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'electronic' 'micros' For Offset/puzzle Caches


nekom
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I have a great idea for a cache. Where have you heard that before? Who doesn't? Well anyway I'm hoping to get some input. What I'm thinking about isn't addressed in the guidelines, and (as far as I know) doesn't violate any guidelines, but I still have concerns.

 

The idea: A mystery box. It will be a custom designed device with some switches and a 7-segment LED (the same thing that's on your typical digital clock, able to display a number). You get the switches in the right order for each number you need, as per a puzzle to be determined at a later date. The design will take days, probably weeks, maybe months of work, though the value of the components themselves would be less than $20.00. The cache I have planned is middle of nowhere, back road. low muggle territory, but of course there are no guarentees on that front.

 

The concerns: 1) It would require batteries. They could be provided, but of course can die. 2) It would be highly fragile. 3) It would not be EASILY replaceable. Once the programming for the simple microcontroller was finished and the schematics laid out, it could be replaced with just a few hours work, but certainly not EASILY.

 

The questions: 1) Would you even bother with a cache that required you to bring a couple AA or AAA batteries 'Just in case' the ones provided had died? 2) Do you think the average cacher would handle it gently, and also reset the switches and dials to random positions as to not reveal the puzzle easily, remember to turn a switch off and/or disconnect the batteries provided so they don't burn out, and even bring along/replace batteries when needed? Or at least put it back in its waterproof container? 3) Is this just a little bit too elaborate? Am I nuts for even dreaming this thing up? And finally 4) If I did make such a device, should I put a 'backup' somewhere on the device, in case it doesn't work, to reveal the coordinates?

 

And out of curiosity: Has anyone seen anything like this before? If so, how did it hold out?

 

Sorry for the long-winded post, just really gung-ho about this idea and would love to hear some input!

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I don't see a guidelines violation, so I bet it could be listed. If in doubt, contact your local reviewer. Or even if not in doubt, ask and they can fill you in on concerns. For the rest, I have no idea if maintenance would be a problem for you. I would say be prepared to maintain, but try to ward it off by posting as much info about being careful on the page as you can. It sounds interesting!

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Without knowing all of details I have suggestions suggestions. Carefully pot all of the components that would be in danger. Use a rugged cache container like an ammo can. Design it right off the bat for folks to bring their own AA's. Waterproof the device itself the best you can as some folks will not walk away from the hunt while raining.

 

Lastly, go for it. You never know until you try it.

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Sounds great! I'd solder everything. No breadboards or other solderless connections. Also I'd fill the project box with RTV. Most auto parts stores carry this. It will keep everything nice and water tight.

 

If you can think of a way to use use push buttons that might solve your toggle switch

problem.

 

You're not going to want to keep batteries in the project when it isn't going to be used for a number of days. The weather (large changes in temperature, particularly between the day and night) will most likely cause the batteries to leak. As long as you let people know, in the cache page, that they need to bring batteries (include size and number) there shouldn't be any problem.

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Sounds great, if the cache page makes it clear that batteries are required and specifies the size then I dont see a problem. Would people be prepared to do a cache like this ?, lets see, you place a gadget that we've never seen before, hopefully in a place thats difficult to get to, and then invite us to come and play with it, sounds cacher heaven to me. I have a cache locked with a combination padlock and cachers always reset it to a random position after their find.

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The questions: 1) Would you even bother with a cache that required you to bring a couple AA or AAA batteries 'Just in case' the ones provided had died? 2) Do you think the average cacher would handle it gently, and also reset the switches and dials to random positions as to not reveal the puzzle easily, remember to turn a switch off and/or disconnect the batteries provided so they don't burn out, and even bring along/replace batteries when needed? Or at least put it back in its waterproof container? 3) Is this just a little bit too elaborate? Am I nuts for even dreaming this thing up? And finally 4) If I did make such a device, should I put a 'backup' somewhere on the device, in case it doesn't work, to reveal the coordinates?

 

And out of curiosity: Has anyone seen anything like this before? If so, how did it hold out?

 

Sorry for the long-winded post, just really gung-ho about this idea and would love to hear some input!

For the batteries no problem just let folks know. For the ability of cachers not to break it there is a high probabokity. I know not everyone is as careful as they should be etc.... I know this from watching and seeing what folks have done to caches. But one thing you could do to decrease the fragilness is to encase it in epoxy like they do for electronics for bands this would help. The other thing you can do is put it in your front yard. BadAndy has made some good electronic caches so maybe talk to him.

 

cheers

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why not?

 

and what cacher doesn;t have a spare pair of AAs with them at all times?

 

Yeah, those rechargables would work really great here. This is such a bad idea I can't believe that someone is really considering such a cache placement. There are several statements made right here in the description that tell you that it is not a good idea. Therefore, go for it. :ph34r::wub::wub:

Edited by Team Cotati
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You could attach it to a railroad signal or some sort of rail signal, they usually have a solar panel near by you could draw power form.... kidding! Stay way from the tracks...

 

I think that this idea is excellent. How about placing an altair in the woods and people would have to program it :ph34r:

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You could attach it to a railroad signal or some sort of rail signal, they usually have a solar panel near by you could draw power form.... kidding! Stay way from the tracks...

 

I think that this idea is excellent. How about placing an altair in the woods and people would have to program it :ph34r:

 

Heh, the thing will probably wind up looking sort of like a mini altair actually, except a lot fewer switches! Maybe I should paint it black and blue and get a theme going there? The idea in my head has 4 switches and one 7-segment LED. Trying to keep it simple, especially since I don't really know what I'm doing, really winging it!

 

Actually I even thought about solar power (not from railroad sources, of course), but that would just make it more pricy, more fragile, and less reliable.

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Name it "Bring Your Own AA Batteries" then it is clear :ph34r: As for how long you are anticipating it to take, I would probably not try it just based on your description, my frustration tolerance is low! Others may differ though. I am also considering a battery operated device. Just saw it recently. Door bell on a dead stump, rings a remote doorbell someplace in the woods where you have to follow the bell to find the cache. :wub:

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I can think of two options here.

 

1. Use some solar panels that can provide power and store the charge for overnight use.

2. You can build in an external battery conenction point where the cacher can put in their own batteries and then take them when they are done. And if you have it set to use two AA batteries, they could even take them out of the gps they are using.

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Sounds fun! I'd go for it! (I had actually been toying with a similar idea myself..)

 

Though most cachers carry spare batteries with them, another possibility for the power supply is to use a little hand-crank generator, like what you see in the "no batteries needed" flashlights... That would probably be more a pain in the butt than just using batteries, though...

 

Happy Caching!

Jeff

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I have a great idea for a cache. Where have you heard that before? Who doesn't? Well anyway I'm hoping to get some input. What I'm thinking about isn't addressed in the guidelines, and (as far as I know) doesn't violate any guidelines, but I still have concerns.

 

The idea: A mystery box. It will be a custom designed device with some switches and a 7-segment LED (the same thing that's on your typical digital clock, able to display a number). You get the switches in the right order for each number you need, as per a puzzle to be determined at a later date. The design will take days, probably weeks, maybe months of work, though the value of the components themselves would be less than $20.00. The cache I have planned is middle of nowhere, back road. low muggle territory, but of course there are no guarentees on that front.

 

The concerns: 1) It would require batteries. They could be provided, but of course can die. 2) It would be highly fragile. 3) It would not be EASILY replaceable. Once the programming for the simple microcontroller was finished and the schematics laid out, it could be replaced with just a few hours work, but certainly not EASILY.

 

The questions: 1) Would you even bother with a cache that required you to bring a couple AA or AAA batteries 'Just in case' the ones provided had died? 2) Do you think the average cacher would handle it gently, and also reset the switches and dials to random positions as to not reveal the puzzle easily, remember to turn a switch off and/or disconnect the batteries provided so they don't burn out, and even bring along/replace batteries when needed? Or at least put it back in its waterproof container? 3) Is this just a little bit too elaborate? Am I nuts for even dreaming this thing up? And finally 4) If I did make such a device, should I put a 'backup' somewhere on the device, in case it doesn't work, to reveal the coordinates?

 

And out of curiosity: Has anyone seen anything like this before? If so, how did it hold out?

 

Sorry for the long-winded post, just really gung-ho about this idea and would love to hear some input!

 

I would LOVE to do it!

 

1. Just say that batteries are required. the visitior would have to power up the device with their own batteries and take them when they go away. Just make sure that the battery compartment is protected from the elements.

 

2. Can the puzzle reset after the batteries are taken off?

 

3. Let me know if u do it... Ill travel to find it!

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I agree with AtoZ. Encase the fragile electronics in resin and they will likely last.

 

Post a note on the page that that seeker may need to bring an extra set of batteries. You might even make that a requirement.

 

Will the final location have a logbook? When I read your description, I wasn't clear how the logs would be made in-the-field. Don't have the devise give a codeword to allow the cacher to log online. These types of caches violate the guidelines.

Edited by sbell111
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I agree with AtoZ. Encase the fragile electronics in resin and they will likely last.

 

Post a note on the page that that seeker may need to bring an extra set of batteries. You might even make that a requirement.

 

Will the final location have a logbook? When I read your description, I wasn't clear how the logs would be made in-the-field. Don't have the devise give a codeword to allow the cacher to log online. These types of caches violate the guidelines.

 

Yeah, the final location would be a traditional cache with a logbook, etc. The 'mystery box' would be a stage to simply give the final coordinates. At least that's what my plan is so far.

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I've done a cache that the description said to bring a 9 V battery. The box had all sorts of electrical stuff on it including a socket for the battery. It looked like it was a joke and it turned out the battery was not actually needed.

 

I'd say go for it but be prepared to have to repair it often.

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I think it's a cool idea..

Couple suggestions / questions...

 

Use small DPDT spring loaded toggle switches so they return to the center "off" position when there released.

Use as many as you need to get the right amount of numbers given that you can get 2 ## per switch.

 

Once it's all set & working. Pour the project box full of an epoxy resin similar to automotive modules. This will hold everything in its place and moisture proof the whole kit.

 

??Will it require an onboard battery to keep the memory alive??

??Any further maintenance?? (barring someone swipeing it)

 

Take pix as the project evolves & share with all!!!!

 

JW

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I think it's a cool idea..

Couple suggestions / questions...

 

Use small DPDT spring loaded toggle switches so they return to the center "off" position when there released.

Use as many as you need to get the right amount of numbers given that you can get 2 ## per switch.

 

Once it's all set & working. Pour the project box full of an epoxy resin similar to automotive modules. This will hold everything in its place and moisture proof the whole kit.

 

??Will it require an onboard battery to keep the memory alive??

??Any further maintenance?? (barring someone swipeing it)

 

Take pix as the project evolves & share with all!!!!

 

JW

 

The microcontroller I'm thinking of using has EEPROM so it shouldn't need a battery to remember what it's supposed to do. The only additional maintainence I can think of is if it somehow gets corrupted or fried, since the chip would be sensitive to static electricity.

 

The DPDT switches are a good idea to cut down on parts, but I don't know if that would add confusion to it. Of course, maybe that's a good thing, some people like 'em tough! :laughing:

 

Great suggestions from everyone, I can't wait to figure out how the heck I'm going to build this thing! :laughing:

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I think it's a cool idea..

Couple suggestions / questions...

 

Use small DPDT spring loaded toggle switches so they return to the center "off" position when there released.

Use as many as you need to get the right amount of numbers given that you can get 2 ## per switch.

 

Once it's all set & working. Pour the project box full of an epoxy resin similar to automotive modules. This will hold everything in its place and moisture proof the whole kit.

 

??Will it require an onboard battery to keep the memory alive??

??Any further maintenance?? (barring someone swipeing it)

 

Take pix as the project evolves & share with all!!!!

 

JW

 

The microcontroller I'm thinking of using has EEPROM so it shouldn't need a battery to remember what it's supposed to do. The only additional maintainence I can think of is if it somehow gets corrupted or fried, since the chip would be sensitive to static electricity.

 

The DPDT switches are a good idea to cut down on parts, but I don't know if that would add confusion to it. Of course, maybe that's a good thing, some people like 'em tough! :laughing:

 

Great suggestions from everyone, I can't wait to figure out how the heck I'm going to build this thing! :laughing:

 

Lithium batteries will last for up to 10 years. The trick will be to use a momentary-on switch to light the display, so people can't leave it on.

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