Need a powerful electric motor on the cheap? [Daniel Simu] and his friend [Werner] show us the ins and outs of using windshield wiper motors.
Through many examples and disassembled components, the duo walk us through some of the potential uses of wiper motors to power a project. Some of the nuggets we get are the linear relationship of torque to current (10-15A max) and speed to voltage (12-15V DC) on these units, and some of the ways the wiring in these motors is a little different than a simple two wire DC motor.
They also discuss some of their favorite ways to control the motors ranging from a light switch to an Arduino. They even mention how to turn one into a big servo thanks to a project on Hackaday.io and a few modifications of their own. [Simu] also discusses some of the drawbacks of wiper motors, the most evident being that these motors use nylon gears which are prone to stripping or failing in other ways when subjected to high torque conditions for too long.
If you recognize [Simu], it may be from his robotic acrobat built with wiper motors. Want to see some more wiper motor hacks? How about a 3D scanner or making sure your wipers always keep the beat?
Continue reading “A Wiper Motor 101”
When you’re driving around, you might occasionally notice your indicators or windscreen wipers sync up fortuitously with the music. [Cranktown City] wanted to ensure his wipers would always match the beat, however, and set about making it so.
After disassembling the wiper motor, The original controller PCB is ripped up, used solely for its home position contacts that help determine the position of the wipers. The battered board is then drilled out to fit a rotary encoder to track the wipers throughout their full motion.
An Arduino is used to read the signal coming from the wiper stalk in order to know what mode the wipers should be in, and uses a motor controller to drive the wipers thusly. It also reads the encoder and home position contacts to track the wiper movement, and uses a proportional controller to control the wiper position. An MSGEQ7 spectrum analyzer is used to track the bass of the music to determine the beat to sync up to.
The final build does work, though in a different way to other designs we’ve seen. Rather than measuring BPM and syncing on a four-to-the-floor pulse, it simply tracks the lower band output and thus is more reactive to funky drum beats.
It’s a fun way to modify your car, even if it did require cutting a chunk out of the hood. If you’re cooking up your own cheeky automotive hacks, be sure to drop us a line. Video after the break. Continue reading “Making Windshield Wipers Rock To The Beat”
Who among us hasn’t dreamed of having some brainstorm idea, prototyping it, and then have some huge company put it into worldwide production? The problem is, that’s not really as easy as it sounds in most cases. Take the case of Robert Kearns. Never heard of him? You use the result of one of his patents pretty often; Kearns invented the intermittent windshield wiper.
If he had sold the patent to one of the big carmakers, this would be a short article. Not that he didn’t try. But it didn’t go very well and while, in the end, he prevailed, it was a very expensive victory.
Continue reading “The Back And Forth Of Windshield Wipers And Patent Lawsuits”
[Tim] and [Jon] have a hankering for some pork product of their own making. Your average residential kitchen is ill-equipped to handle an entire pig, so they got down to business building this pig spit out of old bicycle parts.
The main components in the project are two stands built out of square tube which go on either side of the cooking fire (coal bed?). They include bearings to support a horizontal bar on which a pig carcass is somehow mounted. The whole point of a spit is to turn it while cooking, and that’s where the gear system comes in. The front crank from a bicycle was welded onto the spit, with one pedal still in place. This way if the motorized system breaks down they can still turn the thing by hand.
The crank connects to the cogs with one chain, while the other chain connects the cogs to a windshield wiper motor. When connected to the specified 12V it turns around 6 rpm; close but a bit too fast. After some trial and error they found a 5V supply turns it at the optimal 2 rpm.
We wonder if you can put a whole pig in a meat smoker?
Continue reading “Shifting Gears On Your Pig Roasting Spit”
In the late 90s, Volkswagen aired a series of awesome television advertisements that won a few awards relevant to those in advertising circles. One of these ads was titled Synchronicity and showed a VW Jetta’s windshield wipers (among other things) syncing to music as the car drove down a rainy alley. [ch00f] thought beat tracking wipers would make for a great project, and we love the sheer amount of engineering that went into this build.
The build began with [ch00f] taking apart his wiper motor to get some specifics for his build. Ideally, a rotary encoder would be very useful for this project, but designing a durable encoder would be a pain anyway. [ch00f] had to settle with the ‘parking pins’ on the wiper gear motor that allow the wipers to be driven in intermittent mode.
[ch00f] spent a great deal of time writing code that would guarantee a constant wiper speed, but that didn’t solve the problem of phase, or having the wipers begin or end their cycle on the beat. This problem was somewhat solved (as you can see in the video after the break) by using a feed forward system – basically, the software would predict the change in phase needed and correct it by changing the speed.
The build still isn’t perfect, although that’s mainly due to the placement of wiper parking switch on the wiper motor. [ch00f] plans on spending a little more time correcting the wiper speed/phase control with software, but what he’s got now is still very impressive.
Continue reading “Over Engineering Windshield Wipers To Sync To Music”