Here's a look at the Monster in a Box Halloween prop that I made. It uses a Parallax Propeller prototype board as it's "Brain" to control several different things - Check it out!
The idea of the prop is that there's some kind of monster in the box trying to get out by banging the lid up - but it's chained in and so can't get out. I wanted to take it a step further and make it some "unknown species" of monster and I added the smoke (fog machine) and flashing red light (strobe with red gel), also I mixed several animal's "screams" to give a unique monster sound :)
The construction of the box was pretty simple - I reused parts from the fence that I put up a few months ago and just glued and tacked them together
Then came working on all the effects - the Propeller is a great tool for such a thing - since I can run many different processes at the same time that made it super easy to get everything working - I didn't have to worry about something finishing it's process before starting another one - they all fire at the same time in different "cogs" as they are called in the Propeller. Nice.
For the MP3 player I needed to turn it on and off because the cheap player I used did not have a stop, only play, pause, next and previous - so I cut off it's battery and am powering it by turning on an off a 2N2222 transistor from one of the Prop pins, that started the sound playing automatically also - but I do have the Play, Next, and previous buttons wired so I can trigger a Propeller pin and basically "push" the buttons - although in the end I didn't need to use them :)
For the fog machine... The fog machine I got only had one way to turn it on and that was via a wireless remote - so I hacked the remote similar to the way i hacked the MP3 player and I am "pushing" it's on and off buttons using reed relays that are triggered from the Propeller's pins.
For the Strobe light - the cheap strobe light I got only had one way to turn it on as well and that was to plug it in! So I spliced the wire and fed it through a relay that can handle 120V AC current - I happened to have a 4 relay board that did the job nicely - I am feeding the relay board 5V from the Propeller Proto board's 5V regulator and then turning the relay one and off from the Propeller Pin
For the stepper motor... Firstly I decided to use a stepper motor as opposed to a regular DC motor because I had envisioned having more control over the animation - since I just barely got the prop finished in time the animation effects will have to wait until next year, but I should be able to do a lot better animation of the lid with control over the stepper :) in this version I am just turning the motor one way at one speed through the Pololu stepper driver board (A4983 I think)
and lastly the whole thing is triggered by a PIR sensor that detects when the victims - uhh I mean trick or treaters come up
Here's some pictures and a video below!