Arduino Powered Prop Controller


 

First Generation Design

Generation one was a proof of concept PCB (Printed Circuit Board) that became a main priority in 2016. Having a high quality Prop Controller that "Just Works" was the goal of  this one. I wanted something that I could manually program on the fly that was affordable . After scouring the web for resources I finally felt like I was getting an idea on how I could do it myself. I eventually came across a platform that I liked called the "Four Banger Project" From Button Banger  and created a few designs up. When the first boards arrived I was ecstatic, I whipped a few of them up with my trusty soldering iron. Uploaded the code and in sheer amazement that I didn't blow anything up i had a working high quality controller that fit in the palm of my hand! You can connect the prop controller to the PC and program it with the four banger software from ButtonBanger.com

Printed Circuit Board

Noticing an influx of confusion with the arduino platform that some people were having a hard time with. I decided to create a simple to make board that allows you to control all four relays on a small platform. Generation One PCB's went through extensive testing in real life situations (A Haunted Attraction!) running two boards non stop for 5 hours a night without an enclosure or weather protection of any sort  Equaling  to a surprisingly 130 hours of on-time without any issues. That being said their are some small changes that I will need to make for generation two. It will include a few updates within the code and some extra hardware changes that no other controllers currently provide. Like Bluetooth 4.0 capability for OTA (Over The Air) programming  if the new design works out we'll be able to eliminate the need to connect to the PC via USB while changing settings in the Button Banger Software from buttonbanger.com.  We also want to add a Ethernet connector that will allow for programming at a max distance of 25-50ft. There will be two versions of this board . Version 1 will have buttons and the Ethernet programming port Including  4 Opto isolated relays to control your AC/DC devices. Version 2 will have everything Version one has minus the 4 relays. Instead the outputs will be clearly marked on the board allowing a user to add their own relay/switching devices like the Powerswitch tail 2  or  Controllable Four Outlet Power Relay Module. Update: Version  #2 was just recently released and supports the newest software from Button Banger Check it out for your self! OctoPill

Testing / Changes For Generation 2

The Gen 1 Boards survives 30 days running almost constantly without issues. No case and exposed to the elements. 

1.  MP3 Board in its vertical orientation can cause strain on the boards orientation.  Id like to add different mounting options for the audio board or use another board in its place.

2.  Relay traces require no copper plating around them to prevent arcing/ damage with A/C voltages. 

3. Better power distribution and a well planned ground plane required for Gen 2

4.  Adding Bluetooth for OTA Control of the prop controller 

5.  Allow  a user to use a Pre -wired relay box that utilizes circuit protection and separation of  Low volt dc voltages from high volt A/C voltages. Relay/switching devices like the Powerswitch tail 2  or  Controllable Four Outlet Power Relay Module.

6. To design and incorporate new sensors that will be "Plug and play."

7. A 3D printed case to house the  unit.

 

The Creator

The software was recently released by a wonderful asset to the haunt community  at  ButtonBanger.com  without their work this project wouldn't be in existence.  I reccomend anyone who's benefited from this open source project  to go donate to help support future projects!