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kit 74 and singing pumkins

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hello i was just wondering how hard it is to use the kit 74 for singing pumkins.
also i would like to know, if there is better way of putting together this type
of prop
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· Registered
44 Posts
LED singing pumpkins

I was able to do the singing pumpkins a couple years ago using the SSC-32 to control 3 color LEDs (one channel per color). I had eight multi-color lights controlled by VSA. It took a bit of tinkering to get the SSC to power the LEDs, and the effect wasn't too noticeable in daylight, but looked great under low-light conditions. If your display is primarily at night or in a space where you can control ambient lighting, it's a low-cost way to get a pretty versatile effect.

I used:

VSA software and PC
SSC-32 controller
eight 20kmcd three-color LEDs (common anode)
24 matched resistors
prototype breadboard for connections
lots of 4 conductor wire
shrink tubing
8 faux pumpkins (on sale from Micheal's the previous year)
Sand to keep pumpkins from blowing away (it was really windy that year!)

I had a program of about 8 songs that looped throughout the evening. Looked great in the dark.

· Banned
85 Posts
Although a KIT74 is a good starter board , you will grow tired of it soon . It does have its disadvantages also .
1) there is no dimming capablities
2) its parallal connection , which means it has a limited distance from the PC to the KIT74 board
3) the clickity noise coming from the relays gets LOAD in a spot where you want only the sound of the prop/effect to be heard.

Now , there is lots of choices for both hardware and software other than what is suggested.

There are FREE software programs that will do the job , and there are ones you need to pay for . Based on what you need and how much you will use it , should help you decide which software for you to get .

Now , for the hardware . there is PLENTY of different boards out there that is MORE than capable of doing what you want . Most use either the serial port connection , or a USB connection , which , gives the user a LOT further distance from the PC to the board , AND , it allows daisy chaining as well .
Most of these boards having dimming abilities and are using solid state relays , rather then mechanical ones like on the KIT 74 board. ( which means less chance of failure , longer lasting and a LOT quieter . )
Now , you can go many different routes for hardware .
From cheap , DIY ( cheap as in cheap to build , not cheap as in crappy items )
up to the RTU (ready to use ) items , such as LOR , or AL , or lots of others .
AL and LOR both use their own software , which , is an additional cost for the software.
Then there is software , like VSA , which , also costs you money as well .
Now , I would suggest BEFORE bying ANYTHING . Get yourself a FREE copy of the different softwares available and play around with them , untill you feel comfortable with one ... then , hopefully , its one you can afford ( :) ) .
And then choose the hardware to fit what you want it to do .
Oh .. my bad ... there is another advantage of the KIT74 over the SSR style hardware .
The KIT74 can handle higher amperage per channel and total for the board , and can also handle things like transformers and motors without glitching . But ... again , the KIT74 can not dim lights / slow motors.
Now , gonna get a little deeper here . There are hockey puck style SSR's taht CAN handle motors AND slow them as well , BUT , these SSR"s are costly .
Now , these hockey puck style SSR's can be controlled by different hardware thru different software .
Good luck on your hunt for the "right" software and hardware .

· Registered
494 Posts
Regarding motor/solenoid control using relays, it's always smart to use a 'flyback diode', even if you're using mechanical relays.

This probably isn't the place to explain the (physics) phenomenon, but when you turn OFF any inductive load (anything with a coil of wire), there's potential for a big voltage spike. If you don't have a flyback diode in place, the voltage spike can either just cause a bunch of electrical noise (which could mess up your routine), or it could also destroy some of your electronics (in the relay area).

So, it's a good idea to install the diode, even if using mechanical relays. #1, it'll keep the rest of your electronics from being subjected to the large electrical noise spike (i.e.: source of 'glitching'). #2, the voltage spikes could eventually burn out contacts on even a mechanical relay.

If I'm speaking jibberish, look up 'flyback diode' on wikipedia. You hook it up across the two leads of your motor/relay/solenoid with the 'Cathode' side of the diode connected to the positive side of your motor/relay/solenoid. The Cathode side of a diode usually has a line on it.

Oh yeah.... this ONLY works for DC. DON'T do it on an AC load :)

- Hook
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