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bhilpert
09-13-2010, 12:25 AM
I am looking to start using more relay boards in my haunted house but need some help.

I have been using a simple 8 channel parallel board for the past 4 years. I honestly just found Vixen late last year and began to realize to kind of props that I could make using vixen. I don't have a computer anymore with parallel port and need new options

I would like a few 8 and 16 channel board (with the ability to dimming and fade). I see the Renard board looks like a good board but I do not know much about it or what else is out there.

I have looked at the LOR (light o Rama) equipment and that looks to be in line with what I would like to do but I don't want to be locked into using LOR equipment and software for the next 30 years.

Any help would be great

jem5136
09-13-2010, 12:37 AM
I would suggest using Renard boards, or even Lynx Expresses. For a haunted house, a Lynx Express would be really cool, because they run in a DMX universe without having to do anything special to them, and then later on down the road, you could add different special effects through a DMX stream.

But if you want to keep it simple, go with Renard, its the best choice for simplicity.

Jesse

budude
09-13-2010, 12:50 AM
I am looking to start using more relay boards in my haunted house but need some help.

I have been using a simple 8 channel parallel board for the past 4 years. I honestly just found Vixen late last year and began to realize to kind of props that I could make using vixen. I don't have a computer anymore with parallel port and need new options

I would like a few 8 and 16 channel board (with the ability to dimming and fade). I see the Renard board looks like a good board but I do not know much about it or what else is out there.

I have looked at the LOR (light o Rama) equipment and that looks to be in line with what I would like to do but I don't want to be locked into using LOR equipment and software for the next 30 years.

Any help would be great

The Renard SS series (8, 16 or 24 channels) are good choices for running AC devices/lights. There are several controllers for running DC stuff as well - if you can define what you want to do we can help you decide. Note that all of the Renard boards can run either Renard/Serial code or Renard/DMX code so you don't have to worry about being locked down in any way. Basically there are two major distinctions between the controllers - those with on-board SSRs (AC or DC) and those with external SSRs (AC or DC). Look through the Hardware section of the Wiki for more information.

IdunBenhad
09-13-2010, 06:08 AM
Hi:
You didn't say what kind of computer you have now, but if you are using a desktop PC, you can add a PCI parallel board to one of the slots. That way you can continue to use your existing setup and add to and improve it by starting to changeover to Renard or similar controllers.

Greg in Canby
09-13-2010, 11:55 AM
This year I'm building my first SS8 board specifically for halloween. The computer will be in the garage and via wireless (REN-W) the SS8 will be outside, across the walk way to the entry - no wires to trip over!

pete
09-13-2010, 07:17 PM
Relay Boards= Noisy operating board good for one season if you luck

DynamoBen
09-13-2010, 09:25 PM
What about this? I use mine every year for Halloween and it works well.
http://doityourselfchristmas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4723

I have a much bigger and powerful Propeller version on the way.
http://www.doityourselfchristmas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=12334

ErnieHorning
09-13-2010, 11:42 PM
Small relays make less noise then large ones. The cycle life is at the full current rating so they will last longer at less current. If you don't toggle them at epileptic speeds, they'll last longer too.

WireWrap
09-14-2010, 12:00 AM
...

If you don't toggle them at epileptic speeds, they'll last longer too.

Awwww! Where's the fun in that???!!! :twisted: :D :twisted: :D :twisted: :shock:



:)

bhilpert
09-14-2010, 06:08 PM
Great Feedback

Do boards like the renard use relays or are they something different?
I assume they are traic (sp) since they have a dimming option like a light organ

I am not familiar with DMX - I will need to do more research

The Renard and D-Light board are what I am looking at
I only need 8 channels per board (but if there were more I could start doing a christmas display)

I have 6 old PC tower and 2 old labtops

I will use the boards to automate the props
I will use 1 computer and 1 board for each prop
Right now most of the props are triggered with motion sensor and I can only turn it all on or all off
I will use a triggered response to run vixen to activate the props


Here a few of the props I have built in the past
The electric chair was done with Vixen and a 8 port parallel relay board - FYI it was a nightmare to get one of the old computer with a parallel port to run vixen

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3tOWJpa-FI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNtmRKrZsQA

bhilpert
09-15-2010, 03:15 PM
Hey Greg

I really like the idea of going wireless
That would allow me to have the computer in the garage are shed and then put the controller and prop out in the yard

Where can I find the printed card and schematic for the REN-W
and will that work will any board (like the LOR16) or only the renard?

How reliable is wireless?

bhilpert
09-15-2010, 03:38 PM
Also - Do any of these boards have an on board trigger
Or does anyone know of a good way to trigger for props

Since it is a prop that needed to be trigger - The thing that I came up with was I took apart a mouse and found the two wires that need to be close to make the mouse do a left click

I set the pointer over the play button in vixen and when it is triggered it just clicks the mouse for the sequence to play
Pretty back woods but it worked

DynamoBen
09-15-2010, 05:00 PM
Also - Do any of these boards have an on board trigger
Or does anyone know of a good way to trigger for props


I'm not aware of a board that does that yet. There is a trigger plugin for vixen that can do that.

With that said my PropController can do a local trigger, I don't know if you have enough time this year to make that happen or not. My proto boards arrives next week. You would need to build a relay and input board for it, then whip up some triggering code. For triggering Vixen the ethernet version of the PropController could do that, it would require some custom code on both sides.

Greg in Canby
09-15-2010, 05:10 PM
Also - Do any of these boards have an on board trigger
Or does anyone know of a good way to trigger for props
I am at work so can't get to deep but . . . if you have a parallel port, you can trigger vixen by connecting two pins - I plan on using an IR door security kit, hacked to close a relay rather than sound a buzzer.

More later.

Greg

budude
09-15-2010, 06:32 PM
I seem to recall someone here remapping switches to a regular PC keyboard and using the keyboard shortcuts/triggers to run sequences on Vixen...

Greg in Canby
09-15-2010, 08:06 PM
Hey Greg

I really like the idea of going wireless
That would allow me to have the computer in the garage are shed and then put the controller and prop out in the yard

Where can I find the printed card and schematic for the REN-W
and will that work will any board (like the LOR16) or only the renard?

How reliable is wireless?

If the the Ren-W is fast and reliable enough to sequence lights, I can't imagine it wouldn't be perfect for a Halloween prop.

http://www.doityourselfchristmas.com/wiki/index.php?title=Renard_Wireless_Converter

I have built a Velleman MK120 IR Lightbarrier kit and it works very well, as advertised. I plan to hack the kit by replacing the buzzer with a relay that will simply close the two pins from the parallel port to trigger the sequence.

http://www.vellemanusa.com/us/enu/product/view/?id=350693

Having loaded the parallel trigger plug-in on my Vixen machine and successfully monkeying with it, here is what I know:

1. It didn't work on an ancient machine running XP with a parallel port - I was confused.

2. It DID work on an ancient machine (maybe not as ancient as #1) running XP - I can't tell you the difference, only I achieved success on the second machine.

3. When I triggered the sequence in Vixen, while it was running, Vixen would ignore additional triggers - which is exactly what I wanted.

I do not see the parallel trigger in the download section but will search for it later tonight. If it's gone, I should have it on my disconnected Vixen machine.

This is the plan, all the parts seem to be viable but I have NOT put it all together . . . yet

Greg
in Canby
(Technician of Terror)

Jrd
09-15-2010, 11:09 PM
I seem to recall someone here remapping switches to a regular PC keyboard and using the keyboard shortcuts/triggers to run sequences on Vixen...

The keyboard trigger seems to be the best way to me but maybe that is just because I have a couple boxes of keyboards laying around...

LabRat
09-15-2010, 11:42 PM
The keyboard trigger seems to be the best way to me but maybe that is just because I have a couple boxes of keyboards laying around...

It would be simple enough to create a device that would monitor I/O pins and send a status update (as keypresses if you like). Heck.. all those MAME cabinet junkies have been doing it for years. Sort of an inverse of the RENARD... we could call it a DRANER. ;)

Jrd
09-15-2010, 11:48 PM
It would be simple enough to create a device that would monitor I/O pins and send a status update (as keypresses if you like). Heck.. all those MAME cabinet junkies have been doing it for years. Sort of an inverse of the RENARD... we could call it a DRANER. ;)

There you go, I am sure a lot of the Halloween guys around here would use this device.

budude
09-15-2010, 11:50 PM
we could call it a DRANER. ;)

That's silly... :p

There's already a Velleman K8055 trigger plug-in - how hard can it be to clone that (the K8055 that is)? Perhaps expand it out to more inputs? Don't know a lot about it myself but sounds like an easy way to start...

Greg in Canby
09-15-2010, 11:55 PM
Sort of an inverse of the RENARD... we could call it a DRANER. ;)

http://www.canby.com/marshall/banana/nana2.gifhttp://www.canby.com/marshall/banana/nana2.gifhttp://www.canby.com/marshall/banana/nana2.gifhttp://www.canby.com/marshall/banana/nana2.gifhttp://www.canby.com/marshall/banana/nana2.gif

If I was drinking milk, it would have come out my nose!

bhilpert
09-16-2010, 01:37 AM
I see the plug in for the k8055 - Is this a board?
and how is it connected (sorry for the stupid questions)

Is there no simple way to trigger a response?
It seams like the relay boards should have a simple plug that would send the signal to the software to make it run


For the $60 for the trigger board - I am better off just hacking a few mice (mouse(s))
and closing the circuit with a motion sensor or on a push button

To better explain what I did to the mouse is I

1) destroyed the mouse
2) found the two pins that need to be connected for a left click
3) connected about 15' of wire to each
4) ran the wires to a push button

optional step 5) hooked wires up to relay and have motion sensor close the circuit to trigger the response - since the motion sensor will only click and will not release I will need to have a multifunction switch that will send a pulse signal that way the click the mouse

budude
09-16-2010, 02:04 AM
I see the plug in for the k8055 - Is this a board?
and how is it connected (sorry for the stupid questions)


http://www.vellemanusa.com/us/enu/product/view/?id=500349

I don't even pretend to know much about it but I've seen several folks use them for triggers (with and without Vixen). A basic input board like this can't be hard to come up with - as LabRat mentioned, just have some kind of protected input into a PIC - have it tell Vixen I got something - done. I only mention the K8055 since there's an existing plug-in. This talk of triggers always seems to come up - especially around Halloween time for props - maybe it's time we came up with a DIYC card/device for this purpose? As the boys on Top Gear say - "How hard can it be?"

dirknerkle
09-16-2010, 09:12 AM
The K8055 is called the Velleman USB Experimenter's board. It has 8 digital and 2 analog outputs plus 5 digital and 2 analog inputs. Its digital outputs carry positive voltage so to make them work with normal DIY SSRs, you'd need to run them through a ULN2803A and then out to the SSRs.

It functions more like a 595/Grinch as its outputs are on/off only, so the board is not dimmable. But its inputs supposedly can be read by the plugin.

I made a 32-channel controller out of four of them, but have never tried them as a trigger mechanism for Vixen. You can connect up to four of the boards to the same computer.

budude
09-16-2010, 10:39 AM
Yeah - no interest in the output portion - just the input trigger bits. I found the schematics for it and it just uses a ULN2803 to drive a PIC 16C series. Just need to figure out what Vixen reads from it and maybe enhance the plugin a bit for more inputs...

LabRat
09-16-2010, 11:28 AM
Yeah - no interest in the output portion - just the input trigger bits. I found the schematics for it and it just uses a ULN2803 to drive a PIC 16C series. Just need to figure out what Vixen reads from it and maybe enhance the plugin a bit for more inputs...

Uh.. should be an almost "no brainer" (famous last words).. to hack the firmware of several of our boards to treat the io-pins as inputs, instead of outputs. Heck.. depending on your needs, it could read inputs on 1/2 the ports,and run outputs on the other half, based on the inputs. The RENS are capable of serial transmission... which we almost never direct back to the PC. So take a SimpleREN-16 (for 16 inputs).. or a JEC Pixel (8 inputs). Haul out the PWM schtuff, setup the pins as inputs and a polling loop. Tx a serial packet to the PC if/when the pins change status.

Need more inputs? Setup a column/row scanner (presto.. you just made a keyboard encoder).

I know.. I'm making it sound easy, and if you don't have the programming background it can be a bit daunting. The point I was trying to make is that the hardware that we already use, is probably quite capable of doing what you need, with some mods to the software/firmware. I'd like to take this one one, but I promised my son to get his Enigma machine FW running, and I've made a commitment to try and get a DMX version running for the D-light board (I think that's what it was called). Not to mention the 9-5 which is currently going much longer than 9-5. OH.. there's a mega-tree to build.. and someone once mentioned that we really should be sequencing by now.. (:rolleyes:)

LabRat
09-16-2010, 11:31 AM
The K8055 is called the Velleman USB Experimenter's board. It has 8 digital and 2 analog outputs plus 5 digital and 2 analog inputs. Its digital outputs carry positive voltage so to make them work with normal DIY SSRs, you'd need to run them through a ULN2803A and then out to the SSRs.

It functions more like a 595/Grinch as its outputs are on/off only, so the board is not dimmable. But its inputs supposedly can be read by the plugin.

I made a 32-channel controller out of four of them, but have never tried them as a trigger mechanism for Vixen. You can connect up to four of the boards to the same computer.

Oh jeesh.. if it's just PIC inputs on a USB bus.. then look at the UBW (USB Bit Whacker (somehow that spelling never looks right)). It's a very easy to build (proto-board, home-etch, or custom pcb) and gives a USB connection to multiple I/O pins. Using the stock fw you get serial connection to it. Sparkfun sells them if you want a kit. My usb2dmx is pretty much the same thing.

BuzzKill
09-16-2010, 12:27 PM
The basic reason this never gets fully implemented for this puropose is that Vixen can only run one thing at a time. You cannot play multiple sequences simultaneously. It makes sense from a hardware perspective, that you can't address the same controllers from multiple simultaneous sequences. Although for us Haunters it would make Vixen an absolutely insane animation controller. Imagine being able to have 6 sequences, waiting for an input and then be able to have the same 6 sequences address 4 channels each of the same Ren24. I'm getting a chill up the spine just thinking about it.

It's nice to dream. But alas, I do not see this in the foreseable future.

So if you only have one prop. And you want to use an entire REN24 to run the one prop. Or if you want to try and run multiple instances of Vixen and configure each isntance to use a singe Ren on a different COM port, and try to get the inputs to work seperately for each of the vixen instances, or use a stack of netbooks, each running their own instance of vixen, one per prop, etc, etc. You get the idea.

dirknerkle
09-16-2010, 12:55 PM
The basic reason this never gets fully implemented for this puropose is that Vixen can only run one thing at a time. You cannot play multiple sequences simultaneously. It makes sense from a hardware perspective, that you can't address the same controllers from multiple simultaneous sequences. Although for us Haunters it would make Vixen an absolutely insane animation controller. Imagine being able to have 6 sequences, waiting for an input and then be able to have the same 6 sequences address 4 channels each of the same Ren24. I'm getting a chill up the spine just thinking about it.

It's nice to dream. But alas, I do not see this in the foreseable future.

So if you only have one prop. And you want to use an entire REN24 to run the one prop. Or if you want to try and run multiple instances of Vixen and configure each isntance to use a singe Ren on a different COM port, and try to get the inputs to work seperately for each of the vixen instances, or use a stack of netbooks, each running their own instance of vixen, one per prop, etc, etc. You get the idea.

Buzzkill, I've never tried this, but suppose you have a 4 or 6 core processor... I wonder if opening up Vixen and changing it's affinity to a specific core, then doing that 4 or 5 more times and setting each instance to a separate core might work for the instances you cite. One problem you'll encounter might be the subsystem -- the I/O and audio could get confused, but hmmmm... I just wonder... :idea:

bhilpert
09-17-2010, 02:12 AM
You guys lost me back there at "this is easy"

I would like to create a simple trigger board that is cleaner than the backwoods hacked mouse. Can someone here create a schematic of a mouse but put a flasher or pulse on the signal - That way it will create a clicking action (FYI I know absolutely nothing about parts and their proper names)

As I mentioned before I was planning on putting a pulse timer in the line but that is an additional board that I am sure could be done with just an additional chip (or flasher pluse thingy)

This is like a $6 trigger if you hack the mouse
Does anyone know the range on a mouse - Meaning how long could you extend the cable before it lost power
I should name this trigger using the hacked mouse - I call it...THE RETARD


Hell a wireless mouse is only $15 -
If we could amp the signal from that for greater distance you have a wireless trigger (The range of a wireless mouse is 6' to 32')

Wireless trigger - if someone can create a simple version of this I will personally mail them several hundred feet of wire


SORRY FOR KEEP GOING BACK TO THE MOUSE IDEA I JUST HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THE OTHER STUFF YALL ARE TALKING ABOUT

bhilpert
09-17-2010, 02:19 AM
Buzz

You could run multiple sequences at the same time

You just need mulitple computers and a trigger that set them off at the same time


Hell I can design this with 2 mouse(s), 2 relays, and 12v DC power supply

ishane
10-04-2010, 01:23 PM
Hi guys,
Here is what I plan to use.

I have a MAME controller and it uses something like this product.

http://www.ultimarc.com/ipac1.html $40

The KIWI input plugin for Vixen gives you the numberpad as triggers, for a total of 10.

The ipac unit lets you map any contact closure to a keystroke. So, if you use them both, you could have 10 triggers.

Hope this helps.

bhilpert
11-23-2010, 12:34 AM
NEED HELP!!!

I think I am going to try to build a fake elevator for next years haunted house....

I really want to do 3 floors - where the elevator will just move left to right to let people off in a different area in the garage (Before it crashes to the ground floor)

I would make the elevator floor buttons triggers

I am not familiar with all the abilities of Vixen - Would the K8055 allow me to do this and assign a different sequence to each button?

bhilpert
11-23-2010, 01:15 AM
or Is it possible to write the entire event as I program
and add a channel (17) that would pause or stop the program
then when you press the next floor it can start the program from where it left off????????

n1ist
11-23-2010, 10:10 AM
One common trick with elevators (to save having to physically move them) is to use two doors, one for in, the other for out, and use a motor to shake the cabin, along with either changing floor numbers or a moving arrow floor indicator, to simulate motion.
/mike

bhilpert
11-24-2010, 03:02 AM
The plan is to most of that

1)A motor to shake
2)Either pistons or air bags (Like the ones used on large trucks suspension)
3)Lights flicker
4)LED floor indicator
5)I think I might also try a rolling brick pattern through an opening at the top of the wall of the elevator (not sure)
6)A phone box to call when the power shuts off
7)Then have the security guard explain there is an earthquake before the elevator shakes to pieces
8) might put a fan that the top and bottom to simulate an upward or downward movement (Maybe a large fan at the top that has forward and reverse to push air going up and pull air going down)

I don't like the 2nd door idea - I like for people to leave the haunted house saying "how did that happen"

I think I might just make it rotate in 90 degree turns - which would limit the movement and a motor and gears could turn it

With limited space in the garage they may come out of the elevator on the 2nd floor and go left and then have to go right when they get out on the 3rd floor

DynamoBen
11-24-2010, 09:54 AM
I drew up plans earlier this year for a haunted elevator but we didn't have time to build it. Mine used a theatrical revolve to rotate the elevator 360 degrees and was motor driven. Since the elevator rotated and guests were seated I could show them approx 4-5 different scenes in the garage.

The floor indication switches were not function but lit with LEDs, there was a fan for motion, and 5.1 stereo surround sound with bass shakers (http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?Partnumber=299-028) for sound and rumbling (which avoids the need for air shocks an what not). On the control side I was going to use my Ethernet PropController to send network triggers to vixen to fire each sequences and control lights, motors, and everything else.

DynamoBen
11-24-2010, 10:16 AM
BTW if you want some more inspiration check these out:

First person walkthrough:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GnuCLybYO_w

Behind the scenes version:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ehDUTsb56U

bhilpert
11-25-2010, 01:29 AM
I saw that video earlier this year...

I have wanted to do an elevator for the past 9 years (And the video has kind of pushed me along)
9 years ago I knew I did not have the knowledge or money to pull off an elevator that was safe and worked.


The Ethernet PropController you designed - is it similar to the functions of the K8055???


Has anyone used the K8055?
What is a digital input?.... I thought I would be able to supply 5v or 12v to the input to get the board to trigger the response through vixen

plasmata
11-25-2010, 09:44 AM
There is an easier trick to make it seem like they are on a different floor. All it takes is a pivoting wall in front of the elevator. So the patrons walk up to the elevator from one side and there is a wall in front of them angled to the far side of the front of the elevator. After they enter it you have someone swing the wall so it now angles towards the other side of the elevator. When the doors open they really are just continuing down the same path straight they were on. You would also need a hinge somewhere along the pivoting wall so it can clear the front of the elevator yet end up flush with the side of it when in the "first floor" and "second floor" positions. You could also do the same idea with a sliding wall. The whole wall would have to slide from one side to the other. Same idea though.

DynamoBen
11-25-2010, 12:45 PM
The Ethernet PropController you designed - is it similar to the functions of the K8055???

It could be, the PropController is designed to be an open platform for development. The quick and dirty solution with the PropController would be to pair it with Parallax's Digital I/O board. A touch of code to support the I/O and some Ethernet code to send trigger commands to Vixen would be all that is required.

http://www.parallax.com/Store/Accessories/Hardware/tabid/162/CategoryID/37/List/0/Level/a/ProductID/658/Default.aspx?SortField=ProductName%2cProductName

Beyond the quick solution I have a board designed that would handle the digital inputs separate from outputs which I hope to finish up this coming year.


Has anyone used the K8055?
What is a digital input?.... I thought I would be able to supply 5v or 12v to the input to get the board to trigger the response through vixen

A digital input is an on/off input. The assembly manual for the K8055 claims to support up to a 50V digital input so 5V and 12V should be no problem.

The hard part about this solution is the code. I'm not sure if vixen supports it, if it doesn't you will have to write (or convince someone else to write) a plugin to support it.

bhilpert
11-26-2010, 01:48 AM
The K8055 already has a .dll located at http://www.vixenlights.com/downloads.html#trigger_plugins



The key banger would be a great stand only item for smaller less complicated props. It does not require a computer. (http://storea.sprawlingdelusions.com/product_info.php?products_id=31&osCsid=96a28b47cd85eac0b7572cef46f949cb)
This has an on board trigger, memory, and relays.

Key board in use
Go to the 3min 50sec mark on the video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CWoAV8xOWU&feature=related

DynamoBen - Can you tell what parts they have on there

I would bet we could make this board for less than $30 - they sell them for $110

bhilpert
11-26-2010, 01:50 AM
I do like the idea of moving the walls

Even If I were to rotate the elevator 180 degrees
I could have them do left first
Get back in - move the wall then go right

bhilpert
11-26-2010, 02:19 AM
DynamoBen - Here is another video of the key banger
http://www.halloweenforum.com/halloween-props/82949-here-sneak-peak-my-controller-ez-screamer-prop.html

I think this could also have a use in Christmas displays

Like if you had a display item you always wanted to do the same sequence when triggered.... You could program vixen as normal and for that item you only have to send one signal for it to begin its sequence.
That would also free up other channel

DynamoBen
11-26-2010, 11:23 AM
DynamoBen - Can you tell what parts they have on there

I would bet we could make this board for less than $30 - they sell them for $110

It's hard to tell whats their board since the photo shows the micro on the bottom. With that said it doesn't look hard to make, and could be done more inexpensively or better with the micro of your choice.

If I were to do this with a propeller (or PropController), I would use eight inputs for the keys and 8 outputs for the relays (which leaves 16 pins for other things). When the programming button is pushed I would store to flash the key hits. If I really wanted to be fancy I would record to SD card. Then its just a matter of playing them back in order with the correct timing. The only tricky bit would be the timing between hits needs to be recorded which could be done with a real-time clock or on-board...both of which are doable.

With all this said the advantage with this design is you could use DMX or Ethernet to trigger the sequence.

bhilpert
11-27-2010, 12:16 AM
I only have a small understanding of boards (My management degree only taught me how to move paper and send emails)
I have only built a few (Kit 74, my own 1 or 2 channel relay boards, and a lightning machine using audio and a triac)

But you are saying with the propeller, timmer, and some memory I could build that......

I looked at your propeller board and those small solders around the chip look a bit difficult

If you have time - Give me a parts list for what you think is needed and I will try to build this in the few weeks (I guess you would also need a delay or something so the board only fires once - to allow the use of a motion detector or other trigger that may fire for long periods or multiple times)
(audio would be an additional feature that would complete this board)

bhilpert
11-27-2010, 12:19 AM
DynamoBen - Is there anyway you can do one of those videos to show all what the propeller can do? I know they can be a bit cheesy but once we see it in action it gives a better understanding.

bhilpert
12-01-2010, 01:51 AM
I think this is a board that this community could really use and expand on. The fact that it is stand only (On board memory) would allow you to have props that don't have to be connected to the computer.

Here are some photos - If someone can tell me what parts I need - I will be glad to order them and get a PCB built for a test run

http://storea.sprawlingdelusions.com/popup_image.php?pID=31

http://storea.sprawlingdelusions.com/images/oem_keybanger_with_audio.jpg





Here is a newer version - this has the option to hook up to the computer
http://www.efx-tek.com/files/ez-8_preview.png
http://www.efx-tek.com/common/graphics/ez-8-mini.jpg

budude
12-01-2010, 02:07 AM
I think the problem you may have is getting the firmware for the board - I didn't see on their site where to download that. Without that there are several folks here that could whip up something that could do the same thing. The nice thing about their card is that they have an add-in (think they mean plug-in?) for it for Vixen.

bhilpert
12-01-2010, 02:37 AM
Yeah... Dynamoben stated the propeller would work and you would just need a clock and memory
(The propeller does have on board memory - Not sure if it can be used for storing the pattern - my guess would be no)
And the propeller also has 40 pins so you could even up the channels if you wanted

I am going to work on this to see what I can put together... My knowledge is limited but I will do my best.

budude
12-01-2010, 02:43 AM
Yeah... Dynamoben stated the propeller would work and you would just need a clock and memory
(The propeller does have on board memory - Not sure if it can be used for storing the pattern - my guess would be no)
And the propeller also has 40 pins so you could even up the channels if you wanted

I am going to work on this to see what I can put together... My knowledge is limited but I will do my best.

Ah misunderstood the context - thought you were trying to reverse engineer that particular board specifically...

bhilpert
12-01-2010, 02:54 AM
Either that or make one that will do the same functions.

I have a few props that sit in the back corners or in areas where this board will really be useful.

DynamoBen
12-01-2010, 09:57 AM
DynamoBen - Is there anyway you can do one of those videos to show all what the propeller can do? I know they can be a bit cheesy but once we see it in action it gives a better understanding.

Well that is difficult to do since it can do what ever you program it to do, the propeller is just a microcontroller and my board just makes it approachable and reconfigurable (a touch more plug and play). The reason I created the PropController was for flexibility, so you can do projects like this then at Christmas load up new code and attach different modules and do your light show.

What has been done so far with the PropController? A 128 channel dimmer, LED strip control, and soon GE color Effects control.

For your project I would need to finish up the boards I started and write some code. I'm willing to work on this next if you are interested. Basically I will create an input and output module and then write some code to send trigger signals to Vixen and then receive info from Vixen to run lighting and relays. I suppose you will need motor control too, what type of motor?

Once all this is done I can shoot a video.



I looked at your propeller board and those small solders around the chip look a bit difficult

I felt the same way as I was designing the board, I had never soldered SMT by hand and was afraid it would mess it up. In the end it was a lot easier than I thought. It's a lot easier than it looks.

bhilpert
12-01-2010, 03:13 PM
The motors I use are just 12vdc - The board would not need anything extra for that. I would just use a standard 12v relay

DynamoBen
12-01-2010, 03:18 PM
The motors I use are just 12vdc - The board would not need anything extra for that. I would just use a standard 12v relay

If on/off is OK that you are right nothing new would need to be added. However if you want speed control, I would need to layout a motor driver.

bhilpert
12-02-2010, 12:23 AM
If on/off is OK that you are right nothing new would need to be added. However if you want speed control, I would need to layout a motor driver.


I think most DIY haunters use the 12vdc (Worm Gear Motors which is what I use)
Like wiper motors and I don't think speed control is an option with those motors
It has a high and low depending on how you wire it
(the motor requires at least 12volts to operate and more than 12volts will/could damage the unit)

bhilpert
12-02-2010, 12:28 AM
Here are some of the props from the past few years
And I just found Vixen last year which allowed me to do the electric chair last year and the door this year


http://www.youtube.com/user/bhilp?feature=mhum#p/a/u/2/94rDkndelmM

http://www.youtube.com/user/bhilp?feature=mhum#p/a/u/1/nfWhziF6zXk

http://www.youtube.com/user/bhilp?feature=mhum#p/u/6/RNtmRKrZsQA

DynamoBen
12-03-2010, 12:09 PM
I think most DIY haunters use the 12vdc (Worm Gear Motors which is what I use)
Like wiper motors and I don't think speed control is an option with those motors
It has a high and low depending on how you wire it
(the motor requires at least 12volts to operate and more than 12volts will/could damage the unit)

My wiper motor has been run with a motor controller before, which allowed me to adjust its speed from Vixen. A motor controller provides 12V at all times however instead of a constant 12V it sends progressively shorter pulses of 12V to slow the motor to a crawl. (AC motor control is a bit more complicated, DC is pretty easy)

bhilpert
12-03-2010, 11:29 PM
Cool... Then a motor control on that board would be awesome

bhilpert
12-05-2010, 12:18 AM
My wiper motor has been run with a motor controller before, which allowed me to adjust its speed from Vixen. A motor controller provides 12V at all times however instead of a constant 12V it sends progressively shorter pulses of 12V to slow the motor to a crawl. (AC motor control is a bit more complicated, DC is pretty easy)

Hey Ben
I was thinking about a few things

how much extra does the motor control cost?

If we were able to add audio play back also this would be a complete brain system for robots or other props

Just a thought

DynamoBen
12-11-2010, 12:57 PM
Sorry for the delay, I'm not consistently getting email notifications.



how much extra does the motor control cost?

Hard to say, depends how I design it and how many motors can be controlled. A single motor speed controller is basically a FET and supporting components, which wouldn't cost much.



If we were able to add audio play back also this would be a complete brain system for robots or other props

Just a thought

Its a matter of code and hardware. There are dozens of ways to do this, with that said this is pretty ambitious and would be something you would need to code since it would be specific to the ride you are creating.

For audio the two low impact (premade) ways to do audio would be either the AP-16 (http://www.parallax.com/Store/Accessories/Sound/tabid/164/ProductID/697/List/0/Default.aspx?SortField=ProductName,ProductName) or an IPOD. At one point a few months ago I was playing around with the Apple Remote Protocol. This serial protocol allows you to control and IPOD (its what they use in the docks). However I fried a couple of pins on my Propeller and had to move onto other things. It looks like my code would work but to date its still untested.

UPDATE: Almost forgot about the VMUSIC2 (http://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/FTDI/VMUSIC2/?qs=vnwGVgFuQiYCrKscKT8PIQ%3d%3d) which would be 1/2 between the two above listed options and there is already code for it (http://forums.parallax.com/showthread.php?121804-vmusic-and-propeller).