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Discussion Starter #1
Hey eveyone! So I am planning on building a talking skeleton in a rocking chair this year.

I've bought one of these for the skull.

And one of these to trigger the rocking chair, led spotlights and audio.

My dilemma is that I don't want to be limited to one phrase for the skull (the song from hocus pocus is what I'm going to use).

So my question is....can I use something like this and have it be triggered by the picoboo or will that short it out or something. I have only a basic understanding of electronics so I am weary.

Thanks in advance!
 

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Looking in the Picboo manual, it has two types of sounds:
- Ambient
- Scare

The Ambient sound plays while the Picboo is waiting for someone to come along. It's a sort of general background sound, they say to make it pretty long because it will eventually loop, and you don't want people hearing the sound start over. Then when the motion sensor spots someone, the Picoboo plays a "scare" sound.

The "scares" are one way you could have have the skull talk. However, the limitation is that while you can record up to 10 scare sounds and have the Picboo play them one at a time when it is triggered, the total time for all the scare sounds added together seems to be two minutes (that's what I get from their manual). If you give your skull a bunch of short phrases then that would work out well. I don't know the song you're referring to, but songs by themselves are usually about three to four minutes long.

There's no point in getting the Cowlacious Audio Board - that just duplicates what's already inside the Picboo, including the ability to have it trigger other props. The Cowlacious Audio Board only seems to be able to play one phrase back and does not have the ambient sound feature (but then it's less expensive, too.)

The other thing to watch out for - the skull you got in the kit is a "Bucky" skull, and those are pretty heavy. They look great because they are originally designed to teach anatomy. The problem may be putting it on top of a skeleton body and keeping it in place while the whole thing rocks back and forth. I have one of those, I had to make a PVC stand to hold it up.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Hi JeffHaas!

I honestly had no idea the picoboo could record and playback more than one scare sound. If that's the case than my question is irrelevant. I'll call frightprops tomorrow about that one. I'm actually so happy you told me that. In terms of the heavy skull.....that was a fear of mine. Since it will be on a rocking chair i was going to rig something to the back of the chair that would hold the skulls weight independently. So i wouldn't have to rely on it using the spine for support. I planned on the rocking motion being fairly subtle and slow. My other fear is having the rocking motion interfere with the servo motion. My attack plan for that would be to have the rocking motion be ambient and have it stop rocking to "scare". Like she was waking up for a nap to talk to the ToTs.

Any thoughts? Thanks again!
 

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If I recall from when I got my first picoboo, the total audio can't be longer than 2 minutes, including the ambient sound. I can dig out my picoboo and verify if you have a day or 2 before you need to order. The guys over at fright props can also answer you if you shoot them an email.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
If I recall from when I got my first picoboo, the total audio can't be longer than 2 minutes, including the ambient sound. I can dig out my picoboo and verify if you have a day or 2 before you need to order. The guys over at fright props can also answer you if you shoot them an email.
Ok I just checked the manual on frightprops and you're right. Including ambient and up to 10 scare sounds they all need to be under 2 minutes. I don't see that being a problem because my ambient sound will be the rocking chair noise so maybe 5-10 seconds. Having that loop over and over will sound the way its supposed to. And my scare sounds would probably be 1 skull speech that's 30 seconds and I can find a few phrases to fill in the remaining sound space. This is actually perfect for what I want thank you! Thanks for your help! I'll be sure to post pics and video when all the parts come in so i can record my process.
 

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If you can hold the skull in place, and then rest of the skeleton doesn't hold the weight and is just for show, then the rocking shouldn't interfere with the servo. You may need to use some heavy zip ties and some sort of shawl to hide them.

But, I really like your idea of having her rocking, stop and say something, and then go back to rocking.

Here are some technical terms...if a relay is Normally Closed, it means the connection is closed. The circuit is complete, power flows, and the light or motor or whatever is on. When the relay is triggered, the connection is broken and the light or motor turns off. Connecting to a relay the other way, using the Normally Open side, means that the light, motor, etc is off because the circuit is open. Triggering the relay closes the circuit and power flows to the light or motor, turning it on.

For the ambient rocking effect, you'll want to connect to one relay on the Picboo using "Normally Closed" so that the motor rocking the chair is on, and then when the scare is triggered it turns off. You will use the NC and C connectors on the relay (which stand for "Normally Closed" and "Common").

For a light that comes on for the scare, use the NO and C on the other relay ("Normally Open" and "Common").

If you look closely at the pictures of the Picboo, on the upper left corner it says "Relay Outputs" and the connections are labelled NC, C and NO. The Picboo manual explains this a bit in the section called "Wiring the outputs."
 
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