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Old 08-28-2006, 01:34 AM   #1
snoopykissedlucy
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Default Making a Drag Racing Christmas Tree for the garage

I'm a big drag race fan and notice a bunch of guys have the traffic lights in their garages.

I'd like to make a drag racing christmas tree with sequential lights travelling down. I would mount it to my back wall to give the effect of two cars about to race down the track. (possibly paint a mural as well)

Yes, I can buy the tree at summitracing but it's quite a bit of cash because its made to practice with(digital timers, etc). I just want one that lights the top bulbs first and sequentially goes down the tree.

I was at the Dallas Autorama and saw a home made one next to a show car. The owner said he hired an electrical engineer to devise the timing box that allows the lights to switch on and off.........of course, I didnt believe him and still believe its possible to make this with some 2X4s and flood lights from home depot.

Any electrical guys out there have any ideas?

PS-couldnt get my garage pics to upload: check out the garage here:
http://www.cardomain.com/ride/791682
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Old 08-28-2006, 12:18 PM   #2
Luckydevil
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Default Re: Making a Drag Racing Christmas Tree for the garage

You will need a timing circuit of some sort. Should be pretty basic for any electrical engineer, so I'd just try and see if you know anyone who might know someone who's ex-wife's stepfather is an eletrical guy.

They have one at the Don Garlits drag racing museum that continuously runs, but it is a real tree.
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Old 08-28-2006, 01:43 PM   #3
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Default Re: Making a Drag Racing Christmas Tree for the garage

[QUOTE=snoopykissedlucy]I'm a big drag race fan and notice a bunch of guys have the traffic lights in their garages.

I recently went back to drag racing and I have been using a Biondo box that has a 25 Pin connector on the back to allow for a full size tree. They also sell a full sized tree but they are pretty pricey.

I may have one soon. Also there are a bunch of them in garages and you might be able to get a used for a right price.

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Old 08-28-2006, 02:39 PM   #4
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Default Re: Making a Drag Racing Christmas Tree for the garage

Here's my thoughts:
Using the regular christmas tree lights that have the "running lights" feature. This switch box comes with the wiring set. If I can somehow wire this box into a circuit with regular light bulbs instead of the little tree lights, it will work.
Or, buying a cheapie traffic light from WalMart and using the internals to wire up the lights. The only problem is that the traffic light has the red, yellow, green bulbs light up randomly, not sequentially.
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Old 08-28-2006, 05:49 PM   #5
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Default Re: Making a Drag Racing Christmas Tree for the garage

It really shouldn't be _that_ difficult to setup if you can find someone with the knowledge, or search the net for 'how to'. I like the idea myself, but don't have any time to follow up on it just now.

It should use the same technology as those guys who make christmas light (the seasonal decoration) displays with sequenced lights...anybody like that in your area?
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Old 08-28-2006, 06:14 PM   #6
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Default Re: Making a Drag Racing Christmas Tree for the garage

Between this post and the places mentioned, you may be in luck.

http://www.electronics-lab.com/forum...;threadid=1065

or

http://www.redcircuits.com/Page72.htm

Last edited by thorin; 08-28-2006 at 06:21 PM.
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Old 08-28-2006, 06:39 PM   #7
wilbilt
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Default Re: Making a Drag Racing Christmas Tree for the garage

You need to be able to control it, to give the "anticipation" effect.

Uniformly sequencing lights will get old in a hurry. Offset lane timing i.e., "handicap", will add to the interest.
You will need some sort of a timer circuit to do this, with the capability to drive the floods you have mentioned.

A pile of 2x4s will help, but you will need more than that.

Will
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Old 08-28-2006, 11:08 PM   #8
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Default Re: Making a Drag Racing Christmas Tree for the garage

Wow, I checked out the redcircuits links.....thanks Thorin!!!
Now I just gotta print it out and take it to my local Radio Shack guy.

I've rebuilt several car engines, vacuum cleaners, and carburators, but never learned anything about circuitry other than: Don't touch the red positive wire!

Anyone know if the diagram involves a circuit board and solder or switches and wires?

Wait....I just found this website:

http://www.trafficlightwizard.com/
Gonna do some reading.......be right back
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Old 08-29-2006, 08:37 AM   #9
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Default Re: Making a Drag Racing Christmas Tree for the garage

Those circuits are only to drive an LED. Not even close to being strong enough to power a flood lamp. You will need a switching circuit with the ability to drive a relay.

If you have an electronics tech school in your area, go there and talk to people. I am willing to bet someone will design it for you so they can use it as a quarter project.

I don't currently have the time to do it or I would for you. That is what my degree is in. (I just hardly use it anymore.)
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Old 08-29-2006, 09:58 AM   #10
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Default Re: Making a Drag Racing Christmas Tree for the garage

Quote:
Originally Posted by GShelton
Those circuits are only to drive an LED. Not even close to being strong enough to power a flood lamp. You will need a switching circuit with the ability to drive a relay.
The second design there was set up to run a 24v lamp and could probably be used to drive a relay. Still it would be a BORING display and never change and either allways have a redlight or never have one, allways pre-stage at the same time, etc...

William....
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Old 08-29-2006, 02:48 PM   #11
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Default Re: Making a Drag Racing Christmas Tree for the garage

You might want to check into a device called a "cam timer". It's basically a small motor that runs a gear box to turn a shaft that has cams that manually depress the switch buttons on microswitches capable of handling 120 volts. I used this setup when I restored my first traffic light many years ago. Obviously, that unit only had three cams and switches, but the units are availabel with several switches (limited only by the length of the rod, the number of cams and switches). I've seen as many as twelve switches on a single motor unit. This type of device is an electromechanical switching device as opposed to a digital circuit board as used to power my more recent traffic light restorations. Good luck with your project!

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Old 08-29-2006, 03:09 PM   #12
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Default Re: Making a Drag Racing Christmas Tree for the garage

Digger Dave has built one.

His was a full size tree used on a "Hot Wheels" racing track.

He might have diagramed it, drop him a line and ask.

To make it more interesting, it shouldn't be on a back wall. It should be inbetween the double doors of a two door garage and activated by the garage door opener.

Back in for fast exits.
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Old 08-29-2006, 03:44 PM   #13
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Default Re: Making a Drag Racing Christmas Tree for the garage

You could connect one of those parking position aids to trigger the circuit. When you pull into the garage you would trip the pre-stage, then stage lights. After the green light, the time could be displayed. Either the time of day or the time between prestage and staged. That's if you want to risk fast stops pulling into the garage. Making the lights run off 120AC means you'll need SCRs or relays to drive them. A simple microcontroller could handle the timing. I could make one but I don't know how the lights are supposed to be timed.
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Old 08-29-2006, 07:01 PM   #14
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Default Re: Making a Drag Racing Christmas Tree for the garage

Quote:
Originally Posted by snoopykissedlucy

I'd like to make a drag racing christmas tree with sequential lights travelling down. I would mount it to my back wall to give the effect of two cars about to race down the track.
If you were to use low voltage (12Volt) landscaping lights this would be a lot easier. There are floods available with interchangeable lens. You could use the power supply for the floods to power the whole thing. You could use in expensive Bosch relays to switch the lights. Some of these relays have timing functions. The car audio guys use them to control a variety of things in custom installations. The relays can also provide for some logic. For example. all four staging lights must be lit up before the drop begins. You could use different timing intervals for the staging lights to make it more realistic. The actual race could be between two timing relays, first to see if the difference could generate a red light, and second to see who wins the race. I seem to recall seeing a Christmas tree that flashed on the winning lane. Maybe that was just a 70's thing.. Its been a while. Maybe I saw a lot of flashing lights back in the 70's...

Any way, I will try to find some links for these relays. It will also run a lot cooler on 12 volts.
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Old 08-29-2006, 07:58 PM   #15
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Default Re: Making a Drag Racing Christmas Tree for the garage

Here are some links:

timing relay from 1 to 60 seconds:

http://www.hometech.com/brains/timers.html

Scroll down to the ELK960

another timed relay:

http://www.caraudio-caralarms.com/528T.html

And a list of circuits that will keep you busy for a long time..

http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/Bill_Bowden/
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Old 10-17-2006, 12:39 PM   #16
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Default Re: Making a Drag Racing Christmas Tree for the garage

Bump fantastic thread.

i thought I was the only one weird enough to want my own tree.
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Old 10-17-2006, 01:15 PM   #17
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Default Re: Making a Drag Racing Christmas Tree for the garage

Why not just find an used PLC (Programable logic controller).

You can then program it via a computer to do whatever you want. Even have switches to put it in different modes.

Not sure what used PLCS bring on ebay or something but the circuit is done, just gotta learn some PLC programming.
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Old 10-18-2006, 08:09 AM   #18
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Default Re: Making a Drag Racing Christmas Tree for the garage

i hope you can get this done. when i was a teenager (in the 60's) i always wanted to make a portable tree run off of a car battery that we could take out to the local deserted blacktop. it's prolly a good thing i never did it. it'd prolly have been property of the local sheriff's office soon after completion.
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Old 10-18-2006, 09:00 AM   #19
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Default Re: Making a Drag Racing Christmas Tree for the garage

http://www.idec.com/Products/ENG/PDF...Relay_2004.pdf

Here's a programmable relay I used for timing a real traffic signal head to continuously cycle from 30s green, 3 sec yellow, 30s red, back to green. It's mounted in the head behind the yellow. You should be able to do what you want with this.

Chris
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Old 10-25-2006, 06:33 PM   #20
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Default Re: Making a Drag Racing Christmas Tree for the garage

I have always wanted to set up a tree in my garage. I just found this one at Northern Tool.

http://www.northerntool.com/webapp/w...ssearch=900599

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