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Old 12-01-2015, 01:16 AM   #1
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Converting bus doors over to be powered?

Anyone ever done this? Right now our bus has the typical mechanical arm by the driver that has to be moved, but I like the idea of eliminating that mechanism and placing an electronic mechanism in it's place.

Basically I would think that putting something like this linear actuator up there would do it...

http://www.amazon.com/ECO-WORTHY-Tra.../dp/B00NM8H6VS

Or maybe something simpler like the motor from a power window winder? It would have some pretty good torque I'd think.
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Old 12-01-2015, 07:12 AM   #2
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Yup-thats what I did. I just mounted it directly to the arm between the doors.


Make sure you get one with enough travel. I think my was listed as a trunk opener.
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Old 12-01-2015, 01:30 PM   #3
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Yup-thats what I did. I just mounted it directly to the arm between the doors.

Make sure you get one with enough travel. I think my was listed as a trunk opener.
Seems like plenty of space up above the door to set something up - I may have to just experiment a bit

Ah so one thing I was thinking of - set it up to work with a remote control. Something like this little two button remote, combined with an Arduino on the bus and you'd have a nice remotely controlled door. Downside is, it's not a unique sender, so technically others with the same xmitter could open your doors.
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Old 12-01-2015, 05:47 PM   #4
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I thought about it-but if the remote pukes-or gets misplaced-or the wife sticks it somewheres else-then you'd be screwed. I have one switch mounted in my overhead console easy reach from either the driver or passenger-and a switch outside. (hidden under the cover of a 2 outlet outdoor plug.)
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Old 12-02-2015, 12:06 AM   #5
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One thing I like about the power window motor is that it's able to know when the window is all the way closed or open as the power draw changes, so it shuts off.

Applying that to a door, you basically just power it until you see the power draw shoot up (when the door is closed or open and it's straining), and it stops. No chance of "not quite shut" or "not quite open" or pushing things too far to the point of mechanical strain.
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Old 12-02-2015, 06:50 AM   #6
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What are you going to use the arduino for? All you need is a couple of relays, some limit switches and the remote. I did the same thing, only for door lock.
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Old 12-02-2015, 12:13 PM   #7
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IMH, no power window motor will be up to the job of opening and closing an entire door for very long. Remember, a window regulator is spring loaded with a hefty spring to effectively remove the load from the window motor. I suppose if you can figure out a way to overcome the load of the door you could use a window motor, but a linear actuator and a few simple switches as Somewhere mentioned would be a more sencsible approach. Jack
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Old 12-02-2015, 12:39 PM   #8
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What are you going to use the arduino for? All you need is a couple of relays, some limit switches and the remote. I did the same thing, only for door lock.
Is "Because" good enough?

I do a lot with them and find it an easier way for me to control things via software rather than directly with electrical hardware. It's very easy to make software that controls hardware with the Arduino, and software is easy to tweak to make changes and adjustments - much easier than an all-electrical approach.

For example one idea is to have the actuator not start off with a fast movement (full on), but ramp up the speed to avoid stressing out the mechanism. Same when closing so it's not essentially slamming the door. I like the idea of tweaking a variable in my code to adjust things rather than modifying an electrical circuit.

Another idea is to create a new status board. I removed the old bus status board and also all the circuits, but still would like to have the various indicators about whether the doors are ajar and so forth. Again, easy to do with a little Arduino, existing door switches, and some LEDs.

The other thing is to use the Arduino for controlling interior 12v lighting and/or exterior "fun" lighting. If the bus is going to Burning Man again, let's just say it needs party lights
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Old 12-02-2015, 12:49 PM   #9
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IMH, no power window motor will be up to the job of opening and closing an entire door for very long. Remember, a window regulator is spring loaded with a hefty spring to effectively remove the load from the window motor. I suppose if you can figure out a way to overcome the load of the door you could use a window motor, but a linear actuator and a few simple switches as Somewhere mentioned would be a more sencsible approach. Jack
Hmm good point RE: that specific kind of motor. I agree a linear actuator would be better, and in fact matches what the current basic mechanism is already.

If it was going to be a motor, I'm wondering if a torque wrench on the door mechanism to determine how much it needs to get moving would help me get a handle on what I need.
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Old 12-02-2015, 09:34 PM   #10
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In the easy KISS method like I have, you don't have to worry about anything going too fast-or needing too much force. It takes about 5 seconds to open the door. The motor gives good warning when its under load-open or closed. And I have a hitch pin I can pull to release the door from the accuator. (Comes in handy for the one cold weather trip I take, so I'm not having to keep letting a bunch of cold air in-and using the battery voltage to open+ close it.)
The doors swings open with the push a finger. And you can go crazy trying to crank the doors closed as tight as you can-but its gonna seal or leak the same. Theres a spring build into the bar between doors. So the "leading" door closes and the "following" doors rubber sits on top of that-and if adjusted correctly, it pulls against that spring to hold the door shut.
I did break my first attempt with a linear accuator. I had it set up to pull the door shut. It ended up breaking some plastic pieces-the load wasn't made to be in extension-with a pull load. A simple change it now pushes. (since you always end up cranking it tight to close.)
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