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Discussion Starter #1
I am looking to make a scarecrow based off of this this year and have a few additions I need guidance with. Essentially I am hooking up a fog machine and a loop track of demonic laughter so that he sprays fog and laughs. Now based off of several tutorials I can easily use a PIR sensor and plug a speaker and motor in to run when it goes off but the fog machine needs to be on but have its "button pressed" when the sensor goes off. I have a general idea of what I want to do but need to know how I can trigger a button that is connected to my machine. I dont mind taking the button apart and rewiring it just not sure how. Can anyone point me in the right direction?
 

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Vysee, you really need some kind of prop controller. You have the right idea that the fog machine needs to be on, and something needs to "press the button" to get the fog to shoot out.

A PIR sensor is only part of the solution; it just detects motion (of warm bodies). Then something has to take that information and act on it - that would be your prop controller. It will have a small program on it that "listens" for the PIR to see something, and then turns on the other stuff (sounds, motor to make the scarecrow move, and the fog machine).

So the link to the FrightProps PicoBoo is a good one - you could get the PicoBoo and one of their PIRs, then program the PicoBoo to play back sounds, turn on the motor and trigger the fog machine. Take a look at their info page:

http://www.frightprops.com/controllers-electronics/frightideas-controllers/picoboo-controllers/picoboo-0912.html

There are many other ways to do this, depending on your electronics DIY ability, but if you're a beginner, one of these types of controllers is a good choice.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Vysee, you really need some kind of prop controller. You have the right idea that the fog machine needs to be on, and something needs to "press the button" to get the fog to shoot out.

A PIR sensor is only part of the solution; it just detects motion (of warm bodies). Then something has to take that information and act on it - that would be your prop controller. It will have a small program on it that "listens" for the PIR to see something, and then turns on the other stuff (sounds, motor to make the scarecrow move, and the fog machine).

So the link to the FrightProps PicoBoo is a good one - you could get the PicoBoo and one of their PIRs, then program the PicoBoo to play back sounds, turn on the motor and trigger the fog machine. Take a look at their info page:

http://www.frightprops.com/controllers-electronics/frightideas-controllers/picoboo-controllers/picoboo-0912.html

There are many other ways to do this, depending on your electronics DIY ability, but if you're a beginner, one of these types of controllers is a good choice.
I know that'd be the easy way but you never learn unless you try.
 

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Well, if you're up for it, there are ways that will cost less but require more effort. It's Sept. 24...what else do you have to build?
 

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Well, ask if you want to look into other options. You'd need electronics DIY knowledge and computer programming experience.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I happen to code in vb.net.... I was considering .net gadgeteer but that project might not make it for Halloween
 

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If you code then you have a few options:

- EFX-Tek Prop-1. Microprocessor is the BASIC Stamp from Parallax. They also have a bunch of different accessory boards with relays, etc that will let you control other devices (like the fog machine). And they'll help you with the code, even writing it for you if necessary.

- Arduino. Microprocessor is the ATMega, codes in a variation of C. Available at Radio Shack, Sparkfun.com, Adafruit.com, etc. Lots of tutorials on the web, you can pick up compatible relay modules on ebay or other places.

- PicAxe - the UK version of the BASIC Stamp, also very versatile. Sparkfun carries these as well as their dev boards. You'd have to spend some time soldering the dev board up before using it. The least expensive option but requires more assembly.

All options will need an audio playback board to trigger; I've worked with a few. I have all three types and can provide sample code.

The easiest of the three by far would be EFX-Tek, you'd get their stuff, hook it up and start coding. Any of these options will be more versatile than the PicoBoo, so next year you could do more with the controller.
 

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I just looked up .net gadgeteer...wow is that expensive. Totally overkill for Halloween props, unless you're going to run an entire haunted house.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
If you code then you have a few options:

- EFX-Tek Prop-1. Microprocessor is the BASIC Stamp from Parallax. They also have a bunch of different accessory boards with relays, etc that will let you control other devices (like the fog machine). And they'll help you with the code, even writing it for you if necessary.

- Arduino. Microprocessor is the ATMega, codes in a variation of C. Available at Radio Shack, Sparkfun.com, Adafruit.com, etc. Lots of tutorials on the web, you can pick up compatible relay modules on ebay or other places.

- PicAxe - the UK version of the BASIC Stamp, also very versatile. Sparkfun carries these as well as their dev boards. You'd have to spend some time soldering the dev board up before using it. The least expensive option but requires more assembly.

All options will need an audio playback board to trigger; I've worked with a few. I have all three types and can provide sample code.

The easiest of the three by far would be EFX-Tek, you'd get their stuff, hook it up and start coding. Any of these options will be more versatile than the PicoBoo, so next year you could do more with the controller.
The EFX-Tek looks easy. Have you heard of .Net Gadgeteer? It's like Arduino but for .Net. I was considering that for next Halloween but don't think I have time to do any of this for this year.
 

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The EFX-Tek stuff is easy, you can get the editor from Parallax and take a look. If you go that way, get a Prop-1 or Prop-2 starter kit and one of the RC-2 relay boards. Then there are a bunch of audio options, from EFX and other places.
 

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Why do you need any code at all? All you need to a circuit to fire a relay which acts as the "button" you need to press. Since you already have a PIR ready to fire other things, that same circuit can fire a simple relay which will start the fog. Unless I'm missing something completely...
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Well I'd like to use the light bulb screw plug thing but I'm considering using some relays. Where can I get cheap relays.
 

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Maybe I'm too into programming things, but how do you control the show? A PIR will re-trigger over and over without being managed, and depending on how many people walked by, would never stop. The original post mentioned the following:

- Motor to animate the scarecrow
- Audio track (laughing)
- Fog machine

Any prop controller will let you put together a program that will wait for people, turn on the motor (pulsing it if it's the right setup for additional variety), turn on the audio, and turn on a blast of fog. Then it can wait for a minute or so before going again; also, you can have multiple shows with different audio and animation timing. And he could add additional things to the show (lights, whatever) easily later.

The biggest hurdle for most people getting into this area is the code, but Vysse has that covered.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Maybe I'm too into programming things, but how do you control the show? A PIR will re-trigger over and over without being managed, and depending on how many people walked by, would never stop. The original post mentioned the following:

- Motor to animate the scarecrow
- Audio track (laughing)
- Fog machine

Any prop controller will let you put together a program that will wait for people, turn on the motor (pulsing it if it's the right setup for additional variety), turn on the audio, and turn on a blast of fog. Then it can wait for a minute or so before going again; also, you can have multiple shows with different audio and animation timing. And he could add additional things to the show (lights, whatever) easily later.

The biggest hurdle for most people getting into this area is the code, but Vysse has that covered.
Short term using a relay makes sense. Long term I'll be getting some .Net Gadgeteer boards and coding.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
WOOHOO I got a figured out. After doing some digging I found that I could buy a 120ACV rated relay and have hook up power on it to send my signal. I will do a lil tutorial on it when I get some time. Thanks everyone for the help. Now I just need to hookup a motor and build the rest of my prop.
 
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