Sunday, November 18, 2012

Cylon Pumpkin Build Details

By request, I am posting details on my Cylon Pumpkin build from two weeks ago.
Inside the parts look like this
The Larson Scanner (moving LED array) with its AA battery pack is at top.  It is a kit from Evil Mad Scientist.  The board in the center, (underneath) is an Arduino Uno.  On top of that is an Adafruit Wave Shield.  It's a kit and yes I didn't get it right when complete, I had a cold solder pad on the SD card interface.  This plays the cylon sounds - this consists of the moving eye sound and then 6 phrases that can be triggered from an IR remote (not shown, any remote will do, more below).  The IR signals are captured by a Radio Shack IR receiver (black, between the two blue boards).

The unit is powered from a 9 volt battery connected to the Uno.  The audio out on the Wave Shield was amplified as the volume produced by the shield was not very loud.  I happened to have a vintage Radio Shack mono amplifier.  The Uno+Shield+Battery were housed inside the pumpkin in the plastic case at left (from Michaels, use your 40% off coupon).

Wiring: The Wave Shield connections are as recommended by Adafruit (using Digital pins 2, 3, 4, 5, and 10).  The IR sensor was coded to use Digital Pin 9 (along with +5 volts and ground).  The astute will notive I did not take the ausio from the 1/4" jack (not enough room in the plastic box) - I soldered two 90 degree header pins on the board's audio out and connected the yellow and orange cable to a 1/4" plug.

Code: The code is at You should get the WaveHC and WaveUtil libraries from IRremote library by Ken Shirriff at You should use one of the IRtest programs with Ken's library to discover the codes for whatever remote you chose. I used an old Creative RM-1500 remote but you can use any remote and map the codes you discover to the keys you push. This project used number keys 1 to 6 for effects, mute to turn off sound, Volume + to turn it on. The code is not overly clean as there was a bug with the mute button so I ignored presses that turned out to be just over 1.5 seconds. It was frustrating - you'll probably have better luck. The sounds can be found via Google "Cylon WAV". I cannot post the sounds as they may be copyrighted.

Other than the mute issue, it was a straightforward and fun build.  I'll look to reuse the Uno and Wave Shield to try out the Adafruit Voice Changer.