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Messages - Harlequin

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« on: July 03, 2019, 07:04:47 AM »
I'm really sorry to hear this, but things do seem to have been slowing down lately. Does this mean the end of MilesTag?

LEDs, Optics and Sensors / Re: Why IR and not visible light?
« on: June 22, 2018, 09:25:35 PM »
Istarion, did you also post this question on the Lazer Tag Modders Facebook group recently? If not, I'll post Brian 'TagFerret' Farley's input on the subject:
The reasons are many, and most all of them have been hit on in the above comments.

The main reason IR was used in the first arena tag systems was that these worked by continuously broadcasting weak IR beacons in all directions from each player, and the "guns" each had a single receiver photodiode located in the barrel behind a lens to detect whether or not they were pointed at another player when the trigger was pulled (this is sometimes called a "Reverse IR System"). There are a bunch of highly technical reasons as to why this is a lot easier and cheaper to do and more reliable from a play standpoint than having one very bright LED in the "gun" and multiple of receivers on each player looking out in all directions (what is sometimes called a "Forward IR System"). Anyway, you don't want all your players lit up like Christmas trees in the dark arena until they actually get "hit," so this needed to be IR instead of visible light.

When Worlds Of Wonder developed the first Lazer Tag home system, designed for outdoor play in sunlight, they stuck with IR because the available IR LEDs were more powerful and less expensive than visible LEDs with the same power output. There were also concerns of "flash blinding" if visible light powerful enough to be detected against background sunlight were used in nighttime play.

Since then IR has remained the medium of choice because of that nice "quiet band" in ambient sunlight right around 940 nm wavelength. These days most photodiodes are made with a dark plastic body that blocks the visible light and just lets this narrow band of IR through (the photodiode itself would be just as sensitive to visible light as it is to IR if it were made using a clear plastic body) and the most powerful inexpensive IR LEDs are designed to produce 940nm - 950 nm wavelengths to take advantage of this.

As for the question of "why use IR instead of visible light in TV remotes?"... In actuality, the very first TV wireless remotes in the early 1950's WERE visible-light-based, using a strobe like the "Phaser Force" sets you remember from childhood. The TV receiver had a little photo-eye vacuum tube (good IR photodiodes and LEDs had not yet been invented) which detected visible flashes. Each flash caused a motor or solenoid to automatically advance the tuning switch by one station. The high cost and problems with flashes of sunlight reflecting off passing cars and such caused TV makers to switch to ultrasonic "dog whistles" as remote controls by the end of the 1950's. Eventually the development of cheap semiconductor photo-diodes and LEDs in the 1970's allowed TV makers to switch over to using modulated IR for their remotes, and the development of small microcontrollers in the early 1980's made it possible to encode more complex commands. It is no coincidence that Lazer Tag was developed shortly after TVs started using IR and small microcontrollers: The high volumes demanded by TV manufacturers drove the prices down to where they became palatable for toys. Some of the earliest examples of tag-type toys in my collection are from the late 1970's and early 1980's, and have IR LEDs and photodiodes but no microcontroller yet!

Finally, the green flash you've seen might be intentionally added to the IR LED. Many IR LED makers added a little bit of chemistry that produced visible light to the predominantly-IR chemistry, so that technicians could easily tell if the IR LED was working or if it had burned out, was soldered in backwards, or did not have power. Most of the time this is a dim red tint, but those early Starlytes used an unusual IR LED from Siemens which could have had a green tint. Back then the manufacturers did all sorts of monkeying with the indicator color, plastic color, long/short lead positions relative to the "flat spot" on the side of the plastic body, and so on to identify the specific model of IR LED or IR photodiode.

MilesTag CORE / Re: CORE PCB Design Files
« on: September 20, 2015, 02:30:21 AM »
Hi Jim, I've just been given a board manufactured using the EAGLE .brd file and there are a few errors, any chance of getting access to the .sch file?

Online Store / Re: Store Re-Launch for 2013
« on: January 06, 2015, 05:29:58 AM »
Hi Brian, it seems that the Lasersoft guys have either shut down permanently or gone on a bit of a hiatus- the website isn't accessible anymore and the person behind it hasn't been on here for a couple of months now.

MilesTag Micro (uMT) / Re: Problem with the Sound; programming ISD-1790PY
« on: February 18, 2014, 06:31:52 PM »
I'm almost 100% sure that the speaker output is turned off.

MilesTag CORE / Re: Updates between revs
« on: January 16, 2014, 07:21:44 AM »
They sure are compatible. Obviously they use different firmwares, but the protocol and most of the mechanics of the firmware are the same. The main difference between the two versions is the sound chip and amplifier, with most of the other changes being very minor ones.

Score Systems / Re: How many players in 'old' scoring ?
« on: January 08, 2014, 06:03:15 PM »
Homer is Homer, doesn't matter what team he is on. You have 50 unique players and you can assign them to whatever team you like, rather than having 50 players per team.

Sound Effects / Re: Having a huge problem with core sound recording
« on: October 05, 2013, 09:34:59 AM »
I've just started watching but the big thing is that you don't need the Acrnoname cable to record sounds. Just look on  page 30 of the CORE manual for the wiring- it is really simple, just two wires and a resistor.

MilesTag Micro (uMT) / Re: uMT SLED display question
« on: October 02, 2013, 07:38:12 PM »
It doesn't come with cable.

« on: July 01, 2013, 06:24:10 AM »
I use the PICKit2, you can safely ignore that warning.

MilesTag Micro (uMT) / Re: uMT recorder V5 play source issue
« on: March 30, 2013, 07:35:49 PM »
Did you change the name of the silenced sound?

Sound Effects / Re: Sound on the Core module but not on the Umt module
« on: March 30, 2013, 02:33:32 AM »
You can replace the standard gunfire sound with the silenced one, but not add it in as an additional sound.

MilesTag CORE / Re: Biometric Sensors
« on: March 29, 2013, 12:03:15 AM »
What are you hoping to do with them?

Open Source Lounge / Re: android phone and lasertag system
« on: March 25, 2013, 06:59:54 AM »
If you hooked up some other sensor that precisely mimicked the output of the TSOP sensor and hooked it up in parallel you could, but as it is I'm almost 100% sure that the serial connection doesn't have that ability.

MilesTag Micro (uMT) / Re: LCD display
« on: March 19, 2013, 06:46:52 PM »
Hey that's really cool, and has applications beyond just the uMT. I'd love to have a play around with it but it'll be a little while I'm afraid.

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