Motoring on through!

At the beginning of the run, the ball sits at the bottom of the run awaiting the elevator to turn on and carry it to the top. This was the simplest solution for having a single run setup. In order to start and stop the elevator component, the motor needed to be modified so that it could be controlled by the arduino.

There were two ways to do this. As the motor consisted of a power source and a switch we could have done one of the following:

  • Disassemble or replace the switch, allowing the arduino to control the power flow
  • Attach new wires to the power source input and use the arduino to power the elevator leaving the switch always on.

In the end, I decided to go for the latter mainly because I would be able to use the whole elevator/motor system as it was manufactured in the future should I wish whereas with the first method I would have always needed an arduino.

The process of doing this was simply soldering on additional wires, drilling a small hole in the housing to allow them to come out and then connecting these to the arduino. The option did have the added difficulty that we had to use a PWM pin in order to provide the correct amount of power and a transistor to make it into direct current. The results were what we envisaged and this part of the project worked faultlessly from the start.