triggering art controller

Hi, I'm trying to trigger the art controller using Sparkfuns clockit buzzer output. If I keep the two boards separated and only use one wire from the buzzer, it will trigger and works like I want it to.  If I use the 5V power source from the controller to power the clock then it won't work?  Can anyone tell me what I may doing wrong?  I tried measuring the output to see the voltage level of the buzzer output but it confuses me because it cycles on and off. Is it because it is not logic and uses frequency?  Anyway to make this easy?

Comments

  • I would expect you to need two wires from the clock to the Art Controller: A common (ground) connection, and a signal from the buzzer output to the Art Controller's trigger input.  With a single wire (no ground connection), it may trigger, but it may not do so reliably.  Essentially what you are doing is using the fact that it is a changing ("AC coupled") signal, rather than its absolute value to create a trigger.

    If you wish to power the clock from the 5V power supply on the Art Controller, then you need to run not just a 5V wire but also a common (ground) wire between the two.   And, depending on how much current  the clock requires, the regulator on the Art Controller may or may not be sufficient to power it.  Since the regulator handles 150 mA and the Art Controller requires 95 mA, that only leaves 55 mA available to power the clock kit-- you may want to look at how much power it draws when running on its own power supply.    

    Depending on your application, it may be a better choice to use the power supply that came with the clock kit, and use it to power the Art Controller, rather than doing it the other way around.


    You will not be able to measure the buzzer voltage on your multimeter because it is changing very quickly.  However, what you should look for is whether one side or the signal goes low when the buzzer sounds.  Without looking at the code, my guess is that neither side of the buzzer goes low when the buzzer sounds.  You might be able to fix the problem by intentionally AC coupling the buzzer output to the Art Controller's trigger input, by connecting one up to the other through a capacitor.

  • Windell, I tried a common ground connection and one signal and a variety of other ground buzzer connections and nothing works. So, as you say it is working as an ac coupled signal.  Power consumption does not seem to be a problem.  The schematic shows that both buzzer leads do not go to ground so it is activated in the code and done in the chip, (my cowboy logic and guess).
    What little I know about them, you are saying that the capacitor will act to collect voltage and smooth out the signal which might trigger the art controller?  Hope I'm understanding correctly.  

  • >What little I know about them, you are saying that the capacitor will act to collect voltage and smooth out the signal which might trigger the art controller? 

    No, not at all.  Just that if you can't provide a valid DC signal, you might be able to provide an AC signal that will slightly manage to trigger it.
  • Well, I'm not sure how to respond.  I purchased the art controller because the claim was- "Can be triggered by any low-going signal".  If a buzzer makes a sound it is getting a valid signal.  I also purchased the art controller for reliability.  I really don't want to slightly manage it.  Apparently this is not a forum that is monitored by company tech support. Maybe I should contact them directly.  Thanks for responding Windell.
  • imatool, 
    Yes, the Art Controller can be triggered by any low-going signal. However, that is a term that has a specific meaning, and if you cannot provide an appropriate input, then it will not work correctly. 

     > If a buzzer makes a sound it is getting a valid signal. 

    Yes indeed, but you need to remember that the buzzer is getting a valid signal for driving a buzzer. That does not mean or imply that it is getting an appropriate (or inappropriate) signal for anything else. A buzzer requires a specific type of input, just as the Art Controller does.  




    >I also purchased the art controller for reliability. I really don't want to slightly manage it. 

    Then you need to provide enough power to operate both kits, and a common ground reference between the two.  From what I can tell, the 5 V on the Art Controller does not provide enough power to operate both it and the clock kit.  And, a single-wire connection is never capable of providing a true "low going signal."  


    > Apparently this is not a forum that is monitored by company tech support. Maybe I should contact them directly.

    With all due respect, the person that actually designed the product is here, directly answering your questions, and trying their best to help you through an issue.  Neither dismissing me nor saying that "nothing works" will help move towards a solution.  I have made some specific suggestions that you are welcome to take, and if you would like additional help with debugging this application, I am here and willing to help.
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