Great junk-yard find leads to a reclaimed control panel project

Having the “can you believe somebody threw this away?” mentality has gotten us into some trouble through the years, but look what [Joshua] found at the scrap yard! It’s a door from a power conversion station and it contains fourteen indicator lights and a lot of other doodads. But since this is just the door, he needed a way to monitor the controls and drive the indicators. At the heart of the hack he used to get this up and running is a PIC 18F2550. It has no trouble driving the indicators thanks to a pair of ULN2803 darlington arrays which switch the higher 24 volt levels.

His writeup doesn’t mention the method used, but the panel also has a couple of meters at the top. In the video after the break you can clearly see that he’s got them both working. We’d bet there’s a plan for each of the buttons as well, since this will be prominently featured in their alien-invasion themed Halloween display this year.


  1. someone says:

    I am more curious as to how he got it from the scrap yard.
    Can just anyone go into any scrap yard and tell he owner that he/she wants to go looking around for interesting electronics, and take it at will?

    Also, why is it so popular for people to make a delay consisting of wasting cycles, instead of using a timer?

  2. Max says:

    So – basically it’s a light show? Oh well, it certainly does light up… and I can’t really judge the impression it makes without seeing the rest of the show, but… it’s not exactly what I’d call “finding a use” for something – unless you define that as “make it do something, anything at all”. I’m more of a “I’ll stick two LEDs in my car if they show, say, the battery voltage but not if they’re just there to blink” kind of guy, sorry.

  3. John says:

    What exactly is a “power conversion station”?

  4. leadacid says:

    A power conversion station is usually a place that converts power from one type to another (duh). A good example would be the power station that converts the high voltage AC from the power company to the (relatively) low voltage DC that an electric train would use.

    A real-world example:

  5. Rob says:

    Could see this being “useful” for a film set, as stage prop, if you were making a space orientated film, the panel would only have to light up not do anything useful.

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