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Electronic components

Posted on 2004-04-02
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Last Modified: 2010-04-26
I know this likely isn't the place to ask this, but I couldn't find anywhere else...

Does anyone know of an electronic component that works kind of like a transistor, only it turns on when the electricity stops?

I have a pocket radio in my truck because the FM radio is broken, and I'm trying to build something that will switch between power from a cigarett lighter adapter and two AAA batteries.  I need it to switch to the cigarett lighter adapter when the power starts comming from that, and for it to switch to the batteries when the truck is turned off and the cigarett lighter adapter stops providing power.
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Question by:Crash2100
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22 Comments
 
LVL 6

Expert Comment

by:parkerig
ID: 10745878
I suggest just use rechargeable batteries and have the cigarette lighter charging them.
When truck power on batteries charge / radio plays
When truck power off radio still plays.

Cheers
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LVL 18

Author Comment

by:Crash2100
ID: 10745893
I am using rechargable NIMH batteries.  But won't connecting the batteries and the adapter together double the voltage when the batteries are charged?
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LVL 6

Expert Comment

by:parkerig
ID: 10745937
Your will need to trickle charge them via a proper NIMH battery charger. You will also have to make that the charger is connected in such a way it is correct for the AAA batteries being in series. Without pulling my charger apart I can't help there sorry.
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LVL 6

Expert Comment

by:parkerig
ID: 10745974
Howdy again,
Just checked my spotlight - where I am doing same as you for radio - now I think it works for the spotlight as it only has ONE battery. I don't know if my advice works for TWO or more batteries.
Apologies
Ian
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LVL 69

Expert Comment

by:Callandor
ID: 10746508
If the charger is set up to charge the batteries, running the radio at the same time from the batteries means the radio is set up in parallel to the charger, not series.  This will work for you.
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LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:rogerperkins
ID: 10746609
Back to the orginal question, a transisor also can turn off when power is applied if it is a Junction Field Effect Transistor, I suggest using a high power JFET.  Some radios have a hole for you to plug in an adapter such as a cigarette lighter adapter, when you plug that in, the radio should automatically use that power instead of the battery power, but when the adapter power is turned off you may need to pull the adapter for the radio to revert back to the batteries.
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LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:rogerperkins
ID: 10746615
A Reed relay can also be used.
0
 
LVL 18

Author Comment

by:Crash2100
ID: 10747706
Unfortunately, there is no hole for an adapter, I have to hook it directly to the battery clips.
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LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:rogerperkins
ID: 10748065
My grandpa did that one time, years ago, and blew out the radio, I think he reversed the polarity, actually voltage goes up in series, so if you hook up the adapter in parallel with the batteries it shouldn't increase the voltage, just be sure you are using rechargeable batteries, because you will get the added benefit of charging the batteries at the same time.
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LVL 5

Accepted Solution

by:
drelectro earned 2000 total points
ID: 10751182
A relay is the answer, but probably not a reed relay, reed relays tend to be single pole single throw i.e either on or off you need a changeover type.

Look for a single pole double throw (or changeover) relay, connect the commonn to the +ve battery  terminal of the radio.
Connect the normally closed relay contact to the battery +ve.
Connect the normally open relay contact to the adapter +ve.

Connect 1 side of the relay coil to the adapter +ve.

Connect the other side of the relay coil, the battery -ve, the adapter -ve together to the radio -ve.

The parallell charging idea is good so long as you take care not to overcharge the batteries, if you can't be sure you're not over charging them then don't, the last thing you need is an exploding battery in a moving vehicle.
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LVL 18

Author Comment

by:Crash2100
ID: 10752795
do you know where I can get a relay like that, do you think radio shack would sell them?
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LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:public
ID: 10753104
Just use a dual common cathode diode. Connect one anode to the battery, the other to the lighter. The lighter has a higher voltage when the engine runs, so it will supply the current.
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LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:drelectro
ID: 10753702
Re Relays - Radio shack should sell them.
How many batteries does your radio take ?
Make sure you get one with a coil voltage to match the adapter output voltage.

Re diodes you could aslo use 2 regular diodes with the cathodes joined together, BUT you need to make sure that the adapter voltage is more than about 0.6V higher than the battery pack, this may not be the case if the adapter is regulated.
Of course you can't make it too high much higher or you  may fry the radio.


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LVL 18

Author Comment

by:Crash2100
ID: 10753989
two AAA's, it's 3V
0
 
LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:drelectro
ID: 10756335
Then you'll need a relay with a 3V coil.

Digikey (www.digikey.com) 255-1391-ND should do the trick.
0
 
LVL 18

Author Comment

by:Crash2100
ID: 10757543
Can I use a relay with a higher rated coil, like 5V?

Because I found this one at radio shack:

http://www.radioshack.com/product.asp?catalog%5Fname=CTLG&category%5Fname=CTLG%5F011%5F002%5F013%5F000&product%5Fid=275%2D232&hp=search
0
 
LVL 12

Expert Comment

by:public
ID: 10762358
If you really want a relay then use 12V coil with C contacts type, and connect the NC to the battery, the NO to the adapter, and the common to the radio.
0
 
LVL 18

Author Comment

by:Crash2100
ID: 10768833
I got that relay and I have it working.  But I've got one other question.

How could I use a transistor to switch the radio off when it goes to the battery?  I just need it to switch for a split second.  I figured out how to make it turn the radio on using the transistor, but how can I turn it off?
0
 
LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:drelectro
ID: 10770299
Sorry I for one don't follow.

Is the transistor in addition to the relay ? or instead Of ?

How it the transistor connected at the moment ?
0
 
LVL 18

Author Comment

by:Crash2100
ID: 10770483
I'm going to try to connect a transistor to the radio's power button so that when the car's turned off, it turnes the radio off.
0
 
LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:rogerperkins
ID: 10770882
Just take out the batteries.
0
 
LVL 18

Author Comment

by:Crash2100
ID: 10910011
Sorry for the delay, I haven't had much time to mess with this.

I got this relay from radio shack and I have it working in a circuit.
http://www.radioshack.com/product.asp?catalog%5Fname=CTLG&category%5Fname=CTLG%5F011%5F002%5F013%5F000&product%5Fid=275%2D240

I haven't been able to get anything working with the switch, but at least the power works.

Thanks for the help!
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