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Pumpkin Hill Gravekeeper
Craft my own animated props, create a huge display, visit local "Haunted Events"
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have one of those new vultures from Home Depot, that has the LED eyes and the head moves and it "caws". I already attached it to a wall wart so I don't need batteries, but I would like it to just come on when the power to my display comes on. Is there some way to jump out the sound actuation device? I already tried to jump out the "test/display" switch that comes with those things and that didnt work. I have some other ideas, but I don't want to fry the little board in my attempts.
 

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If you just want it to come on with your display, is there any way to power the wall wart from your display? Lots of times, strings of incandescent lights will have an extra plug at the end which could support a small wall wart. Possibly install a 3 way power splitter on an input cord? ...so you'd have a couple extra 120V outlets? Would depend a bit on what elements you have in your display but that would probably be easiest.

Next up the line may be putting a relay in to cut power when the display is off. But again, would depend quite a bit on what elements are in the display.
 

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Pumpkin Hill Gravekeeper
Craft my own animated props, create a huge display, visit local "Haunted Events"
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
If you just want it to come on with your display, is there any way to power the wall wart from your display? Lots of times, strings of incandescent lights will have an extra plug at the end which could support a small wall wart. Possibly install a 3 way power splitter on an input cord? ...so you'd have a couple extra 120V outlets? Would depend a bit on what elements you have in your display but that would probably be easiest.

Next up the line may be putting a relay in to cut power when the display is off. But again, would depend quite a bit on what elements are in the display.
Of course I have access to power. A wall wart isn't much good without it, unless I need a paper weight. I think you misunderstood my question. What I am saying is, after power has been applied, the vulture has to have a noise made in order to activate. I want it to activate as soon as it gets power, no sound or motion required. So I want to know if the sound actuated switch can be hacked or jumped out so as not to be necessary. The other elements in the display are irrelevant.
 

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I do apologize. I think we'll just have to admit we have some language differences. I didn't ask about 'access to power'. When you said 'just come on' when the power to my display comes on. I understood that to mean you 'only/just' wanted the crow to power up and be ready to caw. So I ask about hooking the crow wall wart to the power of the rest of your display so it would all come on at once. But I think you're saying 'just come on' to mean actually cawing?

So what exactly is 'jump out' the test display switch? For me 'jump out' means removing something from a circuit. Typically the test leads need to be shorted together to activate the prop - I would consider that 'shorted' or 'jumpered' or 'jumped in' or 'cut in'.

Are you jumping/shorting/'touching together' the 'try me' leads and the crow is not doing what you want? I thought that was the whole purpose of those leads. Possibly look inside to see if they are broken disconnected?

If they don't work at all, probably the next thing I would look at is the microphone. It should have a couple of leads - possibly connecting those momentarily would start the cawing? Though I'd probably try connecting them through a resistor or transistor, first. (instead of a direct connection / direct short)
 

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Pumpkin Hill Gravekeeper
Craft my own animated props, create a huge display, visit local "Haunted Events"
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I realize, I wasn't completely clear as to my question. Jumped out is the local vernacular, for what you are describing as jumped in. That sounds odd to me. Jumped in. Hmm. Shorted (so as to remove/bypass the switch from/in the circuit) is the more appropriate term. I tried splicing the leads from the "test me" switch and that didn't work, although the switch worked fine when it was still in the circuit and was "activated". I suppose it is a momentary switch of some sort, maybe? Is the sound actuated switch a microphone? I guess my question would be, can that be successfully removed from the circuit? Would it just be similar to shorting a single pole switch? Right there, I would be inclined to say shorting out. I never thought trade slang would be different depending upon where you were from. Make sense though. After all most other slang does differ from region to region.
 

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Typically the 'try me' buttons are simple momentary push button switches. When you push the button, the switch connects the two wires of the 'try me'. When you release the button, the two wires are disconnected. So connecting/touching those wires together should 'trigger' the prop to do its routine. Though you likely need to disconnect the wires (or stop pushing the button) to allow the prop to reset. Though some props might run continuously as long as the button is pushed...it would just depend on how it was programmed.

Typically the sound activation would be from a small microphone. Most often a small/simple/cheap electret microphone. This would generally be supplied with a couple volts power through two lead wires. Any sound would cause tiny changes in the resistance of the mic, hence voltage of the 'sense' wire. Touching the two leads to the microphone with a (relatively high value) resistor (I'd maybe start with 10K and work down to 1K) should be the same as making a sound and trigger the prop.

Though either of these methods, the prop may need a 'reset' - as noted releasing the 'try me' button or removing the resistor from the mic wires to get it to activate again.
 

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Pumpkin Hill Gravekeeper
Craft my own animated props, create a huge display, visit local "Haunted Events"
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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Typically the 'try me' buttons are simple momentary push button switches. When you push the button, the switch connects the two wires of the 'try me'. When you release the button, the two wires are disconnected. So connecting/touching those wires together should 'trigger' the prop to do its routine. Though you likely need to disconnect the wires (or stop pushing the button) to allow the prop to reset. Though some props might run continuously as long as the button is pushed...it would just depend on how it was programmed.

Typically the sound activation would be from a small microphone. Most often a small/simple/cheap electret microphone. This would generally be supplied with a couple volts power through two lead wires. Any sound would cause tiny changes in the resistance of the mic, hence voltage of the 'sense' wire. Touching the two leads to the microphone with a (relatively high value) resistor (I'd maybe start with 10K and work down to 1K) should be the same as making a sound and trigger the prop.

Though either of these methods, the prop may need a 'reset' - as noted releasing the 'try me' button or removing the resistor from the mic wires to get it to activate again.

That reset is exactly what I was trying to avoid, but I think you're right. It does need to reset. At least the "try me" seems to. I can't think of a way around that. I guess I will just have to set it up so there is enough ambient sound to trigger the thing. This is the prop. A skull pops up and down from inside the trunk of the tree, (you can barely see the top of the skull)that face on the front of the tree lights up and then there is the vulture.

Plant Branch Twig Wood Art
 

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If it does need the reset, and you are looking for it to trigger multiple times, you could use a simple timing relay to contact the two 'try me' wires. The relay should allow you to contact the wires for ~1 second every [some time interval you choose]. Say, contact for 1 second ever 60 seconds, so that would be like pushing the try me button once a minute - the bird should caw once a minute.

If you're into arduino's at all, that would also be a simple way to set up a timer to make a contact every so often - or you could even do random intervals.

 

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Pumpkin Hill Gravekeeper
Craft my own animated props, create a huge display, visit local "Haunted Events"
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
If it does need the reset, and you are looking for it to trigger multiple times, you could use a simple timing relay to contact the two 'try me' wires. The relay should allow you to contact the wires for ~1 second every [some time interval you choose]. Say, contact for 1 second ever 60 seconds, so that would be like pushing the try me button once a minute - the bird should caw once a minute.

If you're into arduino's at all, that would also be a simple way to set up a timer to make a contact every so often - or you could even do random intervals.


Hmmm. Now that is a very good idea. I've never used one before, but they look pretty simple to set up. I might have to give it a try.
 

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PS - neat prop! I didn't see the picture on my original post (slow interwebs, I guess) But, yes, the relay would get you an intermittent activation. If you went the arduino route, you could probably combine an infrared sensor with arduino so it would caw whenever someone walked by. Though at that point, the arduino could probably run the whole show...skull popping, lights, crow, etc.
 
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