Midi and Electronics
The midi music goes through to a sound module and computer speakers for the sound,
with channel-16 notes set at volume and velocity of "1" so that they are not heard.
The 16th channel is filtered with a PIC 16F877 microcontroller. Channel 16 goes from the
PIC to four Basic Stamps (BS2SX) that actually control the fountain’s parts. I am an
amateur in electronics and programming (a dentist by profession), and constructed
Thorsten Klose’s midi filter as a starting point. A few modifications to his code were all I
needed. A midi note for channel 16 is made into a byte that holds the function number and
on/off status, and sent on 8 parallel lines to Stamp A.
The Stamp A reads the byte from 8 pins of the PIC. It then either turns on a light, or sends
data serially to the other three stamps to turn something else on. By splitting the duties
between the stamps, one stamp can fly the bee in the x-axis, another stamp fly it in the
y-axis, and the last stamp squirt the bee’s saxophone while the bee flies. The Basic Stamps
work very well for an amateur like me, as they are so easy to program. Making everything
perform artistically with the music took a lot of programming and re-programming to get the
performance to look good.
The outputs of the stamps control servos, solenoid valves, and relays. The solenoids and
relays run at 24 VDC, driven by ULN2003A Darlington transistor arrays. The relays turn on
the 12VAC halogen spotlights, the motor that rotates the CZ’s, and operate the footswitch
plug on the MDF. A solenoid also pushes a button on the front of the MDF. Transistors
(2N2222) help the stamps turn on the lasers.
There are a lot of different power requirements, and what a pile of power supplies is
needed! It is important to have a separate 5V supply for the microcontrollers and the
servos. The servos will cause the Basic Stamps to sometimes reset if they are on the same
supply. This is most likely to happen if a big crowd or somebody important is watching.
Flying and Dancing
The bee "flies" by means of a scissors jack. One servo controls the y-axis direction that
actually makes the bee fly in an arc: up and out from the flower. Another servo controls the
x-axis direction, making the bee fly back and forth. Between the arc of the y-axis direction
and the back and forth of the x-axis, the bee seems to fly in 3 dimensions. There are four
different routines for the bee to fly, with different motions and lengths of program to go
with different pieces of music.
The ladybug has a servo that pivots him back and forth. A cam arrangement inside of him
pulls a Kevlar thread, which lifts one leg as he goes to each side. The movement of the
ladybug while shooting water from his saxophone makes a nice effect. He has six routines
from a single kick to longer programs for his "solos". The fog is made by a small ultrasonic
fog maker that makes the water into a very fine mist, which flows down from the inside top
of the shack, and then across the pond of water.
A welded steel frame, using 3/4" steel tube, supports the entire fountain inside. Plywood
forms the floor of the inside, and on top of this are the electronics. The electronics have an
acrylic enclosure over all, and a fan keeps it all cool inside. In this enclosure is the midi
player, sound module, microcontrollers, relays and power supplies. Everything electrical in
the fountain is protected from the water by enclosures or shields, so that if something goes
wrong all will not get destroyed by 4 gallons of water getting sprayed all over the inside (this
has happened a few times! Murphy’s Law at work!).
Right side: the bee is
flying and squirting
Turtle: the components
of the turtle shell are
supported by an
internal skeleton, so
they appear as if
the flight of the bee
Servo controls a
valve, to control the
height of the center
Horns on the left.
Musical "notes" are
actually signals to
operate valves, lights,
Lady bug servo,
lasers, pinch valve
servo in the back
Front view with the
Two servos control
the flight of the bee.
Drawing of the inside
Inside back view