Animatronic Singing Pumpkins

Picture of Animatronic Singing Pumpkins
This was an idea originally from a friend, that i have bumped to the next level.  The goal is to create singing/ taking pumpkins through the use of an Arduino and Vixen.  We will be using the "Generic Serial" port to align these two awesome resourses.  The Arduino will have to be plugged into a computer during operation, so a laptop is handy.  This is my first instructable, so please comment.

Here is the Finished Product:


You will need:

-An Arduino (I used an UNO)
-PCB Prototype Board
-Assorted headers (male and female)
-5V regulator
-.33uf capacitor
-.1uf capacitor
-3 resistors (~600 ohm)
-6 Bright LEDs (for eyes)
-Insulated Wire
-9V battery clip
-9V Battery
-3 styrofoam pumpkins (I used decorative ones from michaels, though we had to hollow them out ourselves)
-3 Servos
-3 plastic knifes
-3 small hinges (I used 1.5'' and 2'')
-Masking and electrical Tape
-Arduino Software
-Vixen Software


-Hot Glue Gun
-Soldering Iron
-Box Knife
-Carving Tools(if pumpkin isn't hollow)

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Step 1: Wiring the Servos/Adruino

Picture of Wiring the Servos/Adruino
Front View of Board.JPG
Back View of Board.JPG
The Arduino will not have enough power to run 3 servos at one time.  For this reason, we must use external power, in my case, a 9 volt battery.  Servos function between the range of 4.8 and 6 volts, so i use a 5 volt regulator to be sure not to overload the servos.  Regulators require capacitors to function properly, so i have accounted for that in my schematic.  Make sure that the grounds from both the battery and the arduino are attached!  From my pictures, you can see that I do not have much on my prototyping board.  This is because i use headers.  This is for my convenience.  I can unplug power, the Arduino, the servos, and the LEDs quickly because of this.
casanova_zeus9 months ago
Great project. I am attempting this but seemed to have bit off more than I can chew.

Did you use Vixen 2.0? I just learned how to use Vixen 3.0, but need to figure out how to get it to work with the Arduino. Any tips?
GSRVAhiker17 (author)  casanova_zeus9 months ago

I did use vixen 2.0 with these pumpkins. I am currently separated from my Arduinos and pumpkins, but I did just install vixen 3.0 on my computer to see if I could help. My Arduino Code uses the generic serial protocol. So, If im looking at this right, when you open vixen 3, you will want to press "configure controllers," then "add new controller," and click on Generic Serial. Then, back on the "controllers configuration" page, you should be able to add the proper # of channels. Clicking on "configure Controller," you should be able to choose the same port that your arduino is plugged into, and it should work!

As I said, I am not to familiar with this software, and this is a shot in the dark. Hope it helps! Let me know how it goes!
Thanks for taking the time to look into this. I was able to figure it out and get everything working correctly. Your thoughts above were correct, btw.

I needed to change the baud rate to 57600 though. It didn't work correctly with 9600 for me.

I am at the point of getting the servos mounted correctly. This has been an educational challenge each step of the way but well worth it.

thanks again.

cmcpherson1 year ago
Thanks for the great project idea. Here's my stab at it.

I found I had to rearrange the pins... the servo.h library disables PWM on pins 9 and 10, even if there are no servos there, so I moved two of the servos to pins 9 and 10, then I was able to modulate the brightness of all the led's.

I also used dubro hinges for radio control airplane control surfaces and some control horns on the backs of the pumpkins so the insides of the mouth look a little cleaner.

Really had a blast working through this. Can't wait for Halloween! Thanks again for the excellent job.
GSRVAhiker17 (author)  cmcpherson1 year ago
Looks Great! I had the idea of putting the Servos behind the pumpkins after the fact, but decided to put it off till after Halloween, in case I screw something up. And thanks for pointing out the detail in Pins. I could not figure out why PWM was not working in my test.

Thanks again, your pumpkins look awesome!
kurtee1 year ago
Very nice!
Care to share your sequence file for us beginners?
nhughan1 year ago
Super tight. Nice job on the pumpkins. Also good idea on the background. The pumpkins standout even more so with that background. Good job.