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Hardware Thread, Computer Controlled Bell Ringer! in Technical; Understand you can get "central heating style" timers for ringing the lesson change bell, but is there one that can ...
  1. #1
    theeldergeek
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    Computer Controlled Bell Ringer!

    Understand you can get "central heating style" timers for ringing the lesson change bell, but is there one that can be controlled remotely via a PC perhaps?

    We are looking for a replacement system, and if we can find one that can be controlled from a computer, it would be useful as very often we have timetable changes, and this means the current system has to be manually overridden.

    To simply re-program the timing via a PC based utility would be great!

    Any ideas?

  2. #2

    Hightower's Avatar
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    Might seem stupid but ethernet?

    We have a bell here in the exams hall that goes via ethernet to the main office bell.

  3. #3
    theeldergeek
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hightower View Post
    Might seem stupid but ethernet?

    We have a bell here in the exams hall that goes via ethernet to the main office bell.
    How does that work?

    And is it programmable, in that you can vary the times it will ring unattended?

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    Hightower's Avatar
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    It's a manual trigger that our old NM wired so the exams officer could ring for assistance in emergencies.

    I'm not sure if it would work automatically - I just know it can be done manually.

    I was kind of thinking if you had a dedicated PC that turned the network card on and off at certain times it might work.

    I may also be on cloud number 9

  5. #5
    theeldergeek
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hightower View Post
    It's a manual trigger that our old NM wired so the exams officer could ring for assistance in emergencies.

    I'm not sure if it would work automatically - I just know it can be done manually.

    I was kind of thinking if you had a dedicated PC that turned the network card on and off at certain times it might work.

    I may also be on cloud number 9
    OK, thanks for the reply, but it's probably not what we are looking for.

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    I have a system where I have an oldish pc connected to the bell via a relay and USB project board. A very simple C app runs when Windows starts and fires the bell at certain times of the day. The times are hard-coded into the app though but i guess it wouldn't be hard to stick them in an INI file, and even have a mechanism to ring manually. Stick VNC on it and it becomes remote too.

    If you're really adventurous at C, you could have a server program that runs the bell automatically and a client program to ring manually and change the times. The simple solution suits my school so i didn't go adventurous.

    The Controller
    Maplin > USB Experiment Interface Board
    Box it up however you like, I mounted it on a PCI bracket

    Use any old PC with a USB port

    Write the software, and done.. (Looks like it supports Visual Basic too which may be easier!)

    Craig

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    Jona's Avatar
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    I don't know of any packages that do this but I should imagine if you've got a low voltage switch in place (or a relay/transformer). It would be relatively easy to do with the serial port or a microcontroller. (PICAXE)

    Jona

  8. #8
    theeldergeek
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jona View Post
    I don't know of any packages that do this but I should imagine if you've got a low voltage switch in place (or a relay/transformer). It would be relatively easy to do with the serial port or a microcontroller. (PICAXE)
    Thanks fellas, but I was really looking for an out-of-the-box solution as opposed to being 'creative'.

    None of us here have programming knowledge, nor electronics per se, so 'mickeying' up home-made solutions is not going to happen.

    Thanks anyway.

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    Edu-IT's Avatar
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    We have an automatic bell system. I do not know how it's controlled by I do know that it can be programmed and it's possible to manually override.

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