All this talk of electronics catalogues has got me thinking - where does one start with wiring up a console? I'm thinking more of the lights and switches here, than the central column.
What's the best power supply to use? I'm thinking of using a transformer to provide a 12V supply, but I'm a bit of a learner when it comes to these things.
Also - when lighting up indicator lamps, what's the best type of lamp to use? I've heard LEDs produce a hotspot, rather than an overall diffuse light.
I'd be grateful for any pointers. There must be many here with relevant experience.
Hope the mods don't mind me starting a new thread for this.
My console has about half a dozen AC adaptors (aka Wall-warts) in varying voltages depending on the bulbs they're lighting. A 1250 mA 12V supply (standard item from Maplin) will power quite a few 12V incandecsent bulbs, depending on their current requirements. LEDs require much less power, but are often very directional - even those which have a builtin diffuser. I think for ping-pong balls, you'd probably need a flashlight bulb rather than an LED - and they tend to run on 4.5V. I think you can still get the screw-in type with a small holder in Maplin. At this time of year it's easy to get bulb sequencers with a plentiful supply of bulbs, though xmas lights are increasingly being moved over to LEDs. It's also possible to get flashing bulbs. If you use a relay, you can get the double-throw type, which will allow you to turn one bulb off when another turns on, which looks good. If you use an LED, you need to put a resistor in series with it as a current limiter - otherwise they burn out in a few minutes.
I'd try to avoid running on dry batteries - they run out very quickly and will just be frustrating. If you don't then of course you'll need an extension cable/power distributor, which you'll have to step over or hide under the floor. Having said that, the TV prop just had a wire trailing across the studio floor which was visible surprisingly often if you look closely. It wasn't even taped down...
If you manage to get everything to run on 12V, you could use a car battery which would run a good long time with not too much current drain. You'd then only need a wire trailing across the floor when it's charging. A car battery would be a good match for a wiper motor if you manage to use that to get the central column to rise and fall. Install a car fuse in series with a car battery as they can generate huge current if you cause a short circuit, which would melt most wires and possibly start a fire.
Well, that's a start. There's much more than can be said about light-sequencer circuits, and ways to produce sound effects. Some people have done this for their police boxes. My console is driven by a computer, so I did all that with software and computer hardware, which bears little resemblence to conventional electronics.
I'd also suggest looking on the dalek forums, as they have electrical needs and some similar issues.
Hopefully this will provoke some more ideas and discussion.
I think the answere lies in what you want your console to do.... i.e. are you building it for fun, or are you building it to serve a purpose.
If you are building it for fun just KEEP IT SIMPLE. There are loads of toys, old electronics, etc that you can salvage indicators, lights and displays from that may have varied electrical requirements. Easy to come by and easy to replace or change. This is the method I use as I like to 'play' with my console more than have it serve a functioning role.
If had the room....... and I had electronic genious, I would wire my console to control everything through a computer. The whole house, room, e.t.c.. I think It's Crispin who has a similar arrangement. Sadly I don't have a room or the technical ability to construct it; also, it limits your ability to just run in and start throughing switches and such.
I would recommend some form of computer interface if possible.. they make your selection of audio/visual display almost limitless.