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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello everyone, I put together a video that describes a project I put together for creating an Arduino-based prop controller. I used an Arduino Nano clone that cost $3 and a number of other readily available parts for a sum total of about $20. This is including the PIR, power adapter, and everything.


I have more details on one of my project pages HERE.

The Arduino sketch source code is included in the zip file download, so if someone wanted to use it as a starting point for their own spin off project, that might work too.

If anyone has any questions, please feel free to ask away.

Thanks, Mike

Programming interface:
four_banger.jpg
Installing in the enclosure:
enclosure3.jpg
enclosure4.jpg
Trigger Input:
enclosure5.jpg
Mini USB port for programming:
enclosure6.jpg
 

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Wow, great resource.

I Have tons of parts on order for testing and prototyping this very same project. Knew the concept would work but was not looking forward to all the trial and error. Looks fantastic and cheap. cant wait to get started.

For beginners I would post the links of where to order the parts... getting it wrong could make a noob bald.

have you tried this design with a servo board?

thanks so much for sharing,

Fletch.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
For beginners I would post the links of where to order the parts... getting it wrong could make a noob bald.
If you follow the link to the main project page, there is a shopping list PDF along with many other details of the project.
I usually try to centralize the info in downloads in one physical location, then link to them so I do not have outdated copies here and there.

Regarding the servos, yes I have used servos, but in another project that is a bit more elaborate. The FourBanger controller I kept simple on purpose & just use the internal eeprom for relay state storage. Here are the specs for it using just 1k of internal eeprom:

The FourBanger has variable resolution which allows for shorter sequences of high resolution, or long sequences of low resolution. Here are the available resolutions in FPS (frames per second) and their corresponding maximum length:
25 FPS = 1:18
20 FPS = 1:38
10 FPS = 3:16
5 FPS = 6:32
The default is set to 20 FPS which allows for over a minute and a half of recording time.

The storage of servo positions is another story- these require much more storage space. I used 512mbit (64kbyte) i2c eeproms for that one. An at24c512 costs about $1. With this much added storage, it is possible to have multiple sequences defined, etc... That project is in flux because I am in the process of narrowing down just how many output types I wanted to support (TTL, PWM, SERVO, DMX, Etc...) and how nicely the libraries play together while trying to run simultaneously. I will likely start an entirely new thread dedicated to that project when it is more mature.

Thanks, Mike
 

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Hi,

I have built a few of these without the buttons. I use the program that came with his download. I hope you get an answer soon from

mikkojay but if you have started this project and need some help, I have a working example.

The author was a great help to me so I hope he finds your post..... have you sent him a PM?



The video is set to private and website is down. Any update on when they'll be back up and running?
 

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This controller is the bomb! I can not thank Mike enough for all the detailed instructions and info for it. I put 5 of them together and it was very simple to do, we went from having props and sound that were all just running non stop and muddled in or 20x20 maze to being triggered with motion and kicking off the motion and sound from these prop controllers, HUGE difference and jump for us, and great part is all the parts are so cheap, about 30 bucks if you include the wire and solder etc to put them together.
 

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The video is back up now... the message says he took it down temporarily because he wanted it to reflect new pinout and software, but decided to put it back up because it still contained a lot of pertinent information.

Awesome project, Mike/mikkojay! The programming interface looks really slick- I've always wanted a Vixen/VSA-like front end for Arduino. Thanks also for the details on the i2c eeprom - always wanted to learn more about that for saving more memory intensive data like servo positions and DMX values.

I love Arduino, and would encourage anyone even remotely interested in hobby electronics to play around with them. The pride you can take in your project (and saving money!) grows exponentially the more you do yourself.

neverhart
 

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Hi, is source code available for the PC software?

I started creating my own to control a few relays , servos , digital LEDs and sound, then I came across your project which almost fits the bill.

Kind regards
Matt
 

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New member here. I love what I see so far with the software, I just picked up a few arduinos, and some stepper motors & drivers. Is there a way to make FourBanger work with them, instead of solenoids? I have a skeleton I'm working on animating, and FB seems like an easy way to control it.

Thanks,

Chip Stewart
Hagerstown, MD
 

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mikkojay,

There is a minor issue with the sample wiring diagram on the website and in the docs, which I suspect will unnecessarily confuse people that are new to arduino/electronics.. Given one of the goals of the four banger is "Simple enough for a beginner" and I didn't see anything talking about it in the docs, I thought I should mention this.


The diagram shows a DCcduino, which is a clone of the Uno. It is not an exact clone. Specifically, it provides more power connections. A standard Arduino Uno R3 only has three ground pins and one 5V pin (the DCcduino has two 5V pins). A Nano R3 has one 5V pin and only two ground pins. Neither the Uno nor the Nano have the group of headerless holes that the diagram shows the PIR connecting to.

Without addressing this, a user would only be able to wire one of the four things to the standard boards at any given time (take your pick: PIR, switch, catalex board, or relay board).

Obviously, the solution is just to connect some method of power distribution to the 5V pin, and maybe to the ground. (Ground distribution is mainly needed if you want to hook up all four of the things shown in the diagram to an Uno, hook up three of them to a Nano, or you are daisy chaining boards together; due to the need for a common ground between the boards, the last thing will take at least one ground pin per board, and potentially two if there are multiple slaves.)

You could use a small breadboard (especially for a Nano, which can just socket into one), some sort of Y splitter made out of jumpers, or even a dedicated power block. Whatever works.
 

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Hi, new member here. This project compelled me to create an account. Thanks so much for the amazing work Mike! One question, what changed might be needed to use an alternate MP3 board? I couldn't get the Catalex model delivered in time for the big day, so I ordered the DFPlayer Mini, which includes serial/UART control. I assume that I would need to modify the MiniAudio.h file? I'm an admitted Arduino newbie, so I appreciate an help you could offer. Everything else is working great, just no audio.

Thanks

David
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I answered this question today on the thread over at hauntforum.com. I was kind of hoping this thread would die so I could keep this type of info consolidated in one place. Anyway, no code changes are required whatsoever. You will however need to use a 1k resistor in series to the Rx input, and use a beefier 5v power supply if you plan on directly driving a speaker with the DF Player. I don't normally mention this module because it requires a few more details to work correctly. These are the types of details that people who refer themselves as newbies seem to consistently overlook.
-Mike
 

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I answered this question today on the thread over at hauntforum.com. I was kind of hoping this thread would die so I could keep this type of info consolidated in one place. Anyway, no code changes are required whatsoever. You will however need to use a 1k resistor in series to the Rx input, and use a beefier 5v power supply if you plan on directly driving a speaker with the DF Player. I don't normally mention this module because it requires a few more details to work correctly. These are the types of details that people who refer themselves as newbies seem to consistently overlook.
-Mike
Thanks for the reply Mike. I tried to check out the thread over on hauntforum but it seems the site is down tonight. I got audio working now...I'm embarrased to say I had jumpered to the wrong pins appropriate for a headphone jack. The pinout I was going by is viewed from the TF card side, but I had it flipped over to plug in the jumpers and was on the wrong side of the board. For what it's worth, I didn't need the 1k resistor and get crystal clear sound by powering the MP3 board with the 3.3v power output on the Arduino UNO. It's working perfectly now.

David
 

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Did you ever get an answer? I too was hoping Mike would make this open source, or at least provide a download. I have Microsoft Visual Studio and Embarcadero RAD Studio, so changes are if he zipped up the project, I could play with it. Might be cool to see what others could add and take some load off him. Perhaps make an 8 channel version or support other controllers.
 
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