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Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays, so much so that I founded a business that makes professional-grade props and controllers for Haunted Houses. This naturally led to Element14 asking me to create a couple of projects that were easy enough for the community to follow along and replicate the project at home. For my first project, I am going to be creating a very unique halloween candy dispenser that utilizes a trivia game to dispense the candy.
The idea behind this project is to create a halloween-based candy dispenser that requires the trick or treaters to answer a simple Halloween trivia question in order to obtain the maximum amount of candy. When the trick or treater steps in front of the candy cauldron, the Raspberry Pi will display a trivia question on the touch-screen LCD hat along with four answers. If the trick or treater gets the answer right, he or she will be rewarded with three pieces of candy. If the trick or treater gets the answer wrong, they will only receive a single piece of candy.
In addition to this functionality, the Raspberry Pi will play a “Correct” audio event if the answer is correct. Neopixel LEDs will illuminate and flash a pattern. If the answer is incorrect, the Raspberry Pi will play an “Incorrect” audio event and flash a different pattern on the neopixel LEDs. The Raspberry Pi will also control several “ambient” LEDs around the base and in another area of the device.
DIY Foam Tombstone. Image courtesy DiyNetwork.com
At the moment, I am planning on building a custom tombstone from pink insulation foam, and using either my X-Carve CNC to carve it out, or using a combination of an Exacto knife and an old soldering iron to carve and shape the tombstone. Originally I had plans on using a 4-foot to 5-foot Frankenstein statue, but was unable to locate one that was within my budget of $100 for the physical prop.
I will either be utilizing Drupal or straight PHP and Python to build the trivia interface. Alternatively I may use a combo of all three to get the job done. Basically I need to have the LCD display a question and have touch buttons for four different answers. When the correct answer is chosen, the Pi will need to activate the candy dispenser and kick out the appropriate number of pieces of candy.
The candy dispenser will be a simple magazine design that holds Starburst candies which will be pushed out and dropped into a cauldron by a simple hobby servo. I will be 3D Printing the candy magazine and dispenser mechanism in the sake of saving some time, but I will include the sketchup design files so that those of you following at home can figure out how to construct this from wood, foam core, styrene, or some other material you are familiar with.
Most of the electronic components for this project can be found in the Trick or Trivia kit found here at Element14, with some parts needing to be purchased from MCM Electronics.
This whole project is based around the new . This new screen is purposely designed for the Raspberry Pi, and utilizes the DSI port on the Raspberry Pi itself which frees up the HDMI port for other multimedia duties.
Newark Part No.
Manufacturer / Description
5v coil relay
OMRON SPDT, 5 VDC, 10A Relay
RASPBERRY PI 2, MODEL B,
RASPBERRY PI 8GB NOOBS MICRO SD CARD
POWER SUPPLY 5V, 1A
USB A PLUG TO MICRO USB B PLUG
ADAFRUIT USB WIFI MODULE
ADAFRUIT NEOPIXEL Strip 1M 144LED
ADAFRUIT NEOPIXEL STICK
VISATON SPEAKER, 20 kHz, 8OHM, 4W
LED, RED, T-3 (10MM)
METAL FILM RESISTOR, 220 OHM, 250mW, 1%
Flyback Diode for Relay
Rectifier Diode 50 V 1 A
7805 LINEAR VOLTAGE REGULATOR, 5V, TO-220-3
PSU LED Resistor
METAL FILM RESISTOR, 1KOHM, 250mW, 1%
PSU Filter Cap
CERAMIC CAPACITOR 0.1UF, 50V, X7R, 20%
PSU Filter Cap
ELECTROLYTIC CAPACITOR 47UF, 50V, 20%
PSU Filter Cap
ELECTROLYTIC CAPACITOR 100UF, 50V, 20%,
RED, T-1 3/4 (5MM)
|7-Inch Touch Screen||1||Raspberry Pi 7" Touch Screen Display|
MCM Part No.
Manufacturer / Description
28-17452 - TowerPro SG-5 Standard Servo
Audio Amplifier Kit 2 X 5W RMS
Logic Level Converter
8 Channel Logic Level Converter
ABS Case Gray - 5-5/8" x 3-1/8" x 1-3/16"
As you can see, this project has quite a few components that are required, but there are a few that are totally optional. If you wanted to save a little money, you could purchase the 30 or 60 pixel per meter strips of neopixels and save a good bit. Also, you could forgo the NeoPixels all together and save close to $100.
In addition to these parts that you will need to order, you will also need to pick up two 4-foot x 8-foot sheets of 1-inch thick rigid home insulation foam from your local hardware store. If you live in a colder climate than I do, then you might be able to find rigid insulation foam up to three inches thick, and could skip having to laminate foam together. You will also need a few yards of 3-conductor wire, or 100 feet or more of single conductor wire that will need to be paired up for the NeoPixel and Audio components. Finally, you will need an 3.5mm audio extension cable, a ethernet patch cable, or a wifi router. A soldering iron will be needed to assemble parts of the kit, as well as to carve some of the tombstone. Other handtools such as screwdrivers, pliers, and wire cutters are needed.
If you have any questions, suggestions, or comments in general, please feel free to leave them below, or by sending me a private message here at Element14. If anyone chooses to follow along at home and build their own Trick or Trivia Candy Dispenser, please post photos, and even blog post if you can as I am very excited to see your work!
I will be posting an update every week with the project wrapping up on October 16th. I have taken the liberty of laying out each of the weekly milestones below.