Haunt Forum banner
21 - 33 of 33 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
155 Posts
I love the design concept of the whole thing...I bought these players early last year after I saw them mentioned on the Wolfstone site...I bought 5 of them in the hopes of easily hacking them. After I found they didn't have a built in playlist and all my hopes quickly vanished. The Otaku came up with an ingenius design with a minumum amount of parts...Wooo hoo!! many of the parts I had lying around from previous electronic projects.

Now comes this board "every haunters dream"!!! Awesome in every way except price. Is there any hope Jeff can lower the price or scale down the board...not sure I need the display or the buttons. Just trigger and easy way to dock it.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,385 Posts
Discussion Starter · #22 ·
I emailed Jeff with the pricing concerns and he has an idea. Break the board into two functional parts - one would have the LCD and the progamming components, the other would have the MP3 module and playback/triggering components. Together they would cost about as much as the current board, but the player portion would be less expensive (his estimate). This may allow buyers to get more than one "player" board and program them from one programming board. He still needs to do some design and prototyping work, but this may be an option. What you folks think?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
489 Posts
I have been using an ISD board with my talking Reaper. Last year the TOTs complained that they couldn't understand what he was saying. I used the MP3 player with the same audio file last and it made a serious difference, both in sound quality and performance of the servo driver board. A trick I learned - put the spoken track on one channel and use the other to drive the servo. I put a steady 500kHz tone on the unheard channel and sliced it up to match the vocal track. You can manipulate the amplitude, length and decay of the tone sections to get super-clean performance from the servo. Very helpful for tracks that use reverb, echo and other effects that can confuse servos.
Great idea! How did you generate the 500kHz tone?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
489 Posts
I emailed Jeff with the pricing concerns and he has an idea. Break the board into two functional parts - one would have the LCD and the progamming components, the other would have the MP3 module and playback/triggering components. Together they would cost about as much as the current board, but the player portion would be less expensive (his estimate). This may allow buyers to get more than one "player" board and program them from one programming board. He still needs to do some design and prototyping work, but this may be an option. What you folks think?
The LCD display is really what is driving up the cost. It is a good "turn key" solution however, but the cost is just too high.

To be honest, a more powerful solution was created by another Hauntforum member. Here is a link to the hack and a link to the EFX-TEK forum discussing the hack. A prop-1 controller ($35) was used to control the mp3 player. It appears they were also able to create pseudo playlists.

Unless Jeff at SimpleCircuitBoards can get the cost at or below $35 (excluding the mp3 player), I think the prop-1 solution is far cheaper and more powerful. It isn't a "turn key" solution, however.

Be aware that MPJA only has 28 of these units left in stock! I would guess that once they're gone, they're gone for good.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,385 Posts
Discussion Starter · #25 ·
I wonder if the board could be made using other devices to display/indicate the time values that were programmed? I agree that the LCD is a costly part of the board. I'll ask Jeff if there are other ways to indicate the programmed values to the user.
Regarding the use of a Prop-1, the issues there are that you must use a computer, learn PBasic (not difficult, but since I teach VB/VBA courses I know what to expect), and if changing the On time is needed, you have to re-code the sub. This board is able to be a stand-alone device if attached to a 9 volt battery.
Please keep in mind that products like this (short-run board fab, manual assembly, design/engineering time) can be more costly than a scaled-up commercial product.
I saw that MPJA is getting low on the players. I found this place:
http://www.watchcloseouts.net/ecommerce/Scripts/prodList~idCategory~56.htm
They have ~550 of them in stock. You have to create an account to view the price - it's $9.85 each.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,385 Posts
Discussion Starter · #26 · (Edited)
Great idea! How did you generate the 500kHz tone?
I used GoldWave to set up the file. Put the vocal track in one side of a stereo file. Use the Tone Generator function to place a 500kHz tone in the other channel. Select that channel and adjust the volume down to something reasonable or it will drive the servo to max all the time. You'll see the "spikes" in the spoken track. Select the parts of the tone track that do not correspond to the highs in the spoken track, and set the volume to "0". When you're done you'll have a chopped-up tone track that mirrors the vocal. Test the file to see if you've got the timing right, and make adjustments to the length of the tone sections to get the correct jaw movement, a little movement for short, quickly spoken words and more for louder ones. You can also use the Fade function to taper the volume of the tone section. This works really well for making a laugh to look right - usually the servo just drives to max and stays there. Also helps with servo bounce when echo effects are used. When you're done, send the spoken track to the speakers and the tone track to the servo board. I have a short MP3 sample file that I'll send you so you can see how the tones are arranged. I built it in GoldWave but you should be able to use Audacity or other editors to open it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
489 Posts
I wonder if the board could be made using other devices to display/indicate the time values that were programmed? I agree that the LCD is a costly part of the board. I'll ask Jeff if there are other ways to indicate the programmed values to the user.
Regarding the use of a Prop-1, the issues there are that you must use a computer, learn PBasic (not difficult, but since I teach VB/VBA courses I know what to expect), and if changing the On time is needed, you have to re-code the sub. This board is able to be a stand-alone device if attached to a 9 volt battery.
Please keep in mind that products like this (short-run board fab, manual assembly, design/engineering time) can be more costly than a scaled-up commercial product.
I saw that MPJA is getting low on the players. I found this place:
http://www.watchcloseouts.net/ecommerce/Scripts/prodList~idCategory~56.htm
They have ~550 of them in stock. You have to create an account to view the price - it's $9.85 each.
I agree with most of your statements about the Prop-1, but there is a way to change the "ON" time with the Prop-1 using the "POT" instuction. Basically you can connect a potentiometer to an input pin on the prop-1. Here is a link to the documentation. As far as programming it goes, Jon Williams from EFX-TEK (also a Hauntforum member) is very helpful and would most likely be able to help you with the programming.

You also stated that the SimpleCircuits board is a stand alone solution. I have two points about this statement.

1) You stated that the board can run on a 9V battery. Be careful about this. According to the documentation, the battery/power source must be capable of providing 250 mA of current. That's a lot of current. A typical "off the shelf" 9V battery can supply ~150mAH (milli Amp Hours) of current. If the circuit draws 250 mA of current, a 9V battery will power the circuit for only about 1/2 an hour. You could purchase a lithium 9V battery (relatively expensive ~$6 each) that would supply ~900 mAH that would run the circuit for about 4 hours. This may be less than desireable. Have you tried to run the SimpleCircuits board on a 9V battery for extended periods? If so, how long does the battery last?

2) Since I have this mp3 player, I know that the output of the player is not that loud. In order to get decent output volume you need to have amplified speakers. Most amplified speakers need to be "plugged-in" (you can find battery powered amplified speakers, but they are usually very small). If you need to "plug-in" the speakers you may as well "plug-in" the board. If you "plug-in" the board why not use a Prop-1?

I still think this is a good idea, but the price needs to come way down.

You didn't answer my other question. How did you generate the 500kHz frequency?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,385 Posts
Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Programming a Prop-1 wouldn't be an issue for me at all, but may be a stumbling block for others. Agreed about the 9 volt battery - I'll check it out.

Did you see my second post about the using the Tone Generator in GoldWave? The latest version makes it real easy to do, but earlier versions require you to enter a few values in the Function Generator dbox. I don't use Audacity, so I don't know if there is a corresponding feature for creating specific tones.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
489 Posts
Programming a Prop-1 wouldn't be an issue for me at all, but may be a stumbling block for others. Agreed about the 9 volt battery - I'll check it out.

Did you see my second post about the using the Tone Generator in GoldWave? The latest version makes it real easy to do, but earlier versions require you to enter a few values in the Function Generator dbox. I don't use Audacity, so I don't know if there is a corresponding feature for creating specific tones.
Sorry I missed your other post. Please send me the file, I would be interested in seeing it. Thanks!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
489 Posts
I called MPJA and they said they have 4 left and after that it will be discontinued!!! Looks like we may be shopping at the other site....
The other site may be a problem also. You need to have a $200 minimum order. You could always organize a "group buy", however.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,385 Posts
Discussion Starter · #32 ·
OK, here's the latest from Jeff at SimpleCircuits. He split the board into two functional parts - a Programmer and a Player. They connect with a ribbon cable. The Player holds the MP3 module. Once programmed, the Player is disconnected and used in your prop. The Player board has the power input and dry-contact trigger input. The Programmer board draws its power through the ribbon cable when they're connected. Of course, multiple Player boards can be used with one Programmer. If you already own the MP3 module(s), Jeff will sell the wired connector that allows you to plug it into the Player board. You still have to solder the wires to the MP3 module, but that's quite easy to do.

The prices are:
Programmer board - $41.00
Player board w/o MP3 module - $27.50
Player board with wired MP3 module - $40.00

Sorry, I didn't get the price of the separate wired connector from him. He'll have this board up on his web site soon.
www.simplecircuitboards.com
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
517 Posts
A prop1 can be used to trigger these mp3's quite easily for either limited play or continuous loop. I worked out the triggering set-up with Jon at EFEX back when I was putting together the "singing" skull. The prop1 triggers a small relay which in turn lights off the player. I use mine with a remote trigger, but any trigger will do. I can provide the program to start/stop one of the mp3's to anyone interested (it's a bone-simple command). The only other change needed can be found at Bourno's website under 'MP3 HACK', and thats soldering in two wires to act as triggers for the button.
 
21 - 33 of 33 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top