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Discussion Starter #1
I'm going to make a control panel, much like those Stelter Creative. I'm having a hard time trying to find some lights for the control panel. And I was hoping you could help me out?

I have a 2'x3' board that will be my control panel. I am going to mount my knife switch on it. I want to have a bank of panel lights that will blink and flash when it's "on".

Does anyone know where I can get lights? And when I have them, how to make them "blink/flash"?

I've checked eBay and didn't find much. Local Radio Shack also didn't have much. That's about it for my "local" resources.

I know AC power pretty well because it's what comes out of the wall... but once we talk DC, I lose it a little because of the step down. So I need help when it comes to LEDs and what I need in order for them to work.

Any help/hints/ideas would be great!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I was thinking of doing that, but I think I am after something a bit more "industrial" looking..

Here's what I am kind-of modeling it after. I am not going after this exact panel, but these lights are what I am after.


 

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look up velleman kits. they make all kinds of flashers and stuff.

great for beginners.
 

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Well. you can get LEDs that automatically blink once you wire them in. Depnds on what effect you are going for and how much soldering you want to do. LOL

You could also use christmas lights depending on how you want it to work.
 

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Have you seen OpenTrackerRacer's lab set up? He posted some of his resources on the thread he started. Try searching by his name and add threads started by poster in your search parameters. I can't wait to see his completed lab; he's put a lot of time into getting an authentic look to it.

I haven't started on my lab set up yet but was thinking about using a thin metal panel, drilling some holes through it. Finding some metal rings, glueing them on the panel at the holes (to make it look more like a button) and then attach colored plastic behind each cutout. Since I'm not handy with the electrical I thought I would see how it looks with a xmas light strand attached behind. I have a set with one of those nice controller boxes--allows you to select one of like 7 different set ups for lighting--steady, flashing, chasing, fade, random (which I thought might work out best). I thought I could affix short, pipe-like material sections to the back of the panel at the light holes, cutting the "tube" long enough to hold and support the light bulb). I really need a simple electrical set up. Wish I had some photos to post but as I've said I haven't had a chance to work on this project yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
GoolGaul: I am at velleman.com, but not quite sure what to look for? Is this the right velleman?



Ghost of Spookie: Yeah, OpenTrackRacer's lab is awesome! I had asked him a couple months ago where he snagged his lights from, and he said got them locally. I didn't have that kind of luck here in my town :(
 

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GoolGaul: I am at velleman.com, but not quite sure what to look for? Is this the right velleman?


Drsprite, re: velleman, try a web search for "velleman kits". I came up with a bunch of hits. Trying the name as a URL brought up a site in England. Omnikits.com is one of the hits. Click on the Lamps & LEDs (control panel lamps there) submenu link.

Ooh. They have some cool kits too! OMNIKITS HOME PAGE - Velleman kits & oscilloscopes ? Kits ? Minikits
I can think of some things to do with these. Take a look at the LED running light kit.
 

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Check your local truck stop they have a lot of light covers that would resemble push buttons you can mount a flashing led light under the button or achristmas rice light would look industrial. also look on ebay for industrial lighted push button/covers might get some hits
 

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Wow! Thanks for the compliments! Here are some more resources for you. In this case, Radio Shack has the goods.

120vac:

120-Volt Neon Red Square Lamp (2-Pack) - RadioShack.com

120-Volt Neon Red Jumbo Lamp Assembly - RadioShack.com

12vdc:

12-Volt, Jumbo Red Lamp Assembly (2-Pack) - RadioShack.com

12V Snap-In Red Lamp Assembly (2-Pack) - RadioShack.com

I like the snap in 12vdc parts. They also have them in green (pretty good) and blue (okay but washed out). I think they're easier to use than 120vac lamps and safer too. They draw a little less than 1/10th of an amp each so you can run 12 to 14 off a power supply like this...

12 VDC 1.2 AMP WALL TRANSFORMER | AllElectronics.com

They don't quite have that old school look but when they're lit up in a dark room the effect is excellent.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
EDIT: Okay, I picked up a bunch of red, green and blue of the 12V Snap-In assembly's and tested them out with a 12VDC power supply I have. Mine is only rated for 500mA, so I'll have to get another one with higher amps output. I was surprised, I thought these lights were LED, but they appear to be incandescent in a case. That gives it a bit more of the old school look than brand new LEDs.

I do have a question though, How can I make these lights blink? Is there some sort of "thing" that I can wire in-line with them to make them blink randomly? Or maybe some sort of control center they all get wired too? The best, cheapest, solution would be ideal.

This is where my inexperience takes over...

Thanks! :)
 

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Check this out:

Velleman Inc.

This is a 10 channel effect generator. I used one of these a bunch of years ago for a similar application. If I remember correctly, it came assembled...
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Back to Velleman...I should have known :D That looks like something I was visioning in my head.

I like how this has the pre-programmed effects and seems pretty flexible however at $80 it seems a bit expensive. Are there other options?
 

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the kit is probably 55. You could also round up a handful of cheap turn-signal relay kinda thing (don;t know much about cars)
 

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Psychomaniac
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If you're okay with a bunch of them flashing together, just pickup a 12v two pin turn signal flasher at an auto parts store. They're cheap and will work perfectly as long as they have a decent load. The two red lights that flash on my panel are running off a thermal turn signal flasher.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Question: I bought a thermal turn signal flasher today for $3 and hooked up 4 of the lights to it to test it out, and it's not flashing after about 10 minutes. Is it not enough load for the unit to get hot enough?

Hmm..any other inexpensive ideas?
 

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Psychomaniac
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Hmmm... that should be about 400ma so I'm surprised that the flasher wasn't working. You have the flasher on the positive lead right? You may need to throw some more lights on to bring the load up or try an electronic flasher which should be more load independent.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I went back and got myself an electronic flasher, since the thermal one wasn't working. My control panel is a 2'x3' panel. So I cut out a piece of 2'x3' cardboard to mock the lights up on. After about 2 or 3 different ideas, my girlfriend and I narrowed it down to this layout.



What do you guys think? Of course the final product won't be on cardboard :)

Also, in the middle is the knife switch I got off eBay.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I forgot to mention that in between the green and red lights, I am planning on adding some knobs. Not quite sure what to do with the dead space above the knife switch and the blue lights though? Maybe an analog meter or two? Thoughts?
 
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