Sunday, September 24, 2017

Pirate ship animation wiring underway


The final paint was applied to the pirate ship itself and the padded fake leather bar edge was installed. Same with the standalone cannon and its props. I installed the LED light in that cannon too. The only remaining activities for the ship are completion of the assembly and wiring for the control of all the effects.

Detailing and fake leather cushion in place
The 16 channel relay board arrived and was wired as far as possible for the cannon lights and cannon shot sound effect circuits. I can't complete hooking the cables from the cannons until everything arrives on site Friday, since the ship must be transported in three segments (and separate trips). However, it is all ready for final attachment at that time.

The relay board requires 12V to fire the relays, which I supply with one of the sections of a triple power supply. That board produces the 5V needed to power the Arduino Uno that will direct everything. The 5V is also needed for the sound effects boards that play the Yo Ho pirate song and the cannon shot audio.

The LEDs are driven by a separate power supply that is set up to deliver about a half amp of current to the LED, at just under 4V, when each LED is switched to that supply by the relay board. Thus these are running a bit under their spec and for only 1/2 second at a time with 30 to 60 seconds rest time.

My solenoid that pops up the cardboard head of Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow also requires 12V but at 2.5A, so I use a second section of my triple power supply to furnish that power, controlled through a relay on my relay board.

I was waiting for the solenoid to arrive sometime Sunday but also for the missing and probably lost shipment from Amazon of the sound board, amplifiers and speakers to complete the audio part of the project. At least I could take some action as of Sunday, the earliest that Amazon would officially recognize the shipment as AWOL.

The action allowed me was to receive a refund for my order, as the message claimed that the items were not available for reshipment. After selecting the refund, I immediately reordered the three items, which in fact were in stock.

My audio controller board and some of the order will arrive today by 9PM, but the remainder won't arrive until Tuesday - which cost me an extra $8 for expedited delivery fees. I feel Amazon should have just reordered the goods and covered expedited fees, but they didn't. A rare customer service fail for them.

Once the solenoid arrived, I hooked it up and tested out my animation controller. It cycles through all the cannon LEDs, flashing a chosen cannon for 1/2 second and moving on to the next cannon after 7 seconds. I elongated the time between blasts since the original 5 seconds seemed too rushed.

The cardboard head of Depp/Jack Sparrow is glued to the long arm of the yardstick and I tested to find the spot on the other side of the yardstick pivot where the 15mm stroke of the solenoid moves the head from full down to the fully up position above the top rail.

I chose to drill a hole at the actuation point, allowing me to tie a string to the yardstick and route it straight down to the solenoid sitting on the crossbar rail below. The solenoid is tapped for attachment with 6/32 screws, thus I had to make a bracket to mount it with screws and to the wooden 2x4 rail.

The string didn't work, but some magnet wire was perfect. That is, once I chiseled out a groove so the wire between the yardstick and its mounting area didn't drag. Once I put in limit screws to control its lower and upper bounds, it worked great! A slight bit of bounce since the solenoid pulls so sharply, but it is ready to go.

Click here to see the head pop up in a private quick YouTube video.

Late tonight I did get the audio board, which I began to wire into the mechanisms.It is pretty straightforward - power it with 5V, hook up USB to drag and drop a file with the name T01.WAV, then ground trigger pin 1 to play the file. My main relay board will ground the trigger line simultaneous with lighting of one of the cannon LEDs.

I will have twin 2.5W amps each driving a small speaker on a side of the ship. This will play the shot sound, while another MP3 board will loop the Pirates of the Caribbean ride song "Yo Ho" and mix its audio into those amps. A standalone CD player will be looping a soundtrack of waves, ship bells, fog horns and gulls to add some atmosphere.

Parrot skeleton with its new pirate hat to match the human skeleton

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