To do something different I thought I would try making a remote control
system. It forms the basis for an RF based system I will be making
soon. Despite 8 channel remotes with multiple simultaneous output
control (mashing lots of buttons won't freeze it up) seem like
high-tech equipment, they are simple once broken down into components.
How it works:
When using IR modules, signals can be sent remotely by just plugging
some wires together. The receiver module has an internal bandpass
filter which filters out anything but IR pulsed at a given frequency.
This makes it much more immune to ambient IR, but it will now only
respond to IR at it's own carrier frequency. The transmitting IR LED
has to pulse at this predetermined frequency, which is a job suitable
for a 555 timer. Once we've filled these two criteria we can transmit
signals without wires, and pulsing the LED will cause the receiver to
respond. With that taken care of the we need some way of encoding
information from the transmitter so it can be sent through the LED and
decoded by the receiver. The transmitter software will sweep through
the inputs and set an array with bits according to how the input is.
This entire array is then sent via IR. By using an array which changes
dynamically any combination of buttons can be pressed at the same time.
The IR protocol I made uses a 2ms start pulse, followed by either 1ms
pulse for logic 1 or 0.5ms for logic 0. There is 0.5ms between each
pulse. The receiving PIC reads this from the receiver module and puts
the information into an array. This array is then used to set the
output pins. To save power the program will only send a new IR pulse
train if the inputs have changed. The only disadvantage I have found so
far is once the receiver looses reception it will continue with what is
was doing. Hardly ideal for RC planes or helicopters!
I think I commented the code well enough for anyone to follow my logic,
so just check the source for a more in depth explanation. (It's in
basic, written with Mikrobasic)
The firmware is designed for two PIC16F88's, but with very few software
changes the PIC16F628 could be used instead. For the receiver even a
PIC16F84 can be used!
Of course I had to test the setup, so I found an old RC car with no
remote and rebuilt the electronics from scratch. Range is poor with the
current IR system, only a few meters but it proves that the
concept works. The receiver has a small reception cone which is fine
for TVs and stationary objects, but no good for a moving car. Since the
receiver is mounted on the roof it almost never gets a clear line of
sight and must rely on reflection. To drive the motor I needed an
H-bridge, and this
one designed by Bob Blick works like a charm. I used BD139
and 40's for the main drive transistors since the drive current of the
motor was so low.
I do not take responsibility for any injury, death, hurt ego, or other
forms of personal damage which may result from recreating these
experiments. Projects are merely presented as a source of inspiration,
and should only be conducted by responsible individuals, or under the
supervision of responsible individuals. It is your own life, so proceed
at your own risk! All projects are for noncommercial use only.