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Halloween Controller RPi - Control your Halloween lights, triggers, props, sounds.

4475 Views 18 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  mobeye
Hi All,

In the past i've designed and built my own Controllers but it's reached its limits, so I'm currently developing a software that makes use of the Raspberry Pi 2 capabilities to control RELAYS, INPUTS, SOUNDS and HIGH POWER outputs.

I would love to get some feedback from people here on the features you would like to see, it's almost in a usable state, pending some features i still need to implement, although i'm the only one using it and I would love feedback/suggestions.

If anyone want's to try out the BETA software and give feedback, you can PM me for details.

What you need in terms of hardware:
1 x Raspberry Pi 2
Runs the software and provides the I/O
1 x PCA9685 (~ $8 from ebay)
Provides 16 x PWM output channels
4 x MOSFET driver module (~$5/each on eBay)
To support the PCA9695 by providing HIGH DC current supplies (eg. Dimming of lights or motor control)
8 x Relay modules (~$8 on eBay)
8 x Digital Inputs

Currently, it supports the following;
- Ambient Sound, Light control
- Save/Load sequence
- Input triggered sequence (can assign as many of the available functions as you want)
On Trigger, you can set the following for each function;
- Assign start delay (Relay or PWM)
- Set the duration (Relay or PWM)
- Set PWM duty (eg Light brightness) (PWM Only)
- Lighting effect (Strobe, fade, etc) (PWM Only)
- Play a sound


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For me, the features would be to be able to run the program from a computer and manage several pis remotely, and second, manage videos (play, stop, pause) remotely.

I'm currently working on my timed projections (pumpkins, witch, and window) using python with 3 pis and my mac. I'm using the subprocess method to ssh into each pi and start a video which is working ok, but having to ssh into each one every time to pipe the omxplayer command can time out or take forever so timing is not reliable. Also, I need the pumpkins to pause at the end instead of stop and that's a whole different bag of worms that requires dbuscontroller... and I'm just learning all this so I'm a bit lost. But that's the fun of programming and doing this kind of stuff for Halloween, the learning.

I'm super interested in your program. Thanks for putting it together!
Check out falcon Christmas forums has all u want about the pi. We use them all day

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Yah it's all gui running Software created by users called fpp. "Falcon pi player". I personally use 5 of them one main and 4 remotes all synced togethrr

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Thanks for the comments guys, I had a look at Falcon Player and although the SW looks good, disregarding the cost of the PI, the other HW is damn expensive (unless I missed something)

If anyone wants to try it out, PM me and I'll send you the (beta) release.

There are HEAPS of features I can add but so far I haven't needed them and since i'm the only one using it, there hasn't been a need. For those interested, I've chosen to go down the path of Windows 10 IoT as the OS running in the background, so all code is written in C# using UWP APIs. In future, the software will provide the option to run the UI directly from the PI or on a Windows PC and controlling the Pi (or multiple PIs) through Wifi.
What hardware? U need a pi that cost 30 bucks. An sd card and a thumb drive. if wireless then a wifi dongle.

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https://vimeo.com/180054237. This is ran off a pi. Over 100k channels and hardware wise maybe 300 bucks total. That's 5 raspberry pis SD cards thumb drives and edumax wifi dongles. The fog and fire machines aren't shown in the video. Not derailing or talking bad about anything I think it's great people do what ur doing. Just thought maybe it would save u some time

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Eric_Edwards, that's pretty impressive...do you have a list of all your materials (excluding lights)? I'm more interested in how the lights are powered since clearly the RaspberryPi can't! I would love to give it a go.
Well the pi actually can power the lights with the pixel pi hat but it gets complicated lol. I use something Called the falcon f16v2 to control the lights and the raspberry pis have fpp installed on them and they send the data and signals to the lights. I just switched over to the raspberry pi and fpp vs buying a 2k gaming computer with enough power to drive all that. The raspberry pis do a dang good job. Christmas is even bigger than that Halloween one is.

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The falcon f16v2 is 200 bucks but can co tell over 32k channels. If ur into animated displays like I do then it's wonderful thing. But the falcon controller I have wouldn't be of any use to Halloween guys unless u animate lights like I do. However the fpp program and the raspberry pi could be of benefit the scripts are already wrote to use the gpio pins for relays and such. May wanna talk to some of the guys over there on falcon Christmas forum to see if it would meet ur needs as it stands I'm pretty sure it may and save you a lot of coding time. Was hard to Believe that a 30 dollar raspberry pi would outperform the i7 computer I have lol

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