The technical details for Halloween 2004

Note: This article assumes you've read my technical details from previous years. I don't describe in detail here some of the hardware when it is already described there.

Like last year, I used six PIC microcontrollers (MCUs) to control the props in the garage. The PICs were used basically the same as last year except that the box prop was added, and the witch prop only needed one PIC instead of two. I did not use the shade servo or the candy bowl sensor, so I didn't need the extra I/O pins that I need last year for the talking skull prop.

The biggest change with the MCUs this year is that they were all PIC16F628 chips. These chips have a built-in UART (asynchronous communication channel). Instead of simply having a "run" indicator line like I did last year, I actually sent serial commands to the PICs. The communication was entirely one-way. The master sent commands to all the other MCUs. The master never received any input from the other MCUs (except for the laser, which used a simple on-off signal to indicate the laser beam had been broken).

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2003 technical details

Page last modified 05/07/2009