Halloween Animatronics,Animatronics for Beginners to advanced electronics automation and pneumatic controls


How to Build Your OWN Halloween Animatronics

from Halloween Animatronics VOLUME 1 - EVENT TIMERS

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Halloween Animatronics


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Halloween Animatronics

Let's Take a look at EVENT TIMERS
selected information from Halloween Animatronics Volume 1 Event Triggers.

Now that you can Trigger your effects You have got to be able to control the time they operate The best way to do this is with the 555 IC timer chip There are lots of ways you can use this timer Now you will have precise control over the length of time your effect stays on.

Be sure to use a chip holder and don't try and solder directly to the 555 timer or you will ruin it. It's a Heat Senstitive component like a transistor because it's full of transistors!.

We're going to be working with some very simple components The LED a couple of fixed resistors an IC chip holder the 555 IC timer chip and a capacitor Now the capacitor is polarity specific which means you must hook it up correctly most can- type capacitors have the negative side (or ground side) marked with some minus signs. when you place them in the circuit, put this side towards ground as the diagram indicates and everything will be fine.
Now lets talk about the 555 chip Like a transistor - these chips are heat sensitive So instead of soldering these chips directly into the circuit we use an IC chip holder. THe holder is soldered in and the chip slides right into it. Pin orientation on the 555 chip is important. You can tell which is Pin number one by Lining up the notch to your left. Pin number one will be just below it SOmetimes it's marked with a circular indentation

So much has been written about the 555 that I'm not going to beat a dead horse by explaining it here. If you need more info, do a search or just click these links (but come back soon!) http://www.doctronics.co.uk/555.htm

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Pin number one is hooked to ground pin number three is the OUTPUT pin of the circuit and for the time being I have hooked up the LED and resistor to it Understand that the LED represents your EFFECT. weather you are turning on and off a motor or turning a props head left and right. I'll get into that a little later in the video so for now - just remember that the LED is representing your EFFECT.
This circuit is called a one shot or monostable. When Pin the blue wire which is hooked to pin 2 is grounded the 555 turns on the LED (or your effect) for a specific period of time determined by the R/C constant. You'll recall in project 2 we built a laser trigger. It would be great to use that trigger to start the 555 one shot timer to start our effect and the let the 555 timer control the amount of time our effect will run
The RC constant is a way to caluculate the resistor and capacitor values you need - for the amount of time you want the effect to stay on.
Unfortunately Our Trigger circuit provides Positive voltage as it's output and the 555 timer circuit needs dropping voltage or 0 volts to start it's timing. Well, in order to fix this situation - we need to add small circuit to the output of the Trigger. It's called an inverter.. what it does it take the positive Voltage output of the Trigger circuit and Inverts it to negative or 0 volts. now, we can supply the proper voltage to start the One Shot 555 timer.
Now it may seem like it's getting complicated. Just think of each circuit like it's a tool one circuit does the job of triggering your effect the next circuit's job is to flip it's output and the last circuit is for timing. If you think of each circuit as a tool to do a particular task You can begin to mix and match these 'tools' to help you accomplish what the animatronic motions you want.
Let's make that inverter You'll need a Switching Transistor NPN A 10K resistor - color code Brown - Black - Orange and a 1 K Resistor - color code Brown - Black _Red A quick test to see if it works. By touching the input trigger blue wire to Positive voltage our Inverter flips that input and sends the 555 chip a dropping voltage or 0 volts. which is whata the 555 needs to start it's timing. Works great - now lets move on.
With the 2 circuits connected together It's a good idea to test them one more time The laser beam is broken - the CDS circuit sends a HIGH output to the TImer circuit THe inverter flips this High to a LOW and Starts the 555 timer Yep works like it should. Relays are used to isolate your effect and it's source voltage from your timing circuit. Your low voltage low current - timing circuit charges the relay coil which physically closes the remote contacts
I've added on a a pin connector to make it easier to attach the remote trigger to this timer. Now we can locate the trigger circuit far away from the timer and the connection can be removed easily for setting it up. ALso with a removable trigger setup I could use a mat switch to trigger this timer or any other type of trigger I chose. Now you can control High current DC motors, switch sound off and on- control other circuits.
Whatever relay you choose, look on the back of the box for it's schematic. Current flow is pretty straigtforward. Pin 3 of the 555 timer sends a High to base of the transistor THe transistor acts as a switch and allows current to flow to the RELAY coil the relay coil charges up and induces the Physical contact of our EFFECT circuit. - which is once again an LED for simplicity -

Click here for 555 astable circuit
Now you may think that we're still not getting anywhere but we are As far as timers go - we know how to build the one shot 555 timer. We know how to trigger it and we know how to connect a relay to it to power a high current motor. With a few simple modifications to the one shot circuit, we can make also make timer which does not need a trigger. Its all automatic.. As you can see by the schematic, it's the same 555 chip - just hooked up a little differently. This circuit will turn your effect on and off then on and off repeating as long as you have power to the chip.
Now I control the head and neck motion of this Skeleton Prop by using The Repeating Astable 555 timer circuit. The Head tilting forward and remains there for 3.5 seconds, then returns upright for 5 seconds. This adds an extra quality to the Props motion and promotes some believability - especially if the Prop can talk and perform other 'human' actions like eye movement, blinking and so forth
This circuit times a servo driver circuit which we're going to talk about next. Your ability to indepentantly drive servo's with the variety of circuits we will discuss Will really start making your Halloween animatronics (without question-) stand out from the crowd.
The Head Panning motion and the swivel motion are controlled by individual audio tones which are inputted into audio sensing circuits and those circuts - in turn - controll the servo driver ciruits for each of those motions- and eventually we will go over all these circuits as well as mechanical joint contstruction All toll, there are 3 servos for the basic motions of this Head of this Bucky Skeleton Prop.

CLICK HERE to go to Servo Control section


Here alone you will find a complete guide to making your own Halloween Animatronics. Since building animatronics requires you to be familiar with several technical areas, we are proud to introduce a NEW series specifically focused on Halloween Animatronics.
This 3 part technical series of DVD video's, downloadable videos and downloadable PDF documentations will allow you to begin with absoluetly no electronic knowledge and progress, step by step to creating your OWN working Halloween animatronics! And we're not talking about the cheap junk you find at the superstores, You will be creating Hollywood style animatronics... The type that will, without question, blow away your entire neighborhood!

3 Awesome DVD volumes
Volume 1 - beginning to intermediate knowledge levels
Volume 2 - Advanced animatronics (pneumatics/design and control)
Volume 3 - Halloween Scare Concepts and Designs

Click around the site and Start the Halloween Animatronics learning curve RIGHT NOW!


We have brought all these resources together for the expressed purpose of teaching you step-by-step, not only the mechanics of Halloween Animatronics, but the actual design and construction of the electronic control circuits that make it all happen!

Copyright 2008, Dave Corr

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