Tilt Switches from Signal Quest

February 4, 2009

For my wind-actuated LED modules to work outside, I need to make a more robust analog wind sensor. In my original prototype, I used a piece of wire that is blown up against another piece of metal. Outdoors, this design would soon corrode and cease to work. Thus I have begun researching tilt switches with the idea of placing them at the end of a hanging pendulum. As the wind blows the pendulum, the tilt switch turns on a given degree.

I found several switches at SignalQuest.com that seem to be ideal. Here is a link to the product that I am thinking about using: SQ-SEN-8xx. It comes in 15, 30 or 45 degree variations. They have a free sample program for students.

It is specked for between 2.7 and 12 volts DC, and under 1mA. Under these conditions, their rep told me that it could work for up to 100,000,000 cycles. However, he also told me that it would work with higher amperages (1amp), although its life-cycle would be considerably shorter… more like 100,000 cycles. He also drew me this nice picture of a circuit I could use with their switch.

tiltswitchscreenshot

The contacts are gold-plated to give them a very long lifespan. The small inclined lip on the inside of the switch determines the angle at which it turns on. In order to sense tilt in 2 directions (leftward and rightward) I will use 2 switches together.

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