Monday, September 25, 2017

Pirate ship controller almost totally complete; going to be restoring HP 21/MX system


All that is left to complete is the 'animatronic' controller for the ship and cannons, constrained by delivery of components today and tomorrow. I did mount all the PCBs onto a large wood board as I got closer to completing all the wiring.

I intend to place the board on the ground behind the middle of the pirate ship, with a plastic storage bin upside down over it to shield it from any liquid that might fall from the bartenders table right above it. My two power supply units will sit under their own storage bin cover right next to the one with the controller boards.

I will have eight push button switches on the board - two raise and lower volume for the pirate song audio board, two raise and lower volume for the cannon gunshot audio board and the other four are control buttons for the pirate song board. Once the switches arrive tonight they get wired in. Fortunately I can do some testing by shorting wire pairs in the interim.

Animatronic controller board with wired up PCBs - done until ship assembled Friday
The sound boards will drive audio amplifier boards (coming tomorrow) into an array of small speakers. If these don't produce enough volume, I will use one or two PC powered speaker sets to ensure the sound is loud enough. I set up the gunshot sound into a pair of battery powered PC speakers and the results are satisfying. I do have a second powered PC speaker set on hand.

I still need to get the TF data card onto which I will store the "Yo Ho" pirate song, install that onto the other sound board, and test the musical background through the two 2.5W audio amplifiers. The card won't arrive until tomorrow evening, nor will the two amplifier boards, thus all I can do today is to wire up the eight pushbuttons once the parts arrive tonight.

Once the controller is done, we have nothing further to do until we drive it all over on Thursday and Friday, assemble it Friday and Saturday, then watch it work during the party Saturday evening. There is a bit of wiring and soldering to do Friday, once the sections of the ship which are separately transported are joined together.


I will pick up a two rack HP 21/MX system tomorrow, along with several disk and tape drives. Renting a liftgate truck will make it relatively easy to move it into my workspace. This is a system I should be able to get working over the coming months as a nice side project.

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