PDA

View Full Version : Where do I start?



Jim Curtis
04-12-2011, 01:09 PM
I am interested in building some "moving" displays, and would like some help on where good info is on servos, how to control, etc. I would love to see videos of others displays to get ideas. Help, please shorten my learning curve.

kychristmas
04-12-2011, 02:01 PM
"Moving displays" are a pretty broad item. ctmal has done quite a bit with some Server Control skulls. Most of it can be applied to just about any type of 2 and 3 axis movement.

ErnieHorning
04-12-2011, 02:35 PM
I believe "Moving displays" is still pretty new for a lot of people here. I would start by checking in the 'Halloween' subforum of the 'Learning center' forum. http://doityourselfchristmas.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?16-Halloween

There's also a ton of info on how to make objects move on several Halloween websites. They use servos to make skeletons and other dead, or sorta dead, things move. (:shock:)

DynamoBen
04-15-2011, 06:16 PM
Halloween props are a great way to learn. With that said it is often easier to figure out what you want to make first and then learn about what is need to do it.

The most common methods for motion control include servos (for smaller items), pneumatics, DC motors, and occasionally stepper motors. The Halloween "crowd favorite" is the automotive wiper motor, which is powerful, inexpensive, and has some limited on-board speed control.

Great Tutorial on Wiper motor use (http://www.scary-terry.com/wipmtr/wipmtr.htm)

KeithW
04-16-2011, 03:32 AM
For halloween I use a rotisserie motor to pull a string to raise/lower arms on a cheesy grim reaper - real slow, but moves nonetheless.

tuppet
05-28-2011, 08:23 AM
I've been playing with a bit of motion control in my non-christmas project, Bernie:
*edit* URL doesn't want to post correctly. Search for tuppetslights and look on the dragon's lair page. */edit*

I'd start by deciding on what you want this to join up with or how you want to control it. For example there are DMX servo controllers around if you're adding to a DMX show, or you can use very basic electronics or even remote controls from RC Cars to interact with your project. If it's a one off stand alone project like mine the arduino is hard to beat, but it does require some C programming skills.

Servos come in a range of strengths and qualities, but for most hobby stuff which doesn't need much of either I have trouble passing up these: http://www.dealextreme.com/p/mg995-tower-pro-servo-12832 and for the smaller stuff even these: http://www.dealextreme.com/p/towerpro-sg90-9g-mini-servo-with-accessories-12859.


Basically servos have three wires: power (usually 5volt), ground and signal. 1millisecond signal =0 degrees, 2millisecond signal = 180degrees, anything in between is proportional (eg. 1.5ms = 90 degrees). Most servos only have 180 degrees of travel, but you can also get continuous servos which rotate completely.

ctmal
05-28-2011, 05:02 PM
I see you're using Renards. If you don't use/want to invest in DMX do a search on this forum for the Renard Servo or the SSSRR. They can control the small hobby servos if that's what you have in mind.

justinj
06-08-2011, 08:01 AM
I was planning on doing something animated this year too, I was planning on using my existing Arduino to control general RC servos. That way I can program up the type of movement I want directly into the Arduino, and then just have Vixen trigger the channel over serial (You could also have multiple sequences programmed into the Arduino and have multiple 'trigger channels' pumped over from Vixen)

Jim Curtis
06-08-2011, 10:35 AM
I'm not familiar with Arduino ... explain if you would.

Andy.wpg
06-08-2011, 03:02 PM
I'm not familiar with Arduino ... explain if you would.

Arduino is a relatively new microcontroller. Very low cost, VERY capable, and has a huge 'fan base'.

Learn more HERE (http://www.arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/HomePage)

Have fun!

DynamoBen
06-08-2011, 03:05 PM
Other potential control options include controllers from EFX-TEK (http://www.efx-tek.com/index.html) and the PropController (http://doityourselfchristmas.com/forums/showthread.php?15969-PropController-Information).

tweist
06-08-2011, 03:51 PM
Looks like for a first year, you have a very aggressive project.

2011 First year 1000 channels

Sure am glad I'm not doing that many channels. The sequencing would kill me. And here I thought 520 channels was crazy.

Hope you find what you need here, and good luck

ErnieHorning
06-08-2011, 06:06 PM
I can't imagine doing any hardware a thousand times. Even at DIY prices, there might be some "splaining" to the wife.

justinj
06-08-2011, 06:45 PM
Arduino is a relatively new microcontroller. Very low cost, VERY capable, and has a huge 'fan base'.

Learn more HERE (http://www.arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/HomePage)

Have fun!

That pretty much hits the nail on the head!

When he says "Relatively new" it's been around for a couple of years which is newer than a lot, but a very stable platform (I did my first year of lighting last year and Arduino was my controller) that can be made to do just about everything (I mean it...there's even a modified Arduino that is capable of controlling a RC aircraft in FULLY AUTONOMOUS mode...my next project :P) and it's a super low price these days. I paid $160 for mine about 18 months ago (I avoided the $250 price tag earlier than that) but now you can get them on popular auction sites for $30.

Jim Curtis
06-08-2011, 09:35 PM
This sounds like something I need, time to spend more money!!


I can't imagine doing any hardware a thousand times. Even at DIY prices, there might be some "splaining" to the wife.

Don't say that too loud Ernie, she hasn't noticed yet ... seeing how it is just boxes showing up at the front door at this point. Now when it comes time to set up, I will have to do some splainin' about how much it all cost, not to mention the time it is going to take to setup the display (I already have the PVC for 18 arches, but have to build them, I have 30 six foot prewired trees, have 30 three foot prewired trees, plan on four mega trees around eight to ten foot and one spiral mega tree as big as I can make it. Got 16 candy canes prelight, gonna try to build some unique displays also involving the PVC I have, and have been working on getting the lights for it all. I fall short right now on lights with only around 30,000).


Looks like for a first year, you have a very aggressive project.

2011 First year 1000 channels

Sure am glad I'm not doing that many channels. The sequencing would kill me. And here I thought 520 channels was crazy.

Hope you find what you need here, and good luck

Everyone has been very helpful here... and yes, I do know how aggresive 1,000 channels is. Set your goals real high and even when you come close, it is far better than setting your goals low and acheiving them. I am lucky that I have a huge yard to do lots of every type of display, and that I live in Florida where set up and take down are going to be done in a t-shirt and shorts and not with a parka on. I am starting the sequencing mode now, and am enjoying what I think most people would say is ridiculous. My sequences are being done for a total of 1867 channels based on a well planned out display layout, the boards I have and my plans for the future (that includes around 120 non-display channels for beat tracks). I have spent the most of my time up to this point setting up my adjustable preview, again going way overboard as compaired to most, but I am very proud of how realistic it looks. I even did a spiral mega tree with four colors which I think turned out really great. The profile is HUGE ... 1.3 meg.

Enough chatting about the progress ... I have sequencing to do !!!!

Jim

WireWrap
06-09-2011, 03:53 PM
GOALS:
2011 First year 1000 channels
2012 Year two add 500 more
2012.1 Hospitalized for multiple trauma
2012.6 Released to Physical Therapy
2013 Get to know my wife's lawyer.

Jim

You're a braver man than I, sir.



:)

dirknerkle
06-09-2011, 04:02 PM
You're a braver man than I, sir.

:)

No, not more brave. The word MASOCHISTIC comes to mind...

:lol: