User avatar
By Parflagush
#4877582
For awhile now, I've had in my possession, the Throwing Chicken's Giga Meter Kit. I had been waiting for Heavy Props to come out with a solution for the electronics, which he finally did. Thus I decided to finally start building this thing, and it's well underway.

I didn't document every step, as TC produced a nice video and guide on how to assemble the giga meter. For the most part, I have just followed the guides and things haven't been too difficult (save a few snags I'll be pointing out later).

There aren't a lot of good quality reference photos available that I could find, so it seems there are still a few unknown details about this prop.

This rotating light dome is an important piece. My first question was, what color is this supposed to be?

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I have seen some builds with the light dome gray, and although I couldn't find information to say otherwise, I decided to go with gray. Whatever the case, I think it would add some flavor to the prop so it's not completely black.

Painting the main parts:

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I'm just using Rustoleum Flat Black, and adding a clear coat to lock in the color. That quick-drying paint seems to work best in my dusty, dry environment. The light dome is a gloss gray.
Last edited by Parflagush on September 6th, 2016, 8:59 am, edited 3 times in total.
User avatar
By Parflagush
#4877587
Heavy Props sent out the electronics kit before providing a guide, so naturally I had all sorts of questions. But luckily, Crix put up a quick guide on Facebook just as I was about to get started.

It seems the original intention was to have everything in the kit pre-soldered to make it more easy to install, but Crix later changed that as it was apparently easier to provide things unassembled. Mine was one of those earlier configurations, so when comparing it to the guide, I was scratching my head a bit.

Mainly, the dome LEDs came pre-soldered. This was good since I didn't have to solder them, but not so good because it was a bit of a challenge to bend them and cram them into the dome without breaking the existing solder points. I would have preferred the latter setup as it seemed much easier. I'm glad he changed that going forward for other builders.

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Also, this wiring was done nothing like the guide, so I was left experimenting on how to wire these up properly. Eventually, I would get em all in there.

The inside of the rotating light dome:
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The guide suggested using hot glue to keep all the LEDs in place, but I couldn't get the glue gun's spout down in there far enough, so I just used super glue.

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Added a bit of heat shrink to keep that Christmas spaghetti from shorting out:
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Testing out the lights...Success! Call me lucky, but I only broke one solder point that I had to fix during that process.
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User avatar
By Parflagush
#4877602
The next step I took was to assemble the innards of the prop for the rotating dome mechanism. I didn't photograph any of that process, but it was done exactly like the guide and video that TC provided.

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This wasn't without difficulty though. I found that some parts didn't always fit perfectly together and I often had to dremel down some pieces to get them to fit right. This may have had something to do with the material that was used in the final product is a tiny bit thicker than the material from the prototype, as TC mentions in his guide. But otherwise, I was able to get it all in and working....well, almost.

A significant problem I ran into while fitting things together was that the aluminum tube provided in the giga meter kit was not cut perfectly straight.

Here's the tube (bearing attached):
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I realized this after getting it all together and finding that the dome would not rotate because the motor with the pulley/o-ring was way too tight on one side of the dome, and completely slipping on the other side.

I did dremel down the bottom of the tube a little to try and straighten it out. It's not perfectly straight, but at least the dome will completely rotate now.

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It still wobbles a little, and I don't have the right tool setup (saw? grinder?) to fix it the right way, so I need to figure something out. Ideally, I probably just need a new tube that is cut straight.

While it works okay, I know it's going to contribute to some frustrations with the dome electronics, which I'll be covering next.
User avatar
By Parflagush
#4877689
Thanks, Swag Man!

Here is a small video of the inside working:



As you can see, the aluminum tube is a little wobbly, but it's far better than it was before I fixed it.

The 3.5mm plug in the middle is from the Heavy Props electronics kit. It's not glued down yet, but it should be completely centered inside the tube, which is a challenge. Then an accompanying 3.5mm jack fits over it, and allows it to spin inside while still supplying an electrical current to the dome LEDs.

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Now here's a major problem I am stuck on...

With the plug and jack on top of that aluminum tube, it protrudes too far into the meter's face. As is, that's not a problem. But since I'm planning on placing a 3 digit 7-segment display in the face, there is no room.

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Heavy Props hasn't released a guide for this next step yet, but it appears to me that the height of the 3.5mm plug and jack may not have been considered to fit with a 3 digit display.
Last edited by Parflagush on September 10th, 2016, 9:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
By Parflagush
#4877701
Here's a little prep work I did with the ears.

Using my Dremel fitted with a 1/8" bit, I carefully drill into the ear shaft. I'm not sure if it was intentional, or just a result of the castin, but there was already a starter groove in there to guide the bit as I drilled.

Into the barrel, through the shaft...
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...and out the bottom.

This will allow me to run wires for the LEDs that will go into the ears.
Last edited by Parflagush on September 10th, 2016, 9:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
By Parflagush
#4877831
I need to get me one of those electronics kits.
Yeah, man! Hopefully he'll get a complete guide out soon so I know what the heck I'm doing. Right now, I'm just wingin' it.

Unfortunately, the Heavy Props Giga Meter electronics kit does not include the 3 digit LED display for the front face, so I had to find a solution for that. Google "Giga meter 7 segment" came up with this: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1235666. I'm barely starting to familiarize myself with Arduino, so while not 100% comfortable, I thought I'd take a crack at it. It seems simple enough.

Got this .56" 3-bit 7-segment LED display from Amazon:

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It's a PERFECT fit for the panel.

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Now, here's the problem I was talking about earlier with the 3.5mm jack:

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With the digital display in there, it bumps up against it and prevents the face from closing. This has been the most frustrating part of this build so far. :-x
Last edited by Parflagush on September 10th, 2016, 9:47 pm, edited 4 times in total.
User avatar
By Parflagush
#4877833
I went ahead and started wiring up the 7 segment display. I realized early on that I should have used a smaller gauge wire for this, but this 22 AWG was all I had.

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Added some heatshrink and tidied up the wires:

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I got a few Arduino Nano boards for cheap off Amazon, uploaded the code from that Thingverse link, and hooked up the LED display for a test:

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The Throwing Chicken kit came with a nice red lens for the front display. the 3-digit display looks wicked in there with the lens!

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I was especially surprised that I didn't have any crossed wires or mix them up. Everything worked the first time! Call me lucky, again.

Here's a video:


UPDATE: I didn't realize the person who came up with the digital display and programming had posted on GB Fans. Just wanted to point out and give credit to "berk". viewtopic.php?f=34&t=40607
Last edited by Parflagush on August 26th, 2016, 4:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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User avatar
By ThrowingChicken
Supporting Member
#4877842
But if you want to use it anyway, it looks like you could trim another 1/4" off the aluminum tube (it really only needs to be as high as the black gear that goes around it). If that doesn't close the gap, you could possibly replace the type of headphone jack he is using with something with a lower profile.

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By _ecto84
#4878362
Glad to see another tc kit in the works!! I had my kit since the release and just started work earlier this month. I'm currently at a stand still as I'm in need of a light kit and have no know how with arduino. So Crix is offering a kit?
Last edited by _ecto84 on August 23rd, 2016, 11:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
By abaka
#4878471
Can I ask. Did you have to cut the screws that holds the motor onto the board? Mines seem very long and I'm reluctant to screw them in tighter because they'll interfere and cause damage to the coil in the motor...So I'm going to have to cut mine, but just wondering if I'm using the wrong screws/missing screws to be used for that part.
User avatar
By Parflagush
#4878475
...it looks like you could trim another 1/4" off the aluminum tube (it really only needs to be as high as the black gear that goes around it). If that doesn't close the gap, you could possibly replace the type of headphone jack he is using with something with a lower profile.
Thanks for the suggestions. I have considered both options, and I believe I have a solution. Updates coming soon!
So Crix is offering a kit?
He was offering it from the Heavy Props Facebook Page. I don't know if they are still available, but you could try contacting him. Arduino is a good alternative, and that's also what I'm using to drive the front display. It was intimidating at first, but it's really quite simple once you become familiar with it.
Can I ask. Did you have to cut the screws that holds the motor onto the board? Mines seem very long and I'm reluctant to screw them in tighter because they'll interfere and cause damage to the coil in the motor...
I did not cut mine, but you are correct. They are too long and if you tighten them all the way you will damage the motor. I actually bought some shorter screws at the hardware store. Sorry, I don't have the specifics on the ones I bought as I've got everything assembled at the moment.
By _ecto84
#4878486
How much would you charge to wire up the front display for me? Also, what kind of switches are you using to power up and location of switches?
By abaka
#4878534
I did not cut mine, but you are correct. They are too long and if you tighten them all the way you will damage the motor. I actually bought some shorter screws at the hardware store. Sorry, I don't have the specifics on the ones I bought as I've got everything assembled at the moment.
No, that's perfect for me, I was just wondering in case I lost something from my pack. I couldn't be bothered cutting mine either, so hopefully I'll have some shorter screws around house. If not, won't be too difficult to sort, I'm fairly certain I have some 3/16 lying around that should work.
User avatar
By Parflagush
#4879383
Sorry for the lack of updates, but things have come to an abrupt halt as I seem to have damaged my Heavy Props Giga meter electronics board somehow. I'm not sure what I did wrong, but it's not working at all. Crix is a hard fella to get a hold of, so I'm not sure when I'll be able to continue this. :cry:
User avatar
By halliwax
#4879788
amazing progress! i was able to get the Facebook instructions to work. i love how you got the 7 segment display working! i wonder if its possible to add code into the ardunio for a blinking white led?

i recently learned there is a white scan button above the segment display, i dont have any coding, or 3d printing skills so I'm at the mercy of someone coming up and doing a run

im so sorry to hear about your damaged board. by any chance did you ground it out by accident? you have me sold on this thread! excellent work, i hope to see you complete it, its coming along excellent!
User avatar
By Parflagush
#4879826
I think a wire from the switch slipped out of one of the screw terminals and shorted against something and zapped the board. Important lesson...make sure the screws are tightened properly. At this point, I just have to be patient until Kris can help me out, or find another option. I'm considering just driving the whole thing from Arduino.
i recently learned there is a white scan button above the segment display
I haven't seen or heard of any accurate information about the front panel. Where did you find that? I'd like to see it. Anyway, it wouldn't be difficult to update the code to add blinking lights or whatever. I could do it. The 3-bit 7-segment does take up most of the pins on the Nano board though, so a second Nano board might be needed to add more lights and features.
User avatar
By Parflagush
#4880146
The white block above the read out should stay "SCAN" on it, as discovered in the visual history book.
Thanks! I have yet to pick up that book, but it sounds like it might be handy for this project.

For those of you following, good news! I was able to get my electronics board working again! By pure luck (again), I first tried replacing the voltage regulator on the board and to my surprise everything is working beautifully. Watch for progress updates soon!

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User avatar
By Parflagush
#4880514
As I mentioned before, the 3.5mm jack and plug solution that Heavy Props provided with his kit was a bit too big to allow for the 7 segment display to fit, so I had to come up with another solution. I stopped by my local Radio Shack and picked up a 2.5mm mini plug and accompanying jack.

Here's a size comparison, with the 3.5mm on top, and 2.5mm on bottom:

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This was a relatively simple solution as the smaller jack gives it just enough room for the front digital display and dome light connection to all fit nicely together. The 2.5mm jack even slides partway into the aluminum center tube allowing for more room, but still allowing it to spin while connected.

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I then decided to work on the ears. Following TC's guide, the gears were first glued on, then one by one, I fed the LED wires through the hole I had drilled previously.

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Pay no mind to the paint job on the ears. I tried some silver model paint on 'em, but it started to rub off as I was working with them. I'll fix 'em later, or replace them with the real microphone ears.

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I'm not certain how the three LEDs are supposed to be arranged in that ear, but I tried to stagger them a bit. The heat shrink on those made it difficult so I couldn't figure how to place them perfectly. It looked like a little blossom of berries when I got 'em in there.

Of course these are supposed to flash in sequence, so it was important that I keep track of the bottom, middle and top, and which ear the wires were from...which of course I forgot to do. :-x No matter, I would just have to test each one individually to discover which was which, then label each one with tape to keep them sorted.

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The ear wires run underneath the gears where the ears are mounted on the front panel. It's important to keep these loose and floppy so the ears can move without hindrance.

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I originally had those zip-tied, but it made them too tight, so I loosened them up and kinda just left them dangling in there.
Last edited by Parflagush on September 14th, 2016, 9:54 am, edited 2 times in total.
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User avatar
By halliwax
#4880523
The white block above the read out should stay "SCAN" on it, as discovered in the visual history book. It's hard to tell if its a decal or etched into the plastic, but I've updated the kit to include the lettering etched in.
is the button separate? if so can I purchase a button?
User avatar
By Parflagush
#4880524
The end caps for the ears were a little too thick and didn't fit quite right...

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... so I sanded them down...

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...and super-glued them on.

Again, ignore the paint job for now. I'll fix it. Gonna fix it. One thing at a time. :-?

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This Power LED came with the Heavy Props electronics. There's already a nice little hole for it. Just gonna add a dab of hot glue to hold it in.

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The power switch also has a nice groove for it carved out in the meter's body, but with the power LED in there, it ain't gonna fit. So I made a small modification by cutting off one of the side mounting tabs.

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Fits perfectly now. :)

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Trimmed off a little of the excess heat shrink...

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...and globbed some hot glue in there to hold it in place. Kinda ugly, but it's on the inside where it can't be seen.

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I scratched the clear coat around the switch a little, darn it. Have to fix that later too. :-?
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User avatar
By halliwax
#4880525
you are doing a excellent job!! you are a inspiration to me!

the gigameter is my holy grail, mine has been sitting in the box since I first got it too afraid to be the first one to do
anything

you my friend are doing a amazing job!! I'm glued to the screen!

as for the lights in the mic's... last I knew the led's were cast stacked in some form of clear jell. the clear silicone jell keeps the led's in the center of the mic's
User avatar
By Parflagush
#4880528
you are doing a excellent job!!
Thank you, kindly. I'm just trying to figure it all out as I go. If you see anything I do wrong or have any suggestions, let me know.
as for the lights in the mic's... last I knew the led's were cast stacked in some form of clear jell. the clear silicone jell keeps the led's in the center of the mic's
That's interesting. I may have to revisit that later, maybe when I get some of the real mic ears. I've been thinking there has to be a better way to arrange those ear LEDs.

After getting the power LED, switch, and battery wired up, I connected all the ear wires.

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Without instructions or having the board labeled, this was a bit of trial and error. But it appears the connectors for the ears are ordered from left to right as 1-, 1+, 1-, 1+, 2-, 2+, 2-, 2+, 3-, 3+, 3-, 3+.

Here's a quick test video with everything wired up:

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User avatar
By halliwax
#4880530
you are doing a excellent job!!
Thank you, kindly. I'm just trying to figure it all out as I go. If you see anything I do wrong or have any suggestions, let me know.
as for the lights in the mic's... last I knew the led's were cast stacked in some form of clear jell. the clear silicone jell keeps the led's in the center of the mic's
That's interesting. I may have to revisit that later, maybe when I get some of the real mic ears. I've been thinking there has to be a better way to arrange those ear LEDs.

After getting the power LED, switch, and battery wired up, I connected all the ear wires.

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Without instructions or having the board labeled, this was a bit of trial and error. But it appears the connectors for the ears are ordered from left to right as 1-, 1+, 1-, 1+, 2-, 2+, 2-, 2+, 3-, 3+, 3-, 3+.

Here's a quick test video with everything wired up:

is there a potentiometer for the mic lights?

I think you got it!! to me it always looked like the lights started at the bottom as one, and ended at the top as 3

1-2-3 repeat
1-2-3 repeat

I believe if I remember right there was a potentiometer wheel on the left hand side of the seven segment display, that controlled the speed of the lights.

at the end of GbII in the credits it shows egon actually playing with the faceplate I swear he's toying with the potentiometer during this time

many many many years ago I use to talk to a guy who actually had the face plate in his hands. he was told the prop fell and the body shattered and thrown away, they saved only the face plate since the ears moved and lights worked separate from the giga meter body

he explained to me how the jell worked. he said he feed the lights up the mic like you did and heat shrink them together stacking them in order , then wrapped the out side of the mic's with electrical tap so the slots were filled, then poured the liquid jell into the mic's, the electrical tap wrapped around them kept the jell inside. then centered the led's in the mic and used duct tape to touch the LED keeping it in the center before the jell got hard.. well are hard as the jell gets

then remove all the electrical tape and duct tape and done

he also said I could go jell less and just use hot glue on the bottom, but the jell helped defuse the light..

either way, I'm in love with your build!! I love how your not afraid to just tackle the project and do it
User avatar
By Parflagush
#4880560
is there a potentiometer for the mic lights?
Yes, there is a pot on the board. It just controls the cycle speed of the ear lights. I have it on the slowest speed in the video.
I believe if I remember right there was a potentiometer wheel on the left hand side of the seven segment display, that controlled the speed of the lights.
If there is, I don't know where it would go. I have seen a knob on the left side of the handle in some reference photos. Not sure if that is the same thing.
...poured the liquid jell into the mic's...keeping it in the center before the jell got hard..
I get what you're saying with the gel, and that's a cool idea. I may have to look around for something like that.

The problem with the ear lights in this configuration is the heat shrink and lead wires. Ideally, you'd want the light to spread uniformly, but it gets blocked by the heat shrink.

This is the best I could come up with without messing with it too much:

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Stacking them perfectly vertical and centered is impossible with the leads and heat shrink. I did trim the heat shrink down a little from what was provided. On a side note, I wonder if clear heat shrink would have been a better option here to let the light flow a little better. Hmmm.
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