Using Parallax Basic Stamp II to Ring a Doorbell Remotely




The problem? A dog that gets way too excited when the doorbell rings.

The solution? Ring the doorbell at random times when no one is there, and nobody answers it, so as to counter-condition the dog - to break the association that a ringing doorbell equals excitement.

The technology? A Parallax 418 MHz RF Keychain Transmitter, Receiver, and a Basic Stamp 2.

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Step 1: Design

Parallax makes some very easy to use Microcontrollers. For this project, I used their Basic Stamp II and their 418 MHz keychain tramsitter and its matching receiver.

On the schematic, the receiver is marked IC2, the Basic Stamp is marked IC3. IC1 is an LM7805 voltage regulator. BP1-3 are binding posts. P1-11 are sockets and plugs, where off-board components connect to the on-board components. S4 and S5 were going to be dipswitches, but ended up being jumpers. The idea is that if I steal the BS2 for some other project, I can close these two jumpers and connect two of the RF Receiver buttons directly to the relays.

The relays are S101N11 solid-state relays.

I built it on Perfboard, cut to fit a Radio Shack project box. I didn't have connectors or headers on-hand so I used some machine-pin sockets. They're in five groups. P2 is where the internal 9V battery plugs in, if I'm powering it from an internal 9V battery. P1+P3+P4 connects to the external power binding posts, the on-off switch, and the power-on LED. P5+P7+P10 and P6+P8+P11 connect to the switched binding posts, the indicator LEDs, and the momentary contact test switches. P9 is the Basic Stamp serial programming interface.

Step 2: Soldering

There are plenty of instructables explaining how to solder, so I won't recap.

I built this on perfboard in a Radio Shack project box.

My usual technique for through-hole perf-board soldering is to use wire-wrap to make the connections, then to solder the wire-wrapped connections. The thick black wire wrapping around the board is the antenna.

The first picture shows the back of the board, where the connections are made. The second shows the front of the board, inserted into the box with the connections to the off-board devices (switches, LED, and binding posts) made.

Step 3: The Code

The code is pretty simple - Basic Stamps are programmed in Basic, as the name would suggest.

The program has buttons 1&3 switch one relay, buttons 2&4 switch the other relay, and button 5 starts switching the relays randomly, between five and fifteen minutes apart.

You'll notice two commented-out sections. I used to have buttons 3&4 latch the relays - press them once and they'd close, press them again and they'd open. That's not appropriate for a doorbell, but I left the code in the file in case I use the box for something else.

Step 4: Installed

When I went to install this, I found that the doorbell wiring was a tangled rats nest that was impossible to work with. So I made a little junction panel out of a piece of basswood and some screw-down junctions. Two wires from the transformer, two wires from each of the two doorbell buttons, three wires from each of the two doorbell ringers, all come into separate screwdowns on the outside rows of the junction panel, and are connected using short patch wires between the inside rows. The panel is screwed into the wall with 1/4" standoffs.

The project box is mounted using velcro against the wall, sitting on the top edge of the junction panel.

Rather than relying on a battery, I added a the smaller project box on top. This contains a bridge rectifier, a 1000 uF 35V capacitor, an LM7809 voltage regulator on a small heat sink, and the 7809's ripple caps. This converts the doorbell circuit's 16VAC into 9VDC, which is acceptable as input to both the 7805 and the BS2's onboard voltage regulator.

You can see the transmitter hanging on a nail.

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    26 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Ceasar Milan would straighten out yr dog in 3 minutes ;-)


    9 years ago on Introduction

     could i use my basic stamp to put out infrared codes and open anybodys garage or work anybody's TV lol


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Would it not have been simpler to have made a jump circuit along the doorbell to output wire since theres only two strips and you just solder a switch inbetween the two?

    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    There are two door buttons, and two bell units, and each bell unit has two bells and three wires (one wire for each bell + ground). The box is wired in as simply as it can be, if it's going to emulate both buttons and trigger both bells.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    I like wire-wrap because it makes for cleaner connections than other prototyping methods I've tried. Traces on the circuit board are cleanest, of course, but that's a lot more work. Wire-wrap is often used without soldering, of course, but it tends to loosen up over time unless you're using special-purpose wire-wrap sockets (which have sharp corners on the pins). Wire-wrap won't work for high-current circuits, or for high-frequency signals. But it works great for simple digital circuits like this.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Have a look a this. I'm really impressed with that guys wiring techniques. And the stuff he's designing are 9 times out of 10 absolutely outstanding....



    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    I'd never seen anyone use enameled wire for anything but coil winding. Interesting technique. I may give it a try, someday.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    I've used magnet wire to salvage broken PCB's and it works great. An ideal finish is to secure them with epoxy, especially on the turns. I have a future project in the works to salvage a N64 Gameshark that was nearly broken in half. I may post it in the future.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I have to add that I like the motives of this project, and it may work, but dogs think differently than that. The most common mistake is to "humanize" dogs, as if they think like we do. They are intelligent, but their brains work on a more primal "program" that ours do. You have to be a pack-leader, and assert yourself as such at all times.

    The order of structure for any dog is: Discipline, exercise, and affection, in that order, and no other. Without the first, the second and third are meaningless, without the second, the first and third is meaningless, etc...

    Affection is only deserved for approved behavior. Giving affection for a dog that is insecure only reinforces the behavior associated with insecurity as being an approved mode to stay in. Affection = expected behavior to a dog, which is why you don't coddle a dog in fear, or you will encourage fear as a way of getting affection by that dog.

    If your dog is behaving in a manner that you do not approve of, and you cannot immediately stop the behavior, your problem is not the doorbell, it is the relationship between you and your dog. All dogs are "pack animals", despite their appearance, and if you express disapproval when the dog behaves this way, and they ignore you, either the dog does not respect you as the alpha "pack-leader", or you are inadvertently promoting this behavior as you try to suppress it through the wrong means. There is a right and a wrong way, and more often than not, people use the wrong way without them even knowing it.

    Dogs *require* a discipline in a hierarchy, a structure, and they have to know that you are in charge of them, if you expect them to follow you and your wishes as pack-leader. That is their genetically-ingrained social structure. It's not that you punish the dog, or hurt them when he does undesired behavior, it is that you assert your dominance, but without anger toward them.

    Exercise is important, to spend a dog's internal energy, or it may be focused on other things inappropriately, such as a doorbell ringing. Lack of enough exercise can make the trigger mechanism for a dog more "itchy", because dogs get "cabin fever" more easily than humans do. Most dogs need a daily walk of at least 30 minutes, or at least 1 hour of active play, to get out their internal stress of domestication. If you take your (fit) dog out for an hour and it does not tire, it's probably bored overall. Be sure to give him/her enough attention and love, and a good weekend of trying to play with them until they are simply exhausted, is good for their health, and great for your relationship with them.

    If you are truly dominant over a dog, they will know it and will comply absolutely, which is why you never show a vicious or combative dog any fear on your part....never retreat. Defy a dog's challenge for alpha-status against you, and it will more likely than not submit to you wholly, so long as you are consistent, firm, and unrelenting. Many breeds respond tho this right away, some will be less trusting, but even a Doberman can be stared-down into submission (figuratively-speaking, only trained-pro's know what I mean).

    An initial measure for extremely aggressive dogs is to snatch them by the scruff of the neck and hold them down, on their side, until they submit. The most important command for a dog is "DOWN", where the dog is expected to submit and lay down, off it's feet. Dogs can learn words (a chihuahua can learn at least 165 different single-word commands, yes, 165 words), so be firm and unrelenting, as you would with an unruly child that you are fed-up with. As soon as you cave in your dominance role, and allow them to bend or break any rules, they will continue to do so, and push it as far as they can get away with, in an attempt to gain "pack-leader" status. This is the only politics they know, so you have to know the game and play it better to get their respect, submission, and the desired behavior.

    9 replies

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Your understanding of dominance in human/dog relationships seems to be based on some long-disproved studies that entirely misunderstood what they were seeing in wolf behavior.

    There is no such thing as an alpha roll. Wolves and dogs never force a submissive dog to roll. Submissive dogs voluntarily roll as an appeasement behavior.

    Try these:

    The Alpha Roll and Establishing Dominance


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    It's funny that you dispute the knowledge and proven experience of one of the renowned dog behavioral specialists. What you fail to understand is that this method works, and I should know, I've used it for years with results in less than 10 seconds with most animals.

    If you don't believe in the "pack" mentality in domesticated dogs (gee, where might they have evolved from?), Ask Cesar Millan about his extraordinary results and innumerable satisfied customers. Furthermore, you are failing to understand canine behavior yourself by your own links to the opinions of non-specialists. You also fail to realize that this method is an act of submission by a pack animal submitting to a pack leader, where that boundary has already been established. The "alpha-roll" is not what the pack leader does to gain submission, it is what YOU do. This is neither cruel nor "bullying", it works every time as a tool. If it hasn't worked for you, you are not doing it properly, and/or with the wrong mindset. Demonstrate authority and dominance, and a dog will pick up on it.

    Some of these so-called "dog-trainers" believe that your height over them is enough to display a clear dominance, so how is it that a toy dog can be completely out-of-control in relation to it's owner? The dog should submit to your physical height as one point alone, right? Obviously not, and if you owned a previously unbalanced dog, you'd know that. Police-dog-trainers know little more than to train a behavior on a "treat" system, rewarding for a particular task, but not general behavior. The dog is loyal only to it's assigned officer, and performs "tricks", such as finding the contraband, or "tackle the suspect". This is the same as training an elephant to perform for the circus, and nothing more.

    Your references either bear little resemblance to the truth from people who have little experience or training in canine behavior across all breeds, or prove my point exactly. I hardly call someone who transitioned from equine to canine "on a whim" a qualified professional, nor even reputable, and "horse-sense" is far different from "dog-sense". They bear no reality toward realistic behavioral-training and psychology.

    I'd have a hard time believing your references against my experience proven with a 100% success ratio. Finally, in case you didn't take the time to fully comprehend my post, I said the alpha-roll is for extreme cases, not all cases.

    The alpha-roll was used every time to attain submission, regardless of the level of assertion, which is why it failed in the so-called "disproven studies". No, it does not work if you do it all the time because the animal becomes desensitized, and just complies long enough for you to let up, and they simply return to the behavior.

    A "reward system" can become largely faulted over time, especially if you do not retain consistency in demanding the particular "trick", and do not reward as consistently. My dog is perfectly-obedient, and is in no way "whipped". Doing tricks is not a required course, and his previous owners had unfortunately trained him with your methods, making him well-behaved on some areas, and extremely-poorly on others. My training has made him well-behaved at ALL times. Don't question a method you have no comprehension of.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Dog behavioralists almost uniformly reject the notion of dominance having any relevance to dog training. And they despise Caesar Milan, for popularizing training techniques they consider to be badly out of date. In that, I believe they are wrong. Dog training has become the last refuge of behavioralism, after having finally been rejected in human psychology. It may be hubris, but I am solidly of the opinion that the animal behaviorists are wrong. That doesn't, though, mean that the behavioralist trainers never get results. They do. But if you watch them closely, you'll find that their explanations don't quite match up with what they do. As for your methods, I've never watched you. But I would guess that you use a mixture of punishments and rewards, just as do the most evangelical of the "purely positive" crowd. And I don't doubt that you get results. Results are more a matter of consistency than of method. Dogs have thousands of generations of selection towards being able to figure out what we want - in that they are unique in the animal world. They read human emotion and body far better than we do. The purely positive crowd will maintain that dominance is nonsense, with no applicability to dog training. In this they are wrong. But dominance is not a matter of physical force, and the alpha roll is not part of the repertoire with which dogs establish dominance. You need not physically manhandle a dog to position yourself as a leader. It's a matter of attitude and body language. If you are being accepted as leader by the dogs you work with, it's because of your attitude and body language, not because you're forcing dogs to alpha roll. As I said before, in the wild there are no alpha rolls. The wolf researchers simply misinterpreted what was going on.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    I never said that the alpha-roll was absolutely necessary, it is for extreme cases where the dog is out of control, and is already at a peak of aggression, such as willing to attack anything without prejudice, sometimes with intent to kill. At that point, there is no recourse but to force them to physically submit. After that, they usually will begin to understand that you mean business. In the wild or not, it does work. I hope this finally makes this clear. I probably should not have mentioned this in the first place. As far as my "punishment/reward system", punishment is "time-out", and reward is affection. It often takes little more than that. Punishment is not for undesired behavior, it is for intentionally undesired behavior. Most undesired behaviors are simply because a dog doesn't know better, or was trained improperly. The rest are lack of discipline. While you believe that behaviorists such as Cesar Millan are wrong, they, just as I, can get an excitable dog under control while barely touching them. Behaviorism fails in humans because our brains don't work that way in the first place. It is not a last refuge, it is it's relevance. Many dog trainers will stop at nothing to discredit "The Dog Whisperer", because he not only gets results in minutes that take them weeks or even months to achieve, but he actually focuses on the owners as well. I have seen many dog trainers fail in getting a dog to sit, only for me of all people, to step in and tell the dog to sit, and he sits immediately. To them, I say, "keep your day job". I never touch the dog, nor threaten it, which is the way most of them achieve their limited results, which often fail once the rewards are no longer given. Treats are not a behavioral tool, and never should be used as such.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    While you believe that behaviorists such as Cesar Millan are wrong,

    Caesar Milan is not a behavioralist.

    Behavioralism is a discipline that originated in B.F. Skinner's research into operant conditioning. It was introduced into the world of animal training with Keller and Marion Breland and Bob Bailey, back in the sixties.

    The fundamental premise of behavioralism is that stimulus and response is all - they reject any consideration of an animal's internal state as unscientific.

    Caesar Milan's focus on leadership and pack status they consider to be seriously misguided.

    Me, I think they've seriously misjudged the reliability of their science. Many of them are effective trainers, but their explanations of what they're doing often has more in common with religious dogma than it does with science.

    You, on the other hand, may well be an effective trainer, but your lack of familiarity with the standard terminologies suggest you're not very well read in the field. I'd not suggest that you change the way you train, but I do think you'd benefit from some reading, to help you better understand what other people mean, when they use a term like "behavioralist" in such a non-standard way.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    "In that, I believe they are wrong. Dog training has become the last refuge of behaviorism, after having finally been rejected in human psychology." You contradict your entire argument with that statement alone.....Human psychology does not work on dogs because they ARE DOGS, not humans. To dispute Cesar Millan's career as a "behaviorist" is completely unfounded and without merit. He is not going from some PhD, or some loose form of so-called "clinical psychology", but rather by what he has learned by living and growing up with dogs throughout his life. His study was experience, meaning much more than a book written by someone who tried to make a science from what they didn't understand intimately. I grant you that methods vary from different animals, but you seem to possibly subscribe to the myth that breed has something to do with behavior, which is wholly false. To believe that is to believe that a black man is predisposed to a particular behavioral issue that a Vietnamese man is immune to. Obviously that makes no sense, so why should a pit-bull be labeled aggressive and beagle not? Breed has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with behavior, the only relevance breed has is a particular skill....a chihuahua is a rodent-hunter, and good at it, but a huskie is a workhorse, and designed to travel long distances. Both can have the same issues as the other. I came upon Cesar Millan as I was doing my own training, and his methods are congruent with the actual psychology of a dog, as opposed to a trainer. A trainer will train a dog and an elephant in the same way, but cannot speak to the primal instinct of a dog or any other animal. I, as well as Cesar, can, and that is why people like us get results and trainers do not. You cannot correctly train a dog before you gain the respect of the animal first. If you cannot command leadership, then how can you command respect? No animal cares about politics, and to expect such is lunacy. Consider the "power-exec syndrome" with dog owners...They own their office, but their dog owns them... Try observing such techniques before you knock them, you may learn something new...Be skeptical, it's healthy, but at least observe the technique and the result before you question it...some parts will make sense to you in a context you never heard before....I have a long time ago, and I found that I was wrong, and I now know a better way to achieve the same thing. Being objective is truly knowing both sides of the fence....and I know that most problems begin with the owner and not the dog. Almost 95% of the time, the dog's issues are the result of the owner. The other 5% is neurological disorders that no trainer or behaviorist can cure. "You can paint a pumpkin black, but that doesn't make it a bowling ball"


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    "To dispute Cesar Millan's career as a "behaviorist" is completely unfounded and without merit. He is not going from some PhD, or some loose form of so-called "clinical psychology", but rather by what he has learned by living and growing up with dogs throughout his life." Exactly. And behavioralism is a scientific discipline, founded on the work of Pavlov and Skinner. What Cesar Milan is doing is not behavioralism. If it hasn't become clear by now, I have a very low opinion of behavioralism and behavioralists. It's a scientific theory that ignores nearly all of what is going on in human or animal behavior, and it has a consistently lousy track record at dealing with situations more complicated than a pigeon in a box with a computer-controlled pellet dispenser. That Cesar Milan is not a behavioralist is not a mark against him. Quite the contrary.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Much of western medicine is founded on the experience of Hitler and his human experimentation on Jews, but we still validate that science. I'm not trying to change your mind....What I do is similar to what he does and it works. Your opinions have already been made clear, and you are entitled to that. That's all I'm saying here. No need to argue this any further, really, we have both made our points sufficiently I think.