Cheap Counter for machinery

A friend of mine has been looking for a cheap counter to use in his factory for counting production from machines. He currently uses some of the mechanical counters but these are starting to fail.

Electronic counters cost around £100+ once the price of a suitable power supply is factored in.

I decided a simple electronic tally counter should be relatively easy to modify for automated use and so I started looking for alternatives…

After a quick look on Ebay, I found these:
counter
You can view the item on Ebay here.

Delivery was very quick, I had them within 24 hours. I immediately grabbed a set of mini screwdrivers and started the disassembly process.

The insides of the counter.  The piezo speaker on the right can be set to give audio feedback when the count changes.

The insides of the counter. The piezo speaker on the right can be set to give audio feedback when the count changes.

After a quick check with my multimeter I found the most convenient connection points on the PCB.

These are the points (in my opinion) which make for the easiest connections.

These are the points (in my opinion) which make for the easiest connections.

As you can see, the up and down connections are actually made to the through hole soldering to connect opposite sides of the PCB together.

I used two cores from an old network patch lead to connect to common and UP. The common connection is very easy (It’s also -ve on the battery) and you should be able to use any thin wire.

The connection to the UP and DOWN should be done with very thin wire. I suggest 24 gauge but since I didn’t have any lying around, I simply kept all but two strands from the stranded wire, tinned them and soldered them in place.

Tie a knot in the wire and run it somewhere convenient. I used the one of the lanyard holes. The knot gives a little bit of cable relief once the counter is reassembled.

Note that the battery is 1.5 volts so it would be very easy to use a D size battery or an AC adapter for permanent long term use.

Here is a shot of my counter before I put it back together.

counter4

This counter can now be connected to a switch for automated counting. It took me about 20 minutes to modify and I saved almost £100 per counter. The buttons on the front of the counter still work and can be used to override the count where required.

Posted in General Randomness

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