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ControlsEE

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Oct 2, 2018
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Well now we need a picture of the panel! I went back and watched a few of the videos and noticed he said he wanted this attraction to be fully automated. How in-depth did you go with the project? Did you do all of the scenery animations, as well? For the ride controls, is it basically "on/ off" or "close/ open" brake? I guess what I mean is, are things triggered automatically or is all timer based? I am sure the budget played a part in a lot of the decisions. I also imagine it's setup only for a single train ops.
Ask and you shall recieve! signal-2021-06-26-221027.jpg
This is from right before I shipped the panel to them. The labels ended up fading real quick in the intense napa sun unfortunately. Everything is controlled by a PLC, just like a large ride, and everything turn on and off as the cart moves around. They had originally planned on one 3 car train, then had some mechanical issues, so it went to a single car train, though I have it programmed to work with 2 trains as needed. They will have to add in one more brake to get that to work though. I did help a little with the animatronics, but two other people were working on it and I was busy with electrical controls for the ride. The animatronic was controlled via Arduinos and the show lights, fog, and sound effects we controlled by a christmas pixel light controller.
 
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ControlsEE

I probably should be working...
Oct 2, 2018
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The whole project sounds insane, but in a good way.
It was! So many times Sean couldn't believe we built a legit station platform with an automated system. Had a number of guests comment "it sounds just like a real coaster," to which my response is usually, "because it really is just a scaled down version of a big coaster." I watched a video of their first coaster last night and it was quite literally 1/4 the size of Little Thunder.
 
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ControlsEE

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So they are selling the ride, less lift and launch mechanisms due to liability. I don't know how much, but was told they are asking the equivalent of a "small house" for it as a "kinetic sculpture."
 
Oct 7, 2011
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@ControlsEE, if you don't mind me asking: how do you feel about this news? You put a ton of effort into the ride, and surely have an attachment to it in its current form. Is this bittersweet news, or are you just purely amped to have played a major part in the first place (i.e. the journey was the whole point)? Just curious. Personally, I'd probably feel mixed emotions.
 

ControlsEE

I probably should be working...
Oct 2, 2018
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@ControlsEE, if you don't mind me asking: how do you feel about this news? You put a ton of effort into the ride, and surely have an attachment to it in its current form. Is this bittersweet news, or are you just purely amped to have played a major part in the first place (i.e. the journey was the whole point)? Just curious. Personally, I'd probably feel mixed emotions.
I dont mind answering, Sean actually called me about a month ago asking if I was OK with it. I told him sure as long as we can't get sued because of someone buying it and hurting themselves. Therefore, it is being sold without the components for the launch and lift, as well as the program being wiped from the controller. You are literally getting a bunch of steel and wood, some wheels, and a bunch of electronic components that would take an extensive amount of work to re-assemble in operable fashion. If I had the money to reimburse for the materials, I would take it in a heartbeat, I certainly have the space for it. That said, they want to use the proceeds for future projects, including potential business ventures. I do feel a bit of mixed emotions, but I'm also excited to work on new projects with them.
 
May 3, 2011
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Richmond, Va

Nice to see some of @ControlsEE's work up close! Very nice job! I know this was just a backyard coaster, but what would happen in the event of a rollback? Would the cart just hit the piston and it act as a brake (I imagine it takes some force to retract since there was issues with the vacuum pump retracting the piston)?
 
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ControlsEE

I probably should be working...
Oct 2, 2018
945
1,972
93

Nice to see some of @ControlsEE's work up close! Very nice job! I know this was just a backyard coaster, but what would happen in the event of a rollback? Would the cart just hit the piston and it act as a brake (I imagine it takes some force to retract since there was issues with the vacuum pump retracting the piston)?
Glad you liked it! Probably will be doing a video more in-depth on the control system with Sean by the end of the year. In the event of a roll back, the launch would just act as a brake. The large 1" solenoid valve closes once the piston extends, so it wouldn't be a very hard stop (pushing against 140psi of air pressure) but it would still be safe for the rider. We never let this happen though as they didn't want to risk damaging the catch car. We just had two guys standing there to slow the cart if it did roll back when we were testing. The issues with the vacuum pump were they vastly underestimated the size required to move the piston. We tried multiple solutions for resetting the piston, including a cable and clutch system to winch it back, but we ran out of time before the launch party and one guy volunteered to wait in the tunnel and push it back when it was time. It really wasn't that hard to move, we just couldn't solve the problem in time.
 
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