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  • Writer's pictureMichael Horn

DMX Controlled Pulleys

Updated: Jul 8, 2021

This is just a small project, it was originally intended to be a part of the Seussical show, but many other things took priority, and by the time these were finished, it would have been hard on the kids to add them to the show.

Nevertheless, I am excited to have these and plan to find a good use for them, perhaps they will end up in Headless Horseman?

They are made from a pair of strong stepper motors controlled individually by Arduino Nano microcontrollers interfaced with DMX plugs, so a light board can be used to set the speed, forward or reverse.  It does a great job of pushing or pulling a long piece of fishing line, and if both are moved in opposite directions, an object suspended between them can be made to rise and fall in addition to moving it back and forth.

One lesson that was learned here since my last experimenting with motor controllers was how to get nearly silent operation out of the controllers by altering the microcontroller’s PWM frequency.

These controllers have 8 DIP switches on the side that can be used to set any DMX channel between 0 and 255.  This isn’t strictly needed since I could hard-code any channel I want in the program, but I thought it was a nice touch, a nod to commercial theatrical equipment conventions.

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