Author Topic: Traffic light circuit  (Read 3771 times)

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Offline wraper

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Re: Traffic light circuit
« Reply #25 on: June 12, 2018, 09:39:52 am »
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On top of that, coding even something simple means you have designed something by your own. Repeating preexisting circuit is not.
I agree but the same is true, whichever method is used: copying someone else's code is even more pointless.
Entry level of writing your own code is much lower than designing own circuit.
 

Offline wraper

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Re: Traffic light circuit
« Reply #26 on: June 12, 2018, 09:50:43 am »
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Placing artificial limits is discouraging, there must be some sort of success to get encouragement.
It mimics real life. Quite often, it's not feasible to do something the easiest way.
Yeah, show the real life to 7yo  :palm:.
 

Offline Zero999

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Re: Traffic light circuit
« Reply #27 on: June 12, 2018, 09:54:50 am »
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Placing artificial limits is discouraging, there must be some sort of success to get encouragement.
It mimics real life. Quite often, it's not feasible to do something the easiest way.
Yeah, show the real life to 7yo  :palm:.
That's what being a good parent is about FFS: preparing your children for real life!

Quote
On top of that, coding even something simple means you have designed something by your own. Repeating preexisting circuit is not.
I agree but the same is true, whichever method is used: copying someone else's code is even more pointless.
Entry level of writing your own code is much lower than designing own circuit.
That depends on the complexity and the nature of the device. I designed my own circuits using switches, lamps and relays, long before I touched a keyboard and found it easier than coding. There are no commands to remember.

However in this case, it's a state machine, so yes, coding is easier.
 

Online NivagSwerdna

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Re: Traffic light circuit
« Reply #28 on: June 12, 2018, 10:00:47 am »
I'm working with my 7yo daughter to build a traffic light circuit without an MCU
You might be putting her at a disadvantage to those 7yr olds that have already completed their traffic light circuits because they chose to use an Arduino.  In fact they probably now have four sets of lights and a full traffic junction coded by now.
You're assuming all the other 7 year olds will be using Arduinios.
Absolutely not.  I'm assuming other 7yr olds will be watching Peppa Pig. I am hoping that this 7yo gets given a path of least resistance otherwise they will give up.
Incidentally... I remember a long time ago doing Nuffield Physics at school... must have been around 14yo at the time maybe older and we built some traffic lights from some building blocks which were small square plugable grey boxes (presumably gates, multivibrators etc); at 14yo that was about do-able.  Maybe young people are smarter nowadays?  ;)
(PS I was also wondering about suggesting Lego Mindstorms but I haven't used them so can't really comment... even that might be a stretch for a 7yo.)
DISCLAIMER: I love Peppa Pig.  Especially the parrot episode. :)
« Last Edit: June 12, 2018, 10:05:33 am by NivagSwerdna »
 
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Offline wraper

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Re: Traffic light circuit
« Reply #29 on: June 12, 2018, 10:01:27 am »
Quote
Placing artificial limits is discouraging, there must be some sort of success to get encouragement.
It mimics real life. Quite often, it's not feasible to do something the easiest way.
Yeah, show the real life to 7yo  :palm:.
That's what being a good parent is about FFS: preparing your children for real life!
:palm: The only thing it can do to the child at such young age is discourage and loose self confidence.
Quote
I designed my own circuits using switches, lamps and relays, long before I touched a keyboard and found it easier than coding. There are no commands to remember.
Don't forget the year you were born. What was the best available best back then does not mean it remains so today.
 

Offline wraper

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Re: Traffic light circuit
« Reply #30 on: June 12, 2018, 10:09:48 am »
Also don't forget that with computers, smartphones and all other stuff being all around nowadays, child might just think that WTF I need to mess with those stupid switches and lamps.
 

Offline tautech

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Re: Traffic light circuit
« Reply #31 on: June 12, 2018, 10:53:34 am »
Don't forget the year you were born. What was the best available best back then does not mean it remains so today.
I don't and when I was 7 in '66 dad bought me a Philips 2 transistor electronics set as I'd been playing with batteries and bulbs for a year or so. If kids show some curiosity and interest.....foster it !
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Offline Zero999

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Re: Traffic light circuit
« Reply #32 on: June 12, 2018, 11:17:43 am »
I'm working with my 7yo daughter to build a traffic light circuit without an MCU
You might be putting her at a disadvantage to those 7yr olds that have already completed their traffic light circuits because they chose to use an Arduino.  In fact they probably now have four sets of lights and a full traffic junction coded by now.
You're assuming all the other 7 year olds will be using Arduinios.
Absolutely not.  I'm assuming other 7yr olds will be watching Peppa Pig. I am hoping that this 7yo gets given a path of least resistance otherwise they will give up.
Incidentally... I remember a long time ago doing Nuffield Physics at school... must have been around 14yo at the time maybe older and we built some traffic lights from some building blocks which were small square plugable grey boxes (presumably gates, multivibrators etc); at 14yo that was about do-able.  Maybe young people are smarter nowadays?  ;)
(PS I was also wondering about suggesting Lego Mindstorms but I haven't used them so can't really comment... even that might be a stretch for a 7yo.)
DISCLAIMER: I love Peppa Pig.  Especially the parrot episode. :)
If you continuously give children the path of least resistance, they will never learn anything.

Quote
Placing artificial limits is discouraging, there must be some sort of success to get encouragement.
It mimics real life. Quite often, it's not feasible to do something the easiest way.
Yeah, show the real life to 7yo  :palm:.
That's what being a good parent is about FFS: preparing your children for real life!
:palm: The only thing it can do to the child at such young age is discourage and loose self confidence.
Quote
I designed my own circuits using switches, lamps and relays, long before I touched a keyboard and found it easier than coding. There are no commands to remember.
Don't forget the year you were born. What was the best available best back then does not mean it remains so today.
And I started learning electronics when I was a bit younger than that, with minimal support from my dad.

I don't think I could have figured out how to use an Ardunio, at the age of 7, had there been such a thing back then. It would have made me completely lose self-confidence, as my reading wasn't good enough to RTFM. I found schematics with switches, relays and lamps much easier to follow, than reading text. Heck, even today, I find schematics easier to follow, than reading lines of code.

Also don't forget that with computers, smartphones and all other stuff being all around nowadays, child might just think that WTF I need to mess with those stupid switches and lamps.
And I had TV and simple video games, yet it didn't stop me from playing with stupid switches and lamps. Other children had home computers and got into programming in BASIC, but I that didn't interest me that much. It's interesting to see how little children have changed: my 5 year old nephew also likes playing with stupid screws and wood, even with all the more exciting gadgets available today.
 

Online NivagSwerdna

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Re: Traffic light circuit
« Reply #33 on: June 12, 2018, 11:20:52 am »
If you continuously give children the path of least resistance, they will never learn anything.
ROFL
 

Offline wraper

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Re: Traffic light circuit
« Reply #34 on: June 12, 2018, 11:33:07 am »
If you continuously give children the path of least resistance, they will never learn anything.
Arduino is certainly not a path of least resistance. The path of least resistance is when you provide a TV with cartoons and a game console so they can waste their time without bothering you. FFS I hope you don't have any children, otherwise I'm sorry for them.
EDIT: I mean that electronics or programming already is not an easy path, to begin with. So making it even more challenging than it could be, especially when you just try getting 7yo into it is just plain stupid. When child got interested and already learns something is when you could give something more challenging to do.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2018, 11:54:13 am by wraper »
 

Offline Ian.M

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Re: Traffic light circuit
« Reply #35 on: June 12, 2018, 12:51:11 pm »
Its worth mentioning at this point that the Snap-Circuits system the O.P. is using supports the PICAXE-08M2 MCU, which can be programmed graphically in a way that's more accessible to younger children.

See https://www.elenco.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/SCXP-50.pdf for the manual of the now discontinued SCXP-50 kit that shows how to use a PICAXE-08M2 with Snap-Circuits. To get the essential parts you need to use a PICAXE-08M2, see the Snap-circuits spare parts page: http://cs-sales.net/sncirepa.html (Edit: stupid site doesn't allow deep links).  Look for "PICAXE Micro IC in Socket # 6SC U21" or if you already have a suitable PICAXE-08M2 "8-pin IC Socket ONLY with Micro Marking # 6SC U21S"

Its worth noting  that a PICAXE chip needs a couple of resistors on its serial input pin (see Nuts & Volts article link below) to prevent noise interrupting the program.  For it to work  properly the #6SCU21S PICAXE socket snap must include them internally.  If you wanted to use a generic "Eight-Pin IC Socket # 6SC ?U8" snap, you'd need to make a little carrier board with a socket for the actual PICAXE chip, those resistors, and an 8 pin header to fit the DIP socket on the 6SC?U8.

The official PICAXE system download cable is terminated with a 3.5mm stereo jack plug, and the Snap-Circuits SCXP-50 download cable with snaps on the end ("Cable USB to Snaps # TL SCXP" on the spares page) is rather expensive at $40 so you'll probably need a programming jig or adapter.

Probably the easiest/cheapest option (with a competent electronics tech in the house) would be to DIY the programming cable - see http://www.nutsvolts.com/magazine/article/july2014_Tyler
and buy orange, yellow and black snap to snap  jumper wires (search spares page for "jumper wire") to hack up and solder to the DIY programming cable board.  However, one could just get the official PICAXE cable, and the Snap-Circuits "Audio Jack on Snaps, Horizontal # 6SC JA" + those three jumpers and use the 6SCJA as an adapter.

Once you've jumped through all those hoops, you can download for free all you need to program PICAXE MCUs in BASIC or graphically using flowcharts from the official PICAXE website: http://www.picaxe.com/Software.   There's also support for using it with MIT Scratch.

N.B. To avoid frustration and resulting lack of interest you need to have 'all your ducks in a row' before putting this in front of a child - All hardware assembled and tested, all software installed and a basic 'blinky LED' hello world program running on the PICAXE-08M2, and enough familiarity with the PICAXE toolchain that you can demonstrate 'drag & drop' flowchart programming to the child without fumbling it.

Edit: I found the Snap-Circuits PICAXE USB to snaps cable on the spare part page, + some problems with the links to parts, so a lot of changes above.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2018, 02:51:13 pm by Ian.M »
 

Offline Zero999

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Re: Traffic light circuit
« Reply #36 on: June 12, 2018, 12:53:23 pm »
If you continuously give children the path of least resistance, they will never learn anything.
Arduino is certainly not a path of least resistance. The path of least resistance is when you provide a TV with cartoons and a game console so they can waste their time without bothering you. FFS I hope you don't have any children, otherwise I'm sorry for them.
EDIT: I mean that electronics or programming already is not an easy path, to begin with. So making it even more challenging than it could be, especially when you just try getting 7yo into it is just plain stupid. When child got interested and already learns something is when you could give something more challenging to do.
I agree with you about unnecessary complication, but you shouldn't assume everyone learns the same as you do. Fair enough, you might find coding easier, than designing/following a schematic, but not everyone feels the same way.

I'm glad I wasn't forced down the path of coding when I was 7. It would have put me off computers for life! Fortunately the first time I used a computer was for word processing, because it was a practical application and I could see how it made life easier for me: I always struggled with handwriting!

I'm glad my first experience of electronics was with dumb switches, lamps and relays, rather than the Ardunio. I found it fun making my own relay, from a nail and pieces of iron wood staples, even before I knew the word 'relay' or its schematic symbol.

Every child is different. Someone who's a visual learner will struggle with coding, but will find building something with physical components, from drawings easier. One of the problems with the education system is one size fits all!

If a child is interested in something, they'll learn it for themselves. All one needs to do is guide them.
 

Offline Ian.M

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Re: Traffic light circuit
« Reply #37 on: June 12, 2018, 01:13:16 pm »
Also the Arduino environment is absolutely unforgiving to a novice with no experience programming in a procedural language.  Due to the crappy Arduino IDE lacking syntax checking and error hiliting, there is no instant feedback that there's something wrong with the line you've just typed.  To get anywhere, even just modifying supplied example sketches, you have to be able to write syntactically correct C code, and interpret cryptic GCC error messages. 

Putting an Arduino already set up and connected to a PC with the Arduino IDE installed and running in front of a 7 year old is just *DUMB* and will frustrate and/or bore the child - unless they are a prodigy already tackling higher education.   Most children will be able to handle the concepts and develop the skills required sometime in their teens, but that's not guaranteed as a significant proportion of adults (of average intelligence) have little or no aptitude for procedural computer programming.
 

Online NivagSwerdna

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Re: Traffic light circuit
« Reply #38 on: June 12, 2018, 02:04:59 pm »
Have you spent time with a 7 year old recently?  They are quite limited in their EE and Computer Science skills.  We are more thinking along the lines of cutting things out and sticking them on, building some LEGO or tying shoe laces etc.

Quote
I'm working with my 7yo daughter
The OP recognised that this would be a *with* type of guided exercise.

I do agree that Arduino isn't easy.... there seem to be quite a few platforms that aren't that easy... e.g. RPi, Micro:bit etc,... as I mentioned before I don't have experience of Lego Mindstorms... I presume that is 'easy'?
 

Offline Ian.M

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Re: Traffic light circuit
« Reply #39 on: June 12, 2018, 03:05:18 pm »
I don't know about 'easy' but the drag and drop LEGO Mindstorms applicatinon certainly gets away from traditional programming and makes it more accessible to kids.  I  believe LEGO Mindstorms targets age 10+, but each child is an individual, and a particularly bright 7 year old may well take to it readily.  e.g. https://www.techagekids.com/2015/09/lego-mindstorms-ev3-age-recommendations.html is a blog post of the author's experience introducing his 7 and 8 year olds to the system  .
 

Offline JohnnyMalaria

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Re: Traffic light circuit
« Reply #40 on: June 12, 2018, 04:01:08 pm »
Maybe it's just me but the place to start is a simple breadboard, 74 series logic chips, a timer, battery, LEDs and resistors. This will teach the basics of binary logic and rudimentary electronics. Pair it with a very simple truth table she creates with your guidance for the simple green-yellow-red-green-yellow-red then progress to a more complex table for the red-red/amber-green-amber-red). Once she gets the concepts then move to some simple programming language (e.g., VBA) and then progress to the complicated world of the Arduino, PICAXE etc. I just think jumping straight in to the latter isn't as educational.
Tell me it can't be done and I'll do it. Or give it a damned good try.
 

Offline Ian.M

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Re: Traffic light circuit
« Reply #41 on: June 12, 2018, 04:34:39 pm »
Yes, its easy to get lost in the fancy technology.  It may even be better to start with gearmotor driven mechanical switching to introduce the fundamental concepts of sequencing before advancing to sequential 555s or a clocked 4017.

VBA is not at all simple.   I mentioned MIT Scratch previously, as that is largely drag and drop and is popular with the STEM education community.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2018, 04:43:04 pm by Ian.M »
 

Online NivagSwerdna

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Offline Zero999

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Re: Traffic light circuit
« Reply #43 on: June 12, 2018, 09:30:48 pm »
http://www.primaryscience.ie/media/pdfs/col/dpsm_traffic_lights_activity.pdf
I agree. That's the sort of thing I started out with, except it was an old doll's house, which my father installed a light in. I think the average 7 year old, perhaps even younger, will be able to understand the concept of a circuit and switches Then it becomes easy to introduce them to electromagnets and relays: the most basic active component.
 


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