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  • OT time clock alarm/horn ideas

    OT, but technical, and with range of talents here probably a good place to ask

    I need a horn signalling shift change, breaks etc, and as always am on a low budget.

    I have a card swipe timeclock, but it has no output to signal an alarm. Same company (pyramid) has alarm module but its like $650 + the alarm (24V; so what I have won't work). I'm going to over a $1000 CDN which seems over the top.

    I have a 12V horn and basic electronics knowledge - I can make a power supply and circuit to drive the horn etc. The problem is supplying the clock on/off signal . I need to be able to set the times for the horn and also have a reliable clock so it doesn't stray from the time clock (too much). I can spend some money, but 1000 seem excessive. There is a PC in the vicinity, but I'm not crazy about using it - if its a program someone has to remember to run, and it would probably send me down a new rabbit hole figuring out how to connect to it or generate output.

    What do you guys think, looking for the best combo of quick easy and low cost (aren't we always)

    thanks
    in Toronto Ontario - where are you?

  • #2
    perhaps something like this: https://www.mcmaster.com/#24-hour-timers/=1970yr8 Jim

    Comment


    • #3
      If your Pyramid timeclock has an alarm module available, then it is possible to tap into it. But it is hard to say just how without more details on it and they seem to have a very large selection of different products and probably even more that are discontinued. Their alarm module could connect via a serial port, some other hard wired connection, ethernet, wifi, or whatever. Probably too complicated to figure out unless some other company offers a similar item that is compatible.

      I would recommend a separate timer. Most modern ones are accurate enough for your purposes, even if they are not exactly synchronized with your timeclock. There are probably thousands, tens of thousands, or even more timers available. I don't think those simple sprinkler timers that Jmm03 was suggesting are the best available. And they work in long increments, like 15 minutes or so and I doubt that you want a horn to blast for that long. I would look for an electronic timer that can be set for a few seconds and that allows multiple alarms throughout the day. You probably also want one where you can have different patterns on different days of the week. Perhaps no alarms on the weekend, early quitting time on Friday, or whatever.

      Of course, with programming skills, you could use a PIC device like Ardunio, Basic Stamp, etc. and make it work any way you want.
      Paul A.
      SE Texas

      And if you look REAL close at an analog signal,
      You will find that it has discrete steps.

      Comment


      • #4
        The model pyramid I have doesn't have an alarm out signal, I'd have to buy their stand alone thing.

        Timer is a good idea, if there was good enough accuracy. what I don't want is horn going off 2 minutes early or late 3 weeks from now. I've done some PIC programming, turning the leds on and off sort of thing, and learning more interests me....but really, I should focus on getting this working now rather than another lengthy trip down the "how hard could it be" road of learning a new thing.

        I thought a Raspberry might middle ground....but probably a timer would be the fastest to implement
        in Toronto Ontario - where are you?

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        • #5
          ok, timer it is, bought and on its way - programmer timer switch programmable by the second, plugs in with a receptacle on the front.

          Thanks for the good idea
          in Toronto Ontario - where are you?

          Comment


          • #6
            Check the minimum on/off time for timers. Many have a one minute minimum. Nothing more irritating than listening to horn going off for a minute. Keep in mind that accuracy equals money. As a machinist, you should know that.

            Comment


            • #7
              If there is a linux box running, hooked to a stereo, as I have here,
              use cron

              This example would play an earsplitting warble at 0900 and 1900, except Sunday
              (There are pre-defined tones, or, custom tones can be made in audacity)

              [[email protected] ~]$ crontab -l
              # Minute Hour Day of Month Month Day of Week Command
              # (0-59) (0-23) (1-31) (1-12 or Jan-Dec) (0-6 or Sun-Sat)

              0 09,19 * * 1-6 aplay -q ~/audacity/sound_files/DB3-tone9.wav

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by CCWKen View Post
                Check the minimum on/off time for timers. Many have a one minute minimum.
                lol, I did think of that....I'd create a lynch mob with a one minute horn. Found one with a 1 sec switch time...If its not accurate enough I'll try other ideas
                Last edited by Mcgyver; 09-01-2017, 03:03 PM.
                in Toronto Ontario - where are you?

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                • #9
                  As a task master myself, I suggest you only sound the GTFO horn after all of the minions have each completed a full productive day with measurable results.

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                  • #10
                    Easy to do with an Arduino with a Real Time Clock module. Simply write a program to flip an output on/off at the desired times to control a relay for the horn. I did this very thing a while back to automate the pump on an irrigation system. Worked great.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jmm03 View Post
                      perhaps something like this: https://www.mcmaster.com/#24-hour-timers/=1970yr8 Jim
                      Since I reside in the "Peoples Socialist Republic of Chechoslafornia" I couldn't help notice "These switches cannot be sold in California." on 6 of the 8 devices shown. Wonder what draconian threat these timers represent?

                      Jim

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Daminer View Post
                        Since I reside in the "Peoples Socialist Republic of Chechoslafornia" I couldn't help notice "These switches cannot be sold in California." on 6 of the 8 devices shown. Wonder what draconian threat these timers represent?

                        Jim
                        Time tracking devices have been known to cause anxiety to residents of California.
                        Location: Long Island, N.Y.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I would look on the shelf for a retired PC and put that to work. The advantages include that the PC, (if online?) will automatically adjust for daylight saving/summer time and public holidays. Almost unlimited potential for adding 'features**' and of course needs not be a dedicated PC. The PC could make voice announcements if you have a PA system, announcements such as emergency messages and of course staff happy birthday wishes!

                          I know you mentioned a PC in the vicinity and the issue of remembering to turn it on, that should not be a problem. We have a flight simulator at the museum where I spend my time and it is automatically started when the museum opens and the lights are turned on. It does an orderly shutdown under the control of a separate little box but it could be programmed to switch itself off.

                          BTW, I had a management position in an organisation with a wide spread computer mail and messaging network and we had a little problem with people not turning their terminals on in the morning so one of our whizz kids found a file with 1000 limericks which he loaded with code to select one at random and send it out at 0730 each morning. We found that almost all terminals were switched on just about 0725!
                          Last edited by The Artful Bodger; 09-02-2017, 04:07 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by The Artful Bodger View Post
                            I would look on the shelf for a retired PC and put that to work. The advantages include that the PC, (if online?) will automatically adjust for daylight saving/summer time and public holidays.
                            That was where I went at first thought, however it would take some effort to both get the signal out of the PC and switching power to the horn. I know some clever sort will add "oh thats easy, you just do xyz then abc" Real life isn't like that, it all takes time. I know enough about it to do a block diagram, but its not a conversant area of expertise so it take time to learn and execute. I may end up there, but first stop was fast cheap plug and play, I want this working now and being on the back 9, I'm look to delete projects from the list and avoid adding new ones
                            in Toronto Ontario - where are you?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Daminer View Post
                              Since I reside in the "Peoples Socialist Republic of Chechoslafornia" I couldn't help notice "These switches cannot be sold in California." on 6 of the 8 devices shown. Wonder what draconian threat these timers represent?

                              Jim
                              They appear to use mercury switches. Bad, evil, mean and nasty mercury.


                              Dan
                              At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and left over parts.

                              Location: SF East Bay.

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