Fix Your Halloween Step Pads!

Introduction: Fix Your Halloween Step Pads!

About: Teacher, Maker, Grower, Gamer - Librarian and Coordinator for "Make It...Awesome!" GMS Makerspace

Maybe you're just packing up from an epic Halloween night to discover that all of your animatronic step pads no longer work! Rather than paying $10 each for replacements, let's cut them open and see if we can fix them!


Step 1: It's Alive?

Sadly, we found that, no, our step pads were not alive. They did not trigger our spider to leap menacingly at anyone. This was a problem! When I opened the Step Pad, which opened like a padded envelope, it contained one small piece of foam and wiring that connected to something that looked familiar: a piezo disc like what you might see in an electric/acoustic guitar pickup. These cost just pennies, so why not cut the old one out and solder in a new one? Amazon:

Step 2: Remove and Replace

After cutting out the old piezo, which had a red and black wire soldered to it, I pulled out a new piezo disc to find that it was wired for three wires. I removed the blue in the middle with wire snips, then stripped all ends, slid some very skinny heat shrink tubing to each wire (red to red, black to black) and connected a new piezo in its place. Then all I needed to do was solder the connections and heat shrink the tubing.

Step 3: The Finish Circuit

My Step Pad had two Piezos chained to each other, but we found after testing that it worked equally well with one or two of the discs installed. After the circuit was finished, it was ready to go back in the bag. I taped the finished circuit to the foam (foam on top) and slid the whole thing back in the pad (test first!) then taped the pad back together with clear packing tape to make it weather tight.

Step 4: Enter the Evil Spider!

With the pad finished, we brought out the spider and tested. It's alive and terrifying again! Also, if we wanted to just build our own step pad, all we would need is more wiring and a 3.5mm headphone jack, also just pennies to buy!

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