Mechanical counters look beautiful and even 2 decades back they were common to find in cars, two whellers, gas stations, electric meters, video tape players an so on. Some had mechanical reset to set to zero, some were cumulative. Here is Basic Information Around Mechanical Counter for Arduino as They are Difficult to Find Outside Industrial Usage. They Can Be Stepper Motor Counter With or Without Reset. These mechanical counters counts digits (so they were called “digital” once) and were built using mechanical components inside exactly like mechanical clocks.
Mechanical Counter for Arduino
These mechanical devices consists of of disks mounted on an axle, with the digits printed or drawn on their edge. The extreme right disk moves one increment with each event. Even can be rotation or a pull. Each disks has a protrusion so that, upon the completion of one revolution of disk right to it, it moves one increment. Veeder-Root company was a big manufacturer of these counters.
Some these plain mechanical counters made electromechanical counters by adding a small solenoid. The solenoid responds to electrical impulse. Some were directly mounted to stepper motors. Some were made clocks with adjustment with RPM and second.
These mechanical counters can be made beautiful, interesting looking Arduino controlled counters :
OR this one :
Now we need to know where we can buy these mechanical counters as they are usually not sold to the consumers as one unit.
Where We Will Get Mechanical Counter for Arduino?
High quality difficult to find now except in few countries. High quality will have bearings with serviceable parts inside like clocks. We will suggest to find company (this is example of India) which manufacturer counters like this :
Unfortunately, these kind of companies will not take orders below 10 units. There are advantages of having high quality plastic components inside instead of metal – plastic is less vulnerable to wear & tear. Also less likely to face weather related damages.
Adafruit has a product which is great :
Those has a name. Do you know what it is? We talked about various types of switches, that thing actually working as a type of switch.
There is a China generic 75-I Mechanical Resettable 5 Digit mechanical counter which costs around 8 USD. External It’s maximum rotation speed is 350 r/min, enough big to fill palm.
What you saw in video they are re-sold in various countries, like in India :
Made in China stuff’s quality is not very good although cost high. Adafruit’s stuff is originally Huari company’s Pushwheel/Thumbwheel and costs a fraction :
There are peoples who made it 3D print :
Conclusion depends on what exactly you’ll do with the counter. In general, an ideal mechanical counter for development purpose is that which supports forwards & reverse movement with minimal torque (aka lesser rpm) and has a reset mechanism. Old tape player counters are ideal for that need.
If you need almost ready to use, then stepper motor counters are cheap and great. They will need just easy coding and circuit.
If you need to make a clock, that will either need to find a manufacturer who still manufacturer such for industries or custom build – you need 00-00-00 format. Without gap between two digits, clock will be difficult to read.
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