I would like to ask for advice on a project

Hello, ladies and gentlemen. I am a home haunter who is just starting out with Arduino's and shields. What I would like advice on is this: I want to build a set of cemetery gates (they're lightweight, made of PVC and furring strips, only about 36" wide) that open independently of anyone touching them. I have an arduino uno, a parallax ping sensor, a motor drive shield, and a couple of servo motors.

What I'm missing is the code, as well as any general advice someone might have. I have generalized ping code to measure distance, but I do not know how to make it work with my application.

The best way I have been able to imagine setting this up is to place the ping sensor in the bottom of the arch facing out at an angle towards the end of my sidewalk at about a 30 degree angle, and run wiring from the arduino to a servo motor on both sides, which will be connected to the gates with small arms.

Does anyone see an issue with the way I am planning to set this up?

Sounds like a cool project!

You can do it, just take small steps. Make a sketch for each part of the project. Play with the ping sensor first, get it to print the distance in the serial monitor. Make another sketch to move one of the motors. Then make it move back and forth. Then make a motor move using the ping sensor, and so on.

I have never heard of a "home haunter" before, or of lightweight cemetery gates. These will likely attract "little people" so make sure the gates cannot harm them or their appendages if they become trapped.

radman: I have never heard of a "home haunter" before, or of lightweight cemetery gates. These will likely attract "little people" so make sure the gates cannot harm them or their appendages if they become trapped.

I hadn't heard the term before a month or so ago, but it is evidently people that go all out decorating their house for Halloween. And yes, I imagine you need to make sure it is safe for kids.

There was a kickstarter project that recently finished that was selling setups for other home haunters using Arduinos. You might go over to their site for inspiration or possibly to simplify things and buy their control systems. It looks like they are projecting delivery in September. http://hauntbox.net/.

Here is my low tec solution. Fill a bucket with opaque slime then put various horrible things in it e.g. eyeballs (peeled grapes).

There is a nervous tension surrounding the plunging of the hand into the goo followed by screams when nasty things are found (admit children one at a time, the screams add to the tension). Perhaps some severely disturbed kids grew up in my neighborhood :slight_smile:

Something moving in the goo would scare me and would possibly be going too far.

Dry ice and water makes a great fog but obviously needs to be managed and not so easy to get free these days.

There were earlier posts relating to a security system playing mp3s you could have fun with that, gate opens by itself with a spooky voice from nowhere.

LOL, I first encountered grapes in goo when I was seven or eight years old. It is a very nasty feeling. Like someone else posted, I am one of those nutjobs who spends ridiculous amounts of time trying to figure out the best way to terrify my neighborhood kids on a budget. I make tombstones from styrofoam, creature bodies from PVC and chicken wire, and all the other fun stuff.

I've talked with the guys who are building the hauntbox, but they want too much for the product, in my opinion. It is a very cool item, don't get me wrong, but it's outside my haunting budget at present.

The gates I've built are fashioned from PVC pipe and 1x3 furring strips. Both gates weigh about 5 or 6 pounds. I've gone over them numerous times and can't find any burrs or rough spots. I'm thinking that if I set the ping sensor to open the gates at about 6 or 7 feet away, the gates should be open by the time the kids get to it. I also have another route for them to take on their way out, so they don't clog up at the sidewalk.