Haunt Forum banner
1 - 20 of 62 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,326 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Moderator Note: Moved from the "Prop Controller Comparison" thread. The PIC microcontroller derserves to have its own thread for discussion.
I've considered trying one of these: http://makezine.com/controller/
Ouch - for that kind of money you can make over 20 picaxe controllers. it is a kit that needs to be soldered anyway. The biggest obstacle standing in the way of a homegrown controller like a picaxe seems to the pc board. I am waiting for the new 20X2 chip to be released (nice specs) so that I can design a controller board around that chip. it has 16 I/O lines 15 of which can be set to either inputs or outputs and a top speed of 64MHZ. All the specs can be seen in the link below. The reason I bring this up is that is case anyone is interested we can design the controller and then have the pc boards made up for us. it would cost us about $50 for 3 boards and then cost per board drops the more boards that you order. would you guys be interested in a board that you solder yourself and have a very powerful controller. I am not looking to make any money off this I would sell the boards to haunt forum members at cost plus shipping. what does everyone think?

Here is the link to the new boards. The 28X2 and the 40X2 are already available.

http://www.rev-ed.co.uk/docs/picaxex2.pdf
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
129 Posts
Picaxe

I would certainly be interested. I like the Picaxe chip for its ease of use. It the conversion of common routines for a Prop1 or Prop2 to a Picaxe version that I have nbot seen done - Yet!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
111 Posts
"The reason I bring this up is that is case anyone is interested we can design the controller and then have the pc boards made up for us. it would cost us about $50 for 3 boards and then cost per board drops the more boards that you order. would you guys be interested in a board that you solder yourself and have a very powerful controller.


How hard would the soldering be? Do you have a preliminary design?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,326 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
"The reason I bring this up is that is case anyone is interested we can design the controller and then have the pc boards made up for us. it would cost us about $50 for 3 boards and then cost per board drops the more boards that you order. would you guys be interested in a board that you solder yourself and have a very powerful controller.

How hard would the soldering be? Do you have a preliminary design?
Soldering it not that hard. After you have made a few practice solder joints you should be able to handle it. As for a design right now I was thinking of a board that would use the 20X2 with 16 I/O pins and a some servo connectors, I would also include a voltage regulator so that you can use multiple voltage sources and the programing interface. I do not think that we would need anything else. Did I miss anything that you might want to include? I was thinking of a basic controller like a prop 1 / 2 so that people can have access to the picaxe chip that might not otherwise do so.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,326 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I forgot about that. we can drop a ULN2803A driver chip into the board that would give you 8 high current outputs (500ma per output). anything more than that would require an external transistor or FET.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,096 Posts
I'm just beginning a write up on creating a low cost prop controller. I'm basing it on the entry level Picaxe 08M. Initially I'll be using the 08M project board but I'm just finishing the design of a custom adaptable board.

I'm aiming to keep the price as low as possible so there won't be any on-board power regulation - there will be an external regulator with a daisy chain option to run multiple boards off one supply.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,326 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm just beginning a write up on creating a low cost prop controller. I'm basing it on the entry level Picaxe 08M. Initially I'll be using the 08M project board but I'm just finishing the design of a custom adaptable board.

I'm aiming to keep the price as low as possible so there won't be any on-board power regulation - there will be an external regulator with a daisy chain option to run multiple boards off one supply.
You should check out this guys website he has some nice boards. He writes for nuts and volts and servo magazine.

http://www.jrhackett.net/pcboards.shtml
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,096 Posts
Thanks for the link. However, my aims are specific to Prop control and those boards are a bit generic. My requirement was for a small simple board that was very adaptable. The attached pic is of the almost finished board.

Features are:

Optional Offboard Power or onboard Power. Onboard is either a battery pack on a PP9 Connector or a CR2032 Button Cell.

Offboard Power In AND daisy chain Power Out. 2 Pin or Screw Terminal

Data connectors can be 3 pin Servo Compatible or Screw Terminal

The 18 Pin socket can be either straight linked for driving Solid Sate Relays, Have a Resistor Pack for driving servos or a ULN2803A for higher current drive requirement. The basic component count is very low.

Daisy Chain option for Sync signal to activate other VLCs

If I order 100 boards I can get them down to $4-$5 US for the bare board. Components excluding the Picaxe 08M would be about $2-$3

Overall, this controller should cost less than $15!

http://img30.imageshack.us/img30/4977/vlcrev2.png
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,096 Posts
I'll make the board design available as an Express PCB file for thos who can make their own boards.

Also on the cards are a sound amplifier to take a mic or line input - this should allow for a Scary Terry style servo driver. Also a thunder/lightning controller.

I'm also looking at the sound recorder chips (Winbond style) although if I can find a decent little MP3 player, this may be unnecessary.

I envisage that the add-on boards will either stand vertically on the 3 pin connectors or be daisy chained via a servo extension cable.

Anyone interested?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,326 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
That is more or less what I was thinking except for the 20X2 if it ever comes out. The reason I gave you that link to the those boards is to give you some ideas. perhaps using something that that as a daughter board that could plug into different boards that has the interface circuitry. For example a board with servo connections and a ULN2803A chip or a board with SS relays. you get the idea. the core brain board could plug into various interface configuration boards for a versatile system. I have already designed a sound board around the 08M my preamp section still needs a little testing but it works great. Also place a .01uf cap for each chip on the board right at the chip power pins. this eliminates glitchy chip behavior. I would love to work with you on this.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,096 Posts
Sounds good to me Propman - I'd love to collaborate.

I've redesigned the board to take either the 08M or the 14M chips. The rest of the board remains similar except there are now 'plain' input pins on the left of the chip along with the socket for the resistor or darlington array on the right. Although the 14M is adaptable to turn inputs into outputs and vice versa.

The board size has gone up a little but not much.

I dislike relying on one big processor handling all the tasks - I much prefer to have discrete boards each performing their own little task set but maybe managed by a bigger unit so what you are suggesting sounds fine.

I see one board triggering on IR, another playing sound files, another controlling sound to jaw movement, another doing sound to lightning and so on. With each board costing under $15, it would still be quite inexpensive. At the moment, the highest cost is from solid state relays - I managed to pick up some cheap AC 240V 4A ones on ebay at $3 each but trying to get DC ones at a similar price seems impossible - the only ones I can find are $20+

If you use Express PCB I'll send you my layout file - maybe you can suggest some improvements.

Cheers
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,096 Posts
Hey, perhaps we should come up with a bus network for controlling the whole haunt!

We'd need a cool name for it first. lol

DeathChannel?
CorpseNet?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
497 Posts
I bought my first controller this year (a picoboo F104) and it worked very well for the prop but I could see it's limitations. I am intrigued by the picaxe and know that I could build a workable circuit if I had the guidance. I get the concept, but I'm not sure what hardware is required beyond a beginner kit, relays and a sound board. EFX-TEK looks incredible but would it be overkill for a newbie to controllers?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,326 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I started with the Peter Anderson board with the 08M, I would recomend that you start with his board or his breadboad kit:

http://www.phanderson.com/picaxe/

this one is nice also a great way to get started. Add some resistors and a few leds and start playing. You can add/salvage other components as you learn the basic language. maybe a few transistors, a pot or two, a relay, a few diodes, and a small hobby motor. A multimeter is also a must have for any prop builder.

http://world-educational-services.info/cart/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=9&products_id=23

Please do not be afraid to ask questions, download and read the picaxe manuals everything you need to know is in there. There is also a link on my web page for a free electronics course.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,664 Posts
I started with the Peter Anderson board with the 08M, I would recomend that you start with his board or his breadboad kit:

http://www.phanderson.com/picaxe/

this one is nice also a great way to get started. Add some resistors and a few leds and start playing. You can add/salvage other components as you learn the basic language. maybe a few transistors, a pot or two, a relay, a few diodes, and a small hobby motor. A multimeter is also a must have for any prop builder.

http://world-educational-services.info/cart/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=9&products_id=23

Please do not be afraid to ask questions, download and read the picaxe manuals everything you need to know is in there. There is also a link on my web page for a free electronics course.
On Peter Andersons site, it looks like the USB/Serial Preassembled board he links to is broken. Do you know of another direct link? Or does he provide one? I didn;t see anywhere where he does though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,326 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,326 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Note - Those links don't work for me.
Are you at work? They may be blocking the web site from the firewall. Try it from home or try a different browser I like Firefox. You can download it at Mozilla.com much better and more secure than IE
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,096 Posts
Are you at work? They may be blocking the web site from the firewall. Try it from home or try a different browser I like Firefox. You can download it at Mozilla.com much better and more secure than IE
They don't work for me either?
 
1 - 20 of 62 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