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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
The Sedgewick Hotel - Home-built Dark Ride

Hey Everyone -

I'm new to this forum, but not new to Home Haunting. I'm about to set out an adventure and I'd like to share it all with you.

In the 80's, the owners of Six Flags begun work on a Ghostbusters-themed Interactive Dark Ride that was never built. The ride would have been well ahead of its time, as it was prepared to incorporate IR "laser guns" into the ride itself, essentially combining a Dark Ride (similar to The Haunted Mansion) with an interactive shooting gallery. You can read more about the ride here: http://www.2600connection.com/interviews/roger_hector/interview_roger_hector.html

I have decided to focus my efforts on bringing an amateur version of this ride to life over the course of the next 2 years. This will be a labor of love, and I will be updating this thread as frequently as I can with my progress.

Before I begin, I want to give a big thanks to the few brave souls who have pioneered the home-built dark ride, including Don O'Neil, CoasterBP and the Mystic Motel. If anyone knows of any others that have been active online that I could learn from, please point me to them! I'd rather not traverse unnecessarily into unknown realms if I don't need to.

Everything is subject to change, but as of this moment, this is my plan...

I will construct the ride inside my 2.5 car garage on a grid of 4'x4' base panels that will measure 25'x20' in total size. It will be less than 100 feet of track. I am going to follow Don O'Neil's lead and go with a single bus bar with 2x4s for the straight sections, and laminated plywood for the curves.

The ride car will be approximately 30" x 30". It should seat one adult or two kids comfortably, and maybe 2 adults uncomfortably. It will have a metal frame but mostly be constructed of plywood. It will ride on four 8" rubber tire casters with full 360 degree motion in each wheel. It will be driven by 2 power wheelchair motors that will grip a center rail, receiving power from a 24v 30amp bus bar system. Motor speed (and maybe direction) will be controlled by a PWM controller. The car will also have an onboard sound system.

The car will be heavily detailed to resemble a Dark Ride version of Ecto1 from Ghostbusters, with logo(s), slime, license plate, etc. It will also feature a custom designed rear end with a built in proton pack with working lights, electrical box, slime tank and maybe some other goodies.

Eventually, the car will also have mounts for 2 proton guns which will be custom built to shoot IR signals which will trigger the ghosts in the hotel. That'll come later.

Each gag (scene) of the ride will feature a motion activated scenario where when triggered, a red light will go on, a sound effect will occur, and potentially some air powered motion occurs. When the user shoots the "ghost" with their proton gun, the red light turns off, a green light turns on, a different sound effect plays, and the motion "retreats". Sound amibitious? Yes. But I have a working prototype already, which I'll be showing off soon. =)

For now, I'll leave you with my design for the ride car, and the ride logo. Cheers!
 

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Looking forward to seeing your progress. Many home haunters look at garage dark rides as the ultimate extension of what we can do.

I have collected a list of similar rides over the years. I'll have to post it later since it's at home. Terror on the Butte is the first one that ever got me thinking about the possibility of building one in the distant future.
 

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Human Candy Shovel
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In the 80's, the owners of Six Flags begun work on a Ghostbusters-themed Interactive Dark Ride that was never built. The ride would have been well ahead of its time, as it was prepared to incorporate IR "laser guns" into the ride itself, essentially combining a Dark Ride (similar to The Haunted Mansion) with an interactive shooting gallery. You can read more about the ride here: slashfilm.com
Wow. So much denial. There was no way Bally was going to install any sort of haunted attraction or dark ride after the 1984 Haunted Castle fire at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ. That Ghostbusters dark ride was dead years before Bally sold Six Flags.

Good luck with your home haunt interpretation.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Wow. So much denial. There was no way Bally was going to install any sort of haunted attraction or dark ride after the 1984 Haunted Castle fire at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ. That Ghostbusters dark ride was dead years before Bally sold Six Flags.
Sadly, the original link I posted was merely a photo gallery of the concept art. I've updated the link. All the detail I was able to obtain on the original ride came from an interview with Roger Hector from 2600connection.com (http://www.2600connection.com/interviews/roger_hector/interview_roger_hector.html). He may very well be in denial, because in the interview, he clearly places blame on Bally's sale of Six Flags. It's curious why they would even allow that project to be greenlit to begin with given the events of 1984.

I just read up on the Haunted Castle fire. It's a good reminder that safety always needs to come first.
 

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The conclusion I've come to from reading about the ventures into home made dark rides are:
1 - It costs ALOT more than they originally budgeted for because
2 - There is ALOT of trial and error
Those 2 points alone are why most don't succeed that have tried......Something else to take into consideration is the amount of storage space you'll need to house all the track, car, props, etc in the off season.... I'm glad to see you plan to use the center rail for power....Some of the home made designs I've seen scare me at the thought of the car coming off the track and still having power to keep powering away into who knows what?!.....BTW, I don't know if you've ever seen or heard about it but Kennywood Amusement park has a shooting gallery haunted house called Ghostwood Manor....You can see it here
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=duhObAQpFeU
Like a lot of people, I LOVE dark rides and it's one of my favorite things to do in the summer.....Another great place to read about dark rides is laff in the dark http://laffinthedark.com/ They just uploaded some great footage of a dark ride in NJ called Gillian's Haunted House...Here's the article
http://laffinthedark.com/articles/gillians/ghh_P1.html
They uploaded 4 great videos here
In the dark
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btbGRUStY_c
In the light
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3l6LpWApmg
Wayne talks about the Haunted House
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypA0pYcDv-c
Gillian's Haunted House Stunt Tour
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwSpWsjW_YQ

Anyway Good Luck on your venture, keep us posted on the progress and welcome to the forum!....ZR
 

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Evil Wizard
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Another great place to read about dark rides is laff in the dark http://laffinthedark.com/ They just uploaded some great footage of a dark ride in NJ called Gillian's Haunted House...Here's the article
http://laffinthedark.com/articles/gillians/ghh_P1.html
They uploaded 4 great videos here
In the dark
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btbGRUStY_c
In the light
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3l6LpWApmg
Wayne talks about the Haunted House
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypA0pYcDv-c
Gillian's Haunted House Stunt Tour
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zwSpWsjW_YQ
Thanks for the link. A nice write-up on Gilllian's Haunted House in Ocean City, NJ. Went through the ride two summers ago. It was fun and very well done.
 

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If I ever do this, I'm going to start with a mobility scooter (probably a six-wheeler) with the finger controls. Then I'd program a laptop or tablet underneath to tell it when to run, stop and turn. It might need a track to keep it in place but I'm hoping not. There would still be some trial and error involved, but I would never attempt some of the intensive builds that some of the home haunters have done. Seems my idea would take care of a lot of the problems they face.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
The conclusion I've come to from reading about the ventures into home made dark rides are:
1 - It costs ALOT more than they originally budgeted for because
2 - There is ALOT of trial and error
Those 2 points alone are why most don't succeed that have tried......Something else to take into consideration is the amount of storage space you'll need to house all the track, car, props, etc in the off season....
I completely agree with these points. The money portion is a big reason why I'm saying this will take me (at least) 2 years... this way, I can spread the cost out.

As for the trial and error, I would say this is the primary reason I haven't tried this sooner. If it wasn't for the three home haunters I mentioned, there's no way I would be trying this. I feel like they've documented proven methods, and if I use those methods as my base, my trial and error time should be much less than what it would be if I had nothing to start with.

Also, my parents live 10 minutes away from me, and they have a giant barn where I can store as much of my Haunt supplies as I need, so that won't be a problem either.

And thanks for the links!! I'll be sure to read up.
 

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If I ever do this, I'm going to start with a mobility scooter (probably a six-wheeler) with the finger controls. Then I'd program a laptop or tablet underneath to tell it when to run, stop and turn. It might need a track to keep it in place but I'm hoping not. There would still be some trial and error involved, but I would never attempt some of the intensive builds that some of the home haunters have done. Seems my idea would take care of a lot of the problems they face.
I'm not 100% sure because it was years ago I read the article, but I believe the cars in the Ghostwood Manor link I posted is a trackless system.....They have a wire imbedded in the floor that it follows....The cars can literally turn in a 360 and go in any direction from there making first time riders completely unaware of the path.....There are definitely ways to make a trackless system work but it's still an expensive venture no matter how you do it.....Kudos to those that try and to the few that succeed.....ZR
 

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Thanks for the link. A nice write-up on Gilllian's Haunted House in Ocean City, NJ. Went through the ride two summers ago. It was fun and very well done.
Your welcome....That article was the first time I ever heard of Gillian's so it was a nice read.....I especially liked the behind the scenes video that shows how the stunts work....The clock Wayne is working on looks like it's going to be a great addition!.....ZR
 

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Discussion Starter #13
That article was the first time I ever heard of Gillian's so it was a nice read.....I especially liked the behind the scenes video that shows how the stunts work....The clock Wayne is working on looks like it's going to be a great addition!.....ZR
It's awesome to see owners of a professional ride like that so dedicated to it and its continued improvement. Most times, a pro dark ride is just supposed to be a money maker, and once it's built, it exists merely to see how many riders you can charge to go through it.
 

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I completely agree with these points. The money portion is a big reason why I'm saying this will take me (at least) 2 years... this way, I can spread the cost out.

As for the trial and error, I would say this is the primary reason I haven't tried this sooner. If it wasn't for the three home haunters I mentioned, there's no way I would be trying this. I feel like they've documented proven methods, and if I use those methods as my base, my trial and error time should be much less than what it would be if I had nothing to start with.

Also, my parents live 10 minutes away from me, and they have a giant barn where I can store as much of my Haunt supplies as I need, so that won't be a problem either.

And thanks for the links!! I'll be sure to read up.
Sounds like you have plenty of storage space and a 2 year plan for budgeting the project...I'm glad you understand upfront that there could be extensive trial and error....Just remember if this project becomes extremely frustrating that you can 100% do this, it will just take persistence.....ZR
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Here is a variety of parts I've purchased thus far...

PRIDE JAZZY SELECT POWERCHAIR WHEELCHAIR 24-VDC MOTOR SET WITH TIRES
This is for power wheelchair left and right 24-vdc motors, that are in still in great shape..
They are off from a working wheelchair, Jazzy select.
The tires are foam filled solid/has tiny cracks on the sides.
$100 + $45 shipping


4 Pcs 8" Air Tire Caster Wheel Swivel Base w/Ball Bearing 4-1/2" x 4" Base Tires
Base and Wheel with Ball Bearings
Wheel Capacity: 255LB (each)
Wheel Size 8" Dia.
Wheel Width: 2-1/4"
5/8" Axle Bore
Tire With Steel Ball Bearings
Top Base Is 4-1/2'' X 4”
Bolt Hole Spacing: 3-5/8" x 2-5/8"
Top Vase Swivel with Steel Ball Bearings
Overall Height: 10”
$50 - Free Shipping


Universal 24V 30A Switch Power Supply Driver LED Strip
$73 + Free Shipping


DC10V-50V Motor Speed Control RC Controller PWM 15khz HHO 2000W 40A MAX
working voltage: DC10v- DC 50V
Rated current: 40A(Maximum output current)
Control Motor Power : 0.01-2000W,
working voltage 12V: 12V*40A=480W(max)
working voltage 24V: 24V*40A=960W(max)
working voltage 36V: 36V*40A=1440W(max)
working voltage 50V: 50V*40A=2000W(max)
quiescent current:0.025A
PWM Regulation range:5-100%
PWN Frequency : 12khz
PCB Size:90x51mm(inch:3.5"x2")
Case size:105x55x40mm(inch:4"x2.2"x1.6")
operating temperature: -20℃~40℃
$12 + $2 Shipping


Mini DC 5-120V Voltmeter Blue LED Panel 3-Digital Display Voltage Meter 2-wire
Measuring range: DC 5V--120V
Display: Three 0.56 "digital tube
Display Color: Blue
Measurement accuracy: 2%
Refresh rate: about 300mS / times
Input impedance: About 100K
Dimensions:48mm*29mm*22mm
Operation Temp: -10℃-+65℃
$5


Proton Pack Shell (slightly damaged)
$50 + $16 shipping


Total Spent to Date: $353
 

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I wish you success HH--hope you're able to make it happen. This has me wondering... I'm in the process of trying to establish a non-profit Haunted Attraction in the Raleigh, NC area with all proceeds going to charity.

Some Disney History here... many Haunted Mansion fans know that Walt and Rolly Crump wanted the HM to be a walk-thru attraction. But the Operations folks ultimately declared the HM would be a ride-thru attraction to boost guest capacity rates / throughput.

Now, with a charity haunt, getting guests through quicker / more efficiently, could increase the Take for the charity. So I wonder if you, me, or anyone else interested, might consider doing an annual dark ride haunted attraction for charity. Taking the best bits of how we know these can be assembled today, e.g. potentially trackless.

Anyway HH, best wishes on your project. Sounds exciting! :)
 

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Morning DJs from the Quad-cities, Dwyer & Micheals once went to ride on a home made roller coaster, it went from ground level then the tracks went up and over the garage roof, it was a very old shacky-looking "Garage".
One of them got sick on this ride and vomited! (To Never hear the end of that! )
To me, it looked Very Scary and much real injury can happen from just 12 or so feet above the ground!
I hope you have the best of luck in your amazing project!
I would have a "Go! button for the riders to push, and when they pushed it a fart machine under the seat would make it's sound, butt that's just my idea of "Fun"!
 

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I love love love that someone else is trying this as well...

I wish you the best of luck and hope that you don't pull out too many hairs working on it!

I wish I had more time to work on my dark ride this year since I postponed it from last year. Didn't happen. Way too busy in the months leading up to October and now with a kid on the way.... who knows....

Best of luck and I'll be watching your progress!!

-=CoasterBP
 

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I wish you success HH--hope you're able to make it happen. This has me wondering... I'm in the process of trying to establish a non-profit Haunted Attraction in the Raleigh, NC area with all proceeds going to charity.

Some Disney History here... many Haunted Mansion fans know that Walt and Rolly Crump wanted the HM to be a walk-thru attraction. But the Operations folks ultimately declared the HM would be a ride-thru attraction to boost guest capacity rates / throughput.

Now, with a charity haunt, getting guests through quicker / more efficiently, could increase the Take for the charity. So I wonder if you, me, or anyone else interested, might consider doing an annual dark ride haunted attraction for charity. Taking the best bits of how we know these can be assembled today, e.g. potentially trackless.

Anyway HH, best wishes on your project. Sounds exciting! :)
Keep in mind throughput is faster not only because the ride paces how fast patrons are moved through the attraction but also HOW MANY cars are doing it.....Most home haunters are going to have 1 car with a capacity of 2 adults max.....That's going to severely limit the throughput per hour if your trying to move large numbers......Unless you have a bigger budget to build multiple cars and a system control to operate multiple cars (keep them from bumping into each other) it's probably faster to do a walk through if your moving large numbers....... ZR
 
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