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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, as promised, here is an update on the flicker switch. The breadboard version is done and we've begun construction. (Schematic to follow in another post trying to make it look nice and easy to follow.)

Now keep in mind my friend invented this, and I'm a computer science major, not an electronics major, so I'll do my best to explain what it does.



The LED on the breadboard was just a test LED so he could check if the flicker circuit was working properly. The dipswitches let you partially control the behavior of the flicker. The LED never actually goes out and is dimmed per switch, each switch is a different random pattern generated by the quartz crystal thing-a-ma-bob in the silver boxy component (oh yeah I'm so technical it hurts) Some of these parts you see here are military grade components. DON'T ASK. But you can find their civilian counterparts at a good mom-and-pop electronics store (Radio Shack is over-rated, go support the people barely makin' rent.) Those things that look like resisters, but are a different color (forget what their called) keep the randomness from making the LED brighter than it should. so it only has normal on, and dimmer. If you set all the dipswitches down, you get constant on due to these components.

Here's the back:



nothing exciting there really.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Now here's where we get into the good part (my idea) We hid the on/off switch in the kerosine fuel cap! We used a push button switch, and mounted it inside the cap itself, it's just two peices of steel and crimped together like a bottle cap, so we took it appart and used the washers and nut included with the screw to attach it to the inside of the cap, then we glued the top of the cap to the button top.




We plan to hot-glue the bottom of the breadboard once we hook it up to the permenant LED's so it doesn't short itself making contact with the lantern. (cheaper than epoxy,same result.) at this point, something like electrical tape will keep the board in place as well as the battery. Since we cut the entire bottom out of the fuel tank:



we think we'll just mount a few magnets and that'll keep the base on well enough. You should really see the flicker circuit in action, it works just as good as anything I've seen at disneyland if not better, and is VERY convincing as a burning flame source.

Next step is to fog up the glass, probably with glas etching. Then we can see if the LEDs we bought are gonna work. We're using 2 reds and a green (red + green at the same time will look amber.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
NOTE: That's my friend who designed the flicker switch in the picture with the lantern doing the cutting. All these pics were taken with my camera phone, so sorry about picture quality, also, multiple posts due to some kind of crazy picture limit per post.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
UPDATE: Well, remember how on zombie-f's how-to he said "I should have got the etching solution you dip glass into" ?? well it comes in 16 ounce bottles for 35 dollars (or so) each!! lucky I was armed with my 40% off one item coupon for michaels, saved 15 bucks. However, if you buy the standard wal-mart 4 dollar lantern, the glass appears to take more than 16 ounces, so we've come up with a trick for this, and I hope it works.

we're gonna plastic wrap and rubber band the bottom, and fill the glass with etching solution (which will only go half way) after 5 to 10 min, we empty, flip it, plastic wrap the other end, and repeat. this etches the inside rather than the out (Which takes less liquid) and solves the problem of what to pour the solution in because according to the directions this stuff eats just about everything.
 

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For my more recent ones I used Krylons Glass Frosting spray paint... $4 a can. You can easily frost 4 or more lanterns with one can. I really need to update the how-to.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
now he tells me!!! well I ahven't opened anything that cuoldn't be put back in the box, maybe I can get a refund....


EDIT: took it back, got my 23 bucks and bought the $3.74 can of glass frosting at Lowes. They don't carry Krylon, but this stuff was under your 4 dollar mark, working on the lantern more tomorrow, so more pictures coming. and we'll write up that how-to so you can append it to yours zombie.
 

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Hey everybody, I am new to this forum, and made my first haunted house this past halloween. I would like to find a good LED candle flicker technique, either buying and hacking the LED tea candles or building a circuit. So any of you have any recommendations from past experience? I have collected several circuits and circuit links on my web page if you are interested (including this one, thanks shaunathan).

I'm really looking forward to building haunted house 2006, building lots of props and sharing ideas.

Thanks,
heresjohnny
http://home.cfl.rr.com/myhalloweenpage
 

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Multiple LEDs by this circuit?

I am looking at the circuit (I know a little about electronics), and I was wondering if you could drive more than one LED? For example if you could use half the outputs for one LED and half for the other, or maybe even have multiple LEDs sharing different groups of outputs. I guess it depends on how many outputs you have to combine to get a decent flicker, and how much power each output can handle. My thought is that if you could drive multiple LEDs to different random patterns from this circuit, a single circuit could drive a candelabra or chandelier.
 

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Nice! Building the circuit looks pretty straightforward, and I'll bet the parts are cheap at All Electronics. Are you able to post a how-to?
 

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As I build the circuits I would like to post results, and to have some clips of the circuits in action on my web page (or in this forumif I can post video). Does anyone know what to do about the 'Y1 96kHz' component? I think that is the quartz crystal, but there is not enough information for me to find and order a part (the crystals I find have 2 leads). I also don't know how important the frequency is. Any help would be appreciated!
 

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I'll see if I can scare up a spec sheet online for the oscillator (crystal) and talk to one of the EE's at work. I'll let you know what I find out.
 

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Thanks otaku. I know a bunch of software guys, but no EE's. I think(?) the circuit takes a signal from the crystal and drives the counters, with the various outputs of the counters providing the signals at different frequencies and patterns. I am also not sure about the LM2940, does this circuit need a 1A voltage regulator?

Any info would be great! This is also a good way to build up posts to 30!
 

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I haven't been able to find a spec sheet on that crystal yet, but am still looking. I'll check on the LM2940 as well. What are the two IC's on the board? Ripple timers or counters? I see a lot of diodes on the board; I assume this is to prevent overdriving the LED(s). I was also wondering if this circuit could be used to power incandescent lamps, and what is the max voltage that can be used. I can see many possibilities for lighting effects with this circuit, and I've always been envious of the Disney flicker effects. I talked to Disney engineering once about the circuits used in the pumpkins behind the Haunted Mansion (during the NBC decoration time) and they gave me the name of a company that does stage lighting effects. The price for a single flicker circuit was $35, but you could run a number of 110 volt lights with it.
 

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The 4060's are counters. The LM2940 is a 1A low dropout voltage regulator http://www.national.com/pf/LM/LM2940.html, ok I think I know what all of that means. I was wondering if the .5 amp regulators were good enough and easier to find, I think LEDs only draw current in the mA range.

I have seen a circuit or 2 for incandescent flicker, but I didn't save them, sorry. I saw the reference to spookyblue you mentioned at the halloween forum, based on the video there a collection of blinking LEDs may well give me what I'm looking for.
 

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Yes, the Spookyblue flashing LED circuits are a good effect. I made two of them for a pair of smoldering urns. I covered the LEDs with a bit of stretchy web to diffuse the light. They're really cheap to make, too. For the lantern that my Reaper is holding, I used a BLF circuit that I got from Haunt Master Products. It has a good flicker effect and is adjustable, but I think it works best if the light source is diffused. It kind of looks like a scaled-down fluorescent-starter flicker.
 

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I wouldn't mind finding some of those lying around, free LEDs! Hey Otaku, did you notice a difference between the blinking LEDs from Spookyblue, and the BLF circuit? Was one better than the other?

I'm going to have to do one more post this morning, that will put me at the half-way mark to $20 prop eligibility.
 
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