Posts Tagged ‘ammo counter’

Mark 3 Ammo Counter

Tuesday, September 26th, 2017

Nerf, Paintball, Prop Weapons. This is the ammo counter you want~!

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The Ammo Counter Mark 3 is a remix of my previous ammo counter design and is now completely reprogrammable by you with no additional tools! There are 10 clip slots in memory, you can easily switch magazine sizes with a single button press. In addition, each clip slot can be reprogrammed by you for any starting value up to 99. Each slot will remember your selected fire mode, semi-auto, full-auto, and count up.

Video tutorial: Coming Soon!

Features:
* Smallest Ammo Counter Circuit!
* Selectable Clip Sizes
* Programmable Clip Sizes (Default: 35, 25, 22, 18, 15, 12, 10, 6, 32, 99)
* Programmable Fire Types (Semi-Auto, Full-Auto, and Count Up Semi-Auto)
* Light Break Sensor Ready



Ammo Counter 2017 – New Design

Monday, September 18th, 2017

This is a small preview of the new ammo counter design I am working on.  There are two buttons on the face of the circuit that will allow you to select from preset modes, or add your own!  No more hardcoded starting count values!!

More info to follow…

select_fire_outline

The finished circuit will be about the same size as my previous ammo counters.

A finished one

Ammo Counters – Researching Competition to Push a New Generation

Tuesday, March 21st, 2017

I have been selling ammo counters since 2009. After I made my energy sword, ammo counters were the most requested kit. Over the years, I have probably sold 200-300 kits. Back then, I easily beat out the lame old competition. However, sales dried up last year. I was busy with my EMF and NES projects so I didn’t look into it.

Today, I searched around for new competition. Oh man. Things have changed. I think I still got them beat on size and price, but I need to work on my offerings to stay competitive.

Old competition

New competition

  • Nathaniel Deal: Nerf Ammo Counters
    • Good price for what you get.
    • Offers both bare bones and complete kits. Some kits include 3d printed shells.
    • Mostly focused on nerf builds. Requires additional circuit boards that must be hidden inside your build.
    • ammocounter.com

    Nathaniel Deal: Nerf Ammo Counters

What is most interesting about Nathaniel Deal’s offerings are the complete kits for a reasonable price, the 3D printed shells, and YouTube tutorials.

Comparing Nathan’s Ammo Counter design to my own Ammo Counter design. We both use a custom display board, but mine is much much smaller in size because I mount the microcontroller on the same board as the display. While he uses an off the shelf microcontroller development board (arduino) to run the display over a cable harness and additional shift register / display resistors shield board. That is a lot of extra bulk that he is asking the builder to hide in their project! The additional switches he places under the display are on/off, reset, and clip select. In my Ammo Counter kit, I do away with the need of extra switches by using button combinations to select clip size (hold a dart in front of the light break sensor or hold the fire trigger while also cycling the ammo clip to activate the clip size selection menu).

My own ammo counter design is minimalistic. The size can be fit into any project and does not need any additional circuit boards.
Ammo Counter v3

I love my design so much! However, there are a few things I can learn from Nathan Deal.

  • Create kit listings on Etsy - etsy.com/shop/WestabyElectronics
  • Add a count up mode to my Ammo Counter software
  • 3D printed shells to fit a variety of rail systems
  • Make the light break sensor as a standard option
    • I already do have a light break sensor kit, but I only make them on request.
  • YouTube tutorial videos


Light Break Sensor for Ammo Counter

Thursday, January 21st, 2016

I have offered ammo counter kits for nerf dart guns for a while now.  With a tweak to the ammo counter software’s min time between fire events and the addition of a photo sensor, you can install my ammo counter kit on a nerf gun and keep track of shots remaining in your clip even while full auto firing.

What allows this to work is a light break sensor.  The part number I recommend is the OPB100Z.  It comes with an IR LED and a Phototransistor.  The LED creates a beam of light, and the phototransistor acts as a switch.  When the light shines on the sensor, the transistor conducts and the ammo counter reads voltage.  However, when a shadow is cast on the sensor the circuit is broken and the ammo counter fire input is grounded.

More info on how Phototransistors work: http://learn.parallax.com/node/258

Below is how to wire the light break sensor into an ammo counter.  The wire leads on the light break sensor are color coded, follow the colors in the diagram below.  Place the sensor and light on your barrel so each dart fired creates a shadow between the sensor and light.

Notes:

  • During your install and testing, you will be unable to see the light with your eyes.  Your human eyes are not sensitive to IR light.  Instead, point a camera or smartphone at the light and you should see the white/blue light on the screen.
  • I do not currently sell light break sensors, but do tell me when purchasing a kit that you intend to use one.  I will program with special software and include the extra two resistors seen in the diagram.
  • Places to buy a light break sensor, part number OPB100Z:

Cropped - Light Break Sensor Wiring Diagram for Ammo Counter

DIY Ammo Counter

Monday, December 21st, 2015

Do you need an ammo counter circuit for your project and are bummed that you have to wait for a spot in my build queue to open up?  Fret not, here is a step by step how to make one from scratch!

In this guide, I will detail how to build your own ammo counter for ~$25 and with only minimal soldering experience.

 

title

Parts:

You can use other arduinos or switch and display choices.  The linked ones were chosen for number of pins and size.  This project uses 16 IO pins from the arduino and the trinket is the smallest arduino that can be programmed over usb.

If you get a different display, it must have the following traits:

  • Common Cathode, the common pin is ground (do not want Common Anode)
  • Two Single Digit 7 segment displays, with 10 pins on the back EACH.
    - OR -
  • One Dual Digit 7 segment display that is non-multiplexed, with 18-20 pins on the back (multiplexed only has ~10 pins)

Wire Display to Arduino:

Get out your solder iron, wire strippers, and some note paper.

  • Wire display digits 1 and 2 as shown below, diagram only shows one digit for simplicity.
    • The common pin (CC) goes to ground.
    • The period (DP) can be left unwired.
    • Each segment is wired to a unique pin on the arduino, can use any arduino pin marked as D or A.
    • The exact pins wired to are important, write them down for later.  To run the software without modification, use the default pinout table below.
    • Diagram shows resistors between the display and the arduino.  When using the 3.3 volt version of the arduino trinket, no resistors are needed.

 

wiring

 

Default Arduino Pinout

Arduino Trinket I/O Signal Type Name
3 ~3 O Display Output Digit 1, Segment E
4 4 O Display Output Digit 1, Segment D
5 ~5 O Display Output Digit 1, Segment C
6 ~6 O Display Output Digit 2, Segment E
8 8 O Display Output Digit 2, Segment D
9 ~9 O Display Output Digit 2, Segment C
10 ~10 O Display Output Digit 2, Segment B
11 ~11 O Display Output Digit 2, Segment A
12 12 I Switch Input Fire Switch
13 13 I LED Output LED
14 A0 O Display Output Digit 2, Segment F
15 A1 O Display Output Digit 2, Segment G
16 A2 O Display Output Digit 1, Segment B
17 A3 O Display Output Digit 1, Segment A
18 A4 O Display Output Digit 1, Segment F
19 A5 O Display Output Digit 1, Segment G
RST RST I Switch Input Reload Switch

Finish Wiring Assembly:

  • Wire the fire switch to a digital pin and ground.
  • Wire the reload switch to the reset pin (RST) and ground
  • Wire in the trinket to a 3.3 – 5 volt battery pack, blue and white color displays requires minimum of 3.2 volts.

Program Software:

You will need a micro usb cable.  No batteries needed yet, the trinket is powered by the usb for now.

Source Code: codebender.cc/sketch:207738

  1. Follow the getting started guide from codebender to setup the website to talk to your arduino trinket, choose Adafruit Pro Trinket 3V USB when asked
    codebender.cc/static/walkthrough/page/1
  2. Open source code link
  3. Click Run on Arduino
    • If you get the error message, make sure to press the button on the Trinket to activate the bootloader before trying again.

Optional Software Changes

With the source code open on the codebender.cc website, find and click the edit button to make changes to the software.  After you have made changes, click Verify Code and resolve any issues, proceed to ‘Run on Arduino’ when the website indicates ‘Verification successful!’

  1. If you did not use the default pinout, you must update the pinMap list with where you wired each display segment. Use the pin numbers you wrote down
  2. If you want to use a different starting ammo count or firing types, scroll down and update ‘Starting Values’.
    • shotmode can be set to CONT for full auto or BURST for semi auto
    • burst_value is the number of ammo shot in each burst, default is 1.
    • counter_value is the starting ammo value.

Examples:

  • shotmode = BURST; burst_value = 1; counter_value = 99; is used for paintball or nerf
  • shotmode = CONT; burst_value = 1; counter_value = 60; is used to match a Halo AR MA5B
  • shotmode = BURST; burst_value = 3; counter_value = 36; is used to match a Halo BR55

Testing:

On startup, you will see the starting count of MODE1. Press the fire button and the number will go down 1 tick until 0.  The LED (pin 13) goes dark when the counter reads 00.
Press the reload button and the display will go blank, and then reset to the starting count.

Hold the fire button down while pressing reset, this will change between modes. Display will report the mode number as F1, F2, F3, and so on.

Feel free to play with the software further to tweak the features to your liking. Have fun :)

 

Ammo Counter – 5 years of Success

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

Over the years I have taken pride in my ammo counter kit.  As far as I know, it is the cheapest ammo counter kit available.  I achieve my low price by my minimalistic design and versatility through programming.  Just 6 parts and custom programmed to meet your needs!

The ammo counter kit is my longest selling kit and as the 5 year anniversary is coming up, I wanted to go through my records and count just how many.  I came up with the number of ~185 ammo counters sold since I first made them available in 2009.

Year Sold
2014 25
2013 100
2012 25
2010 25
2009 10

Numbers are based on my part orders of the attiny microcontroller from my suppliers.  The ammo counter uses the attiny2313/4313 family microcontroller.

The original ammo counter went on sale in 2009, and was actually only my 3rd prop circuit I had designed.  The first two were my Proton Pack and my Energy Sword circuits.

I continued selling ammo counters and other prop electronic kits on commission until 2011, when I focused on perfecting my cortana kits, and perfect them I did. This is the kit I offered for the 2012 season.

After revamping my store website and resuming automated orders, demand remained steady for my ammo counters, but you can see that spike in ’13. Wow, what a year !  Thanks for the traffic guys, 405th.com, soaringhammer (closed), and therpf forums.
I would also like to extend a special thanks to some of the prop makers that use my kits in their props.

End of life on Current ammo counters

Sunday, August 19th, 2012

Stock has been updated in the store, when the current ammo counters are gone there will not be more. Pending redesign.

Reasoning: I went to reorder display parts today and found that my display of choice is no longer being manufactured. The alternate display I’ve prepared is more expensive, I won’t be selling many of those.

Looking forward: There are other cheaper and plentiful displays available, however they are not pin compatible with my current design of ammo counters.  A new design is mandatory to use these new displays.

On the bright side: I am now offering LED holders in the store.  These faux chrome holders are for the 10mm jumbo sized LEDs and look fantastic in any design.

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