19 Sep 2004 ericzayers   » (Journeyer)

Kudos to robots.net for the quick recovery from the hard disk crash!

My Billy Bass hack project is nearly complete. You can record 2 messages, and the head, tail, and body movements to go with it. For 15 glorious minutes, everything seemed to be working. Now, the sound isn't coming out, but I'm sure I'll figure it out.

  • Moved everything from the solderless breadboard over to a perf board and soldered the cicruit all up.
  • Used a DB-25 connector to interface the original circuit to the new circuit.
  • I've programmed the PIC controller for all the functions (record head{1,2}, tail{1,2}, mouth{1,2}, voice{1,2} and play)
  • The Switch & LED are mounted in Billy's original case.
  • Wired up the LM386 circuit on the breadboard to power an 8ohm speaker from the ISD application notes. It doesn't sound great, but it will do.
  • Added a 'polyswitch' to guard against unintentional shorts.

Still to go:

  • Solder in the Audio Amp circuit
  • Mount the microphone.
  • Print the switch settings to look "nice."

Just as I predicted, I still haven't made a nice schematic. I've got some pencil drawings I've been going by. Other problems I've run into:

  • Every @#$!#$!@$ wire from the original circuit has broken off. Now I understand Marty Vona's (famous Billy Bass Hacker) rant about strain relief!
  • The body motor has some kind of problem. Something is sticking, so the body doesn't move out anymore. The gear from the motor head slips off, but that is just a symptom of the prevoius problem. I've taken the motor apart twice to try to figure out what's wrong but haven't had any luck.
  • It is really hard to stuff Billy Bass back into his rubber skin if you have to do a repair (such as re-solder a broken wire inside.)
  • Although I'm still able to control the motors by tapping into the original circuit, the original circuit doesn't play a silly song anymore. My guess is that 3.3 V circuits don't like 5V signals with no resistors.
  • Since the original IC seems to be dead, I had to re-route the pushbutton signal. The Cds cell based motion detector won't work with my modified circuit at the moment.
  • Yes! Too much heat really will fry a transistor!
  • RF interference from nearby radio station.

Preliminary web page is here.

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