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I will show you mine if you show me yours.

5915 Views 48 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  Specter
No that’s not what I am talking about. What I am referring to is my Halloween prop control center. I live in the Arizona desert and we do not have lawns in our front yards. What we do have is a lot of rocks and very hard dirt.

That makes for some very difficult Halloween setup. So I have been working on this setup for a number of months.

The first picture show the control box without doors, you can see a number of shelf with different components. Each following pic moves down the inside of the control box.

Things of interest.

Keyboard with six switches above.
Two computers with KVM switch.
Six K74 boards
Six plugs on the outside / Wiring to the plugs outside
Orange wire below the plug, this will plug into a 220V line that will be split into two 110V circuits.
Outer wrap for power lines.
Black (Snake) (Thanks Randy for the name)) Prop power line.
The back of the box without doors.

More to come.

Thx PMT
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Embedding

Dr. I would be happy to embed the pic’s if I knew how. So if you would share how to do that I will start doing it because the other way is a pain in the A**.

Anyway in your pic’s you show your setup that I think controls your Skull prop. If you would please explain how that works it would be very very helpful to me in the build of my control center.

What is what and how you wired it.

Thx PMT
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Specter

PropMaster-
This looks great, but what's it used for? What are you controlling with all of it?
Thanks!
What I will be able to control as it sets right now is 48 different circuits. This can be anything from lighting; pop up’s & ground breakers. All run on VSA program networked between the two computers.

One of the computers has an optical out connection on the sound card that runs into the sound system.

Yet to be added will cover a three-axis skull.

All of the design revolves around transport of the system and setup.

I would very much like to see how the rest of you handle your setup, so please post some of the things that you have done and what you would have changed.

Thx PMT
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Cables

A little detail on the cable (power supply) set up and how it will work when the big day comes again.

What you see here are the male/female connectors that are inside of the base receptacle and the cable end fitting. Disconnected & connected.




Next is the Cable end fitting, if you look closely at the holes where the female connectors slid into you may be able to see the numbers 1-9. This is key in keeping the power line in the proper order. Also on the outside of the center section you will find that it has key like tabs so it will only seat into the base receptacle.



The cable end fitting come in two sections, cable end and the cable anchor. They simply screw together and lock the cable into one nice neat package. Each cable has two end fittings.





The base receptacle also has the numbering sequence 1-9 and female slots to except the keys from the cable end fitting; this again ensures that everything is properly line up. The receptacle uses the male connectors.



The black sheathing protects the nine 16g wires. Eight hot and one is neutral. All in a cable that is just over a ½ inch round.

PMT
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Onlinecomponents.com
P.O. BOX 25905
LOS ANGELES, CA 90025
Ph: 414-371-1500 Fax: 414-365-3288

Email: [email protected]

66589-1
Manufacturer: AMP / TYCO

66590-1
Manufacturer: AMP / TYCO

206708-1
Manufacturer: AMP / TYCO

206966-1
Manufacturer: AMP / TYCO

206705-1
Manufacturer: AMP / TYCO

Hope this helps.

PMT
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
One thing to know if you order from Online Components, order what you need for sure and have them ship the order complete. I made the mistake of having them ship from different location so I could get some work done and it just ran up my shipping charges.

They do not list what is coming from the other shipping centers. So I thought that I missed a part that I needed and ordered it from Bayside Electronics than an invoice popup on the credit card.

Called to get an RMA and this is what I found out. The restocking fee is a RIP OFF of $30 or 30% what ever is more. The shipping and handling fee for a one-pound box shipped to AZ was over $7. The costumer service personal are rude and I asked for the company owner to call and have not gotten any response as of yet, 5 days now.

On the bright side I found the Bayside people to be very nice and I will do business whit them in the future.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Time for an update.

What you see below is the back of the control center with some new wiring added.



The next pic show where the main line come in and is split into two 110 volt circuits. (orange line brings in the power (220V))



The next shot shows how the two line are used, and are set to allow the needed room to plug in wall transformers that power the K74 boards, two computers, sound system & monitor.



Last shot shows the six switches that will send the 110V to the k74 boards so they can be turner on/off.



They are hard wired into the system. and setup so the keyboard tray can be pulled in and out.

PMT
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
control center & setup

This is impressive. I thought about doing this when I first started haunting. Many, many haunters and techy-guys discouraged me from doing it. Their reasoning was that it's better to have each individual prop/system separate from a main controller or computer. If the controller/computer shuts down or has a problem- the entire show is down. On the flip side- if a prop shuts down, at least all the other props/display are still up and running for the night.

What's your thoughts on this approach?
I believe in trying to keep everything together, we all probably started haunting by running extension cords to every corner of our yards and trying to keep track of what went where.

In my case this became a nightmare (no Halloween pun intended), testing and than retesting took a lot of time and going back and forth to plug this and that. That is when I started to think about a control center.

My first control center was just a couple of dimmer switches and some push buttons to activate a pop up. This worked well but the only problem is that I had to sit there all night and the TOT’s would have to walk up to me and get to see how this all worked.

My second was when I moved into using the VSA program. This also worked well except that all of the hook ups were crudely done using banana plugs and color-coding. But it was all most like going back to running extension cords all over again. And it was very hard to move into place.

So this is my third try at it. You know it is funny when you will come by something that will give you an idea about this kind of stuff. For example my power cords, I was at a training meeting when I noticed the hookup for the speaker’s podium. This is what I based my cords on; the hardest part is finding the connectors and working out how it will all come together.

By the way the training was at a center that harvest human aortic valves and veins for surgery patients. So I got to see how they harvest, size and freeze human tissue and a great way to improve my Halloween display. Oh the valve was a 23mm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Lighting

One night after reviewing some post on lighting for Halloween displays, I woke up in the middle of the night with what I think would be a really great idea. If you go back and look at some of the connectors that I am going to use for the power line to props and overhead lighting and apply that same technology to ground lighting this could be really cool.

So what I am thinking about is this. If I were to build a box and mount lighting in the box that hooked into this same type of power line, and then had a connector exiting the box on the other side. I could run up to eight circuits of lighting on one line. This line could go on forever.

You could have from 1-8 bulbs per box; you could have eight colored bulbs. The possibilities would be endless.

So what do you think????????
Have you built anything like this “box” for lighting?
How would you setup the bulb hardware? Can you move it? Can you point it at a target?

Please let me know what you think, and what you have done?


PMT
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
I am going to move forward with the ground lighting idea, I would like some input as to how you all setup your ground lighting? That is to say have you done anything other than just hooking up some floodlights. How do you hide the lighting? Did you build some kind of an enclosure?
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
Update time,

This is a side shot of my new control center.



This shot shows the power hook up for all of the props and lighting. To the left of that is the hook ups for the sound system. Two front speakers, two surround sound speakers and the last is a center channel speaker.



The front doors open and closed, and the back doors open and closed.







PMT
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
LED Lighting

I have some interest in LED lighting, I would like to know how you determine how many LED’s you hook up to what amount of power? Lets say you are going to use a 9v DC power supply, how many LED’s would you use in your spot and how much light would it put out? A little how to would be nice.
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 ·
Yet another update,

I just built one of my plug boxes for the control center.



Tested all six of the K74 boards.



Then each of the main power supply switches. They turn on and off the power to the boards.



Last of all tested each of the channels from the boards (all 48). What you see here is the hookup for the cable that goes out to the plug/lighting box.




I must say that I am very happy with the results. Everything ran as planned, this is going to save so much time at setup. It will also streamline the programming of the VSA. With so many channels to work with the possibilities will be endless.
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
Hey propmaster-
This looks AWESOME. I'm really confused tho- I don't suppose you'd mind telling us what props you're running, with what hardware? What are those 6 boards used for? How many props use VSA? Seems like you got a TON of animatronics running!

Also- do you have a main power cable coming IN to the system?

Thanks for the help- this just looks awesome.
Specter,

The main power comes in on a 12/3-extension cord; this is than plugged into a specialty-modified cord (jump cord) that is fitted with a 220V plug. This is plugged into a 30amp /220v plug that I use to run my 15” planer in my workshop.

Once the power enters the control center it is split into two 110V channels.
From that point it goes on to power everything connected to the system.

The computers control the six boards (K74). Three boards to each computer, eight channels per board. So you end up with twenty-four channels that are run per computer on the VSA program.

The K74 boards simply turn on/off the power, controlled by the VSA program. What I use it for is the following. Lighting overhead, up lighting from the ground, ground breakers, stand up zombies, air driven jump up’s.

Some of the props run on 110V but not many. Most use some sort on DC wall transformer. Now I do use a lot of lights, and they are switching on and off all night long. For example last year I did a Killer Clown theme, so I built a rope light that had three channels in it. With the VSA program I could get just about any effect that you could think of, the best was the chasing lights, looked just like the circus.

I hope that has answered some of your questions. I am sure the one that did not get asked is. Will I use all of the capabilities of the system?

I probability never will given the limitations of the area of my set up. But this is my third try at this, and I have had three years to think about what I would change. I believe that I will be able to say this is the last control center for me.

PMT
 
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