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New, New TardisBuilders!

Camping Tardis

Started by shwalamazula, Mar 23, 2019, 10:11 pm

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Aug 16, 2019, 10:19 pm #75 Last Edit: Aug 16, 2019, 10:27 pm by shwalamazula
The next update to my TARDIS is an upgrade to the electrical. I wanted to be able to mount my controller and make it easier to connect everything. The last few times I set up my TARDIS, I had to place the controller on a ladder and then run the circuits directly to the Arduino. I wanted something simpler, so we made something simpler.

I started by running the main power and ground together and using hot glue to secure them in place, so they stayed out of the way. This also gives a bit of strain protection for the connections.


Next we got some panel-mount barrel plugs and lined up where they would be placed, and drilled holes for them.


A power circuit and ground circuit were connected to each of the plugs. These will eventually connect to the mosfets on the negative side and the common power line on the positive side.



While we were tinkering, we increased the diameter of the coil for the antenna. It was reccommended to me that increasing the coil dimater may give me more range. Right now my remote has a range of about 10 feet. I was down for modifying the antenna. Couldn't be much worse than 10 feet, right?


It was also recommended to take another piece of metal, and connect it to the receiver's ground circuit to make the antenna more responsive. This helped a lot. My remote went from only 10 feet, line-of-site to about 20 feet thru concrete and a server rack. The floating ground helped a ton. You can see it as the big floppy blue circuit.


We marked the board-mount plugs with colored tape and added the male connectors to the lights. This gives a nice and easy to install interface.

With that complete, my buddy created a mounting box for the control board. The box is solid and can be mounted with only one side. This allows it to be mounted into the roof without having to worry about the box falling out.




If you look carefully at the right side of the mount box, you'll see a little black nub. This is just a piece of metal that my buddy installed with a single screw. In order to take the board out of the box, you have to swing the metal piece to the side. Gravity forces it to hang down and help to secure the board. I will get a better picture in a future update.

The the retaining box was being made, it was a bit long for the board, so it had to be cut. This ended up being very lucky for me because the scrap was just enough meat to create a second box. Because of the surface-mount barrel jacks, there is hardware that hangs off the back of the board (which is why there is so much head-space on the box). This would make transporting the board outside of the roof prone to damage. Now I have a fancy holster for my board until it gets an upgrade in the future (I just found out that it is fairly cheap now to get custom PCBs made as long as you can make the circuit drawings).




I also updated the circuit drawings for the control board if anyone is interested.



Quote from: shwalamazula on Aug 16, 2019, 09:44 pm"...We put it up in his backyard and had a bonfire. Twas a lot of fun. "

Reading this initially - it did sound a bit drastic!

To make those twist bits less violent, you can drill a 4 or 5mm pilot hole first.


Really great to see all your progress. Great shots at the camping site.


Sep 07, 2019, 08:11 pm #78 Last Edit: Sep 07, 2019, 08:16 pm by shwalamazula
Now that the project is more or less complete, I am looking at upgrades and ways to make the build better. I still have some odd jobs I want to complete like painting the interior and attaching all of the latches for weather-resistance.

Aside from those, I have some enhancements I want to make to the TARDIS:

  • Redo the tiny door sign

  • Find better handles

  • Make lantern wiring part of the lantern

  • Install a soundboard and speakers

  • Install a folding shelf behind the little door for holding drinks or stuff

  • Install retractable casters in the base for easy movement on concrete or hard floors

This post will serve more as an idea-place where I can create a checkpoint for revisions to my box.

I found a clever solution to my sign on the tiny door. I found a link on Thingverse ( where someone printed the raised letters on a flat bed in 2 parts. I can print that off with a white base and then change the filament when the letters are being printed. This will get rid of any chance I have of getting the letters crooked. I am in the process of building a Ghostbusters Proton Pack for Halloween, so that print will have to wait a bit.

The next upgrade is most likely going to be wiring the TARDIS for sound. After doing some board trolling, I think I have identified my soundboard. The board is an Adafruit Audio FX Sound Board ( This board has onboard memory and an integrated amplifier. All I need to do is take the trigger lines that my Arduino UNO already uses to trigger light patterns, and splice them into this board. Then, when I press buttons on my remote, the corresponding audio will play from the soundboard without having to fiddle with the main board too much.

Since I will have a power supply, a control board, lights, a soundboard, and speakers, I thought it would be a good idea to look into creating a custom PCB for all these components. I am still sourcing parts and have found good surface mount transistors and jacks for all of my connectors. I am still trying to figure out how to use the free PCB board making software, so that may take a while (if anyone has any experience with those tools and can help guide me to useful resources, that would be swell). I also can build a custom enclosure for all of the components and just mount it much like I have the current light control board mounted in the roof.


The stuff in green will be the stuff I will try to integrate either with some kind of custom PCB or a custom box that will get permanently mounted in the TARDIS (most likely in the roof). It would be much cheaper to just make an enclosure for everything but it would be cooler to have my own board. I will update as I refine the design.

And now, a picture of my TARDIS just barely fitting in my garage:



Sep 28, 2019, 01:43 am #79 Last Edit: Oct 06, 2020, 02:30 pm by shwalamazula Reason: Updated link to source code
I fixed my code and updated it on the page where I initially posted my Arduino Code.

The issue I had was that the way I was clearing the activation flags for the different light states was making it so that once the pulsing started, you needed to hit buttons at just the right time in order to get the box to change states. That has been all cleaned up. You can now easily jump states and even cancel the current state by hitting the same button a second time.


@shwalamazula I had to comment and congratulate you on your TARDIS that you've documented in this thread as it looks a grand job and an exciting build! Feeling a bit older and wiser I am considering building my own. I found, initially, the WWMM video on YouTube as a start point and to see what you've done from those beginnings has motivated me! Well done!