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Ever since we were little kids we've loved Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean and all the characters. The 2 parrots in the ride / attractions were always a couple of our favorites ... so we decided to build our own animatronic parrot as a personal project.

The POTC animatronic parrot personal project was built / created in late 2013 for a private Halloween party. Unfortunately, we never got a chance to shoot any video of it while the party was going on, but we thought it was definitely worth sharing now.

Approximately 8-9 years ago, we bought the Hasbro toy parrot and even though it was brilliant how it worked originally, the movements were EXTREMELY limited and would only do certain movements.

We completely dis-assembled the whole parrot, internal mechanisms, and motors, and ended up scrapping EVERYTHING inside the toy parrot, leaving nothing but the internal shell and external skin / fur.

With a completely empty shell structure, we built a new armature with 90% move movement than the original toy and installed 8 small / micro servos, giving us complete control of every movement.

The parrot is now driven by VSA with an SSC-32 card and connected by 2 CAT-6 cables hidden in the custom built stand.

Although it took only 3 weeks to build the new parrot, it actually took almost 3 years to figure out how to do it properly to what we wanted to accomplish.

His "pirate" outfit (hat, eye patch, choker necklace) was custom sewn / made by Mrs. Hi-Rez.
 

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Thank you, Dave. I am pretty pleased how he turned out, and was very bummed that I never got a chance to shoot any video of him in the full "set piece" surrounding he was placed in for the party last year.
 

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Thanks guys.

Unfortunately, we were in such a rush to get him done in time for the party, we didn't take any photos or videos of him without his skin on. The skin is "stitched" on just below the mouth area, and it would be really hard to remove it to shoot any "skinless" video f him.

BUT, I did find a video on YouTube that someone is currently re-working a 'Squawkers' parrot keeping all the same internals but using something called a "Raspberry" to drive it with custom C+ software. If you do a search for "Tiki Room Barker Bird Parrot" you will find it.
 

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hirez00, man this is so cool. As I have said many time before, I am so jealous of the talent found on this site. I have an "off the shelf" pirate parrot that we found in Hawaii. He is sound activated and sings some songs and make comments. With the help of BobbyA I was able to make a driveway alert PIR trigger for him so he works pretty well for my pirate display. But your parrot is truly awesome.
 

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OK, so that's too funny that this thread popped up. I have been working on these birds for the last couple of months. I am trying to figure out if I want to do the Barker Bird like Hi-Rez has done to count down to the next performance or add the Tiki Room sequence as a 4th act to our show. My original plan was to add Tiki and I have picked up a few of the parrots. Problem is that folks are telling me Tiki and Halloween don't mesh. I was going to post a thread about Tiki vs. Pirate Barker and get input.

Credit to Hi Rez for their total redo of the bird, their movement and control is fantastic. I myself went for the quick and dirty method.

Here is a link for my first test. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gxZ64lDajdw

The above test is not computer controlled, what you see is the bird plugged into a standard power strip and the clicking you hear is me switching the power on/off. I was just flipping the switch to the music off hand to see what the effect would be. It is not in sync in any fashion and is really poor-it is a proof of concept shot to show a buddy. My 12 year old had the hat in her room and just placed it on his head before shot the video. I know Disney's Jose does not wear one but mine will as it's just too perfect!

How I did mine:
The beak is one circuit and the rest of the body movements are all on a second looped circuit, eyes are a 3rd. I used an old cell phone wall wort 5v .7 amp and spliced into the wires. No dis-assembly of the bird required beyond removing his fur jacket which is just held on with clips The beak wires run along the outside of the body in a channel and the body wires are under the tail coming out of the motor. Undress, snip, splice-re-dress.

It took about 1/2 hour of which 20 min was getting his suit over his hard plastic tail without cutting any stitches. Next bird may see a short seam undone and then re-sewn as it would be quicker.

The power on/off for the beak makes the body circuit loop enough to generate a random looking movement that for my purposes is good enough. If I want him to dance a bit I just hold his mouth open or I could add a 2nd plug and control each separately which I may do. (Note: I am not controlling his eyes.) I will plug this into Light O Rama for the full computer control when I decide Tiki vs. Barker.

The way he is set up now only requires 1 channel of control which may be a deciding factor as each module of 16 channels is $250 and I am trying to avoid having to buy another controller this year.
 
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