Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Create A Tool (in progress)

I wasn't exactly sure at first if I wanted to create a tool or a toy. I don't want to created something too simple. I would like to create something with a motor, some wires, some lights, a battery and I would also need a switch. I would like to create a design just for a creative touch. The main idea is to create something that is powered or moves by a circuit. I want to build a parallel circuit so if one light breaks, the circuit will still work. If one light in a series circuit breaks, it will be completely useless.

After proposing my idea to the class, my teacher said that you can sew wires into clothing or something like that. I remember someone created clothing that changed color with heated wires in the clothing. Later on, I got the idea of putting lights in clothing.

After talking about this to a friend, she suggested to create a jacket for people who ride their bicycles at night. At night you can see the reflectors of the bicycle, but you can barely see the person riding it. I already had an idea in my head of what a jacket with lights would look like, so I created a sketch of how I want the jacket to look like. I also sketched what kind of materials I should use to create the circuit and how to keep the circuit from moving in the jacket. This could be a useful tool for the people who ride their bicycles at night. *(I am sorry that the image is upside down, there are flip options).

This week I tried to get started on the project and went out to buy materials. I already had some batteries at home, so I decided to use those for the project. I went to a store where they sell electrical parts and asked someone who worked there for the parts I was looking for to create my circuit. The man who worked there showed me some wires that already have lights on them. I bought some different color lights just in case the ones with the wire weren't bright enough. I also bought two switches, an on/off switch and a push button switch. My idea is to see which switch will work better with the circuit and I also want it not to stick out to much, just to blend in with the jacket almost. I told him that I wanted to make a battery powered circuit and he suggested I should get a holder for the battery. He also suggested to be careful what kind of battery I choose because the voltage might be too powerful and might explode. When I asked him for advice on putting wires into clothing, he suggested that I use longer wires so the circuit extends to the sleeves of the jacket too. I wanted to sew the circuit wires to the jacket but I was advised to use electrical tape instead.

Since the circuit is going to be in the jacket, I was thinking of adding an extra layer of material just so that the circuit doesn't scratch or heat the person's back/arms. The lights should be seen outside the jacket, so I was thinking of cutting out small holes and have the lights stick out of the jacket. The lights outside the jacket should have some kind of protection so they don't fall out of the jacket and to hide the circuit on the inside if it shows. For a creative touch, I want to either design a pattern or used a material with a design pattern. I should also research what kind of material is heat resistant so that the circuit does not over heat.

I have already begun trying to build the circuit. At first everything was fine, I got the wire with the light to light up after connecting the right wires. It wasn't long after that I noticed that the battery was overheating a bit too fast. So I decided to take it apart before things got out of hand. I want to ask someone for advice on whether or not I used the right battery or wires.

The problem was the amount of volts, amps, ohms, resistance and electrical current. So I had to do further research to try to get my circuit to work. It might be better if I went with a series circuit instead of a parallel one after all.  Seven lights in a series circuit are too much for an AA battery to power. Then I tried using three lights and a double powered battery, I didn't notice that they light up until I saw the last that the last light was on but it went off. Its just a matter of trial and error with the amount of lights used and the resistance. All I know right now is that one battery might not be enough and two batteries might be too much. Unless I go back to my original idea of a parallel circuit. It might also be easier to create a vest with lights, so I don't have to make a big circuit that takes up more power. I took a picture to remind me which parts of the wires were positive and negative.

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