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WHISTLE BEACON

Model aircraft
sometimes have the
unpleasant property
of choosing their own
landing field, and
doing so in terrain
where they are hard
to see. In such cases,
the model finder
described here can
make the search
easier.

An unplanned landing is already bad ficing a receiver channel. The model tently present at the receiver output,
enough, but to make matters worse, it finder can be inserted between the and the downstream electronics can
sometimes happens in a cornfield. receiver and the servo as necessary. mistake these signals for control signals.
That often means searching criss-cross The only thing that requires attention The circuit shown in Figure 2 refuses to
through the field for several hours and is to ensure that the connector on the be misled by such signals, since it com-
considerable damage to the field, circuit board matches the pin assign- pares the received signal with a refer-
which neither the farmer nor the insur- ment of the servo cable (see Figure 1). ence signal and only responds if the
ance company finds especially pleas- pulse width of the received signal is less
ant. This whistle beacon circuit will at than a predefined value.
Receiver signal
least help you find your model more The evaluation circuit primarily con-
quickly, by emitting a loud signal if the evaluation sists of a pair of retriggerable mono-
transmitter is switched off or the joy- Many commercial model finders evalu- stable multivibrators (IC1) whose tim-
stick is moved past a previously pro- ate the absence of the remote control ing characteristics are determined by
grammed position. The searchers (and signal as the criterion for enabling the external circuitry. IC1a generates a ref-
unfortunately, the farmer as well) can alarm generator. What they forget is that erence pulse at its output (pin 13) in
hardly help hearing this signal. if the transmitter is switched off, a large response to a rising edge of the input
The circuit is designed to avoid sacri- number of noise signals are intermit- signal (clock signal from the receiver).

42 elektor electronics - 1/2005


An acoustic emergency transmitter
for model aircraft

+5V...+6V

Graupner
Conrad P1
/JR 100k
R4
16
R5
C3
+5V...+6V

10k
510k
IC1
8 220µ 16V BZ2
R3

100k
C2

C1
100n T1
7 6 A A R7
Multiplex Futaba 10n
RX/CX CX * 5k6

RX/CX
15 14
CX
11
5 * BC548B
13 10 &
3 12 4 8
9 IC1.B
2 & R
4 7
1 DIS
R1 IC1.A R6 IC2
47k

47k
receiver 3
OUT
Robbe Microprop signal 2
TR
555
6
THR
BZ1
IC1 = 74HC123 CV
R2 5 1
see text
C4
47k

22n

030436 - 14

Figure 1. Pin assignments for the most Figure 2. The model-finder circuit monitors the signal from the remote control
commonly used servo cables. transmitter.

The width of this pulse can be set the loudness; this will also change the emerge via a hole or a perforated
between approximately 1 ms and 2 ms frequency. region of the enclosure.
using trimpot P1. IC1b is triggered on Alternatively, a transducer with inte-
the falling edge of the signal at the out- grated electronics can be used to
put of IC1a if the signal coming from reduce the complexity of the circuitry. Calibration
the receiver has a Low level. The In this case, a driver transistor and The only calibration point in the circuit
switching signal is taken from the out- acoustic transducer are connected at is the threshold for enabling the
put of IC1b (pin 5). If the signal from point A instead of IC2. The integrated acoustic transducer. This can be set
the receiver drops below the pulse electronics then takes over the task of using trimpot P1. With the transmitter
width defined by the user, pin 5 will the oscillator (IC2) and drives the switched on, P1 should be rotated until
have a High level, which energises the piezoelectric wafer in the transducer no tone can be heard at any joystick
following oscillator stage. at a frequency of around 2–3 kHz. position. With the transmitter
The oscillator is built using a 555 timer Naturally, this arrangement will not switched off, P1 should be rotated until
IC. This IC can drive a piezo acoustic work with a transducer lacking inte- the tone starts to sound. Of course, you
transducer (without integrated elec- grated electronics, which cannot be can also adjust the model finder to
tronics) without any additional cir- visually distinguished from a type enable the transducer at a certain joy-
cuitry. The frequency-determining that has its own oscillator. stick position.
components (R4, R5 and C4) set the In the relevant specialist magazines, (030436-1)
frequency of the oscillator to around commercial vendors of model finders
4 kHz. C4 is charged by R5 and R6 in try to outdo each other with the loud-
Note:
series and discharged via R6 alone. ness of their circuitry. For our models, A model-finder function is also
The oscillator is enabled when the we find a transducer with a sound implemented in the multi-purpose IC for
reset input (pin 4) has a High level. A pressure level greater than 85 dB(A) modellers described in the January and
220-Ω resistor can also be inserted in to be fully adequate. Naturally, the February 2002 issues of Elektor
series with the transducer to reduce sound must be able to actually Electronics.

1/2005 - elektor electronics 43