With Halloween fast approaching, my friends are releasing this very funny(and free!) comedy ghost tour that involves walking to different locations in Vancouver, British Columbia. We were brainstorming one night, and since I wanted to have some sort of involvement with the project, came up with this idea to build an 80s looking walking-talkie that would know your location and give you a specific audio file to listen to. Sort of like someone is talking to you on the other side of it of the connection. Basically it is a GPS enabled audio player.
I recommend checking out their funny ghost tour(even if you're not in the area!) because its hilarious - FakeGhostTours.com. If you want to build this GPS audio player, or "Fake Walkie-Talkie" as I have been calling it. I have provided the resources below. It could even be a great prop for Halloween!
Step 1: Watch the Video!
The video gives a pretty good run down on how to build this, what kind of skills are required, and what exactly it will do. Not to mention it will go over the code and give you an idea of what everything is doing!
Step 2: Grab the Parts, Find the Tools
There are a few things you will need to build this.
- 3D Printed Body from Shapeways of Thingiverse(print yourself)
- HCC Module (I should have these available on my website soon!)
- 3D Printed Accessories from Shapeways of Thingiverse(print yourself)
- PCB files on GitHub, or order directly from PCBWay
- VS1053 Chip from Adafruit or other places.
- GPS Module from Adafruit
- BOM for PCB on FindChips
- SD Card - just needs to hold your audio files
- Plastic Threading Screws
- A Piece of Coax Cable(used for TV cable for antenna)
- Solder Paste or Solder
- Soldering Iron
- Reflow Oven
- Knowledge in reflow soldering(or willingness to learn)
Step 3: 3D Print or Order the 3D Printed Parts
Normally this is the part where I would tell you to 3D print something so that you can do other stuff while its printing. Well, this print is a little bit more difficult so I would recommend doing what I did and getting it made in SLS nylon on Shapeways! But you're welcome to give it a go with your 3D printer too.
Reminder that if you use my Shapeways link, I get a small percentage of the sale which helps support these projects. (Link is down right now!)
Thingiverse parts: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3163320
Step 4: Populate the Circuit Board
As usual I use my simple method on hand applying solder paste(you could also get a stencil made). Add the solder paste, then add the components. We're only doing the surface mount stuff now. Through hole will be done with the soldering iron.
If you're going to order through PCBWay, use my link here: Fake Walkie-Talkie PCB
Step 5: Reflow Oven Time
Make sure all the parts are on the board before you bake it!
Step 6: Through Hole Components
Start adding the buttons switches, and anything else you need to do. This is a good time to fix any errors in the reflow process. Also, don't add the LEDs yet, well do those in a bit. Once the one side is complete flip it over and do the battery side.
Step 7: Test It Out!
Since we're using the HCC Module, we don't need to add a bootloader! Just connect the USB and see if your computer recognizes it. Its that easy. Upload some code, maybe make something blink. Standard stuff. At this time, if you want to load the audio file from the GitHub, you can place them on the SD Card using your computer. Once done, put the SD card back in the tray on the walkie-talkie circuit board. Load up the firmware for the walkie-talkie and it should start talking to you!
Remember, the audio won't play unless there are batteries in it, and the power switch is on. If there is only USB power there will be no audio!
Step 8: Install the PCB in the Body
Hopefully you have your 3D prints handy by this point. Before you install the PCB, place the LEDs in the circuit board but don't solder them. Work the PCB into place and then set the depth of the LEDs in the body to your liking. Once they are the depth you want, solder them in place.
You will also need to remember to install the switch piece as well which will allow you to switch the walkie-talkie on and off.
Watch the video for help on doing this.
Step 9: Add the Fake Antenna
Cut a piece of the coax cable to your desired length, and forcefully shove it into the body of the walkie-talkie. It will be a tight fit and shouldn't need any glue or adhesives.
Step 10: Get It All Assembled!
Throw some batteries, screw in the PCB, close up the back. Add the accessories(hopefully you got a cool colour).
Step 11: Print the Sticker
If you want to complete the look, you can print the image file above @ 300DPI to get the right size. I printed on a shipping label then just cut it out by hand.
Step 12: How to Use It.
The point of the device is to only allow certain audio files to play in specific locations. As you're following along the tour you will arrive at a destination and the red light will light up and it will make an audio BEEP! - that means you are able to play the next file. There are only basic controls, so volume if you turn the rotary encoder, PLAY and pause on the two buttons, and stop if you push the encoder. Stop returns to the beginning of the file. The firmware is open source, so if you have a better idea for everything to setup, please make those changes.
Step 13: Go on the Tour!
If you're lucky enough to live in the Vancouver area, be sure to check out the Fake Ghost Tours - www.fakeghosttours.com. You don't have to build this to go on it(even though it will make it so much fun), you can just use your phone to listen along. You also don't even have to be in the area to listen to the audio, its funny just in itself!
I was really happy to be able to make something for my friends, even though I'm too far away to go on the tour myself.
Step 14: Make Your Own Tour.
Since this thing is fully open source, you're welcome to set your own locations, your own audio files, anything you want. You can even just have it play some cool tunes.
It would make a great prop for Halloween also.
This is a fun thing to build and a great example of what can be created using an Arduino and some components. I like when projects come together like this.
Step 15: Support These Projects!
Yeah, here it is. That last step! If you enjoy the creation of these open source projects, I strongly suggest you subscribe to my YouTube Channel(Click here!) - I have many different types of projects and there will definitely be others you will enjoy.
Also if you think you can spare it, considering becoming a Patron on Patreon. The support of my patrons strongly influences the amount of projects I am able to create. They're the best! I also try to give back to them as much as possible! Check out my Patreon Here