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I am going to purchase from Monsterguts the 3 axis skull and eye kit. I am looking for advice on what I need to add to this with Software and Control. I plan on starting this year with a single Skeleton that does a routine that includes singing, talking and maybe some light automation (Maybe based on resources). Although I would like to incorporate a couple of simplified back singers as well as pricing permits.

I understand that some people use Brookshire VSA. Some questions I have there are which version should I pursue, is there another competitor that is as good or better?

What do I need to buy for controlling the servos? What is adequate...do I have to buy the RAPU or is something more affordable work just fine.

I am sure that there is a comprehensive post on this but haven't found it yet.
 

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Everyone that has ventured into complex show control will have their own opinion as to what's best.
Personally, I really like the HC-8+ controller from EFX-TEK.com. The programs are created using VIXEN software which is 100% free. The sofware is a graph type application and very easy to use. The programs are then loaded onto a microSD card which goes into an adapter on the HC-8+. The end result is a completely stand alone controller that doesn't need to be tied to a PC. You can have up to 8 different shows on the SD card and they can be triggered specifically or randomly. The HC-8+ has 8 inputs and 8 outputs that can be used for servos, lighting, or other devices. If you couple the HC-8+ with an EFX-TEK AP-16+ audio player, you have a dynamite bullet proof stand alone system that's tough to beat price wise and performance wise. EFX-TEK also has a fantastic forum where help is always available.
I'm not gonna say that my method of choice is the best, but it is a great way to go.
 

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does the 3axis skull kit come ready to plug in or is there a need for soldering and assembly and the search for parts required.

My Casa Fear zombie runs on an EFX TEK controller. It was programmed at a Group Gathering so I have no knowledge of programming it....but it has been reliable
 

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does the 3axis skull kit come ready to plug in or is there a need for soldering and assembly and the search for parts required.

My Casa Fear zombie runs on an EFX TEK controller. It was programmed at a Group Gathering so I have no knowledge of programming it....but it has been reliable
MG offers several different packages for the 3-axis. The MG complete 3-Axis skull kit with the moving eyes option is $386 plus shipping. It requires complete assembly of the Lindberg Skull, installation of all the internal parts and servos, and whatever type of finish you want on the Skull (they are bright white out of the box). Assembly of just the plain Lindberg Skull is a lot of work in itself if you want a nice finished product, they have casting seams, flash, and the skull cap is a TERRIBLE fit out of the box. I sell a complete, ready to go 3-Axis Lindberg professionally built with all top quality components, HITEC servos, no unsightly screws visible, single axis moving eyes, and a really nice "aged" finish for $470 plus shipping. And yes, EFX-TEK products are very reliable and easy to use.
 

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I like the idea of a stand-alone system, but how do you use Vixen to program the audio/mouth syncing? Is it a key-banger approach, or something else?
 

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I like the idea of a stand-alone system, but how do you use Vixen to program the audio/mouth syncing? Is it a key-banger approach, or something else?
All servo movements are created in VIXEN using a graph and entering a 0-255 servo position frame by frame. Typical frame rate is 50 frames per second which will refresh the servos every 20 milliseconds. As for the jaw servo, the absolute easiest way is to use one of my Audio Servo Controllers to automatically sync the jaw without having to program that part. Programming jaw sync is very tedious and time consuming to get it right, the Audio Servo Controller does it for you. It also allows you to change your audio anytime you want without having to reprogram the jaw.
 

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I have wondered about your Audio Servo Controller in the past (had the site bookmarked, until I lost my bookmarks).

Does it do it by volume amplitude or some other method? I have tried the volume amplitude method in the past with irregular results.
 

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Without going into a detailed description of exactly how the circuit works, it uses a dual op amp along with threshold and gain pots to adjust the response. When adjusted to your particular audio, it reacts quite well. Lots of user testimonials on my website, honestly, haven't had anyone unhappy with the results. www.audioservocontroller.com
 

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I use Fright Ideas Picotalk servo controller with their Director Software. I already got a lot of PicaBoo's running in my setup's, so it's nice for me to keep it all in one software. The controller is very user friendly, reliable and VERY easy to program.
 

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I use Fright Ideas Picotalk servo controller with their Director Software. I already got a lot of PicaBoo's running in my setup's, so it's nice for me to keep it all in one software. The controller is very user friendly, reliable and VERY easy to program.
I am not familiar with the PicaBoo, what do they do for you? And this software controls all of their products?
 

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Fright Ideas make a whole range of different controllers and sound players, and most (If not all) runs of their own and pretty good software, or their stand alone controller.

www.frightideas.com

They make damn good trigger controllers for relays, sound, lights and so on.... and a pretty sweet servo controller, which i use for my 3-axis skulls and some other small servo project. It's reasonably priced and very very reliable.... haven't really had any malfunctions that haven't been my own fault :)
 

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To my knowledge, the PicoBoo does not control servos. The basic Picotalk is for jaw servo sync, the 2 servo model does random eye movement and the 3 servo model does random eye and head pan. My Audio Servo Controllers do not require any programming and are much more reasonably priced. I also have Random servo add on boards that plug directly onto the Audio Servo Controller, they also do not require any programming.
 

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To my knowledge, the PicoBoo does not control servos. The basic Picotalk is for jaw servo sync, the 2 servo model does random eye movement and the 3 servo model does random eye and head pan. My Audio Servo Controllers do not require any programming and are much more reasonably priced. I also have Random servo add on boards that plug directly onto the Audio Servo Controller, they also do not require any programming.
Hey J :) Well, as i wrote, the Picotalk is the one i know and the one that work perfect for me :) Your solution might be way better and cheaper, but i have no idea of knowing, coz i have no experience with that controller :) But always interested in getting to know other products, so i'll be sure to check it out.
 

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Hey no problem, please check them out when you get a chance. www.audioservocontroller.com
My Audio Servo Controller is only $40. You can't even get the Picotalk in a "jaw only" model anymore, so for someone that doesn't want or need the random eye feature, it's double the price of mine. You can add my Random Eye board and still be $10 cheaper than the Picotalk. ChimpDaddy had originally asked for advice on controllers and software for 3-Axis Skulls, I just wanted to clearify that the PicoBoo does not control servos.
 

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I use VSA and DMX controllers, but that's for 5 skulls and a bunch of moving arms as well as LED lighting. A lot going on there. To be honest, I haven't used Vixen, so I can't really comment. Back when I started doing this, Vixen was really just a lighting controller for Christmas lights synced to music, hence the name. Since then, they have expanded, but I was already deep into VSA. For servo control for a modest number of servos, and if you don't also need to send video out to a projector or screen, the Hobbyist version of VSA does more than enough. You can save money bu using Serial Servo controllers, but once you add a few more characters to what you are doing, you will wish you had gone with DMX. It might be best to start there, because it's so easy to add to and the wiring is so much simpler than going with serial servo controllers. That is just my preference, and I see lots of other good advice in this thread.

To me, it depends on the scale that you are going to be working with. If it's just a couple of skulls, then going with Vixen and the Audio Servo Controller will do the job and save you money. However, if you plan on expanding over the years into something bigger that involved dozens of servo channels (or more) multiple talking skulls, Dimmable color LED lighting and possibly video projections all synced to an audio track, you probably want to start with something that was specifically designed just for that purpose. It's a lot easier to start that way, then to do several years of work, then change your system and have to do it all over again or find some way to convert it all. If you want to discuss more about what I use and how easy it is to program and wire up, please don't hesitate to ask. VSA also does have a feature that automatically programs the jaw motions from an audio track that you provide, so all the long tedious hours of jaw programming is not necessary, and it can be tweaked to be perfect. Here's what I do with VSA and DMX.
 

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I use VSA and DMX controllers, but that's for 5 skulls and a bunch of moving arms as well as LED lighting. A lot going on there. To be honest, I haven't used Vixen, so I can't really comment. Back when I started doing this, Vixen was really just a lighting controller for Christmas lights synced to music, hence the name. Since then, they have expanded, but I was already deep into VSA. For servo control for a modest number of servos, and if you don't also need to send video out to a projector or screen, the Hobbyist version of VSA does more than enough. You can save money bu using Serial Servo controllers, but once you add a few more characters to what you are doing, you will wish you had gone with DMX. It might be best to start there, because it's so easy to add to and the wiring is so much simpler than going with serial servo controllers. That is just my preference, and I see lots of other good advice in this thread.

To me, it depends on the scale that you are going to be working with. If it's just a couple of skulls, then going with Vixen and the Audio Servo Controller will do the job and save you money. However, if you plan on expanding over the years into something bigger that involved dozens of servo channels (or more) multiple talking skulls, Dimmable color LED lighting and possibly video projections all synced to an audio track, you probably want to start with something that was specifically designed just for that purpose. It's a lot easier to start that way, then to do several years of work, then change your system and have to do it all over again or find some way to convert it all. If you want to discuss more about what I use and how easy it is to program and wire up, please don't hesitate to ask. VSA also does have a feature that automatically programs the jaw motions from an audio track that you provide, so all the long tedious hours of jaw programming is not necessary, and it can be tweaked to be perfect. Here's what I do with VSA and DMX.
This is exactly what I was looking for, the tutorials on your site are the type of thing I needed to get started. I wanted to understand the whole process before I go out and start purchasing pieces and not know where to begin. Fantastic material, information and showmanship. I have an awesome yard for haunts with what seems like unlimited trick or treaters to entertain and would love to end up with something approaching your setup.
 
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