Animatronics, Electronics, Pixels, Servo

Need to control more than a servo?

A typical hobby animatronic uses servos. So naturally your control system may only have the ability to control the typical RC servo PWM signal. But what if you have other things like LEDs or motors or…. Or perhaps some pixels. I needed to control some relays from a servo signal and while I know you can purchase such things, I rolled my own with parts that I had on hand. I used a Arduino NANO clone and a 2 relay module. This lets me control each relay separately using two of the servo control channels. I used a carrier board for my build but you could make yours a lot smaller if you just solder the wires directly to the NANO and cover it with heat shrink. The circuit is power from the +5V servo power.

While I was working on this I also had the need for controlling some eye LEDs. I wanted to have adjustable colors for these LEDs so I could have used some RGB LEDs but this would have taken 3 control channels (one for each of the 3 colors) and would require some sort of driver for multiple LEDs. Then I thought about using addressable LEDs, a NeoPixel ring was ideal for lighting up the project  that I was dealing with. And it would only need  2 control channels. I again used a NANO and cobbled some code together that lets one servo channel control the brightness and another channel to control the LED color color (all LEDs show the same color).  Again I didn`t need to worry about size and it is powered from the +5V servo power. 

 

For more information including wiring diagrams and the Arduino code go to my Servo Project page.

Animatronics, Visual Show Automation (VSA)

Animatronic Control??

I’m quite interested in animatronic control, it’s a nice mix of electronics, mechanics and software. But for a hobbyist there are not many inexpensive options for controlling them. There are commercial programs like VSA (Visual Show Automation) but not many other choices. I have a page that lists different ways that I am aware of for making your prop move and talk… You can find it here.

3D Printing, Animatronics

3D Printing

I finally decided to replace my finicky home made usually not working Prusa i3 with an Ender 3 V2 and could not be happier (especially since the Prusa hasn’t been functional for a few years!!).  It pretty much prints perfectly out of the box. 

I have been wanting to make some more animatronic skulls and the Lindberg Skull models are no longer made so there are no cheap alternatives. One of the users on the Xmas lighting sites posted a version he designed on Thingiverse:

https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3803762

So far I have just printed the skull top and it worked out fine.

We will see how the rest goes……

 
E1.31 sACN, Electronics, Pixels

DIY Ethernet E1.31 Controllers?

While the ESPixelStick based controllers are great sometimes you want (or need) a wired Ethernet connection. One of the Xmas lighting site members (Barnabybear) has written code for a great range of controllers using an Arduino Nano, ENC28J60 Ethernet shield and a RS485 module. You will not find a cheaper wired solution that these. You can find more information on various postings on the DIYCHRISTMAS.ORG site. Here is a summary of his projects:

Cabled E1.31 to 16 on/off outputs, test firmware and parts:
https://diychristmas.org/vb5/showthr…ll=1#post91147

Cabled E1.31 to WS2811 pixel:
https://diychristmas.org/vb5/showthr…ll=1#post91536

Cabled E1.31 to 4 outputs WS2811 pixel hardware:
https://diychristmas.org/vb5/showthr…ll=1#post95062

Cabled E1.31 to DMX:
https://diychristmas.org/vb5/showthr…ll=1#post91537

Cabled E1.31 to TLS3001:
https://diychristmas.org/vb5/showthr…l=1#post100881

All firmware variants and set up code as .HEX files.
https://diychristmas.org/vb5/showthr…ll=1#post97088

The above board is a the single output WS2811 pixel controller. As you can see there are not many parts required. It uses a inexpensive RS-485 module as a invertor driver for the pixel data line as the NANO outputs negative logic (so it needs to be inverted). 

General, Vancouver Hack Space (VHS)

Updated Site

Well sort of updated…

I moved to a new hosting provider and ended up re-building the site from scratch…

it`s pretty much identical to the old site but I cleaned up a fair bit of behind the scenes stuff..

I have added a new page for a Pixel Goggle kit I have made up for members of my local Makerspace. You can find more information here.

General

Hi

 

I’m a hobbyist…

I like to build things…

Mostly electronic things that have lights, motors and sometimes sounds. My intent is to post information on the various projects that I done. My hope that others may find the information interesting and possibly useful.

For the projects I do post about, I will try to include as much information as possible as I have always appreciated that when I have searched for ideas on things that I want to make.