View Full Version : Home Automation and Gun turret

06-13-2007, 10:52 AM
Virtual Crib: Open Source home automation software
* Uses Phidgets 8/8/8 for secure contact monitoring and relay control.
* Video: http://youtube.com/watch?v=YDP2nRGWLYM
* URL: www.vCrib.com (http://www.vCrib.com)

USB Gun Turret: Fully automatic USB BB Gun turret
* Uses 4-channel Phidget servo controller.
* Video: http://youtube.com/watch?v=Fu0OX7MQL5I
* Newer Version Video: http://youtube.com/watch?v=VCOJA6ps-7s

Using servos, and Phidgets controllers, I have made automated locks to lock doors and dressers from the inside. I have automated Window blinds, air vents, camera enclosures and more. Most of these I dissassembled after the experiments were complete, but wiring aside, they all worked well.

If you have some Phidgets and are interested in any of these projects, most of my stuff is open source and I would love to help get you set up, so just let me know.

www.vCrib.com (http://www.vCrib.com)

Maybe someday if I buy another 0/16/16 tech support will work with me to approve my configuration so it does not burn up (or at least so I don't get blamed for it =). I would love to recommend that thing for home security interfacing.

06-13-2007, 07:35 PM
Very nice work. Virtual Crib looks awesome! Also, it looks like you're using a ServoCity pan and tilt module for that turret. They make some good stuff. How are you firing the gun? When we made our P&T Airsoft turrets, we used a small DC motor driver, controlled by the Phidget servo controller, to run the firing motor. We tried just using a relay, but the motor in the gun heated up too much.

06-14-2007, 04:26 PM
Yes, I love Servocity.com. I just ordered two of their brand new pan/tilt units, and their 2.4g camera can't wait to play...

I am using a third servo to bridge the wires of the trigger, but I use one of the pico-relays I bought here on my RC Car version, and I have an order in now for a second one to replace the servo on the turret project. I will watch for heating problems a little more closely now. Everything always gets warm, but I have not experienced any heat related failures on anything.

Thanks for the comments on vCrib. Phidgets is one of the first devices I supported in that application. I can't believe it took me so long to hit the forums here. You could control everything in a home except main lighting with a couple 8/8/8s.

I was really impressed to see support in Microsoft's Robotics Studio. I really hope when I have time that I can take the turret and RC projects to the next level.

BTW, was your project posted here or YouTube? I have only seen two other projects like this. Would love to see more.


06-15-2007, 04:14 PM
Awesome stuff Vaughn! What language are you using and what sort of interface did you use to get your interactive images of your house? So, you interfaced Phidgets with X10?

We haven't posted any videos of our P&T turret system yet. We should've taken some videos when we were out at Maker Faire, but we were so swamped out there. It was a great time, but by the end of the day, all we were thinking about was a nice cold brew, not shooting videos:)

We're actually coming out with a Pan and Tilt turret project later this year. It's still in the prototyping stages now. We got a feeling that alot of people are going to love it!

About the burn up of your 0/16/16, please see your other post:


I can't see what other projects you come up with:D

06-17-2007, 09:54 PM
I had so many people ask to buy one, so I think it will sell well for you. I got some foriegn offers asking about how it would handle recoile and additional weight and if I would sell them... hehehe

I usually write new stuff in VB6 because I am pretty fast with it, but usually windup with VB.NET and now C#, but most code is VB of some fashion.

My vCrib graphics are just designed by floorplan software, a scrap is made with doors open and closed. I then use one as a background with the doors just photoshop crops. Looking at many different techs for next rewrite, but I probably will not open source that it will be so much work. Just have to see how the free one goes.


06-21-2007, 02:55 PM
That's really odd that the 0/16/16 is being destroyed. The digital inputs are designed to accept 4-30 Volts for a input=true, and we do the production tests at 24 Volts. The (-) from your power supply should be connected to the (G) Ground on the 0/16/16, and the (+) connected to the digital input.


06-22-2007, 09:38 AM
Yeah, with the gun that you have on yours, it definitely looks more "militaryish", haha!

We're trying to keep the cost down as much as possible for the customers, so our gun will be using a much lower grade model, and will require a bit more "hacking".

So, that floorplan software you mentioned, is it just some sort of plugin for Visual Studio or something?

06-22-2007, 10:59 AM
I hope yours does not take much more hacking than mine =) I take a hacksaw to it out of the box, cut about half of it off, then take it apart, remove the trigger assemblies, etc. I got the whole process down to under 5 minutes though...

The floorplan software does not integrate to vCrib at all. I just do printscreens from the Floorplan software then use photoshop to make the moving parts. It is just a .jpg when it gets put into vCrib. You can use Google Sketch, or Visio, or MS Paint, it does not matter how you make the graphics....

Not to belittle my software, but I think any HA software that does floorplans could make the graphics look like mine. I see a couple little things missing to make the other packages work the same, but it is soo easy I hessitate to tell them what they are missing =)


06-22-2007, 11:13 AM
nice:) Glad to know it's easier than it looks!

06-22-2007, 11:35 AM
I hope yours does not take much more hacking than mine =) I take a hacksaw to it out of the box, cut about half of it off, then take it apart, remove the trigger assemblies, etc. I got the whole process down to under 5 minutes though...
Pretty much what we had to do to ours. Initially we looked into just buying the firing mechanism separate from the gun, then building something around it. That turned out to be more of a pain in the ass then just chopping up an off-the-shelf gun. We also added a big ammo hopper to the top of the gun. I'm sure we'll get around to posting pics at some point.