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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

New forum member here from the Netherlands. Had my first Halloween display last year using mostly stuff I already had lying around such as a beamer for mesh screen projection onto our large garden window, fog machine (chilled fog using bottles of frozen water which worked rather well), DMX controlled lights and some other stuff.

This year I want to take it up a notch (or two) so I got working on a flying ghost (I believe it's commonly referred to as Axworthy on this board) and a skeleton that will be swinging by itself in the garden. I'm using wiper motors and a PWM controller for these.

However I also want to build one or two motion-activated props and the octobanger solution seemed like one of the best and most affordable and easy to get into.

Here's my question. Would someone perhaps be so kind to take a quick look at my shopping list to see if the stuff I selected will work nicely together and with the octobanger software?
  1. https://www.amazon.com/ELEGOO-Board-ATmega328P-ATMEGA16U2-Compliant/dp/B01EWOE0UU
  2. https://www.amazon.com/ELEGOO-Channel-Optocoupler-Compatible-Raspberry/dp/B09ZQS2JRD/ref=sr_1_1_sspa
  3. https://www.amazon.com/ELEGOO-Breadbord-Jumper-Wires/dp/B01EV70C78?th=1
  4. https://www.amazon.com/HiLetgo-HC-SR501-Infrared-Sensor-Arduino/dp/B07KZW86YR
  5. https://www.amazon.com/DORHEA-YX5300-Control-Serial-Player/dp/B0914N4TN8?th=1
If I order this today delivery would be around October 7 which should leave me enough time to integrate them with my props. Any alternatives would also have to be deliverable to the Netherlands around that time.

I found an alternative for the Uno here:


but given the price I suspect that the picture showing an original Arduino brand board is inaccurate and that this will also just be a clone instead of an original.

Perhaps I should add some diodes to my shopping list to quench the flyback voltage from the wiper motors? I've also seen some references to using a capacitor across the motor instead of (or perhaps in addition to) a diode. Any ideas on this?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
This thread was split off from the Four Channel Prop Controller Using Arduino (FourBanger) thread by the mods and was titled 'Axworthy ghost question', however I renamed it because my question has nothing to do with the Axworthy ghost even if I mentioned it briefly as just one example of what I want to do this year to improve my Halloween display for this year. I do have a question about the Axworthy Ghost but I'll put that in a separate thread later.

I hope someone can confirm if the components I selected for my Octobanger based projects will work for that, would help me a lot.
 

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Yes all of the things you selected are what you will need and should work good together. One exception though, the PIR brand you selected has given me grief in the past. I will see if i can find a better recommendation later, (got an appointment to go to now.) I use clone Arduino exclusively.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
What sort of problem were you having with those PIRs? On the interface side with the Arduino or on the detection side? Anyway, if you do have a better suggestion I'm all ears.

Good to know the other stuff should be fine, thanks for the confirmation.
 

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So the issue I had was with a bunch of PIRs that I bought that were labeled "D-sun" on the board on the back side of the board. They wouldn't sync with the software and I also tried them with other projects and it seems they are just defective. I was in a hurry at the time so I just used some other ones that I knew were working. Here is a picture of the bad ones. In the pic I have a pencil pointing
Circuit component Automotive lighting Gas Computer hardware Space

at the corner of the board. The good ones had a jumper instead of just solder pads here they also were blue boards. Here Blue PIR is a link to ones that look like the good ones I have. Not sure if they are the same or not hard to know since all of it is made in China.
Circuit component Automotive lighting Gas Computer hardware Space
 

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Interesting - now I have to go look at my boards! I recall having one a few years back which wouldn't work. Thought it was dead, so just grabbed another.

For reference, here is some info for that jumper. Seems it is a mode switch to determine how the PIR will trigger. That could definitely affect operation if the arduino is looking for a high or low signal and the PIR is sending something opposite / different.

 

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Yes Corey, you are correct. And you can solder the pads on the non jumper ones to put them in the desired monde, thats the idea behind the pads being there. Mostly I was using the jumper vs the pads design to differentiate between the two types I had. And again, not sure if it was just isolated to my batch or if there is a different circuit design altogether between the two types, but the jumper equiped ones I have work great and the non jumper ones don't... yet. I will eventually do some deeper evaluation of them it may just be that I need to solder bridge the pads to get them configured right.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Just a little feedback regarding the original Catalex mp3 player (v 1.0) vs the Catalex-like mp3 player (v1.2): The original Catalex v1.0 board definitely works better than the 1.2.

Because of shipping time from China I was originally using one of those v1.2 boards (the one I listed above, Dorhea brand) that I got through Amazon and although it kinda worked it exhibited some odd behavior, not always properly starting a new track when instructed to do so (even if I included Stop and Delay as in Mike's Octobanger code; in fact I'm using his exact code from MiniAudio.h).

Yesterday the original 1.0 boards that I had also ordered, from China through AliExpress, arrived. Swapped out the 1.2 board for the 1.0 board and al of a sudden everything worked exactly as it should.

So my advise is to always get the original Catalex (v1.0) boards if at all possible to save you headaches and frustration.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Some more feedback, the HiLetgo PIRs that I got (I had already ordered them just before the post from Batbuddy about those giving him grief in the past) seem to be working fine, at least the one that I tried just now. It does have the jumper but I found its effect rather subtle. As far as I can tell it actually retriggers a bit faster with the jumper set to L: Single Trigger which is the opposite of what I would expect. I haven't touched the Sensitivity Adjust or Time Delay Adjust pots. Perhaps if I were to change the Time Delay Adjust there would be a more pronounced difference between trigger settings.

I'm going to leave it as-is as the hardware is triggering reliably, any suppression of re-triggering I'm going to do in software. I'm a longtime C/C++ programmer so I'm doing the programming myself rather than using OctoBanger. For the stuff I'm working on I want to have specific conditions for when to allow a re-trigger, not just a timeout.

I also tried the trick of using a tube to narrow the field of view of the PIR and that works fine as well.
 

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Cool! Good to know. I would be interested in seeing your sketch once you are done, if you care to share. I am a self taught Arduino programer, and always like learning from reading other people's sketches. I also use the tube over the PIR with good success. one thing I have found is that if it is really really dark then the PIRs struggle to get a signal. a way around that is to use a small flashlight or LED shining at it kind of like a beam break technique. Sounds like this is going to be neat
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The code is totally trivial but I'll be happy to share it. In fact I plan on posting here about one of the props I'm building which I think is rather original and quite creapy. But not until after Halloween.

PIRs should not have any trouble in the dark, they are passive which means that they respond to your body's heat, or rather the difference in temperature (and therefore the difference in IR transmission) between the background and your body. They do require some sideways movement to work though, although if they are set sensitive enough they will also easily detect someone walking towards them. So I wonder what could have caused your personal experience with them having trouble in the dark.

Break beam is a very good technique also. I have some IR proximity detectors (HW-201: Infrarood obstakel vermijdingsmodule HW-201) from which I will be desoldering the transmission LED and connect it using a cable to turn it into a beam break detector for one of my props.

By the way this whole prop-building thing has escalated rather quickly I have to say. I find I'm spending way more on it than I had planned 😁.
 

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...one thing I have found is that if it is really really dark then the PIRs struggle to get a signal. a way around that is to use a small flashlight or LED shining at it kind of like a beam break technique. Sounds like this is going to be neat
That is interesting, given they are IR sensors, I am not sure what 'light' that we would perceive would have anything to do with it. Unless possibly 'dark' means cold and cold means people put on more layers, masking their heat signature from the IR, meaning less sensitive. Either way, sounds like you have a good fix. Guess the flashlight/LED could still be infrared if you really needed to have 'stealth' mode.

By the way this whole prop-building thing has escalated rather quickly I have to say. I find I'm spending way more on it than I had planned 😁.
Well, 10-12 years ago, I'd say welcome to the club! It does get addicting quickly! I have generally leveled off in the past few years... single digit number of ToT's sort of dampens the spirit. But even now, I find myself wanting to make a new prop every year.
 

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So my personal experience was that we had a Coffin ride that people were in and when it went past it would not detect the coffin's movement. I guess because the car itself had no more heat than the air around the PIR. The odd thing was that in better lit areas the PIRs would work better. I know it doesn't make sense but that is what I observed.
 
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