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Discussion Starter #1
I was hoping to find some help with getting a better motion sensor system to trigger my props. Most of them have a headphone jack that is to connect a foot pad, some have a separate port for a generic motion sensor. but I was looking for something with an actual beam, like a photoelectric sensor. I was wondering if anyone has found any that work well for a decent price. And also can you attach them to the prop with the foot pad jack?
 

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They make a simple PIR device for those without much experience in wiring up props that might work for you. It's too late in the season to order it from Ali Express where I picked it up, but they might have them available on Amazon or a local or online electronic store. I just included the screen shot to give you an idea of what they called it to aid in your search if it seems like a viable option for you. No prop controller needed. It's a simple "activate, run, turn off" device. You can set the amount of time it runs, but that's it. No bells and whistles, but then again, no outrageous price tag if you don't need what a prop controller offers.

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OP, I had the same problem and ended up using these LED light PIR sensors as well. Amazon has them for $10 or so. I used the output of the PIR to close a relay which was wired to the try me jack.
 

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OP, I had the same problem and ended up using these LED light PIR sensors as well. Amazon has them for $10 or so. I used the output of the PIR to close a relay which was wired to the try me jack.
Just an FYI, the problem with using only a PIR and relay connected to the "Try Me Jack" is timing. When the PIR is initially activated, it will trigger the prop, BUT, if it's activated again before the prop sequence is finished, it will stop the prop. Just like the "Try Me" button does if you press it before the sequence is done.
 

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Just an FYI, the problem with using only a PIR and relay connected to the "Try Me Jack" is timing. When the PIR is initially activated, it will trigger the prop, BUT, if it's activated again before the prop sequence is finished, it will stop the prop. Just like the "Try Me" button does if you press it before the sequence is done.
We have one set up with a vulture skeleton, and it does sometimes get quirky when a large group of kids go by. But for us, the expense of a controller box at $70 and a PIR at around $10 to $12 was just too great for a dorky little scare. For around the cost of the PIR alone, we got the above device and a wall wart to run it.

We have our talking skeleton in a rocker wired through the try me button in the skull's head, and to the wiper motor that runs the rocker. They're both turned on and off with a remote activator. That lets us set off whatever we want whenever we like. So he sit's quietly rocking until kids come up the stairs, and then he stops rocking and says one or more of his phrases as he's looking at them. Having done that, he usually starts rocking again. It depends on the crowd. We do whatever seems fun at the moment. It catches the kids off guard because he does so many things independent of a repeated motion. It's a better choice if you're actively involved in your haunt, but not so much if you just want to let it do its thing all night.

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The vulture call is obnoxious enough that we don't care if it gets turned off after the first squawk. The scare has been made, the rest is just noise. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #8
@ chubstuff, that definitely seems like a better option for the price, how exactly do you attach that to the prop though? And @ nicad2000 could you possibly show me a diagram of how you wired it together and also what kind of relay did you use?
 

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The Pirate Skeleton and the Vulture Skeleton use two different ways to access their routines. I am not very savvy about the specifics of what I do. As long as it works, I'm happy. But if I understand relays correctly, the Pirate Skeleton uses a relay that is activated by a button. The way we did it is very similar to this site.

The vulture uses the PIR pre-wired remote. In my mind there is no relay used, because all that happens is someone walks by, trips the PRI and it lets power through for however long you set it for. The power turning on is what activates the routine for the bird. After it's run for the time we set, it resets itself and is ready to be tripped again. We have ours set for two minutes because that's the full run of about thirty seconds of the bird squawking, after which it goes quiet for the remaining time the current is still on. Once that time is up, the PIR resets and the next person who walks by will trip it and start it all over again. The Play Me button on the vulture doesn't have an on off option. You push the button, the bird squawks through his whole routine and then turns off. You can press the button multiple times while it's running and nothing happens.

Most folks would plug the PIR device into a 12 watt wall wart, but we use a battery pack because the vulture is sitting on a post out in the middle of everything, and dragging a cord to it is inconvenient. I don't do schematics, because I'm not an electrician. I think J-Man or Nicad2000 might be able to give it a proper rendering, but what we have is much like the picture below. The skull in the picture would be our vulture. I just found a prop online that had a try me button, and used it. As far as I know any prop with a try me button can run wired this way. The power supply plugs into one end, on the other end, the try me button is left in the prop, the button is cut off, and wired to an adapter, or directly wired to the PIR unit by cutting off the plug and joining the prop and PIR wires.

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If those who know more about the actual electronics involved want to chime in, I would welcome it. J-Man has helped me out frequently, and that's the whole purpose of the forum. I've done some stuff I didn't think I could because others have been willing to give advice. So, anything I didn't explain well, or overlooked would benefit by others giving better advice.
 

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You can bypass the 2nd interrupted PIR trigger with a timed relay. Set the timer on the relay for your longest scene so it will not activate until the scene plays out. Your shorter scenes (if multiple) will just have a longer post delay.
 

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@ chubstuff, that definitely seems like a better option for the price, how exactly do you attach that to the prop though? And @ nicad2000 could you possibly show me a diagram of how you wired it together and also what kind of relay did you use?
Sure, this is just a crude drawing but hopefully conveys the idea. You could probably use any SPST relay but I went with some Arduino relay boards from Amazon because they already had a connector block attached. The props I use this on actually won’t interrupt the try me sequence when the PIR is reactivated so I haven’t had that issue. The only other thing to mention is that the PIRs we are talking about have a minimum of 2 second delay. Therefore, they won’t trigger your prop until 2 seconds after the PIR stops detecting human movement. I have dealt with this by using a short piece of PVC over the PIR sensor to narrow its field of vision.
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