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So I made my first pneumatic (banging coffin) and I was wondering how to control it. I know I can buy controller but I've been trying to think of a less expensive route. Is there any way to turn the solenoid off and on fairly quickly remotely or via motion detector for less than $75 or do I need to bite the bullet and just buy a controller from one of the halloween prop sites?
 

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A great controller for just about any prop is the PROP-1 from EFX-TEK.com It's core is a BASIC STAMP 1 (BS1 for short). It takes a bit of time to learn how to write code, but once you get the hang of it you'll be hooked. The EFX-TEK guys are really great to deal with and they have a forum where you'll get tons of help writing your program until you get used to doing it yourself. PROP-1 controllers are only $40 and can do a heck of a lot. Check them out! :cool:
 

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Check out the for sale by merchant section--there is a 4 button controller thread--I think they are $74--best featured conroller for the money in my opinion
 

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There are ways to trigger a solenoid directly from an IR sensor, but you will do just that, the solenoid will trigger and activate the cylinder and it will stay that way until the trigger is removed. It sounds like you have a coffin which you want the lid to open and close several times to create a "Banging" effect. For that, you will need a controller of some type. You may want some sound effects as well.

The Prop 1 will certainly work, I use them extensively; however, the initial cost will be much more than $40 by the time you get all the parts needed. They also do not handle sound well. I do have some utilities created by our group which allow someone with no programming experience to program a Prop 1.

I would recommend the controller Kermit13 mentioned. It is a key banger, meaning you program it by pushing buttons and making it do what you want the prop to do. It also handles sound easily and is pretty much plug and play.
 

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There are ways to trigger a solenoid directly from an IR sensor, but you will do just that, the solenoid will trigger and activate the cylinder and it will stay that way until the trigger is removed. It sounds like you have a coffin which you want the lid to open and close several times to create a "Banging" effect. For that, you will need a controller of some type. You may want some sound effects as well.

The Prop 1 will certainly work, I use them extensively; however, the initial cost will be much more than $40 by the time you get all the parts needed. They also do not handle sound well. I do have some utilities created by our group which allow someone with no programming experience to program a Prop 1.
I would recommend the controller Kermit13 mentioned. It is a key banger, meaning you program it by pushing buttons and making it do what you want the prop to do. It also handles sound easily and is pretty much plug and play.
While it is obvious that the "key banger" prop controller mentioned here is very popular, it is limited to what it can do compared to a true programmable controller like the PROP-1. A "key banger" is really a programmable "sequencer", not a true "controller". Once it is programmed, a sequencer will do the exact same thing each time it runs which tends to get a bit boring. A true programmable controller has the ability to make decisions based on internal and external conditions which can change it's behavior while operating. A banging coffin lid is a prime example, it is much more realistic and entertaining if the banging is random and not the same set of movements each time it is triggered. Just something to think about when choosing a controller for your prop. :cool:
 

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. A banging coffin lid is a prime example, it is much more realistic and entertaining if the banging is random and not the same set of movements each time it is triggered. Just something to think about when choosing a controller for your prop. :cool:
A banging coffin lid to the general public going the same sequence is not important in most cases. In a haunt where the people might see that coffin once for 10 seconds a simple key-banger is a good investment vs the cost of a prop 1 and the learning curve and added parts needed. Sure boring for us to watch--but you guests won't care.
 

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A banging coffin lid to the general public going the same sequence is not important in most cases. In a haunt where the people might see that coffin once for 10 seconds a simple key-banger is a good investment vs the cost of a prop 1 and the learning curve and added parts needed. Sure boring for us to watch--but you guests won't care.
Not trying to stir the pot on this, a key banger is fine if you want super simple and don't want to take a bit of time to learn a more advanced method for controlling props. I truly believe anyone that puts in a little effort learning code is very happy afterward, it's a skill that serves you well for any future projects and it's also fun when you see what the controller is capable of. The extra initial parts that keep getting referred to is just a simple (and inexpensive) BS1 serial adapter. Once you have that, you can program as many PROP-1's as you want. I also tend to disagree with people only seeing the prop for 10 seconds. If you have a decent yard haunt, people tend to hang around awhile which would subject them to seeing a particular prop several times. Again, just my 2 cents, and an option for controlling your props. :D
 

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So I made my first pneumatic (banging coffin) and I was wondering how to control it. I know I can buy controller but I've been trying to think of a less expensive route. Is there any way to turn the solenoid off and on fairly quickly remotely or via motion detector for less than $75 or do I need to bite the bullet and just buy a controller from one of the halloween prop sites?
If you want to go the DIY controller route, the Arduino Nano is another option. Here is the setup I will be using to retrofit my Monster in a Box:
arduino.jpg

About $15 for the parts from ebay and some programming. It would suit your needs.
 

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So I made my first pneumatic (banging coffin) and I was wondering how to control it. I know I can buy controller but I've been trying to think of a less expensive route. Is there any way to turn the solenoid off and on fairly quickly remotely or via motion detector for less than $75 or do I need to bite the bullet and just buy a controller from one of the halloween prop sites?
Honestly ... YOU and ONLY you need to make that decision ....
If you want to go the cheapest route possible , then YES , by all means a motion detector works and as does a MIR and all the controllers listed above .
And if by chance you use any of the following Christmas light controllers ( LOR , VIXEN , AL and the others that are out there ), they also , could be adapted to do this . Either randomly or sequentially as you choose .
You should also think about if you want this prop to activate ONLY when someone is near , or at random timing or ? The more complex , the more expensive it gets ... so , again , this ALL depends on you , your pocket book and what exactly it is you are wanting it to do and WHEN ....
Good luck with your decision.
Oh ... and FTR - my banging coffin uses a cammed wiper motor and is hooked to two different motion detectors located at the two corners of the property to set it off ... why there ? because its amazing and funny watching folks try and figure out where/how they trigger them when they get closer. LOL The coffin is on one side of my sidewalk and on the other - right across from the coffin , is an air controlled jumper that lunges out when the trigger for him , which is right near the coffin sets it off .
 
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