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Thread: Remote triggering of Animatronics

  1. #1
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    Default Remote triggering of Animatronics

    I have a bunch of Animatronics (Spirit Halloween style) that I would like to trigger remotely from a central point.

    Last year I just ran a set of cables from each of the Animatronics and plugged it into the "Foot trigger", and then made the contact at the central box. However, this only works accurately about 33% of the time due to noise on the cables.

    So this year I would like to do this through some sort of relay.

    I was figuring a 24v signal over CAT5 that feeds into something like a CNY17 opto-coupler, but it would have to be something that can trigger cleanly with a signal from anything 5v to 24v (due to variable voltage drop over the cable).

    Generally opto's don't work that way around though - your input signal is stable 5v and the output can be something higher.

    I need a clean, de-bounced signal otherwise the animatronics will reset mid-animation, so I also can't just run the 24v through something like a 7805 voltage regulator - there is too much noise before it stabilizes.

    I know how to do this with an MCU, but seems like an overkill. Anybody got any ideas for a simpler circuit?
    Last edited by deonb; 09-12-2017 at 04:57 PM.
    2016: 21500 pixels, 24 E682's. 6 A/C with 2 LOR
    2015: 7500 pixels, 11 E682's. 35 A/C with 3 LOR
    ...
    2011: 64 A/C channels with 5 LOR

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Remote triggering of Animatronics

    So... the animatronics are 'electronic' based? i.e. is that the reason you have to worry about a bouncing switch?
    If so, why the reluctance to take care of it with an mcu?
    Shoot, you could buy boards for $2 that have an arduino programming front end that could do it.
    Make them generic, but them in a free Altoids tin, and Bob's your Uncle ! for under $4 most likely.
    Just have a box per prop that you want to trigger.

    Do you also know about the 'prop controller' that can drive via relays several props based on a button push or PIR trip?
    Quote Originally Posted by deonb View Post
    I have a bunch of Animatronics (Spirit Halloween style) that I would like to trigger remotely from a central point.

    Last year I just ran a set of cables from each of the Animatronics and plugged it into the "Foot trigger", and then made the contact at the central box. However, this only works accurately about 33% of the time due to noise on the cables.

    So this year I would like to do this through some sort of relay.

    I was figuring a 24v signal over CAT5 that feeds into something like a CNY17 opto-coupler, but it would have to be something that can trigger cleanly with a signal from anything 5v to 24v (due to variable voltage drop over the cable).

    Generally opto's don't work that way around though - your input signal is stable 5v and the output can be something higher.

    I need a clean, de-bounced signal otherwise the animatronics will reset mid-animation, so I also can't just run the 24v through something like a 7805 voltage regulator - there is too much noise before it stabilizes.

    I know how to do this with an MCU, but seems like an overkill. Anybody got any ideas for a simpler circuit?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Remote triggering of Animatronics

    Quote Originally Posted by ukewarrior View Post
    So... the animatronics are 'electronic' based? i.e. is that the reason you have to worry about a bouncing switch?
    If so, why the reluctance to take care of it with an mcu?
    Shoot, you could buy boards for $2 that have an arduino programming front end that could do it.
    Make them generic, but them in a free Altoids tin, and Bob's your Uncle ! for under $4 most likely.
    Just have a box per prop that you want to trigger.

    Do you also know about the 'prop controller' that can drive via relays several props based on a button push or PIR trip?
    Yeah, the Animatronics have their own controllers in them - I just provide a trigger switch.

    I would like to make a board small enough to fit into the battery compartment (takes 4 x 1.5v batteries). That way I just can replace the batteries with a single board that does both the trigger relay and have a voltage regulator for general power.

    The MCU issue is mainly that I'd have to etch a board. With a simpler circuit I can just do it on a protoboard.

    The prop controllers I know of are for motor and solenoid control. Are there ones that just would do an opto-relay trigger?
    2016: 21500 pixels, 24 E682's. 6 A/C with 2 LOR
    2015: 7500 pixels, 11 E682's. 35 A/C with 3 LOR
    ...
    2011: 64 A/C channels with 5 LOR

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Remote triggering of Animatronics

    There's no reason you can use an opto and have a wide input voltage range.

    Just choose the resistor so that the upper voltage limit is towards the max current of the opto's LED.

    Also using an opto with a high CTR % (> 100%) will let you run it down at the low end of the LED current (trigger voltage) range.
    www.da-share.com

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Remote triggering of Animatronics

    I have a broken prop like one of those that I just repaired. Will be triggering it with an ESP, just haven't gotten around to it yet.

    Sent from my R1 HD using Tapatalk

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Remote triggering of Animatronics

    Hi, whilst I can think of lots of fun ways to do this, given the spec what about a good old fashioned reed relay. From my experience they generally need more current than noise can supply and you have the option to add a resistor in parallel with the coil if needed.

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