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Discussion Starter #1
Good day, all - I am currently working on a new train layout at Pittsburgh's Children's Hospital. The layout is a professionally produced Harry Potter layout that is really spectacular.
There is a large castle at one end and I thought it would be appropriate for the children to press a button to active a few flashes of lightning and claps of thunder.
I used a small MP3 player and an Arduino to operate the animation and I am very pleased with the effect - I hope to install the unit next week. Even though the layout is in a fairly brightly lighted area I am using three VERY bright LED spotlights to create the flashing lights so I hope the effect will be satisfying.
If you would like to try to roll your own details are on my web page at: http://www.trainelectronics.com/Animation-thunder-lightning/
...and there is a video on YouTube
dave
 

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That's really well done. I didn't realize the lightning was on the inside of the castle. Wizards practicing their spells is a lot of hard work.
A big dragon inside the castle that you can see illuminated by the flashes might work too. Something not so obvious for the observant kids to find.

Andrew
 

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Hello Dave,
I always thought that the objective of a hospital, especially a children's hospital was to get in get treated and get out as fast as possible? I can't imagine any child wanting to walk away from this display, especially as its interactive.
Very, very well done and for a great cause.
Thanks for sharing.
Cheers.
 

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Hello Dave,
I always thought that the objective of a hospital, especially a children's hospital was to get in get treated and get out as fast as possible? I can't imagine any child wanting to walk away from this display, especially as its interactive.
Very, very well done and for a great cause.
Thanks for sharing.
Cheers.

Agree. There is a very nice PIKO train display in Vanderbilt Children Hospital in Nashville as well. Sometimes I walked to there have lunch and watch trains, very fun.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Right you are, Dwight - sound travels about 1100 feet / sec at sea level so a lightning bolt 1 mile away would not be heard for 5 seconds or so.

My thoughts on the Harry Potter layout is that the wizards are fooling around in the castle so the lightning is being generated in the castle and the observer is a short distance away so there is no delay.

I have given some thought to adding a delay but it would require additional hardware (perhaps a 2nd processor) to keep track of the delay while the main processor watched for sound events. I may add that to the list of "things to do"!

dave
 

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Must say I've never seen lightning and heard thunder at the same time, they are always a little time apart from each other.

And my living in the lightning capital of the US I've seen and heard more than enough to know, they never occur at the same exact moment.

Always a delay of either a second or two, sometimes the delay can be anywhere from 5 upwards to 45+ seconds after the flash/strike, and that's with a lightning bolt hitting right outside my house too!

Thunder after the flash is about as random as you can get.

Cool effect for what it does.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Must say I've never seen lightning and heard thunder at the same time, they are always a little time apart from each other.

And my living in the lightning capital of the US I've seen and heard more than enough to know, they never occur at the same exact moment.

Always a delay of either a second or two, sometimes the delay can be anywhere from 5 upwards to 45+ seconds after the flash/strike, and that's with a lightning bolt hitting right outside my house too!

Thunder after the flash is about as random as you can get.

Cool effect for what it does.

Agreed - I did work on doing such a delay but the microcontroller that I used doesn't have the horsepower to do such a store & delay function. Perhaps an upgrade at some future time.
For what it is worth, the installation in the castle at Children's hospital has been very well received even without the delay -

dave
 
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