Create a low-cost Paintball Chronograph for less than $40!

A ballistic chronograph is a device that records the velocity of a projectile. This particular chronograph I have made has only been tested with a paintball gun and it is relatively simple to make. I have also implemented a function that can record the rate of fire at which a device is firing.

Seeing as you will be using a device that shoots projectiles at high speeds to test this chronograph, use your head and be smart. Follow all safety procedures and guidelines that pertain to the use of the paintball marker or other device that you are using to shoot projectiles.

Step 1: Electronic Requirements

Although this chronograph is pretty easy to build, a basic understanding of electronics and soldering skills is essential. The most trouble I had with this project was making the PCB. I use the toner transfer method, but that doesn't produce very nice boards when your laser-jet printer needs a new cartridge. The board itself has some spots that are pitted and doesn't look too neat, but it gets the job done. If you aren't able to make your own PCB's, one can just use some perfboard and point to point wire everything together.

Here is a list of the following electronic components required:

- 2x 47µf Electrolytic Capacitors
- 2x 0.1µf 0805 SMD Capacitors
- 1x 0.01µf 0805 SMD Capacitor
- 1x 0.01µf Ceramic Capacitor
- 2x 27pf 0805 SMD Capacitors
- 2x 10kΩ 0805 SMD Resistors
- 2x 2.4kΩ 0805 SMD Resistors
- 2x 470Ω 0805 SMD Resistors
- 1x 150Ω 0805 SMD Resistor
- 2x 100Ω 0805 SMD Resistors
- 1x 4.7kΩ Trim Potentiometer
- 1x 1N4148 Diode
- 1x LM7805 5v Regulator
- 2x TSOP4838 IR Detectors
- 2x IR Transmitters
- 2x Female 2-pin Molex Connectors
- 2x Male 2-pin Molex Connectors
- 1x 5-pin Header
- 1x MMMBT2222A General Purpose Transistor
- 1x 12MHz Crystal
- 1x Tactile Switch
- 1x Rocker Switch
- 1x PIC18F13K50 SOIC Microcontroller
- 1x 16x2 LCD Display
- 1x 9v Battery Clip

Most of these components I had already had on hand, but I would estimate the cost of this project to be around $30-$40. I have not shown any of the SMD components (except for the PIC) in the photo below.

I have gone and posted print screens of some places where you can buy the components. Some components couldn't be bought as 1 or were cheaper in higher quantities, that's why you may see some extra parts in the pictures. Many of the parts can be bought at a good price at www.dipmicro.com. I will tag the cost of each product in the photos below. With all of these parts, not including the board, it came to $38.11 to purchase all the components for this chronograph with all shipping included except for the PIC18F13K50 bought at Digikey. Then it would be a couple more bucks for the PVC pipe. Also, if you want to save $3.39, you can buy 16x2 LCD Displays on eBay for $2.99 including shipping.

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