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Psychomaniac
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was wondering if anyone has used the audio boards sold by Electronics123?

Audio and Sound Effects

They're inexpensive but the sampling rate is also pretty low. The USB model does 12K sampling but runs on button cell batteries which is less than optimal.

I need some of my props to make sound on demand this year and I'm looking for an inexpensive yet decent way to do it.

Thanks!
 

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As for the vendor, I used them to buy a Kit74 (Parallel Port Relay Board) and they were really easy to deal with and had fast shipping. I have not used that product though.
You may want to look into the VMusinc2 (FTDI Vmusic2 USB Interface For Microcontrollers w/ MP3). And if you are using the EFX Controllers, you know that they have the improved AP-16 coming out soon. I have an AP-8 and can't wait to get the 16.
 

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Yes...

I've used several of these .....they're OK..good enough for a "scream" or sudden startle sound....you will need to purchase the wire harnesses to attach to the circuit board (also sold by them), as there are jumper pins on the board to trigger playback of the audio. They are static-sensitive, though, which means, if you use a relay / solenoid valve in the project, you will need to use a capacitor across the relay / solenoid's coil contacts to prevent feedback or false trigger/repeating. :D
 

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Psychomaniac
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It'll just be for a scream or yell when a pneumatic prop deploys. I bought some of those motion activated sound boxes off eBay last year and replaced the motion sensor with a switch (and added an audio out jack) but the sound was too poor. Those also have a significant "pop" sound when playback ends. I'm not employing any programmable or computer based prop controllers. I just use motion sensors with time delay relays.

Craig, can you share which audio boards you've used from them? It seems to me that the USB board would be best due to the sampling rate and recording method but you never know.

Thanks!
 

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Quality is sort of like a cheap voice recorder sold at Walmart.....if your input level is low enough, and you amplify the output, it should be fine for what you're doing....I wouldn't use it to record a Haunted Attraction foyer spiel, though...also, the playback response time is a bit lagged...ie, when you hit playback, there is a few milliseconds before the actual sound outputs...that can be a PITA if you need to synchronize it to mechanical movement...just a heads-up...
 

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That site has a lot of products that are useful for Halloween. Light Organs, Time relays etc.

Re the sound board, the USB unit has a higher sampling rate and they also have some ISD based cards (although I'd rather get the Cowlacious units as they are specifically designed for Haunters)

It's easy to mod the board for a 3xAA box input though.

Nice site though - useful find. Thanks very much.
 

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Psychomaniac
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I received the USB boards yesterday. I removed the speaker and soldered on a stereo audio jack (with both channels tied together) and loaded a few different sound clips to test. The quality is not bad. It certainly seems good enough for a prop sound effect. A high pitched woman's scream had some weird artifacts but all the other sounds I loaded seemed good. Being able to plug it into USB and load the sound clips directly is a major bonus.

Now I have to decide about power. The button cells provided put out an even 4.5 volts. Three AA batteries put out 4.8 volts. There's really no way to tell what the board will take without frying. The same question comes up with using an AC adapter. Even set to 4.5 volts the actual unregulated voltage is higher. I'm thinking I might just stick with the button cells. They should easily last long enough for Halloween.
 

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Psychomaniac
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Another update... Before I started messing around feeding more than 4.5v into the board I decided to try something more obvious. I pulled the batteries and plugged it into a USB port. It works fine powered by USB. All I need to do is connect a cut up USB extension cable to a 5vdc power supply (of which I have many) and I'm in business. No additional battery holders or DC coaxial power jacks required. As an extra added bonus, with this method you don't have to remove the button cells so you can run it either way.

Most excellent!
 

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Psychomaniac
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623 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Sick of me yet? Here is yet another update... I finished rebuilding both USB audio boards I purchased into small project boxes (that I also got from Electronics123). This also involved adding a stereo output jack and a jack (I use RCA connectors) to trigger it in place of the switch. I'm quite pleased with the results...



It's very small. I can use a USB extension cable to load sounds and a USB to 5v adapter to power it without ever having to open the box. I tested it last night with my time delay relay based prop controllers and it triggered just fine. I had no troubles with false triggering or relay bounce and I did not have to add a buffering capacitor.

For $11 (plus the box and jacks) it's a heck of a deal and easily adequate for prop or other sound effects.
 

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I bought two of these boards. I thought the first was DOA. I pulled out the piece of plastic from the switch, pressed the button and nothing. (No sound - No LED light blinking) Turns out that the batteries were dead right out of the package. Works fine when plugged into the USB port of my computer. Just a heads up for anyone else that gets one of these.

The second board worked fine on supplied batteries.

My boards came pre-loaded with what I'm guessing is an advertisement in Japanese.

Overall the boards seem pretty cool

ScaryTinker
 
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