Introduction: Simple Bi-directional Switch
Have you ever needed a simple way to control the direction that a DC motor rotates at the flick of a switch? Ever been daunted by complicated circuitry or don't have the equipment to make PCB's? Well you've come to the right place! Today you will learn how to make a super simple switch that will control the direction that a DC motor rotates.
Many small electronics projects can contain a small hobby motor and it is sometimes important to control the direction that it rotates. There are a few options out there such as h-bridges that involve using diodes and transistors to swap the polarity that is applied to the motor however they are far to complicated and require a lot more parts than the simple switch.
For this project you will need minimal electronics skills and only a few basic parts / tools which if your an electronics hobbyist like me, you probably allready have lying around.
Check out the project video above!
So let's get started...
Step 1: Gather Parts
For this project you will need a few simple parts that you will either allready have lying around or will find at your local electronics store.
To make the switch you will need:
- 1x DPDT switch (double pole double throw). Get one with centre-off if you want forward-stop-reverse control or a normal one for just forward-reverse control.
To try the switch out you will need:
- A DC hobby motor
- A power supply (or batteries and a battery holder)
You will also need a few tools:
- Soldering Iron and Solder
- Wire Cutters
- Third Hand Soldering Tool (optional)
Step 2: Wire the Switch
To enable the switch to be able to swap around the polarity that is sent to the motor it must be wired in a particular way.
First cut 4x 30 cm lengths of wire and 2x 5cm lengths of wire.
Hold the switch so that you are looking at the bottom where the contacts are so that there are 2 columns of 3 pins
Next solder two long lengths of wire on each of the the bottom two legs that are next to each other and the other two longer lengths of wire on the middle pair of legs.
After that, solder the 2 short lengths of wire in a cross shape between the top two and the bottom two legs on the switch.
This step is much easier to follow using the diagram that I have included above.
And that's it! Let's test it out!
Step 3: Connect to the Motor
To connect the switch to the motor and try out our creation use the following steps:
First connect the two long wires from the bottom two legs to the power supply of your choice. Polarity doesn't matter.
Secondly, connect the other two long wires that come from the middle two legs to the motor. Again polarity doesn't matter.
Check out the diagram above if you become confused.
Step 4: Results, Troubleshooting and Extras.
When the switch is put in one position, the motor spins forwards and then goes backwards when put in the other position. Also, if you used a centre-off switch, you will be able to get the motor to stop when put in the centre position which depending on your application can be quite useful.
Q. The motor doesn't spin at all when I provide power to the switch. What can I do?
A. First of all check that all your connections are secure and complete either by eye or using the continuity function on a multimeter and also check for short circuits. If there is still a fault, check that the type of switch you are using is DPDT and not DPST. After all this, check that it is not a problem with the power supply by taking a voltage reading if possible. If all else fails, there is likely a fault with one of the components of the circuit so check every component individually to rule out any faulty or damaged parts.
Q. The motor spins in the wrong direction to what I want it to. How can I fix this?
A. This is a rather easy fix. Either swap the two wires around that connect to the motor or swap the two wires around that connect to the power supply.
An idea to take this project further could be to use a DPDT relay so you will be able to control the direction of the motor electronically so that it can be incorporated into other outputs of your project. The idea is the same, the only difference would be putting power to the coil to control the direction of rotation.