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Need Help building a low-cost counter

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211

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Hello everyone. This is my first post, so although i'm a noob I am an electronics grad w/ 2-year AAS degree so I do understand electronics-speak :D

I'd like to get some help designing a simple plane-break counter. By plane-break, I mean as an object passes a defined 'plane' this counter will increment by one.
What I'm doing is tracking trail usage on a local mt bike trail. We're trying to work with the DNR to help support land maintenance resources. We need to prove to them the amount of traffic this trail is seeing is more significant than they realize. My solution is a simple counter. When a biker passes a plane (i'm thinking a reflector on one side with light sensor on the other) this counter will increment. After a few months we'll check the counter and log the results.

Here are my needs:
  1. Low cost
  2. Simple/reliable
  3. Low power consumption (needs to run continuous for a couple months if possible, battery operated)
  4. Compact/weather resistant (I have access to a watertight box/grommets etc. I will bury the box probably to prevent tampering)
  5. Photoeye/reflector (or whatever the trigger will be) needs to be spaced quite a ways apart, like 10-15'. I want all components to be out of sight so that means the reflector or whatever we use will be off trail quite a bit.

As mentioned, I do know electronics, I just suck at building circuits from scratch so I need a 'push' in the right direction

Thanks all!
 
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BrownOut

Banned
A bicycle isn't a completely opaque structure. When it passes thru a beam, it will break it at several points, giving multiple counts.
 

211

Member
A bicycle isn't a completely opaque structure. When it passes thru a beam, it will break it at several points, giving multiple counts.
We've already decided on a location for the beam to prevent this very issue. There's a "choke point" in the beginning of the trail which forces the rider to slow down a bit and stand up slightly. Mounting the beam up a bit higher so it reacts against the body and not the bike should help this.

Thanks for your comment
 
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birdman0_o

Active Member
Well. If its one at a time just introduce a delay then you don't need to worry about where it is broken. A microcontroller would fulfill these requirements easily.
 

crutschow

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
I got a number of hits when I Googled "battery powered motion sensor". You could probably connect one of those to a "battery powered counter" which also gave some Google hits.
 
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