Transforming Elvis to the Terminator: Part 4 - The Boards


Welcome to Part 4 of the "Elvinator" project, where we're converting the WowWee Alive Elvis into "The Terminator!" In this small article, we’ll see what those boards are and what they are for. A lot has changed in this design since I started this project, but all is still well and some really great stuff is on its way. You can keep an eye on my project by using the quick links at the bottom of the page! After this article, things are going to get really fun, and difficult at the same time. So, let's take a look at one of the most important boards that we'll be using.

WowWee Alive Elvis Board

This first board is called the ELV-08. This board controls the eye and lip movements. It uses an Hbridge board for the motors. The pin outs are as follows:

  • M1-Red Connector moves the eyes up and down
  • M2-Orange Connector Moves Eyes Left and Right
  • M3-Yellow Connector Moves Left Eye Lid (we will not be using this one)
  • M4-Green Connector Moves the Right Eye Lid
  • M8- Purple Connector Moves the lip Right and Left side
  • J22-Power source 9v
  • Pin1-red wire +9V
  • Pin2 -Black/red Wire -Vss Ground
  • J33- Main Interface connector
  • pin1-eye up -brown wire
  • pin2-eye down- red wire
  • pin3-eye left-orange wire
  • pin4-eye right-yellow wire
  • pin5-left eye lid up-green wire ‘ not being used in our Elvinator
  • pin6-left eye lid down-blue wire ‘ not being used in our Elvinator
  • pin7-right eye lid up-purple wire
  • pin8-right eye lid down-grey wire
  • pin9-lip down-white wire
  • pin 10-lip up-black wire

You can now see why this board is one of the most important boards, as it controls all of his facial movements; the exceptions are the jaw and eye brows, which are controlled via the ELV-07 board.

This ELV-07 board controls the eye brows, mouth, and left / right head movements.

WowWee Alive Elvis Board #2

Pin outs on this board are as follows:

  • M11-white connector-controls L/R head movement
  • M6-blue connector-controls eye brows
  • M1-Grey connector controls jaw movement
  • J33- power connector
  • pin1-red +
  • Pin2-GND -
  • J12- main controller plug
  • pin1-red-neck right
  • pin2-yellow-neck left
  • pin3-green-jaw down
  • pin4-blue-jaw up
  • pin5-purple-eye brow down
  • pin6-black-eye brow up

All motors in the Elvis have either a 5k or 10k ohm variable resistor. The Yellow VR’s are 10K and the Black VR’s are 5K. We will be using these to control the location of every motor in the Elvinator. With this, we’ll convert the analog voltage into a digital signal so the Basic stamps can recognize it. A new board will be made for this purpose, even though the Elvis has an A/D board on it already, the ELV-09 board. That board will be discarded for another project in the future.

The following picture will show you one circuit for controlling the VR. When we build a board, each VR will have a circuit that looks like this connected to it. The value of C is 1.0uF 35WVDC Tantalum capacitor.

WowWee Alive Elvis Board #3

Next in line is the power board: the ELV-04.

WowWee Alive Elvis Board #4

This is a pretty heavy duty power supply board - which is a must, given the multitude of all the motors that it runs. Here are the pin outs:

  • J17 - power from the transformer and a detect line for battery power
  • red- 9v in
  • black- ground
  • brown- battery +V
  • BAT1- battery connector
  • pin1- ground
  • pin2- 9v from battery
  • J10- powers audio board
  • red wire 1.5v
  • black wire- ground
  • J14- powers main cpu
  • red- 6v out
  • orange-VR power -8V’ will not be using this line
  • black- ground
  • black- ground
  • brown- battery dectect +9V if batteries are not in and power plug in
  • J49- powers ELV-08 board +9V
  • J75- powers ELV-09 VR board +9V’ we will use this for our own VR board
  • J15- powers ELV-06 board +9V
  • SW1 On/Off switch

So far, we have seen the boards that control all facial movements and its power supply board. The ELV-01, which is the main CPU, is not needed either; all programming will be done with Basic stamps and a custom control board, which we will visit later.

WowWee Alive Elvis Board #5   WowWee Alive Elvis Board #6

 

At this time. I would like you to see the audio amp for the Elvis - although I’m unsure at this stage of the project whether or not I will actually be using it.

WowWee Alive Elvis Board #7

This is the ELV-05 board; there's not too much to this board except the power in plug and audio out plugs. This board also allows for a microphone to be plugged into it as well. As you can see, I’m not too thrilled about the functionality of this board. I may swap it out when we get to the recording part of the project. There are only three boards left that we will use from the Elvis, and two of them are the same board: the ELV-13. There's one of these boards for the left IR/RX controls in the jacket, and one for the right one.

WowWee Alive Elvis Board #8   WowWee Alive Elvis Board #9

As you can see, there are only 4 wires coming out of the board, one for power, one for gnd, one for RX, and one for TX to the IR LED. We will use these boards just like the Elvis does: to detect someone or something relative to the left, center, or right of the bust.

The last board that we’ll use is the ELV-06 board: this is another Hbridge board for the neck movements.

WowWee Alive Elvis Board #10

As I said, this would be a short article but the next one I know you’ll love: making the facial movements! This will entail creating the controller board and lots of programming goodness. After that, we’ll redesign the eye for the Elvinator. So stay tuned, and don’t miss out on Part 5!

Thank you ever so much for all the replies and positive enforcements. This makes it a fun project to make, when others are enjoying it as much as I am. See ya in Part 5!

GWJax

The WowWee Alive Elvis "Elvinator" Project: Quick Links

Part 1: the Electronics | Part 2: Removing the Skin | Part 3: Inside His Brain

Elvinator Project Thread: Info and Teasers | Elvinator Source Code Thread

Comments

Nocturnal's picture

GWJax said: All motors in the Elvis have either a 5k or 10k ohm variable resistor. The Yellow VR’s are 10K and the Black VR’s are 5K. We will be using these to control the location of every motor in the Elvinator. With this, we’ll convert the analog voltage into a digital signal so the Basic stamps can recognize it. A new board will be made for this purpose, even though the Elvis has an A/D board on it already, the ELV-09 board. That board will be discarded for another project in the future.

It took me a while to figure out that you meant each motor has a variable resistor, acting as a sensor, to detect its position. A photo, or a mention that you can see one of the variable resistors in the first article would probably have helped.

Got any pictures of the ELV-09 board? I know your not planning on using it, but I'd like to see it. Same goes for ELV-02 and ELV-03 if the exist.

I look forward to reading the next part. 

GWJax's picture

I'm sorry for that I will post these here along with all other boards not being used. I'll have it to you in a few min. thanks for the comment to improve this article.

GWJax's picture

OK here are your missing Boards that was not covered in the article, But first the Variable Resistors "VR", These are in almost every one of the WooWee robots. The yellow one is a 10K VR and the Black is 5K.

The next boards are as follows, ELV-09 this is A/D controller board:

The next is the ELV-20 Boards these are resistor boards for the Current that is applied to the Hbridge boards the first is for the ELV-07 and the second is for the ELV-6 board, Sorry for not including these 2 boards as they will be used!

Next is the ELV-03 board is for the memory card and is isoldered to the ELV-01 board Main CPU.

And the last Board is the ELV-12 Board this is for the Mic and Audio Input connections.

This completes all board that are in the Elvis Alive. As we go into some of the next Articles I will give better instructions on what each board does when we attach the BasicStamps to them and new board will be made as well. If you have any more questions please let me know and I'll try to answer it for you. Thanks again. GWJax

RobosapienV2-4mem8's picture

Good stuff GW, Interesting reading part 4 and seeing what is in Elvis.

RetroPlayer's picture

GWJAX,

I am going to maybe provide a little friendly competition for you! :)

New member here (but not a newbie), and I just bought the Elvis and cracked him open. I am planning a slightly different route than you - at least at first. I am going to attempt to see what I can do with the built in controller board, then will likely design my own using all of the built in boards, except the main controller board.

I am not a fan of PICs, so I will probably use either an AVR or an ARM microcontroller. Well, I shouldn't say I don't like PICs, I don't intend to use PICbasic and would instead rather use C and assembly and I have all the development stuff already for the ATMEL MCUs.

At any rate, if I can be of service to you in anyway, let me know. I am an electrical engineer during the day and design and build interactive exhibits (the electronics anyway) for museums on the side. My programming skills aren't that great, but I know enough to get the job done. I have an awesome lab stocked with nearly every piece of test equipment there is (including a very nice logic analyzer), have all the tools to make my own PCBs, more parts than I can keep track of, and am starting to get into molding and casting.

I work a gazillion hours a week. But I am single, so what free time I do have, I can devote to a project.

BTW, you can find the datasheet for those ADC chips. Well, the same series anyway, the SNAD01A is not recommended for new designs, but according to the datasheets controlling them is the same. Just different voltage ranges and bits of resolution. If you have an I2C bus on your micro, you might want to use it. Also, I have looked closely enough yet, but there looks to be maybe optical interrupter limit switches in some of the servo cases. The Sonix ADC chip does allow some inputs to be digital, so keep this in mind.

GWJax's picture

yes I do have the data sheets for these. I am designing this project so that the non electronics people will be able to complete this project. this is why I have decided not to use some boards and also use pic basic because it's easier to understand the code. This is a challange but I do want everyone with little electronic expericeance to have fun with this project. GWJax

Peter Redmer's picture

Welcome to our site, RetroPlayer!  I hope you enjoy it here.  GWJax has been doing some great stuff with this mod, you can see the rest of what he has done by clicking here.

Hope to see some cool stuff coming our way from you, too.  If you have any hacks or mods that you want to share with us, you can submit "articles" like what GWJax is doing for this project.  Just let us know if you need any help or have something to share!

I'm sure I echo everyone in saying that we're glad to have you here :)

Pete 

RobosapienV2-4mem8's picture

Cool RetroPlayer: Welcome aboard We have a great team here and it's a lot of fun bouncing idea's of each other. Look forward to seeing what you have to offer. Oh BTW I'd love to own a logic anylizer.

GWJax's picture

Cool RetroPlayer, The quote you stated "Also, I have looked closely enough yet, but there looks to be maybe optical interrupter limit switches in some of the servo cases."  The motors you are talking about are the neck movements attached under the shoulders. I was going to discuss these in the next article. But since you have noticed it I will show you a picture of it, As you can see there is a PT sensor in the neck motors this is Board ELV-10. This controls the speed in which the motors can travel. Also if you take notice closely to to first article when we opened up the Elvis and looked at the neck motors you'll notice that there are 4 switches that the neck will bounce into. These switches will put a holt on the motors so they will not continue to turn. In the next article I'll show you how to use these sensors using Pbasic. The red wire is the +V and Black is GND and yellow is your logic state. Not much here but I wish they used a VR to better controll the motors. No here is the Picture:

RetroPlayer's picture

Thanks GWJax. Probably also senses whether someone is moving the head manually. I bought one of these for my mother (who is a huge Elvis fan) for christmas (he was $200 then!!) and I seem to recall that he said something if you tried to move him while powered up. I haven't played with mine in that manner before opening him up. I just made sure he was working and then attacked him with a screwdriver and razor blade (your guide was very helpful in not damaging the skin.)

Not sure if anyone noticed, but Elvis is $80 at sharper image right now. That was when I grabbed mine.

RetroPlayer's picture

Robosapien,

You might be able to afford a logic analyzer! I do have an old, very expensive stand-alone (tektronix 1241), but I picked up one of these last year: http://www.pctestinstruments.com/ and have been finding myself using it far more often than the old one. The results are captured in a CSV file, which I can then write a simple program to convert to assembly. There are also included some protocol analyzers (like for serial or I2C) which are also very helpful. I have been meaning to attempt to write my own protocol analyzers as well.

$400 for a 34 channel logic analyzer and with all the power of a PC is really not bad. And I have only run into a few situations where I needed more than 34 channels (and then I have my old one to fall back on.)

You can also find other ones with fewer channels and cheaper, but I have not used them before. 16 channels is fairly useless if you need to capture address, data, and control lines. You could capture more than one set using the same clock and merge them if the software is flexible, though.

mhead10's picture

GWJax said: yes I do have the data sheets for these. I am designing this project so that the non electronics people will be able to complete this project. this is why I have decided not to use some boards and also use pic basic because it's easier to understand the code. This is a challange but I do want everyone with little electronic expericeance to have fun with this project. GWJax 

Thanks for keeping us in mind GWJax!!!Laughing

GWJax's picture

Thats what it is all about mhead10. Make something that everyone can enjoy and understand. GWJax

ravenviss's picture

Has any one tried to hack the memory board that Elvis uses? Curious.

First off GW Jax is the most giving human being I has encountered, Thank you...Thank you!

This is not my field of expertise but I am a hard learner here. I appreciate every thing you have
posted.

I have been in the special fx industry for 30 plus years.

My artistry is silicone make up and human replication, skins and such.
I custom make eyes, teeth, hair and medical grade silicone covers.
for hands and faces.

I am currently involved in a project that has allowed me to reprogram and
skin the very same elvis head.....Your postings are a blessing! Thanks GWJax!
Raven Viss

RetroPlayer's picture

GWJax said: yes I do have the data sheets for these. I am designing this project so that the non electronics people will be able to complete this project. this is why I have decided not to use some boards and also use pic basic because it's easier to understand the code. This is a challange but I do want everyone with little electronic expericeance to have fun with this project. GWJax

A very noble goal, indeed. Wow, a couple of weeks and where is everybody? Well, I guess I can't say anything either, I have been tied up with another project for the museum and haven't been able to work on this. Ravenviss' email reminded me to stop back!

Ravenviss, I started gathering some information and parts to do this (hack the memory card) and had a thread going about it. Click on my name and then the 1 and only forum thread I had started. Basically, the memory card is a straight NAND flash interface that looks compatible with the xD picture card format. I had ordered an xD card reader on eBay to see if it could be read that way (with a hex editor) which would make it easier for others to do. However, the seller refunded my money because I guess he was having problems with them. I haven't ordered another one yet.

If you have the time and resources to give it a try, there should be enough information on the forum thread to get you started. And of course, feel free to ask questions if something doesn't make sense on that thread.

I'll try to get back to it soon.

GWJax's picture

ravenviss said: Has any one tried to hack the memory board that Elvis uses? Curious. First off GW Jax is the most giving human being I has encountered, Thank you...Thank you! This is not my field of expertise but I am a hard learner here. I appreciate every thing you have posted. I have been in the special fx industry for 30 plus years. My artistry is silicone make up and human replication, skins and such. I custom make eyes, teeth, hair and medical grade silicone covers. for hands and faces. I am currently involved in a project that has allowed me to reprogram and skin the very same elvis head.....Your postings are a blessing! Thanks GWJax! Raven Viss

Thank you! for you very kind words, Its great to hear that you do sculpting and making silicone flesh, I too had learned this trade as well, but instead of using silicone I'm am using both cotton and laytex to cover the cut silicone and create a burnt flesh look, If you havent see already look at the elvis skinless or turning the elvis into the elvinator thread , also I have a coding thread also in the Elevis fourm, this thread is for any coding for the basic stamp, you'll find here some testing routines for the elvinator and code for the Wall-E project. And one more thing welcome to the robotic side of things. GWJax

RobosapienV2-4mem8's picture

Ravenbliss: You are so correct in your statment, "GW Jax is the most giving human being I have encountered" I to feel this way, GW is very forthcomming with his time and knowledge. A great person to have on this forum.

Peter Redmer's picture

I agree. Since I have known him here on RoboCommunity, he's been such a great member of our site. I sincerely hope that we continue to be able to see his contributions for a long time to come.

That also goes out to any of our members who are active and contribute to the site in a positive way. You definitely know who you are, and I thank you for all that you do! :)

Let's keep making this the best place to hang out and talk about robots - GWJax, as 4mem8 and Ravenbliss said - you really do your part - as so many of our great members do as well.

Pete

RobosapienV2-4mem8's picture

 Well said Peter.

ravenviss's picture

Wooah..GW, those are amazing pics you posted!
Good to see a fellow molder knows what he's doing.

I think the final look is going to be super!
I am excited to see what you have cooked up lately.
Thanks again for so much effort and keeping us
all in the loop! Ravenviss

GWJax's picture

Thanks Ravenviss, I have taken a small break on the Elvinator but I will continue with it this weekend so more pics will be posted. Although I think I will add the blood tonight and let it dry for a few days before the hot pour vinyl #93  get added for the wet look.

you can get this at Burman Industries, Inc. phone # 818-782-9822 they are located in Van Nuys, CA

mhead10's picture

Is everyone paying $48.50 for the hot pour vinyl? http://burmanindustries.com/estore/product.php?productid=1250

I was wondering if anyone else was finding other places where I could get the same thing, perhaps in a smaller quantity, thus making the price more affordable for college students:)

GWJax's picture

this ia a gallon you are buying and I have had mine for about 4 years and still have 1/2 a gallon left. the only thing I'm running out is the mask laytex which I need to get another gallon from mostermakers.com

have you tried calling them to see if you can get just a quart of it? you will only use about 1 cup if that for this project.
Jax