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nwcworld
03-09-2011, 12:28 AM
I need help to make a board that will work with VIXEN and communicate with the renard SS boards to control the walmart singing skulls i have. The skulls run on 3AA battery's and they have jaw movements with light up eyes only. If any one knows what i need to do and can send me a design with a BOM like with the renard boards i would be grateful.

mmulvenna
03-09-2011, 07:36 PM
You might try www.scaryterry.com or www.halloween2go.com

kychristmas
03-09-2011, 10:20 PM
Chris Maloney (ctmal) has done some great work. My son is planning on soldering up the Renard - Servo controller that Chris has in the File Library.

http://doityourselfchristmas.com/forums/dynamics/showentry.php?e=123&catid=8

Chris has also created some great plugins to use in Vixen that help sequence the Skulls correctly.

http://doityourselfchristmas.com/forums/showthread.php?15096-Skull-Sequencer-AddIn

We are currently waiting on the parts. I tried to get some of the Walmart Skulls after Halloween. They were closing them out for like $4, but I missed out on them. I found a few website that sell the Sub-Standard Skulls as decorations. There are tutorial around that show how to convert those to 2 and 3 axis skulls.

ctmal
03-10-2011, 01:05 AM
First of all, thanks for the kind words kychristmas.

The only issue(I hope) you would have with the Renard Servo Controller would be that it can't control the eyes. I'm making the assumption that they are leds so you would need some form of a DC controller also. There are tons of options for that. If you have or are planning to expand to anything that uses external SSR's you can use a DC SSR to control it. If not and you don't mind self etching, I used this (http://doityourselfchristmas.com/forums/showthread.php?10975-Yet-another-Renard-DC-Concept) for my DC lights for last years halloween. I just rebuilt my skull for this year and added led eyes and that is what I'll be using. I believe there are also other DC Renards created with higher count and you might be able to get a premade board for those. I think you can do a tag search to find it.

kychristmas
03-10-2011, 01:23 AM
Chris,
Have you looked at some of the RC Switches for controlling eyes. They are essentially Switches that use standard Rx Servo signals to switch DC voltage. You can also wire in some standard LEDS into one of the servo control. I have done both on standard RC Rx modules to add LED headlights and other accessories to RC vehicles. I was assuming your Servo Board would be able to use these methods as well. No?

Here's a web page that describes the direct method.
http://www.rc-cam.com/led_info.htm




First of all, thanks for the kind words kychristmas.

The only issue(I hope) you would have with the Renard Servo Controller would be that it can't control the eyes. I'm making the assumption that they are leds so you would need some form of a DC controller also. There are tons of options for that. If you have or are planning to expand to anything that uses external SSR's you can use a DC SSR to control it. If not and you don't mind self etching, I used this (http://doityourselfchristmas.com/forums/showthread.php?10975-Yet-another-Renard-DC-Concept) for my DC lights for last years halloween. I just rebuilt my skull for this year and added led eyes and that is what I'll be using. I believe there are also other DC Renards created with higher count and you might be able to get a premade board for those. I think you can do a tag search to find it.

ctmal
03-10-2011, 01:45 AM
Chris,
Have you looked at some of the RC Switches for controlling eyes. They are essentially Switches that use standard Rx Servo signals to switch DC voltage. You can also wire in some standard LEDS into one of the servo control. I have done both on standard RC Rx modules to add LED headlights and other accessories to RC vehicles. I was assuming your Servo Board would be able to use these methods as well. No?

Here's a web page that describes the direct method.
http://www.rc-cam.com/led_info.htm

I actually never thought of that but yes, it should work. The only drawback is that the led's would be always on. If you wanted to sequence them on/off or dim them you wouldn't be able to.

I guess the next thought would be "what if I used the control line?". This would worry me because it would be extremely easy to go over the amperage rating of the pic output pins and even if you only connected 1 led I'm not sure it would be very bright(if on at all) since the maximum it would be on would be 2.5ms each 20ms.

kychristmas
03-10-2011, 01:51 PM
Not sure why you think they would always be on? These switches use the a channel on the RC setup. I'm not sure about the dimming aspect, but it would simply use one of your Servo lines to control the LEDs. In this case, you would have the on/off defined in your Vixen sequence. One is switched and the other is using the control lines, but as you mentioned, I was worried about that as well. I know the Receivers can handle pretty decent size LEDS, but they also can drive the larger servo's.


I actually never thought of that but yes, it should work. The only drawback is that the led's would be always on. If you wanted to sequence them on/off or dim them you wouldn't be able to.

I guess the next thought would be "what if I used the control line?". This would worry me because it would be extremely easy to go over the amperage rating of the pic output pins and even if you only connected 1 led I'm not sure it would be very bright(if on at all) since the maximum it would be on would be 2.5ms each 20ms.

ctmal
03-10-2011, 02:42 PM
Not sure why you think they would always be on? These switches use the a channel on the RC setup. I'm not sure about the dimming aspect, but it would simply use one of your Servo lines to control the LEDs. In this case, you would have the on/off defined in your Vixen sequence. One is switched and the other is using the control lines, but as you mentioned, I was worried about that as well. I know the Receivers can handle pretty decent size LEDS, but they also can drive the larger servo's.

According to the website you linked to the Yellow wire, which is the control signal, is disconnected. The Led is connected between the Red(Positive) and the Black(Ground) which, at least in the case of the Renard Servo Controller, are always hot. So the led would be turned on as soon as power is supplied to the controller.

kychristmas
03-10-2011, 03:10 PM
According to the website you linked to the Yellow wire, which is the control signal, is disconnected. The Led is connected between the Red(Positive) and the Black(Ground) which, at least in the case of the Renard Servo Controller, are always hot. So the led would be turned on as soon as power is supplied to the controller.

OK, I didn't look closely, it looked like a circuit I had seen before. Sorry about that.

I think the Switch is the way to go. I believe they are less than $10. While not cheap, its certainly not too out-of-line with the cost of doing a skull.

Anyway, I know there are ways to drive it directly using Resitors and a Transistor. I seem to remember it was semi-Dimming. Not smoothly, but would work for a skull. I never used it on a Vehicle, but I did have it Bread-boarded and it worked. I'll see what I can dig up at home. Its been a few years. I may actually have the circuit soldered up somewhere on a perf-board.

I'm going to challenge my son with adding servo-driven eyeballs to the Bucky Skull.

ctmal
04-14-2011, 10:31 AM
Check this (http://www.garageofevilnetwork.com/profiles/blogs/how-to-build-your-very-own) out.

This setup looks like it might have better range and motion than the typical setup. It looks like I might be rebuilding my rebuilt skull!

ctmal
04-14-2011, 10:39 AM
Chris Maloney (ctmal) has done some great work. My son is planning on soldering up the Renard - Servo controller that Chris has in the File Library.



Did you start on this yet? If not, if you have a Renard 64(or any renards that use external SSR's) here's something to consider. I'm actually thinking on redoing my setup this way...
Instead of having the Servo controller with all 8 servos in one location you can make a 'Servo SSR' type device that would be small enough to fit in the skull and only have 4 Servo ports on it. All you would need on this board is to bring the control lines on with an RJ45 jack connected to your Ren64(with the Servo firmware) and a 5 volt power supply connection.
Having said that, the servo controller worked great for me last year so I may just keep it that way.

Just a thought...it might make for a easier setup depending on your needs.

Oh, and it's really cool that your son is showing the interest in electronics.

kychristmas
04-14-2011, 01:03 PM
First, on my son... He's a hack and he's starting to irritate me. I'm trying to be patient. He loves tearing stuff apart, not so much putting it back together. He does like soldering, but so far, his impatience is a problem. Of course he's only 15 and I guess I have to cut him some slack. While he has interest in doing it, he's at that stage where Dad's a geek and its not cool to work along side me with stuff. He just wants me to pay for it, provide the tools, and leave him alone. Which is actually what I'm going to do. We are in a bit of a holding pattern. He's playing High School Baseball and its averaging around 20 hours/week. He spends another 10 hours a week at the GYM getting ready for Football. On top of School work and friends, there's just not much time right tnow.

I haven't purchased the skulls yet, but I have the servos and 3 of your Renard Controller etched (not drilled) I also have most of the parts for the controller.

I don't think I'm smart enough for the Servo SSR. Did you design it already? I'm actually in the process of converting to almost entirely Distributed AC Contollers (Ren 64s and Ren24LV, and Simple 16s) and RGB controllers (Ren 48LSD) Except for my Mega Tree, I will be entirely Distributed. When the Group Buys come in, I will have 5 Ren 64s with SSRs and I have etched up 8 Simples 16s. So I would be interested in this new approach as well. If I can keep him involved, I have a ton of ideas for servor driven stuff.


Did you start on this yet? If not, if you have a Renard 64(or any renards that use external SSR's) here's something to consider. I'm actually thinking on redoing my setup this way...
Instead of having the Servo controller with all 8 servos in one location you can make a 'Servo SSR' type device that would be small enough to fit in the skull and only have 4 Servo ports on it. All you would need on this board is to bring the control lines on with an RJ45 jack connected to your Ren64(with the Servo firmware) and a 5 volt power supply connection.
Having said that, the servo controller worked great for me last year so I may just keep it that way.

Just a thought...it might make for a easier setup depending on your needs.

Oh, and it's really cool that your son is showing the interest in electronics.

dale
04-14-2011, 01:26 PM
are you talking about the Blucky skulls or the crystal looking ones both have light up eyes and botttom jaw that moves?

ctmal
04-14-2011, 01:27 PM
I didn't design anything yet but if you're interested I will. It'll give me an excuse to tinker more. I'll also have to look at the pinouts...I changed the order in the Renard firmware. I think I can create an option in the firmware to change it back to the origional Renard settings.
I'll tinker some...more options are always better, right?

ctmal
04-14-2011, 01:28 PM
are you talking about the Blucky skulls or the crystal looking ones both have light up eyes and botttom jaw that moves?

I've been using the Lindberg skull. It's cheaper and lighter than the Blucky skulls.

ppohlman
04-14-2011, 01:52 PM
I didn't design anything yet but if you're interested I will. It'll give me an excuse to tinker more.

I bet there would be a bunch of people that would be interested in a "Servo SSR", me being one of them. I've already got some REN64s and a Ren24LV. I've been thinking about building some skulls, but haven't taken that first step yet. A servo SSR would be perfect to just pop it in and be able to control some servos without having several different servo/power wires. How about a thread to see how many people would be interested?

n1ist
04-14-2011, 06:33 PM
Dave Hoppe and I are making a servo controller; 8 channels of servos and 8 channels of LED (good for eyes and stuff), DMX controlled. You can read about it over at DLA (http://diylightanimation.com/index.php?topic=4835.0). Features include programmable ranges and direction for each servo, programmable DMX addresses for each, optional regenerated DMX out and Lynx wireless support.

/mike

nwcworld
05-19-2011, 02:08 PM
Hey mike how is the design coming along? Let me know when u get them done

nwcworld
05-19-2011, 02:14 PM
Hey Chris sorry working 2 jobs makes me forget a few things that i need to do or check for that matter. I ahve the Walmart 10$ cheep skulls with the LED eyes and the little motor for the jaw IF any one has a design up and ready to be tested let me know on here and also if any one has the boards already made i would like to purchase them if not then i will need the diagrams and information to give a board maker. Also the only boards i have are the rennard ss16 and 24 so if at all possible and if any one knows how to make the skulls work with Vixen program that would be wonderful.. Sorry i am pressed on time right now some one might of already answered that one but will have more time to look after work.

David

ctmal
05-19-2011, 08:15 PM
Is the "motor" in the skull you have a regular servo(normal servo wiring)? If not, can it be replaced with a servo?
If you answered yes to either of those, you can control servos with Vixen but you would need a servo controller. There are tons of options out there. The most popular are DMX controllers but if you'd rather stay with the Renard protocol you can take a look at the Renard Servo(just do a search for it). All the files are in the file library.
As for controlling the LED eyes, you would need a DC controller for that. There are multiple options out there for these as well.

Another option would be to get a controller that uses external SSR's(i.e. Ren64). You could then use a DC SSR for the eyes and I am in the process of designing a Servo SSR Replacement board. The drawback of this is it's not complete yet and very limited testing so far so no promises can be made at this point.

n1ist
05-20-2011, 07:18 AM
Protos of the our servo/led board just came in; I'm shipping some off to Dave and Charles for further testing.
/mike