Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

How to make switch pattern?

  1. Nov 15, 2013 #1
    I need to hook up 8 electromagnets and make them turn on and off to a pre designed pattern. I have no idea how to get something to turn on and off in a programmed sequence. I'm sure there are probably ready made programmable switches that come with software but I don't know.

    In any case I need the quickest, simplest way to get 8 things to turn on and off in a pattern of my choosing.

    Please let me know what to research, what specific things to learn, or items to look at for purchase to complete my project thank you.
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 15, 2013 #2


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    You need to specify whether this is a one shot sequence or whether there are time intervals as well as repetitions to be set . That will determine how simple your setup can be.
  4. Nov 15, 2013 #3
    I would want to be able to do it at time intervals of my choosing to loop until power is disconnected. I want to be able to change the pattern of each electromagnet firing to a new pattern for testing purposes, but the final product can be hardwired to one looping pattern that fires until power is disconnected and does not change.
  5. Nov 16, 2013 #4


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    most flexible is a micro controller like arduino or pic, but you would have to learn programming.

    look up "pic led sequencer", or "arduino led sequencer" to get started down that path. "LED chaser" gets hits too.

    With a microcontroller the sky is the limit for flexibility.
  6. Nov 16, 2013 #5
    yea I saw a YouTube vid on microcontrollers how to solder leads into a breadboard and all that.....seems time consuming to say the least even if you know what your doing. Then there is the software aspect of it at least I know c++ and a little java that should help. If that's what it takes there are good tutorials for it I guess. I really don't want to invest the time and money into it if there is a work around. I'm thinking if it comes down to using a microcontroller Ill just redesign my project and learn microcontrollers as a hobby on the side of my hobby I'm working on now because they seem pretty nice for lots of applications so I would want to mildly master them. I just really need to get this project near completion in about 1 month so I don't want to take on something like microcontrollers right now.

    is there another way though? Maybe some kind of simple switch box that just records your on off commands and plays them back. Something like a computer key macro program for circuits? I would think some company somewhere would of made a unit that can output a range of voltages to different sources and also be programmed to regulate power and go on/off with some companion software. I imagine a box with 12 power-ports that have a specific voltage range and you can hook up any device you want to those ports (using homemade wiring), and using companion software you can program patterns for power flow through ports and power amounts within the range the device would support. If not there is probably money in that for anyone who could make such a thing. So I guess a cross between a power strip and a microcontroller is what I really could use.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook