Instructables
The Automatic Button Pusher (or ABP from now on) is a quirky little device that will simply extend its "pusher" at a user set time. I originally designed this device as a simple way to schedule my Roomba robotic vacuum to clean while I was at work

The device will use a ordinary digital alarm clock to trigger an electric motor momentarily. The average tinkerer can easily build a similar machine and I hope my Instructable guides you smoothly through the process.

Lets get to it!




 
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Step 1: Lets Get The Parts We Need

Picture of Lets Get The Parts We Need
There is a fair bit of parts you will need for this project:

(I have tried to include a part number to get most parts although some of these things can be found locally too)


1. A digital clock radio - the bigger and cheaper the better.
2. A car door lock actuator - (AllElectronics #DLA-1)
3. Machinists Magnetic Base - (LittleMachineShop.com #1237)
4. Prototype Circuit Board - (Digikey #V2012-ND)
5. NAND Logic Gate - (Digikey #CD40107BE)
6. MOSFET - (Digikey #IRFZ14PBF-ND)
7. Potentiometer 100k - (Digikey #490-2971-ND)
8. Capacitor 10uF - (Digikey # P5148-ND)
9. Resistor  1k (qty 2) - (Digikey #P1.00KCACT-ND)
10. Diode 1N4001 - (Digikey #1N4001FSCT-ND)
11. Battery 9v Alkaline
12. Miscellaneous - (zipties, wire, hardware, glue, elastic band, heatshrink, etc)

Tools Required:

1. Various screwdrivers
2. Soldering Iron
3. Hacksaw
4. Hand drill or drill press.
5.Wire cutters/strippers
6. Hot glue gun
7.Heat gun or lighter
8. Hammer with center punch.
9. Multimeter
10. Files
11. Permanent Marker
12. Countersink

Step 2: Design The Circuitry

The device works by manually setting the alarm on the clock. When the alarm goes off it will trigger the actuator to push our button (whatever it may be). The problem is we need a way to make the actuator activate only momentarily because otherwise we will burn out the motor/electronics. This is tricky to do because the signal from the clock will always be high (because nobody is home to turn the alarm off)

The solution is a simple circuit that will briefly turn out actuator on and then off, even though the input is always high.
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Poob8 days ago

Is there any way to make it press a button twice in rapid succession? I like double espressos in the morning.

EcoMotive2 years ago
This is seriously the most awesome thing I have ever seen anywhere.
BHStibal3 years ago
(removed by author or community request)
Maybe you could hook the sleep button up to a microphone and adjust the clock so it push's when the button is pushed, then lean a phone against it and when you text the phone it will beep and the button pusher will be set off
GOOD IDEA!!!!
reminds me of the opening scene in back to the future
beanman9113 years ago
dam confuzing
Ken Chevy3 years ago
122610 1233

While you are right there at the drill press, just install a drill bit a few sizes larger than the bit you used to drill the holes with.

Just lightly touch the drilled holes with the larger drill bit will clean the burrs off the holes and put a nice little bevel on them.
I do the same thing with a larger bit, BUT... instead of wasting the time to install it in the drill press chuck, I just do it by hand. A couple of twists does the job in seconds - much faster than chucking the bit, starting the press, aligning the workpiece, and cranking the bit down to the workpiece for several holes.
badmash3 years ago
I am a research scientist (biological sciences) looking for an automatic button pusher, although of somewhat different specifications to your ingenious device. Could you contact me? eugene@volcani.agri.gov.il
Someone so should make this press the 'snooze' at a the time their alam goes off just for the sake of it!
travis7s (author)  freakyqwerty3 years ago
You didn't watch the whole video did you? :)
Fluffy410893 years ago
Hey, does anyone know where I could buy an alarm clock that would work for this thing?
Fluffy410893 years ago
Dude!!, this is such an awesome invention! Along with an automatic feeder, I'm looking into an automatic sliding gate opener for my pet horse Fluffy's stall door (By the way, he's an 18 hand tall bay thoroughbred; with basically zero "fluffy" charecteristics.). An auto gate opener with timer activation cost around $600. One without timer activation, one with only push button remote controls $280. Your creation could be the perfect $ saver for me! Considering I'll probally need 3 gate openers, I could save about $1000(minus the cost of the button pushers)! Have you ever thought about trying to patent it and sell it to the world? So many people could use one of these for so many different things. I'm almost positive that no one sells an easy to buy, timer activated button pusher. I know pretty much nothing about electronics. Do you think this is something I could easily make? Could you maybe make an "idiot's guide" for creating one of these :)? Also, can you please tell me how much one of these would cost me to make?! Thanks, Jeff
travis7s (author)  Fluffy410893 years ago
Well there really is no "idiots guide" as you need to know basic soldering and hand tools. The instructable is fairly thorough and I think it could probably be made for $50.
jcl5413 years ago
This is fantastic!! Could one wire it to make N button presses instead of just one? I really need to make something similar that could press a button 6 times times in rapid succession (between 0.25 and 1 seconds between presses).
that was great I really loved the video Rue Goldburg in the 20th century
CCOTTER2473 years ago
Your Project has been posted on my blog. With credits of course. My blog can be found here: http://thepowerofmaking.blogspot.com/
travis7s (author)  CCOTTER2473 years ago
Neat! Thanks!
mark283 years ago
hi very inreresting, just a question ¿ where the ouput 5v from the pic goes ?
r2 and r3 ?
travis7s (author)  mark283 years ago
Yes that is right. I called the output 5v the Alarm Signal in the schematic.
Unit0423 years ago
The video was hilarious, especially the snooze alarm (you made another typo, snooze has a silent 'e' at the end). It reminds me of the "most useless machine" thing (flip a switch, a hand pops out and flips it back).

Yes, I remember that episode of the Simpsons. "I've tripled my productivity!"
Hee hee! :)
But when I saw your button pusher, it made me think of Doc's pet feeder machine in Back to the Future. :)

I already have an alarm clock whose alarm would go off every 24 hours (the software decided to ignore the alarm disable switch). Instead of throwing away the cheap "made in china" garbage that it was, I used my soldering iron to take out the speaker and add some wires going outside the case for something like this project, but never got around to finishing it. Now that I think about it, I might do it....

...thinking...hmmmm....

You know what, if you back out (zoom out, trolley backward, etc.) your mind's eye to a wider cultural and historical point of view, something interesting occurs. I notice that America, in it's march toward technological advancement, took a population of hoop-skirt, horse-and-buggy, post Civil War people, and turned them into post-modern environmentally conscious(spl?) people whose cooking skills are neatly summed up in the microwave, and the way to fashionably clean house is to push a button on an Irobot Roomba. George Jetson's complaints about his button-pushing finger being worn out get less funny every year.... so nerds respond to this single-touch, button-operated culture by making automatic devices that push these buttons... at the push of a button.
It makes me wonder about the eventual takeover of the robots; it does not have to be a violent war of flesh against malevolent Big Brother machine (ie Terminator). Flesh could, if it continues, make machine so helpful and benevolent so as to make humans redundant in almost every aspect of life, that humans drive themselves to a depth of insanity that can only be experienced by a person whose wasted potential is forced to the level of insignificance. Example: those replicators on Star Trek. If they are invented and perfected, the manufacturing industry as we know it will mirror what cooking has become when the microwave was invented. The day might come when physical objects, like a solid gold toilet, are cheaper to make than it is to copy a text document (note the exageration). And holodecks combined with replicators, though they can't destroy the economy, they will definitely allow humans to replicate robot servants that take care of everything while we slowly die, living out our reclusive fantasies in the holodecks. Humanity thins out to a dilute nothing as we fall like flies, one-by-one with a self-indulgent smile, while our fantasy holodeck programs continue without us. Nothing exists outside the holodeck. Noone cares; the replicator bots are feeding us and maintaining our objects of lethal addiction. This is my little world, and I am god over it until I die. The semiotics of human culture turn bland as the millenia march onward, leaving our dusty skeletons behind, while the buttons push themselves, as they always have been, since Dec. 19, 2010AD: the day we stopped living, learning, and loving....

We are doomed. O_O


And it's all your fault. ;) LOL!

*Wakes up from epic hollywood sci-fi daydream that had Immediate Music's Serenata Immortale as the background music*

Oh, wait, did I type that out loud? The randomest things make me think the most. Oh well. It's just a theory (one that would make a good movie, I might add). If I scared anyone, it's your own fault for reading it, so don't sue me. :P

Anyway, I have a question for you; what do you do with the alarm once it's gone off (and thusly pushed a button), do you leave it to make noise? Does it stop the noise making eventually so you don't have to turn the alarm off after it's made you coffee?
Unit042 Unit0423 years ago
By replicator, I mean those things on Star Trek that when you talked at it, it made food out of thin air. What were they called? I can't remember... I want one...
The correct word is "replicator".
Thank you for verifying that. I was confused because it is also the name for killer LEGO block-bugs that eat everything on Stargate SG-1. Nasty little buggers. I want one of those too. And a Stargate. And a phaser. :)
Hehe actually the 'snooz' typo was intentional as that is how the clock spelled it. (GE was trademarking that spelling perhaps?) If you look closely you can see the spelling in the video.

Anyways...that was bleak, but I kinda like my new role in the end of the world. ;)

As for your question, you can shut the noise off with the volume dial on the clock, I just left it turned up to better show that the alarm was going off. I'm actually not sure if it will turn off after a certain while.
travis7s (author)  KailaCorinne3 years ago
Oops, I was on my girlfriend's laptop and didn't realize it was logged in as her. :P
TOCO3 years ago
the same door actuator can be found here for a cheaper price and mounting hardware. I have one of their stores near me and I found it there while looking for random things for a rube Goldberg machine.

http://www.sciplus.com/search.cfm?utm_source=internal&utm_medium=search&utm_content=cf&utm_campaign=celsearchtest&formfield1234567891=14&formfield1234567892=12&formfield1234567894=&term=power+locks&btnHand.x=0&btnHand.y=0
travis7s (author)  TOCO3 years ago
Good find! The ones from All Electronics do come with the same hardware though.
TOCO travis7s3 years ago
cool, i didnt see that it came with the hardware.
Sparrowhawk3 years ago
An automatic button pusher attached to an alarm clock.... heh, the best use for this I can think of would be automatically turning off my alarm as soon as it rings in the morning ;)
YakAttack3 years ago
Nice project! I love the simplicity/functionality

Question for anybody: Could you please explain in more detail the circuit logic? (It's been forever since my electrical engineering courses. I actually feel kinda' embarassed)

I understand the NAND itself:
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negated_AND_gate?wasRedirected=true
...but I could use more help with the R/C delay, and mainly the R1 R2 leading into the Mosfet.
Thanks!
travis7s (author)  YakAttack3 years ago
Hey thanks, I'll try to explain although its tricky because this was actually designed about a year before I made the ABP and I really don't know all that much about electronic design. (Basically I dug the original breadboard out and then made this schematic from it)

Essentially the delay is determined by the amount of time it takes C1 to charge up through R3. Once charged the input of U1 will go high and then because it is a NAND gate, the output goes low, and shuts the power off to Q1.

Now I'm not exactly sure why I put R1 in, I think an old engineer friend told me it was to prevent "noise" from triggering Q1.

The circuit didn't seem to work without R2, I think its acting as a pullup resistor to keep the logic gate stable.

Sorry I couldn't explain more, hopefully a real engineer can chime in :)
I'm not a professional engineer (yet), but I have played around with enough circuits to have a grasp as to what's going on, so I'll try my best.

R1, according to my thinking, is not needed, since the motor driver you are using is a mosfet. They are voltage, not current operated, just like the CMOS NAND gate chip. If the engineer friend said it prevents noise, well, I guess so. I don't know enough to confirm or dispute it, but I can say for this application, it would most likely work fine without it.

R2 is needed. Why? Well, let's back up and look at R3 and C1. Normally, the alarm signal (just "alarm" for short) is low, or 0v. That means both of C1's terminals are connected to 0v ("GND" for short), and one of the GND's are coming from the alarm, though R3. Effectively, C1, if it had any charge, is emptied out now.
Going toward the NAND, we see that both of its inputs are tied together, forming one input. This effectively makes it an inverter (0 in, 1 out and vice versa). Since alarm is off, and C1 is discharged, the inverter's input sees a 0. That make the output 1, or high, or 5v, and that... wait a minute... that turns on the N-channel mosfet, which turns on the motor.... that's not right.... It's supposed to be off.
Okay, nevermind; imagine that a high signal means motor is off, and a GND or 0v or low means motor is on.
Anyway, when the alarm has been low for a while, C1 is discharged, the inverter sees a 0, outputs a 1 and motor does not move.
Now, the alarm goes off. Alarm goes high , and tries to make the motor signal high through R2, but the inverter is still outputting a high (C1 is still empty), and since both are high... the motor stays... off.
Anyway, C1 slowly fills up through R3 (it makes an RC, so the time it takes for this can be found with some math), the inverter eventually sees a high signal, so it sends out a low from its output. Now the inverter's output is low, and alarm is still high. Now we have conflict, but since alarm is weakened by R2, the inverter wins, and the resulting signal to motor is low which means the motor is... ummm... on. Yeah.
Okay, so that's not what we wanted the circuit to do, so.... let's try this, imagine the alarm signal is already high, and when the alarm goes off, it goes low. And we will scrap the motor's 1 = off, and 0 = on. Okay, let's try again.

C1 is full, the inverter is outputting a low, overriding alarm's weakened (high) signal, and the N-channel mosfet is cutting power to the motor. Yes, so far, the scenario sounds good.
Now, the alarm signal goes low, because it's annoying like that. Alarm is 0, C1 is still full, so until it empties through R3, inverter sees a 'full' C1, therefore, the inverter still outputs a 0, overriding the ... alarm's 0. So the motor is still off....
Okay, after C1 eventually empties through R3, the inverter finally sees a 0, so it outputs a 1. Alarm is still 0, so that means the inverter's 1 overrides the alarm's 0, so the motor is on.... and it stays that way until....

That's not right, this circuit cannot work as described. There is an error somewhere. Wait.... The NAND chip's datasheet says it has open collector outputs. Now THAT changes things! If the NAND's output was normal, there would be no point to having R2. Okay, let's go through this one more time.
First, what is open drain? It's just like open collector outputs. See wikipedia or something for what that means. For now, remember that the inverter's output is either disconnnected for a 1, and connects to 0v for a 0. We replace 1 with essentially disconnecting the output from the circuit.
Now, with everything else as described in the ible, let's go tackle it one more time.

Alarm is at 0. C1 is empty. inverter's output is 1 (disconnected), so the alarm's weakened signal trickles through R2 to make the N-mosfet cut power to motor. Motor is off.

ALARM GOES OFF!!!!

Alarm is 1. C1 is slowly filling up, but still looks empty. Inverter makes a judgement call that C1 is empty, and still outputs... nothing (because it's 1), meaning, since the inverter's output is powerless, alarm's weakened signal trickles through R2 to make the N-mosfet on, giving super awesome power to motor! The button gets pushed, we cheer hooray, and, oh no! C1 has finally filled up through R3 (remember, alarm stays 1), and oh no! inverter sees a 1! It now outputs a 0; it's no longer disconnected (ummm, it's now connected to 0v), and the super 0v coming from the inverter overrides the weak 1 (from alarm through R2), and N-mosfet gets 0, and power is CUT, the alarm signal, though still 1, is powerless because C1 stays filled, inverter stays 0, and motor stays off.
it WORKS!!! MUwahahahahaaaa!

Oh, and when the alarm is turned off (0) by lazy human, C1 makes inverter output 0, and alarm outputs 0, inverter wins and it's 0. When C1 finally empties, inverter sees 0, outputs a 1, meaning it's disconnected. Since alarm is 0 and inverter is disconnected, N-mosfet still sees 0, and motor is still not going anywhere.
Need motor to stay on longer? Make R3 (and/or C1) bigger. Motor on too long? make R3 (and/or C1) smaller.
The NAND chip's output MUST be open collector/drain! If it's not, you can make it so by using a resistor and a transistor (or just another N-mosfet).

Genius one-shot timer circuit. Who designed it?
travis7s (author)  Unit0423 years ago
Wow, thats a long post and it confuses a simpleton like me. :)

I was originally trying to do it with a 555 as thats my go-to move. That didn't work as monostable 555s don't like to work with a constant trigger. So I asked a engineer at work (I'm an elec tech) and he directed me to a project's schematic that had a more complex version of this for a different purpose. So I used that as a template and changed some things to make it cheaper and better suited for the ABP.

I'm planning on using the same circuit for a different project but only with an AND gate to act as a power startup delay.
Well, I explained it two times before I finally figured out what I needed to know to explain it properly.... Just look at the 3rd explanation....
Yes, I was wondering why no 555 was used....
If you ever need to learn about making sequencing R/C circuits for more complicated things (such as pushing one button, and activating some other motor, then delay, then off), take a look at BEAM, it's a design philoophy that champions using simple discreet logic chips and circuits to do timed stuff (like a walking robot). With a little modification, "bicore" or "microcore" circuits would give you greater power over what your trigger signal can set into motion (the sequence could even respond to input from other signals to modify the sequence timing!).
For more info:
solarbotics.com (parts)
solarbotics.net (info and tutorials-highly recommended)
Unit042 Unit0423 years ago
Correction: NAND chip's datasheet says it is open drain. ME says it is redundant terminology and I says it is identical to open collector. Both do same thing. Drain = mosfet. Collector = transistor. Same effect on circuit. Angry at self-important mosfet pin-namer. Blah!

Wrist hurt from too much typing. Brain hurt from too much analytical critical thinking.
thirst4know3 years ago
I would like to say that perpetual snooze is better than "fine" art. You should submit this the MoMA!
Saturn V3 years ago
This thing is almost as useful and multipurpouse as Duct Tape.
meritsetgo3 years ago
congratulation now you can remote detonate an explosive device!

if you have power going to the speakers when the alarm goes off you can just about use that to power any number of other devices, in this case an actuator to push buttons.

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