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Discussion Starter #1
I have never really dealt with prop controllers. So maybe I am ignorant....

I have an electric chair prop that I have put had for a few years that is constantly evolving. Ideally, I'd like to have it rigged up to a theatrical switch board so that people can interact with it and throw the switch on their friends.

It's current form is 2 12v neon "lightning tubes," one on either side of the backrest. 2 120v beacon lights on the posts of the back rest. 2 120v mini strobe lights, 1 under each armrest. 1 120v 750watt Xenon strobe underneath the chair. 4 12v micro strobes inside of a metal clamp lamp that is the placed on the head of "victim." Plus of course a sander on the seat base. Last year I used a Chauvet Hurricane 1100 to add some smoke to the look, I also have a couple smaller cheap fog machines that could be substituted, I do have a couple larger machines that have DMX input, but would prefer to use them elsewhere as the amount of fog required for the chair is minimal.

What I'd like to do is have a controller, either something available on the market already, or Arduino based that I can try to build myself, that wil allow me to build a switch block that will automate this. What I'd ideally like is set one be the beacon lights and lightning tubes turn on to give a warning look, and appear like a charge is building, then trigger the fog machine to start a burst, so that when the main switch is thrown to start the "execution," and the sander starts, the fog starts coming out. People sit on it for all of about 3 seconds after the sander is triggered as they always end up jumping surprised. So timing the fog is somewhat important as the prop has turned into a photo op as I'm just doing a yard haunt for ToTs.

I have manually triggered it mostly in the past, but it's not smooth and no one else is really sure how to run it by themselves. I had just left the lightning tubes and beacons on all the time, and had the strobes and sander plugged into a power strip, with the remote for the fogger sitting right there. Hit the fog for a few seconds, then hit the power strip, and works, but it's kind of an art, not a science, to make it look good.

It would be awesome to set it up so it worked consistently every time. Then as a side effect, allow inputs to trigger the program so it's more interactive, so a sister can pull the switch on their brother in the electric chair, or whatever, add a little bit more fun to this.

So how crazy is this? Is it something super difficult to pull off, or am I overthinking it?
 

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Easy to do, looks like you only need 3 or 4 outputs from the controller. I don't use them but look up "octobanger". It's an Arduino based controller that you can build. One thing to be aware of with triggering fog machines though is that it's not 100%.
If the machine is in a reheat cycle when triggered, it won't turn on.
 

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I have a somewhat similar setup. I use PicoBoos for controllers. http://www.frightprops.com/picoboo.html
I just moved into a new house, so I had to set back up my electric chair scene in my new garage. Here is a pic of it mostly hooked up with the curtain pulled.
electric chair setup 17.jpg
I am also running strobes, the sander under the seat, and a chauvet 1100 (not pictured) and a few other things (that required me to run another picoboo in parallel.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
So I got a 4 banger built. It seems there is just one input. Is there a way to stage it? So I can have one switch activate an alarm and beacons, and then a second switch trigger the actual sander and strobes, possibly with a third switch in the middle to trigger the fogger and additional lights?

I've done switch plates before all using 120v with a spaghetti of wires. My goal with using a controller is to go to low voltage switches and clean up the mess of wires, with the possibility of taking advantage of programed timers.


I am now thinking a prop flow of something like:

Step 1 flip warning switch: Arduino activates beacon lights and plays alarm sound (sound: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PowGPSdAxTI)
Step 2 press charging button: Arduino activates lightning tubes, plays charging/power up sound, triggers fog machine, turns on ready light. (sound: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BAWtnNsxJcQ)
Step 3 flip giant knife switch: Arduino activates sander and strobes for 5 seconds (or until switch is pulled back up) turns off all functions when done.
 

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You only need one input. I don't use these but you have to program the outputs for the timing. I'm sure someone who's familiar with programming the 4 banger can help.
 
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