wanted to improve the sound quality. The ones I’d found
all used mono sound and the biggest complaint I’d heard
regarded the poor sound quality. I began my design and
once again found a fellow haunter working on the same
concept. Chris Mekeel began work with a PICAXE but he
decided to continue in another direction. I stayed with the
PICAXE and soon had a working two-button banger
controller with stereo sound (Figure 8).
One exciting result of this was that my design was
taken to the next level by another haunter and the result is
an even better controller. Tyler Straub (tstraub on the
Haunt Forum) didn’t use a PICAXE chip but he did make
several significant improvements including making it a
four-channel button banger (see Resources). This is exactly
the kind of cooperation among builders that allows us to
collaborate and continue to raise the bar on the effects
we’re able to accomplish.
These successes were all leading to the board I’d
always wanted to have. Since many of my props included
three-axis movement, I wanted a board that was totally
stand-alone and wouldn’t need to be connected to a
computer to run. I also wanted to be able to control not
only the three-axis movement but to have an onboard
stereo player and be able to have a jaw respond to the
audio track. I was already doing this by employing the EZ4
(a Scary Terry board like the one featured in Vern Graner’s
September 2008 Nuts & Volts article “The Talking Skull
Kit”) to control the jaw movement and a simple prop
controller to provide the audio and monitor the trigger
inputs. It worked but it was unwieldy and required lots of
wires to connect it all.
The single board solution became Frankenstein
(Figure 9A and Figure 9B). Once this board is
programmed with the already written basic code, only the
72 September 2014
FIGURE 9A. The Frankenstein bare board. FIGURE 9B. Frankenstein fully built up, in all his glory.
FIGURE 8. My button banger now with several
improvements over the original.
Creative Commons License is a noncommercial sharing license.
In essence, the license allows you to reprogram, tweak, and build upon
the work for noncommercial use as long as you give credit and license
your new creations under the identical terms.
You are free to use it in your commercial (or noncommercial) haunted
house, but are not able to add it to a commercially sold controller.
You can view the complete license at
ht tp:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/legalcode.