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Advice for a newbie

Posted: Sun May 08, 2011 4:26 pm
by rottenapple
Hi, I was wondering if I could get some advice. I'm trying to figure out a way to sync the timing of the PowerPoint transitions in multiple digital keychain picture frames. Basically, so the transitions would all morph at the same time. Would this be possible with an electronics lab console or Arduino board? What components would I need to accomplish this? Thanks for your help.

Re: Advice for a newbie

Posted: Sun May 08, 2011 11:28 pm
by paul

I had no idea that digital keychains even existed, much less that they cost $10 - which kind of depresses me. (How can anyone make this stuff that cheaply?)

So basically you have to break into the keychains to get to the buttons. You could then try hacking the button push with:
a transistor
an optoisolator of some kind
an IC such as 4066, which I use in my classes for similar setups - it usually requires a ground to work reliably. Depending on how the switch is wired (use your meter) any of the approaches could work. You could also use reed relays - which will work for sure, with not much fuss so maybe that's the easiest for a beginner. You have to get some wires out from the display switches - which might be a little challenging unless you've soldered before. You'll need a fine tip, 22 gauge or finer wire and some patience - maybe find a friend who has soldered before to help. There's also no guarantee that the switches will have metal on circuitboard - it could all be silkscreened conductive ink - but I'd bet against that.

I'd say try it on one and see how far you get. As to getting Powerpoint to output serial signals - you're on your own on that. I don't think it would be too hard with a Mac and Applescript but have no idea what might be involved on a PC.

It's a fun idea - you may need some perseverance to really make it happen.


Re: Advice for a newbie

Posted: Mon May 09, 2011 5:46 am
by rottenapple
Thanks Paul for all your help! I'll give it a try and let you know how it goes.