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Keeper of Spider Hill
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here is my basic How-to for my Boris skulls.

Just a quick note: I built this with the intention of driving Boris from a LINE LEVEL signal. This setup has been tested successfully using the line out of a PC sound card and also the line out of a portable CD player. Many of the other hacks are using variable or amplified sources such as headphone jacks or tapping into amplified computer speakers. The main benefit of doing it this way is that you are not limited by the volume of your amplified audio output. You can turn your speakers up as loud as you want without ever having to adjust Boris. :)

List of Materials:

1 New Style Talking Boris

1 10K linear taper potentiometer RS# 271-1715
(an audio taper pot of the same value will work as well)

1 10 Ohm 1 watt resistor RS# 271-151

1 100 micro farad 35WVDC axial lead electrolytic capacitor RS# 272-1016

1 1/8 inch stereo phone jack RS# 274-249

about 2 or 3 inches of wire. 20-22 gauge should suffice.

Modifying Boris:

Step 1 : Remove the 4 screws on the back of Boris' head. Carefully separate the 2 halves. There is not a whole lot of wire to work with.


Step 2 : I removed the 2 screws that hold the voice changer controls to the rear section of the skull. By doing this it gives you a bit more slack on the wiring and makes it much easier to move around in there.

Step 3 : Locate the internal speaker at the rear of the skull and carefully cut the 2 Gray speaker wires (as close to the speaker as possible). Do Not remove the speaker. The pad on the back of it acts as a stop for his jaw, and if you remove it, his teeth will hit when he operates and it creates a very annoying sound.


Step 4 : Carefully strip back about 3/8" of insulation on each of the Gray wires that went to the speaker. I would suggest you try to use something like needle nose pliers to hold the wires as you strip them so you do not rip them from the circuit board. Solder one wire to each end of your 10 ohm reisistor.


Step 5 : Use some electrical tape to cover all of the exposed leads on the resistor. You can now re-install the voice changer control panel. Make sure to place the resistor out of the way of the jaw mechanism. You can now reassemble Boris.


Step 6: Cut off the Microbone. I cut mine just outside the housing figuring it gives me almost 15 feet of included cable to work with. Strip back about 2 inches of the black insulation from the cord. Separate the red wire and braided conductor.

Step 7: Solder the red wire coming from Boris to the "+" positive side of the capacitor. Solder the "-" negative side of the capacitor to the center lead of the potentiometer.

Step 8: Solder the unisulated wire coming from Boris to Pin 3 (if you are using the RS part) otherwise it would be the pin that goes to the tip of your audio jack.

Step 9 solder a small length of wire from Pin 1 (if you are using the RS part) otherwise the pin going to the outer ring of the jack to either side of your potentiometer. Make sure you tape everything on the input up so there is no chance of the wires touching.

It should look something like this.


Have fun !! You will find that it takes a bit of tweaking depending on the source, and even the file used from that source.

If you have any questions, please let me know.

Diabolik

[url=http://s38.photobucket.com/albums/e130/astreamk1/Halloween%2007/?action=view&current=Boris007.flv][/URL]
 

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Bête noire
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Thanks for the pics, Diabolik - very easy to follow. When working with the ST100 Cow board (no ISD), and using it to drive a servo, I found that I could get much better control over the servo by not using the spoken words to run it. I used Goldwave to insert a 440 kHz signal on one stereo track, and broke it up to match the words on the spoken track. So the left channel has the spoken words that go to the speakers, and the right channel has a bunch of modified "beeps" that go to the servo. You can move these beeps around easily and control the length, amplitude and decay of each beep. It worked very well for dialing in the jaw servo on the Reaper and it's not as tedious as it sounds. I plan to try this out on a Boris. Of course, this only works with a stereo sound source. I can send a demo file of this method to any who are interested. PM me with an email.
 

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I've found that adding the capacitor inside the skull, which requires unsoldering the red wire from the circuit board and soldering the + end of the capacitor in its place and attaching the now unconnected red wire to the - end of the capacitor , yields a more "bullet proof" installation. The radial lead cap tucks in nicely along the bottom of the board once the board is re-installed in the skull. The wire itself is knotted as a strain relief. So, once it's installed, it's good to go, not even any extra insulation required.

I also cut the end of the micro-bone wire at the microbone end, but I put a phono plug directly on it. That way, I can run an external potentiometer that can adjust the volume on multiple bori connected in parallel. For this purpose, I an 8 rca jack board RS# 274-370. I connect all the ring connectors together, and all but the top right tip connectors together. That yields 7 parallel jacks on an 8 jack board. The top right tip contact I wire to one outside lug of the 10K pot, and the inside lug of that same pot I wire to the tip contact shared among the other 7 jacks. By putting the input into the top right connector, I can adjust the volume on all of the other skulls with the one 10k pot. There's a gotcha, however, with this approach. it assumes that each boris is connected with a similar length of wire from the jack board. If you have some that are much farther away, you'll have issues with them because the extra length of wire adds to the overall resistance. In that case, you'll want to have individual pots for those on very long lengths of wire. I haven't found this to be a problem in my case, since I positioned all of my skulls within a space that didn't require me to add any extra wire to the original 15' that boris came with.

The next time I build a power supply board, I'll shoot some pics to add to this thread, so you can see how to put it inside without fouling the jaw movement.
 

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Bête noire
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I'm planning to hack a pair of these shortly. I'm going to mount the 10K pots and the audio jacks in the side of the skulls for easy access and cable attachment. Just curious - did the 10K pot work well for adjusting the jaw action, or is a different range preferred?
 

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I used a 10K audio taper pot, run from a composite audio source (my pc), and the results were completely satisfactory. If you choose to run from another source with higher output levels, you will need a higher value pot.

Mount the jack and pot on the back under the speaker, taking care not to foul the jaw movement that uses the speaker as a stop. No sense in having the pot stem and plug protruding from a visible area when you can hide it around back! Also, leaving the area opposite the circuit board open allows you to later add a 6v power supply board there, after you get tired of changing the batteries.
 

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Keeper of Spider Hill
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'm planning to hack a pair of these shortly. I'm going to mount the 10K pots and the audio jacks in the side of the skulls for easy access and cable attachment. Just curious - did the 10K pot work well for adjusting the jaw action, or is a different range preferred?
I was able to adjust the jaw fairly well using both the output of the PC's audio card and the line out of a portable CD player utilizing the 10k linear pot. The Cowlacious board was the only setup that really gave me no adjustment.

I have a 50k sitting on my desk that I haven't had a chance to try. I'll try to get on it this weekend and post my results.

Also, I bought a female cable end type phone jack to use on the Mic cord. That way I can still utilize the 15 foot of wire that comes with Boris.

I am going to mount the pot and cap internally while I am in there too. :)
 

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Bête noire
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Thanks for the info! I will be using a portable CD player for the sound source. The Line Out volume doesn't respond to adjustments of the Headphone Out volume control (no surprise there). Hopefully the Line Out will have enough power to handle both Borii. I'm going to try wiring the jaw motors to the Line Out and using the pots to dial in the jaw motion, and plug in some computer speakers to the Headphone Out.
 

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Keeper of Spider Hill
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the info! I will be using a portable CD player for the sound source. The Line Out volume doesn't respond to adjustments of the Headphone Out volume control (no surprise there). Hopefully the Line Out will have enough power to handle both Borii. I'm going to try wiring the jaw motors to the Line Out and using the pots to dial in the jaw motion, and plug in some computer speakers to the Headphone Out.

I did find that the line out jack on my portable discman was a little bit hotter than the output of the PC sound card. If you are planning to split is between 2 Boris, then Iwould think using the 10k pot on each will suffice.
 

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I did find that the line out jack on my portable discman was a little bit hotter than the output of the PC sound card. If you are planning to split is between 2 Boris, then Iwould think using the 10k pot on each will suffice.
If your discman has higher output than 1v peak to peak (composite standard), you'll need a higher value pot. If you connect two bori to it, each with a 10k pot, you're not getting any additive resistance unless you hook the bori up in series to each other. If you connect them in parallel, you take the cumulative resistance and divide it in half. It's better to run the audio into one pot, and split the output of that pot into two (or more) parallel inputs for the bori. As long as you keep use the same length of wire between the pot and each boris, it works perfectly.
 

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Keeper of Spider Hill
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
If your discman has higher output than 1v peak to peak (composite standard), you'll need a higher value pot. If you connect two bori to it, each with a 10k pot, you're not getting any additive resistance unless you hook the bori up in series to each other. If you connect them in parallel, you take the cumulative resistance and divide it in half. It's better to run the audio into one pot, and split the output of that pot into two (or more) parallel inputs for the bori. As long as you keep use the same length of wire between the pot and each boris, it works perfectly.
Sorry, I was thinking about the premise on splitting left and right channels between 2 Boris (thus 2 pots). Only thing I noticed was with the CD player, I had less control over Boris. He was just a little bit to the hot side, and his jaw hung just a bit too long at times. a 20k pot would probably be sufficient to curb this I would think ? I could not obtain one locally, so I grabbed a 50K. Mi intent is to use him with the Cowlacious board ultimately, and it is way hot right now. :D
 

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If your discman has higher output than 1v peak to peak (composite standard), you'll need a higher value pot. If you connect two bori to it, each with a 10k pot, you're not getting any additive resistance unless you hook the bori up in series to each other. If you connect them in parallel, you take the cumulative resistance and divide it in half. It's better to run the audio into one pot, and split the output of that pot into two (or more) parallel inputs for the bori. As long as you keep use the same length of wire between the pot and each boris, it works perfectly.
That sounds like a very workable configuration, Craig. The additional parts (caps, pot and a couple of mono jacks for the outputs) could be mounted in a small project box that is plugged in between the CD player Line Out and the Bori.

Later: I wonder if locating the caps further away from the Boris board would pose any problems? Typically the best place for a cap is as close as possible to the component, such as when using a cap across a DC power bus.
 

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Mouse Air Force
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Whoa. This is a how to for people who already know how to do it, lol. I'll have to start from scratch and look up what each of these parts like the potentiometer do, before I can fathom any of this!
 

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Keeper of Spider Hill
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Whoa. This is a how to for people who already know how to do it, lol. I'll have to start from scratch and look up what each of these parts like the potentiometer do, before I can fathom any of this!
Vlad, actually all the parts are readily availible from Radio Shack thus the RS # on them . There are variations on this hack obviously, but I gave all of the part #'s used for that particular skull. I think it was about $6 worth of parts and everything except the potentiometer came as a 2 pack. :D

As soon as I get some time, I'll finish Boris 2.0 and post some pictures. :)
 

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Mounting the caps inside your project box is the same as mounting it inside boris itself.

The reason it's the same is that it's hooked in-line with one side of the circuit. No matter where in the line it goes, it will do its job of filtering voltage. If you were using it across both lines of the circuit, as you would be in a power supply application, you need to move it closer to the voltage source, since you're actually then using it to clip stray voltage ripples and smooth the voltage sine wave. The additional wire between the source and the cap, in that case, adds resistance, which limits the ability for the cap to do its task effectively.

The 2 electronic parts in the boris hack are used as follows:
potentiometer-a variable resistor which is used to adjust the volume from the audio source to make the jaw movement of Boris optimal. If you eliminate this part, you will have to adjust your audio source volume. If your audio source has an adjustable composite audio jack, you're fine. If your audio source does not have an adjustable composite audio jack (like many disc players and stereo devices), or your audio source only has a "headphone" connection (which is higher voltage than composite audio), you need to add the potentiometer. A composite audio plug has a 1 volt peak to peak (+1v to -1v) signal. Boris has a "sweet spot", giving the best jaw movement, around the middle of that range.

capacitor-also called a "choke", this is is used to filter out the DC voltage created by Boris. Originally, Boris came with a microphone that required DC voltage to operate. When you hack Boris to put in a direct audio jack connection, you need to remove this voltage. You do so by installing the capacitor.
 

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Cool. Thanks, Craig! My plan is to use the Line Out on a CD player to run the two Borii by splitting the stereo signal into two monos, with one voice track on each channel. The Line Out volume is constant, so I'll use a stereo volume control (R/S 271-1732) to adjust both channels simultaneously and dial in the jaw action. The Headphone Out will go the computer speakers. I'll skip the project box and just use a short splitter cable on the Line Out and attach the 1/8" mono plugs on the Boris wires. The caps can live in the skulls.
 

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The dual ganged potentiometer, Radio Shack 271-1732, is 100K. That's really too much resistance for this use. If you use the 100K pot, you won't really have fine control over the jaw movement. You probably will have to use two 271-1721 (10K audio taper) pots instead.

None of the RS pots are sealed for harsh environmental use. So, if you decide to skip the project box, encase them in a plastic bag, layers of electrical tape, or something to protect them from water and dirt.
 

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Yeah, I was wondering if the value of that pot would be too high. Serves me right for trying to get off cheap LOL! The two 10K Ω pot config is fine - perhaps I can mount them in the side of the skulls. The plan for the Borii is to make a pair of talking witches, so the heads will be modified and shrouded and will hide the pots. The weather in Northern CA has been very nice on Halloween (crosses fingers and knocks wood) so water shouldn't be an issue.
 

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Hey Otaku, how is your mod working. I too am planning on wiring mono plugs to the Borises... Boris'... Bori? I wanted to plug these in turn to each end of a splitter I modified. The female jacks are mono and they both connect to a stereo headphone style plug, one for right, one for left channels. The splitter works great, even with my god-awful soldering job.

My first question would be... is there an advantage to plugging these into line out instead of headphone out? I was thinking headphone to allow me to use the volume control on the player to adjust the movement, and line out for my powered speakers, because they have their own volume control. Would this set up allow me to bypass the pots on to the Bori?

I still plan on installing the resistors and caps as suggested.
 

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If you plug into "headphone out", you need to be very careful that you don't send excessive power to Boris. If you're running from a walkman, you should be able to adjust the volume to produce an optimum jaw movement, because the walkman doesn't generate huge amounts of power to its headphones. If you're running from a 150 watt per channel stereo, you have so much power there that you would be using only a tiny sliver of the volume control, which makes adjustment very difficult. And, the potential that if you accidentally turned the volume too high, you'd fry Boris.

Better, IMO, to spend the extra $2.99 on the pot and run from the line out than having the constant danger of accidentally burning out Boris by bumping the volume too high.

There's enough space to mount the potentiometer below the speaker to one side, so that it will stick out closer to the back of the neck. You could also consider using a trimmer pot (R/S 271-343), which is tiny enough to mount inside. Hot glue it in place, and drill a tiny hole in Boris's head to get to the adjustment screw. Alternatively, you could also glue it on the outside (to keep water out, mount with adjust screw pointing down or put a blob of plumbers putty on it), since it's so tiny.
 

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Thanks again for the help Craig. I plan on running primarily off my minidisc player (read portable) but iff there is any chance at all of frying my Bori I will add the pots and run off the line out.

Had another question about the jack Diabolik used... it appears to be a female connector. There is no problem with me using the male monos, right?
 
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