Funded! This project was successfully funded on July 17, 2012.

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Easily add sound & automation to your HAUNTS and PROJECTS with this open source prop controller without programming! Arduino compatible

International Backers:

Please contact us for shipping details and 220/240V options

What is the Hauntbox?

The Hauntbox makes physical things happen based on inputs from sensors in the real world. Adding automation to your haunts and other projects is now incredibly simple.

The Hauntbox is a prop controller and automation machine that is browser-configured, open source and Arduino-compatible. It's cool because you can automate inputs and outputs with no programming!

Why you should join us:

To make the Hauntbox a reality we have to meet minimum manufacturing order numbers of 100 units for our initial order. While we do envision our own homes, garages and yards strewn with these devices, that still is not enough. We need your critical support to meet these minimum numbers. The $13000 dollars will be used to procure custom parts, enclosures and have the electronics professionally manufactured.

Why are we making it?

We are passionate home-haunters, hackers and geeks and have always wanted an easy way to bring the power of automation into our projects, pranks, and home haunts. After years of kluges, we decided to create our dream product, and we're stoked to have your support!

How does it work?

It is a system of parts. Sensors and outputs plug into your Hauntbox and it plugs into your network. You tell it what do by using your browser on your computer, iPad or smartphone on your home network with our simple visual interface.

How do I control it?

The Hauntbox supports up to 6 inputs and 6 outputs. First, go to the settings page and setup your inputs and outputs. You can name them, set what voltage they run on and their minimum retrigger time.

the settings page
the settings page

Then go the the "Program" page and setup your controls. Each can be enabled or disabled with the click of a checkbox. 

the program page
the program page

To show you what options you have with each control, check out the close-up screenshots below.

What can you control with your Hauntbox?

The short answer: Whatever you want up to 300mA per output. Compare that to the wimpy 40mA output of a standard Arduino. For 120V devices, simply wire up a PowerTail to the Hauntbox.

The long answer:

  • Halloween props
  • any 120V AC device up to 15A via a PowerTail
  • relays (allowing much higher power items such as pumps, wiper motors, etc)
  • sound effects
  • solenoids
  • LEDs
  • lighting
  • strobes
  • black lights
  • air blasters
  • linear actuators
  • ...and much more

Tell me more about the Sound Module!

The prototype sound module.
The prototype sound module.

There are plenty of clunky ways of getting triggered sound into your haunts, projects, art and hacks. We were tired of all the soldering, failed experiments with thrift-store cassette decks and mysterious undocumented proprietary embedded sound modules.

We wanted to be able to precicely edit and control the audio WITHOUT programming. Editing can be done with software such as Garageband and the wonderful free audio editor Audacity.

Simply convert your sounds into standard .wav files (even iTunes can do this), name them properly, chuck them on the SD card, slide it into the module and boom! You've got precisely edited ambient and triggered sound without coding!

To make the module play a looped ambient track, simply name the file "ambient.wav". Name the sound you want played when triggered  "1.wav". If you want more variety from your sound module, add more sounds named "2.wav", "3.wav", and so forth. They will play upon subsequent triggers.

How do you hook it all up?

First choose what auxiliary voltage you'd like to run, either 12 or 24V DC. Simply hook up a corresponding power supply to the power terminals. This auxiliary voltage will be available to all your inputs and outputs in addition to the +5V provided by the Hauntbox. By letting you choose the auxiliary voltage, this gives you staggering amounts of flexibility with your props, sensors, projects and tinkers.

Then hook up your inputs using either the 5V provided by the Hauntbox or the auxiliary 12/24V, depending on what the input requires. If you are using our motion sensors, they run on 5V. Some sensors use only two wires (5, input), and some use three (5, gnd, signal). We've given you 4 screw terminals for each input to give you huge flexibility.

Next simply hook up your outputs, and again depending on what voltage they need, either use the 5V provided by the Hauntbox or the 12/24V DC auxiliary voltage. Some outputs use only two wires (5, output), and some use three (5, gnd, signal). Again, we've given you 4 screw terminals for each output to give you huge flexibility.

How close to completion is the hardware?

This is the current fully-functional prototype is in its third version. You can clearly see it's a stack of shields built on the robust Arduino platform with a custom circuit board containing our driver circuitry. While it is fully functional and real-world proven, it is by no means compact or elegant. The final manufactured versions will be a single-board design for simplicity, robustness, and less cost.

The current fully-functional prototype with our custom driver circuitry on the right.
The current fully-functional prototype with our custom driver circuitry on the right.
The final production Hauntbox PCB and form factor
The final production Hauntbox PCB and form factor

We are in talks with a reputable PCB manufacturer who will also be doing the component population and testing. The PIR sensor enclosures are on their fifth and final design revision and production will begin as soon as it looks like our goal will be met. The audio module enclosure is not as far along, though progress can be made quickly. Since we are 3D printing these in our workshop in the US, design iterations and production take days rather than weeks (or months in the case of injection molding tooling).

What about the software?

The software has been in progress for 8 months. We've learned how to harness and balance the robust and limited power of the Arduino with the speed of modern browsers to create a responsive interface and reliable experience. There are a few unfinished features that we need to add to polish the experience, though it is fully functional.

We have chosen a robust platform with plenty of headroom for future software updates that will enable even more haunting fun.

Give me the technical specifications!

Ok, ok, we get it. You, dear reader are the stalwart. You want to know everything about the Hauntbox (not Haunt Box). Well here you go:

The Hauntbox

  • Arduino compatible 16 MHz ATmega 2560
  • 256 KB of flash (this means tons of headroom for hacking)
  • 8 KB SRAM (~4.8 KB free with our firmware)
  • 4 KB EEPROM
  • 7-12V input voltage
  • 5/12/24V output options depending on your power supply
  • supplies up to 300mA per output (open collector)
  • W5100 Ethernet controller (works seamlessly with official Arduino libraries)
  • microSD card slot
  • FTDI header pins for firmware hacking/updating
  • easy to use screw terminals accepting up to 18 gauge wire
  • unused header pins for easy expansion via Arduino shields or proto-boards
  • LEDs indicating I/O status
  • fully Arduino-compatible, single board design including FTDI headers for the adventurous firmware hacker

The Motion Sensor

  • easy mounting on any surface
  • screw terminals for fast wiring to your Hauntbox (5V, GND, Trigger out)
  • fits inside standard 2" ABS pipe fitting for more weather resistance
  • accepts standard 2" ABS pipe as a shroud for tuning the beam

The Audio Module

  • screw terminals for fast wiring to your Hauntbox (5V, GND, Trigger in)
  • plays single or shuffled triggered sounds
  • plays optional ambient/background track
  • all of the above require ZERO programming!
  • fully Arduino-compatible, single board design including FTDI headers for the adventurous firmware hacker

Open-Source Credits

In the open source community we all stand on each other's shoulders. We could not create the Hauntbox (not Haunt Box) without these projects and the brilliant people who created them and inspired us. As soon as we have cleaned up our firmware, front-end code, schematics and BOM, they will all of course be published as open source.

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    44 backers

    GOOD-KARMA PACKAGE. For haunters who want to contribute to the state of the art without breaking the bank. Includes a limited edition 3D printed Hauntbox keychain and early access to all the source code and an optional shout-out as a founding member.

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    7 backers

    SOUND MODULE ONLY. A great way to easily add ambient & triggered sound to your project or haunt. Pledge includes US shipping.

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    10 backers All gone!

    A killer deal for the first 10 BARE BONES HAUNTBOX. Includes a single hauntbox with SD card. Does NOT include enclosure or power supply. Pledge includes US shipping.

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    BARE BONES HAUNTBOX. Includes a single hauntbox with SD card. Does NOT include enclosure or power supply. Pledge includes US shipping.

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    3 backers

    ECONOMY PACKAGE. 1 Hauntbox (without enclosure or power supply), 1 motion sensor in our custom 3D printed housing. Great for experimenting. Pledge includes US shipping.

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    5 backers All gone!

    A killer deal for the first 5 STARTER PACKAGES. Includes 1 hauntbox WITH enclosure and power supply, 2 motion sensors, 1 magnetic door switch, 1 automotive relay, 1 120V powertail, and 1 sound module. Pledge includes US shipping.

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    28 backers

    STARTER PACKAGE. Includes 1 Hauntbox WITH enclosure and power supply, 2 motion sensors, 1 magnetic door switch, 1 automotive relay, 1 120V powertail, and 1 sound module. Pledge includes US shipping.

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    12 backers Limited (3 left of 15)

    ULTRA PACKAGE: Includes 1 Hauntbox WITH enclosure and power supply, 4 motion sensors, 2 magnetic door switches, 2 automotive relays, 2 120V powertails, and 2 sound modules. Pledge includes US shipping.

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    3 backers Limited (7 left of 10)

    ULTIMATE PACKAGE: Includes 1 Hauntbox WITH enclosure and power supply, 6 motion sensors, 2 magnetic door switches, 3 automotive relays, 3 120V powertails, and 3 sound modules. Pledge includes US shipping.

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    5 backers All gone!

    ELITE PACKAGE: Includes 1 Hauntbox WITH enclosure and power supply, 6 motion sensors, 2 magnetic door switches, 3 automotive relays, 3 120V powertails, and 3 sound modules. ELITE BACKERS GET A 1 ON 1 PERSONAL VIDEO CONFERENCE TUTORING. Pledge includes US shipping.

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