Step 8: Connect all the devices

The devices you use with the controller complete the display. Lights and strobes are easy; just plug them in. To drop the guillotine, I used an automotive seat motor, powered by a 12 VDC wallwart, with a trigger cut from cardboard. My motor, with integral worm gear, came with a matching shaft and flange making an easy connection to the trigger; if you don’t have matching parts you can make them from Friendly Plastic, a modeling material that softens in warm water. Instead of a trigger, a cam on the motor could be used to make a dancing skeleton or fluttering bats. To simulate squirting blood, I used vinyl aquarium tubing to connect an AC water pump to squeezebottle nozzles mounted overhead. The pump drew from a bucket that was periodically refilled with warm water. If you only have a small pump, try raising the bucket and pump to the same level as the nozzles. I captured the scare using a webcam (the strobe light acting in tandem as a flash) with its external, 5 VDC trigger connected to the controller (more pictures of this are here). You can create ghostly apparitions by projecting video onto a thin sheet of painter’s plastic. Place the projector low and aim the light through the plastic up above eye level. It may seem a bit hokey, but under the right lighting works beautifully. Use the video stream from a webcam to turn the trick-or-treaters standing in your door way into ghosts.

I would totally do this if I could understand it. It sounds so cool!
I plan on building this. I was wondering if you could post some relays that would work for under 20 dollars each.
If you haven't already, come join us at the garageofevil.com.  You'll find it's a website devoted specifically to the home haunter, made by us and for us...
So let me get this straight. You have run a cord from a wall socket, split it off into however many lines, connected these to SSRs, and then used the heads to make more outlets. The SSRs are then told to turn on and off by the computer. So, in essence, it turns one outlet into many and makes the computer control an on off switch, just like a wall switch. If I am correct, please send back. I have been looking for something like that for quite a while for my haunted house.
That's exactly it.
hey just wondering if I could use just a "12VDC Coil DPDT Miniature PC Relay" instead of a solid state relay???
Could you use any other AC relay, or does it have to be those crydom ones? I ask because I hear that there are $5 relays out there, but I can't find them. Could someone point me in the right direction?
I used the Crydoms because I already had them on hand. Any AC relay that operates on 3-5 volts should work just fine. If it's a mechanical relay, you might want to ensure there are no current spikes back into the parallel port. There are plenty of circuits out there to help with this.
Then could it be something like <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.mouser.com/search/productdetail.aspx?R=G3MC-202PL-DC24virtualkey65300000virtualkey653-G3MC202PL-DC24">This?</a><br/>Also, about how many amps does a number of lights, say, 100, take?<br/>
I was going to ask precisely the same question! Could we use something like this:<br/><br/><a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.goldmine-elec-products.com/prodinfo.asp?number=G1619">http://www.goldmine-elec-products.com/prodinfo.asp?number=G1619</a><br/><br/>or even this:<br/><br/><a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.goldmine-elec-products.com/prodinfo.asp?number=G13763">http://www.goldmine-elec-products.com/prodinfo.asp?number=G13763</a><br/><br/>These can be had much cheaper, and to my novice eye, have the same sort of specs (5vdc to activate, output &gt;= 120v 0.5A). The second (W107DIP-5) being in a tiny DIP package, you could shrink the whole project to be rather small!<br/>
It seems that, from what I can gather, Solid State Relays are virtually silent, and they do not, as said above, produce current spikes compared to the mechanical relays. But I am wondering if maybe its worth having a little bit of noise and sticking in a diode to protect your ports if you can get these relays for two bucks, instead of 12 or higher.
they are silent and have the AC that it switches fully islated from the trigger and they don't ark
I tried using a radio shack Mechanical relay (5v) and heard a suttle Click and nothing happened but when i connected 1.5v to it it clicked loud and the lights flashed, is something wrong? PS>I am using vixen to control the lights
For Windows users who don't want to write code, you could use Vixen and the parallel port driver to play your sound and control the relays in perfect sync. See www.vixenlights.com.
How would you rewire the data cable to suit vixens serial based control?
I would use a standard cable into a microcontroller that could interpret the serial commands form Vixen, which -- if you're really into it -- can be totally customized. I use the EFX-TEK Prop-SX to interpret Vixen commands to drive servos, PWM, and straight outputs using SEETRON protocol that also is standard with VSA (Visual Show Automation).
How fast is the switching time of those 120v relays? I was thinking of using one to make a music controlled outlet box. Are they able to turn on and off more then five times a second?
Check the datasheet.
What is the highest voltage that your relay can be in order to be switches by the parallel port? In other words, At which voltage does the parallel port operate on, and what is the tolerance with the relays? (will they switch slightly lower than marked?)
These are real works of art, thanks
For computer controlled stuff like that, you can also check out what people are doing with christmas lights. <a rel="nofollow" href="http://computerchristmas.com">http://computerchristmas.com</a> is a good start, with light controllers, and even how to make your own SSR's with triacs. Tons of information there.<br/>
In Windows XP, regular user applications do not have access to Ring 0. Ring 0 is where device-level communication and signaling occurs. If you want to send bytes to a port address, you need to use a Device Driver such as WinIo to perform the task. I use WinIo on WindowsXP to control Cash Drawer Ports on a POS machine.
You should post an Instructable about how to do this!
I should have something by Monday
cool stuff! i am into building house projects. and when i see creative projects of different types or themes I am just impressed at the ideas people come up with these projects. <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.startingyourownonlinebusiness.com/board-and-batten.html">house projects</a><br/>
WOW! What a great job. I am truly impressed and I plan to use your display this year. Go easy on the blood donation stuff though. It is INCREDIBLY hard to get people to donate and God knows where people get their phobia. Maybe you could do brain donation? (Or maybe I need a sense of humour donation!)
What did you use for a "clear sheet of plastic". I was planning on doing a similar technique, but I couldn't find anything that was seamless and transparent, yet cheap.
Painter's plastic. You should be able to get it at any hardware store.
Ah, I was worried that because it isn't perfectly clear, it could be seen. But I guess it is hidden in the dark.
And you sir, are the Halloween god! Thank you.
Cool Videos. Spooky stuff!

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Bio: Eric J. Wilhelm is the founder of Instructables. He has a Ph.D. from MIT in Mechanical Engineering. Eric believes in making technology accessible through ... More »
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