Solenoid motor from a VCR head

Here’s a solenoid motor you can build from a VCR head and some common components. It uses an LED and a light sensor, paired with an LM311 comparator to manage the switching of the motor. As the head turns, the LED shines on the sensor through a hole and triggers a TIP120 transistor to turn on the motor during the power stroke. Once the beam of light is broken, the transistor turns off the motor and the momentum carries it through its revolution until the next power stroke is activated.

We often say that “why” is the wrong question. [Bd5940] must feel the same way because he ends the video by saying: “it has no use, but definitely a conversation piece”. Yep, we’ve seen that before.

[Thanks James]

Giving an old arm new life

[Jarek] found a non-functional robotic arm sitting around and wanted to get it working again. By adding a few custom boards to an Arduino he managed to do just that.

The arm is driven by six stepper motors, each having four control wires. To handle all of these [Jarek] used TIP120 transistors to protect the controller. This still leaves the problem of 24 control wires to connect. By using a couple of 74HC4514 demultiplex chips he cut that number down to just 8 Arduino control pins. He completed the project by interfacing an original Playstation controller as the input device.

Source code for the project is available for download but we didn’t see a schematic for his setup. This shouldn’t be a problem as the low parts count should mean the datasheets for the transistors and demultiplexers are all you really need.

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