The LoomPal can operate in a stand-alone mode, controlled by a computer dobby or with a sensor added to a loom. The purpose of the sensor is to either detect when a pick is finished (Beatnik) or detect which shafts are active (Shaft Sensor).
Affordable sensor kits are available for the LoomPal which extend its functionality. The simplest is the Beatnik™ beater sensor. It senses when the beater is returned which tells the LoomPal to advance to the next pick. It usually takes only a minute or two to install. You can still beat multiple times or as firmly as desired as long as the beater doesn’t go completely back. Basically, you just weave and follow to the next treadle as displayed. All features work properly with the exception that you don’t get a correct or incorrect treadling indication. This can work on nearly any loom and is a low cost entry point to advanced weaving.
By adding a shaft sensor kit, you enable pick by pick error checking of your weaving. Shaft sensors provide an indication of which shafts are up at a given time. When the correct shafts are up for a given pick based on the liftplan, the LoomPal knows that the correct treadle has been pressed and signals a good treadle condition. Once all of the shafts are returned, it advances to the next pick.
If a liftplan is not included in the pattern file, it is generated from the tieup and treadling. This avoids some of the issues of directly sensing which treadles have been pressed. The main issue is sympathetic or phantom treadles which move as much or more than the one being used, leading to false error indications. Another is the smaller physical distance involved makes for a less expensive assembly. One more is the treadles on many looms shift on their own from side to side, making it hard to get a reliable indication of whether it’s activated.
Currently, we have shaft sensors for the Macomber B series and Baby Mac looms. We also have sensors for most of the Schacht looms. Sensors for other looms are always under consideration and will be made available if possible.