it.

I am hoping that, once I set the hardware settings on our actual Pack's GPRM race computer, there isn't something else I am unaware of that I need to do to make GPRM trigger the new solenoid gate.



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Re: Start Gate

Post by gpraceman » Fri Feb 15, 2013 2:46 pm

TimInOhio wrote:My fault for not being clear: my Pack uses GPRM, but I am not the person that runs it.

I am hoping that, once I set the hardware settings on our actual Pack's GPRM race computer, there isn't something else I am unaware of that I need to do to make GPRM trigger the new solenoid gate.
Nothing other than setting up the Hardware Options screen to use the solenoid gate.


Randy Lisano
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Re: Start Gate

Post by TimInOhio » Fri Feb 15, 2013 3:12 pm

gpraceman wrote:
TimInOhio wrote:My fault for not being clear: my Pack uses GPRM, but I am not the person that runs it.

I am hoping that, once I set the hardware settings on our actual Pack's GPRM race computer, there isn't something else I am unaware of that I need to do to make GPRM trigger the new solenoid gate.
Nothing other than setting up the Hardware Options screen to use the solenoid gate.
That's what I was hoping to hear.

Once that is done, how do I start the race and trigger the solenoid via GPRM? I only have the trial version on this PC, and just want to collect as much info as possible before I get in front of our actual GPRM computer. Thanks.



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Re: Start Gate

Post by gpraceman » Fri Feb 15, 2013 5:34 pm

TimInOhio wrote:Once that is done, how do I start the race and trigger the solenoid via GPRM? I only have the trial version on this PC, and just want to collect as much info as possible before I get in front of our actual GPRM computer.
When you click on the Ready Timer button, the software will reset the timer and then trigger the solenoid gate. You can test that out even when the software is in the demo mode. ;)


Randy Lisano
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Re: Start Gate

Post by jzarvey » Thu Jan 02, 2014 10:38 pm

Is this sufficient to trigger the start gate for a 3 lane Best Track? Just placed the order for a new one and want to be able to add remote start gate for Pack races.

Thank you,


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Re: Start Gate

Post by TimInOhio » Fri Jan 03, 2014 1:48 pm

jzarvey wrote:Is this sufficient to trigger the start gate for a 3 lane Best Track? Just placed the order for a new one and want to be able to add remote start gate for Pack races.

Thank you,
This start gate worked fine for our 4 lane Best Track, although I would definitely recommend upgrading the solenoid. The solenoid specified in the original plans sometimes doesn't have enough power to pull the release open. Good luck.

Tim



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Re: Solenoid Start Gate Circuit

Post by race#67 » Wed Dec 09, 2015 9:35 am

I Our pack is going to be the proud new owners of a new 4 lane Best Track/Derby Wizard K2/GPRM setup this year. As I wait for the track to ship I have been gathering parts for a solenoid start gate. I have the timer built (bought as a kit) and I have installed and done some simulated races with GPRM.

I plan on doing the release lever upgrade, and the roller bearing latch upgrade. Originally I intended to just have the solenoid (I ordered the blue car door latch style one) be push button operated. Now I am figuring why not tie it into GPRM so it can be operated via computer as well. I see I need to access pins 4 and 5 of the DB9/serial connector.

How are people accessing these? Do I need to solder wires to those pins on the back of the DB9, or are they already carried out to the phone jack/RJ11 already?
Thanks!

Image



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