Nuke launch button

Ok so I have an (unoriginal) idea to create a doomsday launch pad. With all the bells and whistles, a sequence of switches that activates a usb or power outlet. Really the use is just for fun (and it would be) but as a noob to electronics, soldering, and pretty much everything i would love some help. This product already exists (just without as many switches and goodies) but what's the fun in just buying it?!

I'm new to instructable so forgive my ignorance if this isn't how ideas are proposed or if this project already exists (I couldn't find it).

Thank you in advance for any help :D

Picture of Nuke launch button
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tinkernick21 (author) 2 years ago

Here's a mockup of how I beleive it can be wired without a micro controller (which I would like to avoid tbh). Thanks to ehow I know how a rocker switch is wired so I based it off of that (every switch I found on amazon had 3 pins)


Those rocker switches with three legs are illuminated switches. Ground on one pin, switched +or hot power on another, and probably 12+ volts for the light inside the switch. For the unlighted switches, you may see 4 legs which are for DPDT, double pole - double throw or switches that connect between two separate circuits.

But anyway, usually just cutting power on and off to a USB strip is a bad idea. That's called hotplugging USB devices which can damage them by improperly disconnecting them softwarewise- can hang the computer or corrupt any open files and giving it a jolt of electricity when it turns on/cuts off. You should really get into basic microcontrollers to issue a computer command to shut down and disconnect the USB port properly.

tinkernick21 (author)  caitlinsdad2 years ago
Thank you for the information, knew I was missing resistors but had no idea about the voltage. I know nothing about microcontrollers or scripting (am taking a course in the fall) not that I know all that much about wiring.
Really, I just need to find some easy projects on here before I jump into something like this. Little grandiose for someone of my skill set, any recommendations on beginner builds?

It's best to scavenge parts from broken electronics or whatever, learn your soldering skills and gradually accumulate or get parts you need for a circuit you want to build. Taking apart or modding stuff you find at the dollar store is a good start. I did that with all the bicycle lights and flashers they had to light up other stuff. Give this simulator a try http://123d.circuits.io/ to get started in arduino and basic electronics. Read up on projects that may be cool and interesting on instructables and adafruit.com which has a whole bunch of tutorials too. Just do more forum topics and ask for help or suggestions. Lots of people around here are glad to pitch in.

My tip: Don't be afraid of breaking stuff. Use common sense. Sparks will happen but be extra careful if you are using house current. Have fun.

tinkernick21 (author)  caitlinsdad2 years ago

My grandfather has a tote of old PCBs and motherboards. I'll have a crack at soldering and desoldering the joints to get a hang of it. Would you recommend Elenco soldering kits to a beginner?
Thank you for all the information

If your grandfather has a stash of old electronic parts, I'd hang out with him more often. I would bet he has a lot of knowledge to share and can guide you on a lot of things. My view of kits in general is that they are just too expensive. They may good for someone willing to pay for the convenience of all the parts in one handy kit but you do not learn anything about scavenging from other sources or learn about what you can substitute or make it work. I think it is more rewarding in making something out of a pile of junk. Browsing and researching what you want to build leads to other things like just browsing one specific instructable and veering off.

Look in your instructables inbox for a private message from me, it's the inbox on the YOU profile page buttons.

besides, USB is 5 volts, you would kill any devices connected with excess voltage.

caitlinsdad2 years ago

You should get an arduino to build into the project. That way you can flash on bunches of LEDs or makes sounds from buzzers or a speaker. Note that different light up switches will require different voltages -you have to check the specs when you get them- your own LEDs may run at a lower voltage and you have to provide that with circuitry or a different power source/transformer.

Mock up what you want on paper and then start building on a thin sheet of plywood or aluminum cut to fit a case. Good luck.

+1. A microcontroller is the way to go if you want button sequencing to end in a USB command. Arduino is a great option for this, and learning it will serve you well for future projects.

Alternatively, since you're new to electronics, you can disassemble cheap electronics from the Dollar Store and try wiring them up together. Since they're inexpensive components you can experiment to understand circuits and find out what works. While you're at the Dollar Store you can get a USB extender cable to add into the mix, it won't be hooked up to the lights in any way but can still function any time you plug in a USB.

tinkernick21 (author)  caitlinsdad2 years ago
Good idea! I'm not sure how to connect switches in a sequence like that would be required to "unlock" the usb/outlet. Maybe someone can chime in how a wiring diagram :D