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Stays Zesty in milk
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just a safety warning, I am working to make sure I take every precaution to make my info understandable & safe to most non-electrically inclined people. I may be a certified electrician, but I am not a certified teacher or particularly eloquent. I would suggest buying & reading a book on basic household wiring, before undertaking any 120v (or house power) type projects. This is intended more of a 'how I did it' than a how-to.

I assume no liability for the use or misuse of this information. Proceed at your own risk and hold your self liable for your own actions. I never told you to go and do anything.

Beware! 120v can hurt, start fires, and kill. ALWAYS work on a dead or off circuit. Make sure ALL electrical connections are secure, tight, and enclosed in an electrical box & cover* designed for the environment it will be in. Ground your work with a ground wire.

The "bucket holder"

This basically holds a bucket with a handful of assorted metal parts, 1'-18" off the ground. When triggered, it falls to the ground, resulting in a loud crash. This also has to be manually reset after every triggering. To trigger the trap, power must be shut off to the magnet. there are several methods to turn the magnet off. This is designed to be used with a switched outlet or similar.

This was made to be used out doors, but not exposed to direct weather. The "bucket holder" was out of reach, 10'-15' away when triggered, and behind a barrier from the toter's. No parts flew out in tests or during operation, nor did the bucket tip, bounce, or fall over. The rope & metal plate did swing about a little, but it had no one to hit & was no more than 2' off the ground when triggered. Increasing the height of the bucket would increase the chance of failure & not improve the effect by much.

1) Door Holder mounted in/on a WEATHERPROOF (referred to as WP) box and attached to a weighted piece of wood
2) Steel plate (a box cover plate, modified with an extra hole to link the chain) & chain
3) Rope
4) Pulley (2)
5) 2x4 2' ish long (not what I used)
6) Plastic laundry soap bucket (Less than a 5 gallon) with a handful of assorted metal parts (screws, nuts, bolts, washers, etc.)

A

(A) This is the concept picture. Please note it is included to show basically how it works & assembled. this is not a 100% accurate representation.
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B

(B) A real pic of how it looks. See, #5 is not a 2x4, but a 2x4 cut at 2' ish would work. Please note #6, the buckets contents. There is only a handful of parts. Also note that the plate is hanging at the top level of the 5 gallon bucket (filled with dirt & providing the weight to hold the board down). Finally see how the 2 pulleys are used to separate the bucket from the door holder and keep the rope movement straight up & down, not at an angle.
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C

(C)1a The actual door holder mounted to an aluminium WP box. 1b are other pics of the box mounted door holder. 1c is the back of the door holder device. 2 is the steel plate & chain.
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D

(D) 1c, a closeup of the back. This unit can be wired for 24v dc. It is currently wired for 120v ac. The instructions are right there; C (common) is the common/neutral terminal screw; H (hot) is the 120v terminal screw; L (low volt) is the 24v terminal screw DON'T CONECT L TO 120v POWER! Also know I used solid wire, not stranded to connect to the terminal screws. If using stranded wire, use a fork terminal connector rated for the wire.
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E

(E) (1) shows the power cord (an extension cord) attached & ready to wire the device. Note the Ground pigtail to the box & the weatherproofing gasket. Also, all unused KO's (Knock-Out holes) are plugged with KO plugs.
(2) shows the gasket & 'duct seal' a sealing putty.
(3) shows the device wired to the extension cord. Notice the 3 green wires? Please 'Ground' all of your metal boxes with a ground pigtail.
(4) The use of the putty is for sealing the mounting screw holes from moisture.
(5) Installing the screw cover caps.
(0) Showing the proper(& supplied) mounting brackets installed.
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To make this truly WP, an SO connector would have been used instead of a romex connector. It would also have to be plugged into a weatherproof, in-use 'bubble type' cover protected outlet. It would also have to be mounted vertically as opposed to horizontally. None of this WP is necessary if used indoors in a dry location.
 

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Stays Zesty in milk
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4,472 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Additional Info

F

(F) Here is a pic of the door holders from a parts catalog.

Door Holders are a part of fire alarm & suppression systems. They are used to hold doors open during normal building operation, but turn off & close doors to stop airflow that can help feed a fire when triggered.

One reason for posting was for the non-standard use of electrical devices in a haunt.

I know that there are some very creative & talented people (that are not electricians) that can benefit from this knowledge.

As to where to get things like door holders, I suggest looking into electrical supply houses.
 

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Pumpkin Hill Gravekeeper
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I am stunned and awed by your ingenuity. Imagine a whole room using this to allow various nasty things to drop on the "victims". Once they understood what was happening they would be terrified to move forward. I know it would have to be reset, but the effect could be worth it.
 

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Neat design and novel use of parts. - I was just kicking around ideas in my head to make it fully automated / repeatable. I wonder if a person could salvage a rear wheel gear set off an old 10 speed bike and use it to some effect?

My thought was, since the gear 'drives' in one direction and freewheels in the other, you could tie a rope to the bucket and to the rim of the wheel. Drive the gear to pick the bucket up. As it rotated over the top, it would come crashing down the other side on the freewheel motion. You'd probably want a lid on the bucket to keep the parts from flying, which might mute the sound some. But depending on the side of the parts, you could also drill some holes to 'let the sound out' while retaining the parts. You might also want to replace the actual bicycle wheel crank arm so the bucket/rope wouldn't get tangled. The height of the drop would only be limited to the length of the crank arm - and the motor torque to pick it up.

If someone got really fancy, you could use a limit switch to shut the device off just before going over the top, then another to trip it just as someone walked by - there would always be a big "CRASH!" waiting!
 

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Since the bucket has to be manually reset, why not just have the bucket on the end of a long rope, run through a few screw eyes, then to an actor. The actor can hold the bucket in the air (or set it by hooking a loop in the rope to a screw in the wall) then drop it when customers are in the right position? Since a human has to be involved why not gain from their sense of timing as well. also the actor resets just by pulling on the rope as opposed to having to go to where the bucket is.
Seems a bit rube goldberg to me.
 

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Stays Zesty in milk
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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Thank you for your input, some great ideas there! Just thought I'd share a little bit of what I've done for my haunt.

Thank you, Allen H, for a non-technical version of the same effect, but I don't have 'actors'. That would work as well, too. If others can afford to employ labor in this economy over a device, please do so!

I'm a home-haunter, as are a few here. (I think so, perhaps I joined the wrong forum?:googly:). I run my haunt out of my pocket as a hobby, all on my own, for the love of the Holiday & the children's enjoyment. I do not do this professionally, have any kind of budget, or do this for money. My income goes towards the family, first. The few pennies leftover can go my very limited haunt fund. As a matter of fact, every thing here was from salvaged materials and skill. It cost me nothing but time. In fact, it took a lot of extra time to put this thread/post together for the potential benefit of others. (As others have helped me, here.)

I guess I could tell the kids that they need to not enjoy Toting while they can & help ol' Dad out, since I cannot afford actors or labor... No, I'd never do that.

My intent was to show a simple electrical device that could take the place of manual labor, and bring something new to the haunting table. Already others have added some great ideas to the very simple device I have shown. This was not meant to show the devices I used for the fully automated 'triggering' controls. Now, I'm not sure it would be worth my time to show those.

I was hoping this would have helped someone of your caliber & skill, too, Allen H.
 

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Evil, Wicked, Mean, Nasty
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I really like the idea of using the door holder because it's not something I commonly see. I have no clue what they cost. Where did you get it?

I was thinking this would also be great for a guillotine. You could set up a guillotine prop where the "blade" apparatis comes down on a body prop....with obvious safety precautions to prevent actual beheading. The neat thing is...you can trigger it with a foot switch, pad, beam, timed controller, or from a distance with no visible person next to the prop when a TOT approaches. I wouldn't mind having to walk over to reset it.

Like many others...my first thought was....cool...now how could we make it reset itself.
 

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I think its cool Z man....usually the less complex a scare the better all around the effect it creates....how many times have we scared ourselves when something falls over when we don't expect it. Again I like it:D
 

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Thank you, Allen H, for a non-technical version of the same effect, but I don't have 'actors'. That would work as well, too. If others can afford to employ labor in this economy over a device, please do so!
**You sound greatly offended and that was not my intent.
There is no more expense with the low tech version, if someone has to be there to reset it, your not adding a person, just saving the money on all the electrical bits**

I'm a home-haunter, as are a few here. (I think so, perhaps I joined the wrong forum?). I run my haunt out of my pocket as a hobby, all on my own, for the love of the Holiday & the children's enjoyment. I do not do this professionally, have any kind of budget, or do this for money. My income goes towards the family, first. The few pennies leftover can go my very limited haunt fund. As a matter of fact, every thing here was from salvaged materials and skill. It cost me nothing but time. In fact, it took a lot of extra time to put this thread/post together for the potential benefit of others. (As others have helped me, here.)
**Thats all great. Never said a word against it or you**

I guess I could tell the kids that they need to not enjoy Toting while they can & help ol' Dad out, since I cannot afford actors or labor... No, I'd never do that.
**This is a bit ridiculous, If someone has to reset the bucket each time, why cant the same person let go of a rope?**

My intent was to show a simple electrical device that could take the place of manual labor, and bring something new to the haunting table.
** It does replace the manual labor of allowing a bucket to fall, but from the post it seems that a person is required to lift and reset the bucket. So instead of having two jobs the person has only one (but it is the harder of the two)**

Already others have added some great ideas to the very simple device I have shown.
**absolutely, I was simply providing the same effect for the possibly tech challenged. I have used rope pulling gags for years. I had a chain link roof over a section of fence maze before and had about 20 soda cans on a rope that dropped down from above. Really great noise and a really great scare. Every year I have a falling spider web which hits the whole group at once (there it could be an advantage to have the auto drop since that tech has alot to do and has to hustle to get to the drop point on time), The effect is great no doubt.**

I was hoping this would have helped someone of your caliber & skill, too, Allen H.
** What is brilliant about it is the electro magnetic device, thats genius. My mind is now thinking of ways to incorporate that into use in my attractions. I do not necessarily think that bucket dropping is the best use of it, but talk to ten haunters and you will get ten different haunting styles.
Personally I like to keep things as simple as possible so they are as reliable as possible. No need to get up set or chain your children to haunt stations this upcoming season. I apologize for any offense I committed. I never attacked your haunt or style, I just pointed out what I saw as a simpler/different way of accomplishing the same thing.
Home or pro haunters alike should be exposed to different ways of doing things as we can learn from others methods.
I would love to sign this as it is an apology but that is oddly against forum policy.
 

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Sometimes it can be hard to now how a person says something since it is written and not spoken to hear any verbal cues.

For what it is worth Allen and Zurgh, I loved this how to and I was also thinking of how to do this automatically. I really don't think any offense was intended.
 

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Stays Zesty in milk
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Apology accepted.
Words from a professional carry great weight, good or ill.
Your original post seems aimed to eliminate the use of the door holder & replacement with a person. A person I am unwilling or unable to spare (Me, my kids, or an 'actor') for the task. The exact opposite of what the device was re-purposed to do. Eliminating the technological item used to hold the bucket makes this no longer a technological terror solution, therefore, absolutely useless.

Perhaps I overreacted.
Sometimes it can be hard to now how a person says something since it is written and not spoken to hear any verbal cues.

For what it is worth Allen and Zurgh, I loved this how to and I was also thinking of how to do this automatically. I really don't think any offense was intended.
If that is the case, then I apologise for the misunderstandings.

Had I just shown a door holder, in a vacuum, any re-purposing may have been poorly represented. I figured it would be best to take the time and just show how I had used it in my 09' haunt.

It worked reliably in test and in use, every time. An electromagnetic door holder does one thing really well. It will hold a steel plate in place while on & release it when shut off. It doesn't get distracted, sleepy, forgetful, need a break, etc...

As a home haunter, I have to fill all the roles in my haunt. Anything I can automate even slightly, gives me more freedom to make my haunt even better. I only wish I could match Rube Goldberg in his whimsy & complexity of his contrivances.

I saw no need to watch for toters to drop the bucket by hand when I could build a device to do it for me. This freed me up to do things, like: sneak up on tots from another direction, hand out candy while the Misses took the kids toting, take a break, fidget with props, etc. The triggering method was a motion sensor controlled relay pack, almost completely automated. It only takes seconds to reset the bucket.

DarkLore, I got 8 door holders for free, off a building remodel. They were removed due to new construction, no longer needed, and destined for the trash. I simply asked nicely if I could have them. I figured I could do something interesting with them. They would have taken up space in a landfill otherwise.

I did a quick google search on similar device prices. Ouch! They range from 50-150$!!! I had no idea there cost. I install electrical systems & components, I'm not a purchasing agent. None of my parts catalogs have prices. I'm sure a more Internet savvy person could find a way better price if they were interested or find some form of substitution.

As for complete automation of this, and this may sound trite, I was thinking of modifying an electrical automatic sliding door mechanism. I don't have one of those. With what I've planned for 2010, fully automating the bucket holder is not foreseen until 2011.
 
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