Remotely Control Your Halloween Props

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About: My name is Jason Poel Smith I am a Community Manager here at Instructables. In my free time, I am an Inventor, Maker, Hacker, Tinker, and all around Mad Genius

Animated Halloween props are a lot of fun. But the built-in motion sensors usually don't work very well (especially in low light conditions). There are a lot of times when it would be much more fun to be able to control these props with a remote control. That way you could set them off exact when you want them go off and actually scare people. So I worked out a simple way to activate Halloween props with a remote controlled relay. Here is how to make it.

Step 1: Materials

Here are the materials and tools that you will need to complete this project.

Materials:

Halloween Prop with a "Try Me" button

Remote Controlled Relay

12 Volt Battery Pack

Battery Connector

Tools:

Screwdrivers

Step 2: Find a Halloween Prop With a "Try Me" Button

Most animated Halloween props that are sold in store come with a "Try Me" button. This lets people test play the animation so that they can see it in action before they buy it. This button is a really convenient way to control props. It lets us connect external circuits to the prop and we don't even have to open up the housing.

Step 3: Open Up the Button Housing

Before we can connect to the the button, we first need to open up the button's housing. In most cases this is just two small pieces of plastic that are snapped together. You can usually just pop it open with a small screw driver. Once you remove the cover, you will see the button.

Step 4: Connect the Battery Pack to the Relay

Now you need to connect power to the relay board. You can use a 12 volt battery pack or a 12 volt regulated power supply. Connecting the power is really straight forward. The positive power wire connect to the terminal that is labeled "+" and the negative power wire connects to the terminal that is labeled "-".

Step 5: Connect the Switch to the Relay

Now you need to connect the button to the relay circuit. The button/switch shown here is the most common type that you will find in Halloween props. It is a momentary push button switch. It has four terminals. The terminal on the left side are connected to the terminals on the right side. Pushing the button will momentarily connect the top two terminals to the bottom two terminals. This connection sends a signal to the prop to play its animation.

In order to control the prop, we will be connecting the two free terminals to the relay circuit. If the leads of the button are long enough, you might be able to insert them directly into the terminal block on the relay. This is what I have done. Connect the two leads from the button to the NO (normally open) terminal and the COM (common) terminals on the relay. Then adjust the screw on the terminal block to tighten them down and hold them in place.

Step 6: Use the Remote to Control Halloween Prop

Now that everything is connected, it's time to test it. Press the button on the relay's remote and the prop should play its animation. If everything is working properly, then your prop is ready to scare people.

Setup of your prop in a prominent place where people will walk by it. When the prop doesn't react to people walking by, they will assume that it is turned off. Wait for someone to get really close to the prop. Then reach into your pocket and press the button. The prop will spring to life and scare your unsuspecting victim. Try it out and have fun.

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    12 Discussions

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    yoyojacky

    2 years ago

    That's cool, remote control and creepy ...hah

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    realfav6

    3 years ago

    very helpful ! Halloween is soon coming !! :) Im following ur videos now :)

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    Hmm correct me if I'm wrong but isn't a 12v powered relay overkill for a prop where all you are doing is simulating a button press? There has got to be a simpler way to do that. I feel like the relay cost twice as much as the prop in this case. Anyway, I LOVE the idea of being able to remotely control the props, thanks!

    4 replies
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    magkopiangravityisweak

    Reply 3 years ago

    Well it is, but you can find both the remote and the receiver board with the relay as a kit on eBay for just 4€ (with free shipping). Even if you design your own receiver board with a transistor instead of a relay it'll most likely cost you more than that.

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    Thanks, my electronics knowledge is fairly rudimentary. So I was asking partly for cost reasons and partly for my own understanding. I'd be interested to see how this could be done with a transistor, all costs aside.

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    If you want to design something yourself the easiest way to go is by using a simple RF transmitter / receiver kit like this one.

    But
    to control the RF transmitter and receiver modules you will also need
    two microcontrollers (e.g. two Arduinos). The one microcontroller is
    going to have a momentary switch attached to it and when you push it, it
    will send a specific Byte through the UART to the RF transmitter
    module. On the other end the receiver module will receive the Byte, and
    it will send it to the microcontroller through the UART. The
    microcontroller which is on the receiver end will then check if the
    received Byte is the expected value, and if it is it will turn on the
    transistor that controls the skull. It is basically just wireless serial
    communication.

    OK, this was the easiest way to do it but it also
    requires using two microcontrollers because the wireless transmitted
    signal is digital and that will raise a lot the total cost of the
    project. For something so simple I think an analog solution is all you
    need. It will be more cost effective but it's also going to be more
    complicated. By doing some Googling I found an interesting article about
    how to build a simple FM switch, you should definitely check it out.

    It is a little overkill. But those are just the parts that I had easy access to. 12V is a convenient rating because it is easy to find AC power supplies that can power it.

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    chrisjlionel

    3 years ago on Introduction

    Definitely this will give a heart attack to old and weak people. Nice work. Don't scare anyone.

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    Saiyam

    3 years ago

    Ha ha ha, this is really funny :) :D. Awesome idea!!