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Discussion Starter #1
Thought I'd post this lights on walk through of our first garage haunt. I joined the forum last year when I first came across it and learned a ton from going through everyone's posts on how they built their props.

In this case, I built a few of Straub's micro controller boards as well as tied in with an Arduino and PIR sensors to control the props and some lighting. I have some pics in this thread where I cover some details of the haunt. I was worried that I'd have a failure with a solenoid, controller, or who knows what with all of the electronics in play. Fortunately everything continued to run like a clock throughout the night.

I needed to automate everything as much as I could cause it was just our family trying to manage it. We had our kids actively involved, but we couldn't rely on trying to keep an 8 yr old in one place for several hours (as much as I tried :D).

------> Click here for original post with pics

Here's a walk through showing the layout with the motion sensors and various props.

I learned a lot from this haunt and am already thinking about all that'll be changed for next year. I hope to have some better props (more home built items) as well as plan on making it scarier.

I have to say this may not look like much but it was an incredible amount of work. There are a lot of pieces of the puzzle just to get pneumatic props to work. I had never worked with pneumatic items and made the mistake of trying to source parts via ebay and sure enough the threads were anything but standard. By the time you've got all of the fittings, flow control, tubing, solenoids, and cylinders, it's a small fortune. Straub's controller boards with the MP3 player works perfectly and easily controlled multiple items.

I'm glad to take a break, but I'm also anxious to get started on new projects.

Let the scares begin!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Looks great. How did you hang the plastic pipe on the ceiling
I used EMT, which is a metal pipe used for electrical wiring. I placed eye hooks in the ceiling at the end of where each pole would be. I drilled holes in the end of each pole and then used zip ties to hang the pole on each eye hook. The black plastic was heavier painters tarp and easily held up to being hung via the shower curtain rings for over 2 months while I worked on other parts of the layout.
 

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It looks like a lot of work to me but then I've done a walkthrough haunt before so I know. I think it looks great even in the light of day. All of that setup and just the infrastructure behind the scenes is a huge effort. Of course when it's done right everything works and you minimize any problems. I enjoy the behind the scenes videos too. It's good to see how others solve issues that we have all encountered at one time or another.

Next time you have to take video in the atmospheric lighting. I like doing that to try and remember exactly how things looked.

I have assembled several of Tyler's boards, they are really great economical controllers. For the audio I would suggest looking for some inexpensive computer speakers with a subwoofer. I pick them up at my local BJ's, Logitech brand for around $30. The really output some good sound with bass from the sub and don't need a separate amp. They're a little more than the cheap satellites but since the MP3 boards can play good audio it makes a big difference.

Great job!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks Jack, and yes, I tried shooting some video in the evening with just the haunt lights on. But my camera did a lousy job at picking it up. Kind of surprising as it's a decent point and shoot Canon that shoots HD, and even after changing settings for low light it wasn't great.

Regarding the speakers, good tip and I'm going to for sure upgrade for next year. I know the MP3 board provides some good quality output. I thought the audio would be loud enough, but once you've got the chaos of multiple people in the garage and all of the activity the sound tracks seemed more like an after thought.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thought I'd clarify some items I received questions for.

The passive infrared sensors (PIR) are these kind, which have an adjustable range (min is like 3 meters). I bought a bag of 5 of them from Amazon for about $15. A raging deal IMO as they're typically $10'ish each elsewhere. The relay board used for the Arduino was about $12 from Amazon. I was lucky that they had it cause I didn't realize I'd need it (versus making my own) until about mid-October, and all other suppliers were in China, which meant it wouldn't likely show up until right at or after Halloween.

PIR.jpg

In some cases, I placed them within a toilet paper tube to minimize the sensor's peripheral vision (tip picked up from this forum). It worked great cause I made sure something wouldn't trigger until I sensed someone was at exactly where I wanted them. This was also a pain cause I was doing it in such a rush and needed to move the sensor up and down in the tube to fine tune. The kids would collect and place the tubes on my desk...let's say that after 3 months I had way more than I'd need for several haunts. All they knew was that dad needed the tubes and don't throw them away :eek:

Also, I know the layout isn't easy to follow in the vid, but here's a drawing I had done in August as I was trying to figure it out myself.

photo (1).jpg

Feel free to PM me questions. The code used for the Arduino was lifted from the Arduino thread in the tutorial section. For Arduino users, the sample code is perfect and solves the issue of potentially hanging up an Arduino with multiple delays which in turn could potentially miss the input of a PIR.
 
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