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Old 05-27-2018, 05:44 AM   #11
dreamtree1234
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Default Re: My Medium Sized DIY Cage

WOW, this cage design and lighting system is any ham's and hamparents' dream come true! You did an incredibly awesome job with all of it. Thanks for sharing your masterpiece and all of the step-by-step instructions on lighting assembly with all of us. You are truly creative, and I'm sure your ham will thoroughly appreciate all of your hard work and creativity. I look forward to the great reveal soon, lol.
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Old 05-27-2018, 11:57 AM   #12
mlwinters
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Default Re: My Medium Sized DIY Cage

Quote:
Originally Posted by dreamtree1234 View Post
WOW, this cage design and lighting system is any ham's and hamparents' dream come true! You did an incredibly awesome job with all of it. Thanks for sharing your masterpiece and all of the step-by-step instructions on lighting assembly with all of us. You are truly creative, and I'm sure your ham will thoroughly appreciate all of your hard work and creativity. I look forward to the great reveal soon, lol.
Awww, thanks dreamtree1234, that is so kind of you. This comment has turned my ok-ish week into a great one. Thank you

Your welcome. Originally I had planned to build a simple cage and without sharing it but with autism and ADHD comes a continuous stream of a million ideas a second, this kind of thing is the consequence of a brain that never shuts up.

I may be teasing a little here but, I'm the lighting is only scratching the surface. The project so far is about 85% complete so there's lots more work still to do. What you've seen so far is only like 20% of it.

Thanks again for your kind words dreamtree1234.
Morgan
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Old 05-28-2018, 07:10 AM   #13
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Default Re: My Medium Sized DIY Cage

I really like your thoughtfully designed cage. It looks spacious and easy to access.
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Old 06-17-2018, 12:15 AM   #14
mlwinters
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Default Re: My Medium Sized DIY Cage

Although it may not seem like it, so far my posts on this project have been quite simple. However, from this update onwards, things are going to get a lot more complex, so grab a cup of tea and a slice of cake...oh and put your thinking cap on too .

Today I will be talking about the only thing on this project that MUST be 100% correct. The power supply unit which powers the entire electrical system for the cage. This update shows the first of four custom made circuit boards used on this project.

DISCLAIMER: Details included in this post are for educational proposes only. DO NOT attempt to recreate any part of this power supply. Parts of this power supply are connected directly to the buildingís mains supply which runs at 230VAC, this level of voltage along with the current available can and will kill you or your pet instantly. I have around 20 years experience dealing with electrical systems as well as electrical qualifications. I possess the required practical and theoretical knowledge to make this power supply in a safe way.
Again, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO RECREATE ANY PART OF THIS POWER SUPPLY.

This power supply is designed to step-down the voltage from 230V, convert the lower voltage from alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC) and then output the different voltages I need for the project, 1.3V, 3V, 5.06V, 10V and 15V.

For various reasons, I will use proper terminology when referring to parts of the electrical system. I will try to add the common name in brackets for the first instance. For example: a lamp (light bulb).
If I miss one or you still donít know what something is, just ask me.

Low Voltage Side (mains):
The system controller has a flying cable (non-removable) with a standard 13amp plug which is fitted with a 3amp fuse. The cable then goes into the controllerís case through a cable gland which grips the cable and prevents it from being pulled out accidentally possibly causing a short circuit. The outer gray sheathing is then cut back to allow the wires inside to be terminated (attached). The cable is a three core cable, Phase (live (brown wire)), Neutral (blue wire) and CPC (circuit protective conductor (earth) ( yellow/green wire)). The phase wire first goes through a 250volt 0.25amp protection fuse, this fuse is a fast blow fuse meaning that if the current is more than 250milliamp, the fuse will blow and disconnect the power within 50milliseconds (1/20th of a second). The phase wire then goes through an on/off switch (rated at 250VAC at 5amp) and then finally into the transformer. The Neutral wire goes from the input cable directly to the transformer. The CPC is terminated into a round crimp connector. The transformer has a metal bracket around it and has mounting holes at the base. The CPC crimp connector is attached to the transformer with nuts/bolts that attaches the transformer to the controllerís case. This earths the transformer so in theory, if a fault occurs that energises the transformerís inner iron core and the metal bracket. That power will go through the CPC, through my flats earthing system and into the ground. This will then trip the RCD (residual current device) in my flatís distribution panel (fusebox) killing the power to the whole flat.
The transformer has a single primary winding (coil) and dual secondary windings. The primary side is rated at 250VAC. Both secondary windings are rated at 15VAC at 1.33amp.
It should be noted here for those who donít know how a transformer works. There is no electrical connection between the primary and secondary windings, they are indeed completely separate from each other. A transformer uses the continuously varying magnetic field cause by the varying voltage of an AC source, to induce an electro-motive force (voltage although thatís technically the wrong word) into the secondary winding. The ratio between the number of turns of copper wire around the core of the primary winding and number of turns on the secondary windings is what determines the input and output voltages.
For example if the supply voltage is 100 volt, the transformer has 100 turns on primary with 2 turns on secondary, the output will be lets say 2 volt. If there's 100 turns on primary, 50 turns the on secondary, the output voltage will be 50 volt. This is just an example, in reality, transformers will have thousands of turns on each winding. There are also various other factors that determines primary voltage, secondary voltage/current such as transformer type, conductor (wire) thinkness ect.

Extra Low Voltage Side (electronics):
The output of the transformer has four terminals, two for each of the two secondary windings which weíll call Output A and Output B. I will start with the simplest:

Output A; The phase wire from the transformer goes to a 250V, 1.0amp fast blow fuse before going to the power supply circuit board and into the first "~" pin on the bridge rectifier diode which converts the AC into DC. The rectified supply then goes to a PCB terminal block which the system controller is then connected to, marked as Output 0 on the labelled photo. Further details on where this goes will be in a later post. The neutral wire from the transformer is connected directly to the second "~" pin on the rectifier diode to complete the circuit.

Output B; The first part of this circuit is the same as Output A up to and including the bridge rectifier. It too is protected by a 250V, 1.0amp fast blow fuse. Both of these rectifier diode are rated at 80V 2amp.
However thatís where the similarity between the two ouputs ends. The output or ď+Ē pin on the bridge rectifier diode splits into three traces (electrical pathways or wires on a circuit board). There is a small capacitor here as well which helps to ensure there is a smooth voltage. If the voltage drops for a split second, the capacitor will briefly take over until the voltage returns to its normal level. The capacitor will then recharge ready for the next time. The capacitors have a low amount of capacitance (the amount of energy stored) and will not run any part of the system on their own. Capacitors are not batteries and cannot be used as such.
Each of the three traces then goes to a LM317 adjustable voltage regulator. Along with is supporting circuitry the LM317 steps the voltage down from 15V to the required level, it also tries to maintain that output voltage even if the input voltage drops for a short time. The small blue square things are potentiometers (variable resistors) which are used to set the exact voltage I need. Each output (except output 4) has another capacitor on the output to help filter out any ripples from the voltage regulators. Output 3 has a larger capacitor as the main cage lighting are connected to output 3. Although the LM317ís are rated at 1.5amp each, they still need a heatsink to keep them cool. The heatsinks used are (at least for Output 1) slightly underrated for the current Iím drawing from the voltage regulator. That said, the voltage regulator remains well within its operating range (the heatsink peaks at somewhere around 40-45įC under full load and without the cooling fan, the LM317's have a thermal cut out which is factory set at 125įC).
The output pin of the voltage regulators are connected to a PCB terminal block to the right via underside traces or topside wires. The output voltages are as follows:
Output 1; 3.0V
Output 2; 5.06V
Output 3; 10.0V
Output 4; 1.3V
Pins 5 and 6 of the right hand terminal block are both neutral returns and are connected directly to the "-" pin on the rectifier diode.
Output 4 doesn't have its own voltage regulator, it "piggy backs" off output 1. The lower voltage is down to the voltage drop across the potentiometer and resistor. This can be done due to the power being drawn is less than the resistors rated power (1/2 Watt). The main lighting circuits for example pull to much power to just rely on a resistors voltage drop, hence the need for the LM317's.

The neutral terminal on the transformer's output B is again directly connected to the circuit board and to the second "~" pin on the output B rectifier diode.

As mentioned, I have fitted a 12V 80mm computer cooling fan to ensure that the voltage regulators, the transformer and other parts of the system remains cool. Despite the photos, the fan isnít directly connected to output 3, I just had it like this while building it and conducting energised tests. The fan is switched with the ďother colourĒ in normal operation and can be switched manually if need. The fan one can see here was just one I had lying around, it has now been replaced with a ball bearing fan which is almost silent.

I have attached four pictures with this post, two of which I have not embedded into the post due to the image size. The schematic is the same as the image embedded, only full size. The other is a labelled version of the photo that's embedded just full size and with labels highlighting the different parts of the power supply.

Power Supply.JPG
Photo of the power supply after completion.

Power Supply Schematic Small.jpg
Schematic diagram detailing the circuitry.
(please forgive the crude drawing, I do not normally draw schematics)


I should add that I have also since added LEDís on output 0 and output 2. This indicates that the outputs are running and makes it easier to tell if the fuses have blow as well as for system diagnostics. There's a blue LED for output 0, a pink LED for output 2.

As I said in the disclaimer above, DO NOT try to recreate anything in this post. I have posted this information so you can understand what I have created, NOT for you to try to recreate it.


Sorry this is a big update but I feel itís justified due to its complexity and importance to the project. Sorry too if your brain is now hurting :P.

Take Care
Morgan + Archimedes
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Power Supply Labelled.jpg (2.15 MB, 8 views)
File Type: jpg Power Supply Schematic.jpg (422.1 KB, 5 views)

Last edited by mlwinters; 06-17-2018 at 01:09 AM.
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Old 06-17-2018, 04:17 PM   #15
dreamtree1234
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Default Re: My Medium Sized DIY Cage

WOW, I am TOTALLY impressed!!!! That is a great explanation of it, too. Thanks for going through all of the details with us.
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Old 06-26-2018, 12:00 PM   #16
mlwinters
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Default Re: My Medium Sized DIY Cage

Thanks dreamtree1234. That's so kind of you. Once you see the next couple of updates, you'll understand the logic behind my madness. The updates need to be in order though.

Just a quick update, nothing has changed since my last update. I have finally got around to ordering the transistors that I needed to remake the switch board and they came today. I will be making the upgraded switch board over the next few days and will post an update detailing it when its done. Meanwhile, these are the transistor I've been waiting to order. They are 2N3704 N-channel transistors able to switch upto 30V, the maximum current is 600mA and can switch one hundred million times a second (WAY faster than Ill ever need).

2N3704 Transistor.jpg

I should have the upgraded board installed by the weekend, once installed I need to modify the controller to support to it.

Take Care
Morgan + Archimedes
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Old 06-26-2018, 03:57 PM   #17
StephBrom
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Default Re: My Medium Sized DIY Cage

Do you mind me asking what type of mesh you used? And where you got it from?
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Old 06-26-2018, 04:50 PM   #18
mlwinters
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Default Re: My Medium Sized DIY Cage

Quote:
Originally Posted by StephBrom View Post
Do you mind me asking what type of mesh you used? And where you got it from?
It is 12mm steel with a zinc galvanization coating. I picked up four sheets of it from Trago Mills in Newton Abbot, Devon. I can't remember the exact price but they where around £6.50 each. This cage was always designed for a Syrian, a dwarf hamster would need a smaller size mesh.

Hope that helps.
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Old 07-05-2018, 08:19 AM   #19
KarenJoycee
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Default Re: My Medium Sized DIY Cage

Wauw your cage is really beautiful! Great job! I luv the big front dores, that just make it perfect!
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Old 02-02-2019, 05:23 PM   #20
mlwinters
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Default Re: My Medium Sized DIY Cage

Hey everyone, firstly I must apologise for the lack of updates to this page for such a long time. I have been battling with personal issues and have not been up to posting much content to the internet recently. I hadn't realised until I loggged on here tonight just how long its been since I last posted an update. Again sorry about this.

Anyways, in this update I am going to show you the second of four custom made circuit boards fitted to Archimedes's cage. This is the switch board the controls the cage lighting, system cooling fan and two other things that will be detailed on later posts. This is the third version of this switch board I've made, the first version that was originally fitted to the cage used mechanical relays to switch the lighting, this worked fine but due to the way relays work (basic relays have four pins, two coil pins and two switch pins, when you energise the coil, it creates a magnetic field which attracts a metal plate towards the coil which shorts the two switch pins closing the circuit), there was an audible click whenever the relay was turned on or off, relays are also only able to be switch on or off and at very slow speed.
The second version of the switch board I designed used the transistors I showed in my last update ended up being a failure is I didn't take into account that when I remade the lighting bars, I used a common ground wire (all LED's were connected to the same neutral wire) instead of using a common positive wire. I therefore had to redesign the switch board again to have both NPN and PNP transistors on each switch channel. This added an extra layer of complexity to the switch board.

Cage Switch Board 1.jpg
This is a photo of the finished MkIII switch board after electrical tests and energised tests were complete taken just before installation.

Cage Switch Board 2.jpg
Here is the underside of the switch board. I tried to keep as much of the circuitry on the top side as possible to help you see how everything is connected together.


Cage Switch Board 1 Label.jpg
This image is the a labeled version of the first image showing the different parts of the circuit board.

Starting from the bottom left, we have a PCB terminal block labelled "5VDC Power Input" which provides power from Output 2 on the power supply board detailed in my previous post to the switch board itself, power for the relay on the right hand side of the switch board as well as the temperature sensor and one other device which will be shown in a later post.
The "I2C" header is for data wires from the temperature sensor and the "Serial" header is for the data wires to the other device. The I2C and serial pins on the system controller connects to "Header 2" via wires and then to the PCB terminal block. Connecting the temperature sensor and the other device to the switch board allows to everything to be connected to one circuit board instead of each device being connected to different places and makes it easier connect/disconnect devices when needed.

"Header 1" is where the controller plugs into to switch channels 1 through 7. Pin 2 of "Header 1" (counting from left to right) connects through a 10000 ohm (10kΩ) resistor which then connects to the base or switch pin of channel 1's NPN transistor. The output or emitter pin then connects to the base pin on the PNP transistor via a 1000 ohm (1kΩ) resistor. The output pin of the PNP transistor is then connected to the PCB terminal block at the top of the circuit board. When channel 1 is switch by the system controller, it causes the first transistor to switch on which causes the second transistor to switch on, this will then switch on the cage lighting. The happens moreless at the speed of light (188,000 miles per second) so there is no delay between the system controller turn switching the channel on and the LED's turning on.
Channels 1 through 6 are wired in the NPN-PNP way. Channel 1 and channel 3 also have a extra PNP transistor to allow for a later addon to the system.
Channel 7 is moreless the same as all channels where on the MkI switch board, the big white block is a 250VAC 3 Amp relay for a later addon. Channel 7 only have a single NPN transistor but it has a 1N4004 diode with a reverse voltage of 400V. This protects the rest of the circuitry incase the relay fails in such a way that causes 230VAC mains voltage to go through the coil of the relay that could lead to a major failure of the whole system and a possibly a fire.

Below is what is connected to each channel:
Channel 1: White cage lighting
Channel 2: Red cage lighting
Channel 3: Other colour cage lighting
Channel 4: System cooling fan
Channel 5: Reserved for a later addon
Channel 6: Spare channel
Channel 7: Mains voltage relay for a later addon

As I mentioned above, I decided to replace the old relay board with this transistor board to eliminate the audible click from switching the cage lighting on/off but it also allows me to fade the cage lighting up and down with a method called PWM instead of the lighting either being on or off. This helps to prevent Archimedes being blinded when I turn the white lights on at night time. PWM stands for Pulse Width Modulation, its a way of getting an analog signal from a digital controller. PWM pulses the output between 0% and 100% (in this case, 0 volt and 3.3 volt) so quickly that the eye it tricked into thinking the output, for example an LED, is being dimmed or faded. See this link for a more info on PWM.
The speed of the system cooling fan is also controlled via PWM and the maximum speed of the fan will depend on the room temperature, the warmer the room is, the faster the fan will spin. When the room temperature is below 20įC, the system cooling fan is turned off completely.


As a side note, since completing this swich board I have also reduced the voltage of Output 3 on the power supply board from 10 volt down to 6 voltage which is the same voltage as 4 AA batteries wired in series. Doing this has reduced power consumtion of the cage lighting and made the electrical wiring inside the cage (contained within plastic trunking) a little safer. Archimedes has never crewed the trunking but this reduction helps make it safer incase he does. Lowing the voltage of Output 3 to 6 volt also reduces the amount of light that the cage lighting LEDs emit but still allows the cage to be lit nicely and is enough for the system cooling fan to start and move enough air to keep the power supply cool.


Again sorry for lack of posts
recently and sorry for another big update.
Take Care
Morgan + Archimedes

Last edited by mlwinters; 02-02-2019 at 05:34 PM.
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