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Misc Projects

Geneva Thermometer
This was one of my favorite projects but because it is 38 inches long and only 1.5 inches wide it is hard to get a good picture of it. Key to the thermometer is the Geneva Mechanism which is the green, orange, and pink parts in the picture.
As the temperature changes a modified servo motor operates the Geneva Mechanism one step per degree. The mechanism raises or lowers a ball chain. Attached to the chain, two brass finials point to degrees Fahrenheit and degrees Celsius.
I've always wanted a bank with a readout to display how much money is in it. Therefore, this was one of the first projects I build with the Picaxe.
  • Counts each coin as you drop it in - displaying the quantity as well as the dollar amount
  • Ability to display each coin qauntity / amount on demand by pushing a button
  • Ability to display bank total - the quantity / amount of all coins combined
  • Ability to subtract coins

Of course you don't want any unauthorized person removing money from your bank. If the lid is removed the display will read "Bank Robbery, Stop Thief" while flashing a red light and sounding an alarm.

    The 18 pin Picaxe I'm using:
  • Reads 4 coin slot
  • Reads 5 push buttons - One for each coin and a bank total
  • Reads a switch on the lid for the bank robbery detection
  • Controls the bank robbery light and alarm
  • Controls the LCD display - 4 data lines and 2 control lines

That's 18 input/output lines. How do you do that on an 18 pin Picaxe when you need 2 pins for power, 2 pins for programming, and 1 reset pin? Simple. Think outside the box.

A Shocking Game
The Game - Two players, each holding a push button. When the lights go from red to green each player pushes their button as fast as they can.
The Winner - The player who pushed their button the fastest will receive flashing lights.
The Loser - The player who pushed their button the slowest will receive an electrical shock.
The Cheater - The player who pushed their button before the green light will automatically get the electrical shock. In addition, the lights will flash a different pattern, letting everyone know that they tried to cheat
Wind Chimes
We're all familiar with those "standard" wind chimes. You have a string with a striker in the middle and a flat weight on the end. The weight catches the wind which causes the striker to hit objects hanging around it - each producing a different tone when struck.
This wind chime has a string with a weight on the end to catch the wind. That's where the similarity ends. There isn't a striker because there isn't anything hanging down for it to strike. Yet when the wind blows you still hear "melodious" tones, but these are produced by the Picaxe.
The best part of this wind chime, unlike the others, you can turn it off when you're tired of listening to it.
Biped Walking Robot
Parallax Inc. has a cute little penguin robot kit which walks by shifting it's weight from one foot to another. The shift in weight causes one foot to lift off the ground. The lifted foot moves forward while the other foot moves backward - causing it to move forward. The kit is high quality with custom machined parts.

This robot is similar except the feet move back and forth in a manner, mechanically, which is totally different than it's counterpart. Plus it doesn't use any custom, high tollerence, machined parts. Instead it uses parts, like hinges, found at your local hardware store and hobby shop.

The robot, as shown, doesn't have any sensors to detect direction of travel or objects. However, it does have extra input/output ports which would allow you to experiment and add your own.

So what's the advantage of this robot over the Parallax Penguin robot? It doesn't cost $200.

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