Learning Electronics

Learning Electronics

Learn to build electronic circuits

RC (Remote Control) Switch

It is sometimes necessary for an RC (remote control) model to contain some kind of switching functionality. Some things that come to mind are lights on a model boat, or the folding away of the undercarriage of an aeroplane, etc. A standard solution employs a servo, which then actually operates the switch. Separate modules are also available, which may or may not contain a relay. A device with such functionality is eminently suitable for building yourself. The schematic shows that it can be easily realised with a few standard components.

Picture of the project:
RC (Remote Control) Switch circuit
RC Switch Circuit

The servo signal, which consists of pulses from 1 to 2 ms duration, depending on the desired position, enters the circuit via pin 1 of connector K1. Two buffers from IC2 provide the necessary buffering after which the signal is differentiated by C2. This has the effect that at each rising edge a negative start signal is presented to pin 2 of IC1. D1 and R4 make sure that at the falling edge the voltage at pin 2 of IC2 does not become too high. IC1 (TLC555) is an old faithful in a CMOS version.

A standard version (such as the NE555) works just as well, but this IC draws an unnecessarily high current, while we strive to keep the current consumption as low as possible in the model. The aforementioned 555 is configured as a one-shot. The pulse-duration depends on the combination of R2/C1. Lowering the voltage on pin 5 also affects the time. This results in reducing the length of the pulse. In this circuit the pulse at the output of IC will last just over 1.5 ms when T1 does not conduct.

Circuit diagram:
RC (Remote Control) Switch circuit schematic
RC Switch Circuit Diagram

When T1 does conduct, the duration will be a little shorter than 1.5 ms. We will explain the purpose of this a little later on. Via IC2.C, the fixed-length pulse is, presented to the clock input of a D-flip-flop. As a consequence, the flip-flip will remember the state of the input (servo signal). The result is that when the servo-pulse is longer than the pulse form the 555, output Q will be high, otherwise the output will be low. It is possible, in practice, that the servo signal is nearly the same length as the output from the 555.

A small amount of variation in the servo signal could therefore easily cause the output to ‘chatter’, that is, the output could be high at one time and low the next. To prevent this chatter there is feedback in the form of R1, R3 and T1. This circuit makes sure that when the flip-flip has decided that the servo-pulse is longer than the 555’s pulse (and signals this by making output Q high), the pulse duration from the 555 is made a little shorter. The length of the servo-signal will now have to be reduced by a reasonable amount before the servo-pulse becomes shorter than the 555’s pulse.

Parts and PCB layout:
parts and pcb layout for RC (Remote Control) Switch circuit
Parts and PCB layout Of RC Switch

The moment this happens, T1 will stop conducting and the mono-stable time will become a little longer. The servo-pulse will now have to be longer by a reasonable amount before the flip-flip changes back again. This principle is called hysteresis. Jumper JP1 lets you choose between the normal or inverted output signals. Buffers IC2.D through to IC2.F together with R5 drive output transistor T2, which in turn drives the output. Note that the load may draw a maximum current of 100 mA. Diode D2 has been added so that inductive loads can be switched as well (for example, electrically operated pneu-matic valves).

R1 = 470k
R2 = 150k
R3 = 47k
R4 = 100k
R5 = 4k7
C1 = 10nF
C2 = 1nF
C3,C4 = 100nF
D1 = BAT85 or similar Schottky diode
D2 = 1N4148
IC1 = CMOS 555 (e.g., TLC555 or ICM7555)
IC2 = 4049
IC3 = 4013
T1,T2 = BC547B
JP1 = jumper with 3-way pinheader
K1 = servo cable
K2 = 2-way pinheader or 2 solder pins
Author: Paul Goossens - Copyright: Elektor Electronics