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Old 11-13-2008, 05:21 PM   #1
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DIY Light Mover

Hey Everyone,
Well, I just started my grow thread covering the progress of my cab in the micro section (please stop by, the link is the first in my signature). My design involves a light mover. And being the DIY type, I'm building my light mover. It is a simple design. It will have a metal track (duh) mounted to the top of my cab, two rollers each w/ a motor (one motor forward, one back) and will have eye hooks on the bottom of the rollers to mount my HPS to.

Here is the schematic for my motor control (circut #1):



Here is the design of my roller:


I'll try and make this w/ ready made parts, so others can emulate it with ease. But I've got a feeling I'm in for a bit of fabrication. Well, just wanted to get this up and running. I've been brainstorming this for the past two days and I think it's coming together pretty well, but I'd love any input or ideas. Btw, I've looked around and haven't found a DIY light mover. Has anyone done it before? Thanks.

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Old 11-13-2008, 06:50 PM   #2
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Looks good. Pretty complicated though, as are commercial systems...

Another option would be to mount a long threaded rod straight on the axle of a gearmotor. Then have a trolley with a fixed nut on it for the light so by changing the direction of rotation of the motor you can push and pull the trolley using the threaded rod running through the nut. There are lots of DIY CNC enhusiasts out there and probably parts as well...
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Old 11-13-2008, 06:55 PM   #3
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Count me in on this one. Im sick of dishing out cash for movers. Where do you plan on getting the housing for that motor to make it fit the track?
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Old 11-13-2008, 07:00 PM   #4
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Double throw double pole (DPDT), two identical, low rpm, high torque motors with a timer.

You time how long it takes for the mover to travel the length of the bar, then when it arrives, the timer turns off, switching the flow of power from one motor to the other motor, moving it in the opposite direction for the same amount of time.

Sounds simple to me.
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Old 11-13-2008, 08:10 PM   #5
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Hey Guys,
Thanks for stopping by. It's funny you say that Mr Celsius, my goal is always to keep things simple. I thought it might be too hard to do, but it needs to be done in my case. And as they say, necessity is the mother of invention. I was standing in Home de Pot with a general idea of what I wanted, saw some parts and had an Aha! moment.

I want to show everyone that they can cheaply and easily have a light mover if they want one. Smurfin'herb: The motor just mounts to the side of the metal bracket with some screws. I'll get a plastic project box from Radio Shack to go over the motor and hold the electronics. The motor won't fit onto the track, the two rollers on top will sit on the track; the motor just turns the main wheel to propel the whole thing.

Allright, I'm going to Home de Pot tonight to get parts for the track (pics coming). And I'll start on the electronics early next week after I get all the kinks worked out. I'm still looking for someone else who's done a DIY light mover... Anyone?

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Old 11-13-2008, 11:04 PM   #6
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Uh, I hope that's not your name or web site in the circuit diagrams you posted. If so, and you prefer to remain anonymous, you might want to edit that pict. If not, then never mind.
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Old 11-13-2008, 11:24 PM   #7
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Nope, not mine. Thanks though.
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Old 11-14-2008, 01:03 AM   #8
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Might be easier for for you to take some box tubing and cut it to use it for a track. I built a similar design (no motors) for moving a friend's paintings along a track.
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Old 11-14-2008, 01:22 AM   #9
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Instead of the motor on/off circuitry, could you just use spare parts for a garage door opener? particularly the newer ones with the switch that reverses the motor if something is in the way or if it hits the bump stop. Seems like it might be a lot simpler but a little more expensive than your design possibly.

no clue how one would set it up to work as a light mover, but one of you all might
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Old 11-14-2008, 05:43 AM   #10
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Nice idea, I would suggest also considering using the motors as like a winch on both sides of the cabinet. Connect them to the light with some thin cord.

I can see the design you have there binding up under weight, unless the assembly has some length too it. ie, the roller assembly. But for your design you could also use something like the slide bearings for drawers, just don't have a stopper till the end.

edit: I have thought up about 4 different ways you could do this. Another way would be have a slight downward slope to the rail, and have it kinda be like a zip line. Then you would only need to have one motor to pull it back up. Though you would have to use the motor as a brake for the light going down. Then just have the light timed to sit at the bottom of the slope during night.

Last edited by tgpfarm; 11-14-2008 at 05:48 AM..
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Old 11-14-2008, 06:20 AM   #11
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coo thread, how much do u think the diy light mover is gonna cost bro?
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Old 11-14-2008, 05:20 PM   #12
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iv done something similar in an industrial electronics class i once took. using DPDT relays and limit switches on each end. using a threaded rod connected to a motor via coupler and basically a plate welded to a nut that would contact the limit switches. so the motor would run one direction until the plate came in contact then the polarity would reverse and spin the motor the opposite direction until it came into contact with the other limit switch. ill try and find the wiring diagram.
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Old 11-14-2008, 05:36 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MumBumper
iv done something similar in an industrial electronics class i once took. using DPDT relays and limit switches on each end. using a threaded rod connected to a motor via coupler and basically a plate welded to a nut that would contact the limit switches. so the motor would run one direction until the plate came in contact then the polarity would reverse and spin the motor the opposite direction until it came into contact with the other limit switch. ill try and find the wiring diagram.
To me that will create alot of friction, in turn needs a bigger motor.
Also the threaded rod will have to be very straight, which at least for me was near impossible when I tried using threaded rod in a different project I tried. You will have to use oil on the rod which could get on the plants.

Instead of using a timer circuit you could also think about using little push switches (like a computer on/off switch) to change direction on the rail.
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Old 11-14-2008, 06:40 PM   #14
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The threaded rod option doesn't create all that much friction. Unless you have crappy nuts that bind and a beat up piece of rod. You'll use a geared motor anyway. The OP only wants a short light mover and getting a straight ~40" long piece of ~3/5" threaded won't be a problem.

Just look at any CNC or regular mill, lathe or whatever. Nearly all of them use threaded rods to move stuff. It works very well. It wouldn't be good for commercial light movers though since it'd be difficult to make long light rails.
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Old 11-15-2008, 01:13 AM   #15
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Wow, I didn't expect this much response. Well, good news, I just got back from Home de Pot about an hour ago and I have all the supplies I need for the frame, track and roller assembly. At first, I was going to make the whole assembly from metal, but decided that's a pain in the ass, especially for the masses who will hopefully replicate this design. And, using 2x4 for the whole thing will be much stronger (originally I was going to use metal tracks from cabinets, too weak). **Side note: when I get my welder, I will redo this in metal.

Here's the lowdown:

Track: (1) piece 3/4" Aluminum box tubing (great minds think alike bud_me)

Rollers: (4) Fixed Industrial Casters - 2 1/2" x 38mm (wide)

Frame: 2x4 Wood

Main Roller: caster or rollerblade wheel

Simple simple, huh.

Cost so far:

Track: $10

Rollers: $12

Frame - 2x4 Wood: Free

Main Roller: ? (cheap)

Electronics/Motors: ? (around $20)

I'm trying to keep this as close to $50 as I can, that way people can get this for cheap, but still have a strong reliable light mover. I'm getting my camera charger tomorrow, so pics are coming.

MumBumper: I'd love to see the diagram. I'm no electronics whiz, but I can get by. Any help is appreciated in that area. Thanks everyone for stopping by.

Peace,
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