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mkozik1
01-29-2012, 02:05 PM
I do a pretty good bit for Halloween and using separate systems to control, but need to bring them into one app if possible. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated!

DynamoBen
01-29-2012, 02:40 PM
New to this board and was wondering if you could elaborate on the way you are using your propcontroller. I do a pretty good bit for Halloween and using separate systems to control, but need to bring them into one app if possible. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated!

I use by boards for Halloween too. The nice thing about the PropController it is a blank slate, in that if you can dream it and program it you can do it. We have some premade projects like dimmers but you could make it do whatever you want. Depending on your needs we should start a new thread to talk through it. What are you trying to do?

mkozik1
01-29-2012, 06:16 PM
I use by boards for Halloween too. The nice thing about the PropController it is a blank slate, in that if you can dream it and program it you can do it. We have some premade projects like dimmers but you could make it do whatever you want. Depending on your needs we should start a new thread to talk through it. What are you trying to do?

Well Ben - Last year I did a pretty decent pirate scene: ship, cannons, 3-axis scull, etc. I am expanding on the theme for this year by including dualing cannons in my trail. Two cannons, one on each side of the walkway diagonal from one another. Lights are down until guest walks up which will trigger the scene. The lights will come on for the first pirate, he will have a few things to say (3-axis skull) then pull the trigger firing smoke, light and sound. Once this happens, the other pirate will light up and a couple of seconds late there will be a splash from where the cannon ball hit the water next to him. He will have a few things to say and vice versa will shoot back triggering a sawdust cannon which will simulate a tree being hit.

I have been running LOR and VSA in the past and want to bring these together into one application for this scene if possible. I have looked at the LOR Servo Dog and it is quite expensive so I started to look around. I found the diylightanimation site which in turn has brought me here! They have a great deal of stuff that looks promising and make mention of the parts and piece here (Vixen, Arduino, Renard, etc) I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed but can do some programming and such and am just looking for the right tools to make life easier!

I appreciate any and all the help you are willing to give.

Take care,

Mark

DynamoBen
01-29-2012, 06:29 PM
The PropController could certainly do what you are asking. It could run servos, it could run lights, it could run servos and lights. I guess it depends how much work you want to put into it.

DynamoBen
01-29-2012, 06:45 PM
So what were you hoping to accomplish this year that might include the PropController? Just servo control or more?

mkozik1
01-29-2012, 06:55 PM
Well, as mentioned, I am looking to bring all the systems together into one app so that I can get my timing correct along with the sound. I need to operate the (2) 3-axis skulls along with audio (figured left and right channel). Currently I would need VSA for this as I am using an SSC32 Servo Controller. I need to control 12vDC to trigger pneumatic value which operates a gate for the cannon and an air blast to push the air out of the cannon instead of a puff. 12vDC for LED lights inside the cannon to simulate fire. Then 12vDC to trigger pneumatics to simulate cannon ball hitting the water and the tree. With this I need a solution that does not have to have RS232 connected to each servo controller.

Looking at the diylightanimation site, I am looking more into DMX to accomplish this. Using their MR-16 DC control board, their Bobcat Servo Controller and either Vixen or stay with LOR if it will work.

Being relatively new to this part of it, I see that many are using LOR, Vixen, and LSP for their productions. I am at the point where I am not married to any of it and can move to what will be the most practical to accomplish my goals!

DynamoBen
01-29-2012, 07:21 PM
If you move to DMX you can switch software apps pretty easily. In regards to doing all of this with a PropController you would need to build interface boards (aka daugtherboards) and then write code to control each type of device. As long as you are handy with a soldering iron and willing to learn some code its pretty straight forward.

For my show I have four skulls that pan and tilt, I'm driving the servos with a Parallax Serial servo control board. However I have the servo control board connected to the PropController and its translating DMX to serial, which is how you could do it if you want to keep the servo controller you have.

For the pneumatics and smoke the easiest solution is relays. I'm finishing up some code right now that allows for relay control, you would just need build and interface board with relays.

For music you can either do it local on the PC or do something like this (http://www.sparkfun.com/products/11029) or source one of these (http://search.digikey.com/scripts/DkSearch/dksus.dll?x=0&y=0&lang=en&site=us&KeyWords=vmusic). Alternatively I wrote some untested code a while back that controls an IPOD. (I can't test the code because I don't own one)

For DC dimming there are a number of people working on a DC dimmer for the PropController, not sure when or if they will finish. I do however have DC dimming code, if you want to build something.

Lots of options, but all assume a higher level of technical ability.

mkozik1
01-29-2012, 07:48 PM
I see by your profile that you are the creator of the PropController so that explains a lot!!! Which of the PropControllers are you speaking of to use in this scenario?

DynamoBen
01-29-2012, 07:53 PM
I see by your profile that you are the creator of the PropController so that explains a lot!!! Which of the PropControllers are you speaking of to use in this scenario?

The PropController has two flavors DMX or sACN (Ethernet). In your case DMX looks like the right fit. Do keep in mind the PropController is similar to the arduino in that its really just a piece of hardware. But unlike the arduino it has 8 processors in one, and is object oriented. I originally designed the PropController to allow people to make custom devices, whether that be dimmers or motion control, and I wanted it to be completely open source open hardware.

mkozik1
01-29-2012, 08:24 PM
OK - Now I get to my dunce cap on and show some ignorance. I have been speaking of a prop controller put out by EFX-TEK and I am assuming that this is not what you are speaking of. Can you send me a link to your product?

DynamoBen
01-29-2012, 08:28 PM
OK - Now I get to my dunce cap on and show some ignorance. I have been speaking of a prop controller put out by EFX-TEK and I am assuming that this is not what you are speaking of.

Nope. Mine is called Prop for the Propeller Microchip it uses.


Can you send me a link to your product?

It's not a product, its a project. http://doityourselfchristmas.com/forums/showthread.php?12334-NEW-PropController-Project

mkozik1
01-29-2012, 08:32 PM
I have looked again and found your post showing that it is the Parallax unit - This is cool because I have had the starter kit for over a year now, started working through some of the items but never got very far. This will give me a reason to move forward with it. The chip I have is the BS2 and I see that you are using the propeller version. :ohwell:

mkozik1
01-29-2012, 08:53 PM
This one might be a bit over my head! I read about you using spin code and assembly language and that is WAY out of my league! As much as I want to learn this, I don't even know where to start! More searching ....

DynamoBen
01-30-2012, 12:47 AM
This one might be a bit over my head! I read about you using spin code and assembly language and that is WAY out of my league! As much as I want to learn this, I don't even know where to start! More searching ....

There are lots of ready made solutions but with convenience goes $$$. Good luck with your search.

DynamoBen
01-30-2012, 12:49 AM
BTW I happened upon these the other day, not sure if they work for what you are trying to do. http://www.frightideas.com/

jcross
01-30-2012, 01:57 AM
I have used stuff from http://www.frightprops.com/ (motors and servos) and remember seeing controllers on their site also. I believe some of them can be chained together. I bought the picotalk last Halloween and it was able to run servos for two skulls using audio from any device. Cannot remember if they had large enough controllers that would work for your purposes but it may be a good resource site. They also have air cannons and some other really cool devices. The only issue I had was when I got my order shipped to Canada because of the $100 shipping after UPS charges were applied :( not nice for a non-profits major fundraiser.

Ha! Just noticed that frightideas and frightprops appear to use the same stuff (may even be the same company). Sorry