Thursday, 25 April 2013

Chronograph - Part 6

Working on this project has really got me thinking and now I have my air rifle I needed to get something finished and usable ASAP before I started to tune the rifle, I don't want to go over the legal limit.

Whilst thinking about the total cost of the parts to make a usable chronograph, the one most people buy is £50, I had the idea of removing the LCD and just using the serial link to the PC.

So I thought about strapping an Arduino Nano to an aluminium tube with a 1/2" UNF thread so that it would fit on the standard silencer adapter, this would make it very stable.
I decided to use the Nano because there wouldn't be the need for a battery to power it, the USB lead would carry power and data back to the PC, people would also be able to programme them without having to buy the serial/USB interface.

Marking out the sensor distance
Tube screwed into the silencer adapter for my rifle
Fully assembled prototype with a foam spacer
Finished part attached to the Air Rifle
I used some thin but very tough heat shrink sleeving the same as that used to hold battery packs together on remote control cars

Below is a screen grab of the PC software (Ignore the FPS value, I'd forgot to change the calculation to 60mm spacing instead of 100mm)
Now for some more testing.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Chronograph - Part 5

Here are the various files etc. if you want to make your own Chronograph.

Rar file with the files required to make the PCB using are here

A copy of the sketch I'm currently using with my PCB is here, please note it's definitely a work in progress, use at your own risk.

Please note that the connections to the LCD are not the standard ones, I have changed them to suit my PCB requirements.

Items needed
8x2 LCD (16x2 can be used, just modify the code to suit) from here
5V Step-up converter from here
Arduino Mini Pro clone from here (check the pin out is the same prior to buying)
Switches from here

Circuit diagram


Friday, 19 April 2013

Chronograph - Part 4

The PCBs arrived, at last!

They look good and after assembling the parts, the design works, well I've not tested the 868MHz transceiver yet but the LCD display connected to the Arduino Mini Pro clone works fine and when connected to the sensor fitted to the gun all seems to be OK.

I used a scope to check the calibration of the value sent from the Arduino and it looks pretty good.
Front View - LCD and switches

Back View - the Mini Pro plugged in
Various part plugged in
The PCB is essentially a carrier board for the processor and the display and the 5V step-up converter.
Using an oscilloscope I fired some pellets with my pistol through the sensor tube and compared the timing reported by the Arduino, via serial to the PC, with the measurements taken with the scope.

Scope display showing time between pulses
As you will see from the picture the timings are not exactly the same but this could be due to rounding or the fact that the Arduino only has a 4uS resolution for the micros() function.  I will do some calculations to see what the effect on the final FPS or FPE values would be.

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