Sunday, August 3, 2008

Milton service station bell rings when email arrives.

Recently, I have been trying to customize a Milton bell so that it will ring when an email arrives. Of course I do not want the bell to ring when every email arrives, just certain emails. I have it set up to ring when emails arrive from someone important to me or with certain words in the subject line. It has taken me some time to figure it out but here are the basic steps that I went through to set it up.
I began with the "rules wizard" in Microsoft Outlook. The rules wizard allows you to monitor incoming emails and scan for emails that contain defined words in the subject line. I then had Outlook execute a simple .BAT file that changed the voltage between pins 4 and 5 on the DB-9 port or COM port. The voltage between pins 4 and 5 was not enough to ring the bell or to even close a low-voltage relay. I had to insert a simple transistor circuit to amplify the signal and ultimately activate the relay.

After getting the electrical signal to the COM port and getting it to activate a relay the rest was straight forward. The last step was to connect the solenoid inside of the bell to the relay.

The electrical signal that is sent to the COM port through the .BAT file is sent in two momentary pulses. This simulates a car driving across the driveway signal hose at a service station: “Ding-Ding”.

It is a conversation starter. You have to be very selective on which emails you want to have the bell ring for. It is definitely a merger of the internet and petrolania.

Please let me know if anyone is interested and I can share more of the specific details.
video
Ding-Ding".....Milton

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