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looking for a SIMPLE halloween scarer circuit?

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by [email protected], Oct 10, 2005.

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  1. Guest


    Hope you don't mind a total newbie butting in. I'm planning a moderate
    sized halloween party for friends and family this year and have the
    usual yard decorations arranged.

    However, I'd like to set up a little "interactivity" with one of my
    props (a skeletal abomination by the front door) that somehow will
    scream and flash it's eyes when someone walks in front of it!

    now my electronics skills (or lack thereof) are meagre to say the
    least. My Soldering skills leave a lot to be desired for example. I had
    thought of using a pressure mat or a PIR sensor to trigger the scare. I
    can set up the flashing LED's ok (breadboard and 555 at the ready!) but
    I don't know the best way to (a) trigger this or (b) Play the recorded
    Scream (Digital recording? Tape player?)

    I'm just looking for some brain storming ideas, perhaps (if I'm lucky a
    few circuit diagrams) and some advice to putting this thing together. I
    would prefer no high voltages and cheapness to be the order of the day.
    I know there are off the shelf devices that you can buy but I'd like to
    try and do this myself and with my Own props.

    I'm in the UK but that shouldn't be a problem as pretty much anything
    you can get from Radio shack I can get from Maplins electronics over

    Anyone got some ideas? and Please excuse my severe lack of knowlege in
    this field.
  2. Rich Webb

    Rich Webb Guest

    On 10 Oct 2005 01:16:29 -0700, wrote:

    [snip...snip...] has an article on
    simulating a candle flame with flickering LEDs. The text isn't online
    but the code is. Might give you some ideas and would look more
    "realistic" than flashing LEDs with a fixed period.
  3. Richard

    Richard Guest

    Maybe not a lot of help, but check out Sensors magazine article under
    Destroy It Yourself.

  4. Kitchen Man

    Kitchen Man Guest

    Buy one of those outdoor lamps that uses a motion sensor. Find a
    two-prong electrical outlet that screws into a lamp socket. Plug your
    abomination into the outlet. There ya go.
  5. Externet

    Externet Guest

    You can simple use my ex-wife...
  6. Jasen Betts

    Jasen Betts Guest

    Go with a pressure sensitive mat (they're pretty hard to foul up)
    If you're expecting lots of visitors go digital (otherwise be prepared to
    rewind and reset the tape often) if you can set up software to react to a
    signal on the joystick port of your computer you could even use it as a
    source for the sound. otherwise there are ready made digital recorders
    capable of a few seconds of recorded sound....
    As I understand it haloween is bigger in USA than in UK so a tape might be

    If you're wanting to save money you may be able to make a pressure
    sensitive mat from two layers of sheet metal separsted by pvc tubing with
    dents in the lower layer so it can contact the upper layer.

    cross section, not to scale:

    _________________ ___ top sheet of metal
    _-_ O _-_ O <--pvc tube (clear plastic hse)
    ~~ ~~~~~ | ~~~ ~`-- bottom sheet

    When someone stands on the top layer their waight squashes the plastic
    tubing and the two pieces of metal come into contact.

    A good way to make dents is to use the rounded end of a cup-head bolt
    (or a large ball bearing) over a hole (like a ring spanner or large
    nut) (whack it with a hammer) work on tough surface (ideally concrete
    or stone) with wood on it to avoid scarring the work surface

    Suitable pieces of sheet metal should be available at sheet metal
    fabricator near you (often small pieces like would fit under a door
    mat will be very cheap,

    For connecting the wires copper (and steel if it's abraded clean) can
    be soldered easily, if you can get it hot enough.

    (use a big soldering iron or heat one corner on the stove)

    if you get aluminium some sort of screw terminal may be most practical.

  7. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    That's what s.e.b is for. :) and plug in a wall wart.
    If you expect to get this done in time for Halloween 2005, you'd be
    best off finding some kind of tape loop player and strap down the
    "play" button, and power it from the same PIR outlet.

    Have Fun!
  8. Rich Grise

    Rich Grise Guest

    Dress up like one of those stuffed dummies (kinda like a fat
    scarecrow) and sit motionless, until they get close enough,
    then, "BOO!" ;-D

    Happy Hunting!
  9. ehsjr

    ehsjr Guest

    An added touch might be a buried loudspeaker. I did that
    many years ago. Dug a big hole behind some bushes, put the
    speaker in a drain pipe and covered it with cotton tee-shirt
    cloth, then filled the hole with dirt. I had about 2" of dirt
    on top of the tee shirt cloth. You could still hear the thing,
    but the kids couldn't locate the source.

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