Ghostbusters PKE Meter for Arduino

by CountDeM0net May 23, 2017
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Hi! New to this kind of thing so sorry if this question is super easy or dumb. You said you wished you'd printed this in 2mm. Should I print this in 2mm or 3mm then and if so do I need to adjust any of the components inside of the device?

I'm talking about the print resolution. I printed mine really rough at .3mm and it required a lot more finishing work. If you print at a higher resolution then curves and things like that are more detailed and don't require as much work to finish. Down side is it takes longer to print. I generally print things that are detailed at .16 or .2 and things with less detail ad .24 or .28 resolution. Your slicer will have options for setting the resolution.

Hey Count, Having an issue when printing a few of the pieces... When I try to bring front_top into repetier it is saying it is non manifold, I have tried doing the repair and also using netfabb.... Did I miss something ?

That part does have an issue and I was unable to fix it either with netfabb or meshmixer. I don't have access to the original files so had to modify the mesh. Even with the error cura, slic3r, and xyzware all sliced it fine. It's been printed many times at this point

Thanks for the quick response, I will give it a shot. Thanks! Awesome designs for the GB stuff :)

I know you mentioned hitec servo wire for the wings in the github repo, and I had assumed that was the wire you used attached to the servo itself. Having done little work with servos, can you recommend a wire to attach to the servo so I can make the wings work? Thanks!

I have a ton of old RC equipment and pulled some aileron control wire for mine. I have a ton of that stuff. I'm not sure what size wire it is but it's quite stiff for being so small. I'd imagine something like this would be close


I'd recommend going to michales or some other craft store and try to find a thin wire that won't bend as that's basically what I did

Thanks! Have you got any advice on that buck converter, as well?

I've had good luck with these


I bought 3 sets of them by accident so I have plenty :)

And one last thing I didn't think to ask -- what screws did you use to hold the body together?

The holes are sized for M2.5 screws. I had a bunch of them from another project and picked a few. With the way my printer printed the parts I the screws grabbed tightly and that was all I needed.


Count, can I ask why you used the buck converter? I breadboarded everything today, and the servo I have runs at a maximum of 6 V, and the Vin pin on the Nano will accept 6-20 V (unregulated). By just switching a couple wires around, and putting the Vcc of the screen on D2, I managed to get everything together without the converter. I was just wondering as to the benefit of it

It's not the voltage that is the problem it's the amp draw from the servo. I was getting brownouts from the servo movements. The original circuit board design I did included a capacitor to try and reduce the issue. In the end powering the servo separately was the most stable solution.

While the nano can take in 6-12v unregulated (I wouldn't push past 12 with the clones) the voltage regulator on the board is not as efficient as a dedicated buck converter. Setting the output voltage to 5v and powering the arduino on the 5v pin bypasses the onboard regulator for better power to the board and to the servo.

So I just got my printed pieces today, and the faceplate doesn't seem to want to sit in -- is it supposed to go in from the front or the back? I might have to hit it with some sandpaper in order to get it in

It slides in from the back. Check my thread at gbfans. I showed how I did it using the models


Thanks for the clarification!

Awesome, thanks, Count! I appreciate the help!!

That servo should work. Here's the specs for the servo I used

Weight: 6.6 grams / 0.23oz.
Dimensions: 22 x 10 x 23 mm / 0.86 x 0.4 x 0.9 inch
Torque: 4.8V: 1.1kg/cm , 15 oz/in
Speed: 4.8V: 0.10 sec / 60 deg at no load

Any servo around that size should work.

awesome, OK I've ordered everything you specified and I've ordered a 3d print for all of the files. I noticed that you mentioned a LED PCB but when I tried to use the brd file to upload to oshpark it keeps kicking it back saying that it is a Invalid or corrupt "brd" file

is it possible to just directly wire the LEDs up without this board?

That is really odd. I just uploaded the one in the repo to oshpark and they took it no problem

We detected a 2 layer board of 0.83 x 1.33 inches (21.1 x 33.8mm)
3 boards will cost $5.50

You don't need the board to wire this up though. It just makes things a little easier. The board is a bit outdated from the final electrical design anyway. I decided to direct power the servo from the buck converter instead of from the arduino so the capacitor is no longer needed. I had ordered the boards before I made that design change.

I figured it out, I had to download a zip file for the files from git and then I was able to upload the brd file from the extracted files with no problems. I ordered one of these, as it looks like it would be much easier for me to wire this up rather than trying to manually wire up each separate LED, I've just recently got the hang of using solder flux to let me solder wires,etc. together, so I'm hoping that this will help me to do this project. Only thing I can figure is that the downloaded file itself somehow was corrupted by both internet explorer and opera as I tried using both to right click the file and do a save as to save it.

I don't use flux on my boards. If you do you need to make sure you are using the right kind of flux. For boards like this I like to use this solder


It flows really nicely and doesn't require the use of flux.

Actually I just updated the board files with the changes for what was actually implemented in my pke meter to make the board smaller and cheaper. I've updated the repo here: https://github.com/CountDeMonet/Arduino_PKE_Meter/tree/master/Eagle

The board now looks like this https://raw.githubusercontent.com/CountDeMonet/Arduino_PKE_Meter/master/Eagle/layout.png

and should only cost $3.50 for 3 of them

thats good to know, I'm already committed on the previous PCB version, but if I do any more of these for friends, I'll definitely use the newer revision.

One last question, I ordered this to use for the Arduino Nano https://www.ebay.com/itm/MINI-USB-Nano-V3-0-ATmega328P-CH340G-5V-16M-Micro-controller-board-for-arduino-N/152878696264 Is this the correct one to use if I am using a clone board instead of the original Arduino Nano?

That one should work. I like the elegoo ones on Amazon. I get 3 for $11. The drivers for windows work great with these clones too. I suggest using those drivers with that board. Before elegoo started selling g them getting the right drivers for the clones was really sketchy

awesome, thanks. Hopefully everything will work out OK for mine when I start to put everything together for it.

Hey man, just wanted to let you know someone on eBay is selling prints of this meter as his own product. It's a UK seller with username francespep_47.

Guy is trying to sell my Giga Meter as his own, as well.

Thanks for the heads up. I see a number of items for sale from that user that are from here. Based off the license for this (follow on from original) if the person had given credit there would not be a problem. I'll send the user a message. Thanks

I wish you luck in contacting him. He's nothing short of abusive and abrasive.

I'm not expecting much but it doesn't hurt to try :) Thanks for letting me know.

What gauge wire did you use and what is the smallest you think I can get away with? Do I need to print your model at 110% or is it already sized? Great work, I'm about to start building one shortly.

I like this stuff: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LH1G2IE

It's really flexible and when I rebuild mine I will be using this wire. The wire I used for the first one is not very flexible and with that many wires it causes the servo to really work. 24 gauge is more than enough for this project. You could probably use smaller but should not need to.Flexible wire is the key

The model is already scaled to 110%. This is exactly as I printed it.

Good luck! It's been a real hit at parties and the kids love it.

Hello there is a z in arduino code that should be removed. I would like to know if we can put a stack of 9 vl thanks for your understanding

I committed an update to github about 7 days ago which fixed that odd character being there. If you pulled the code before that you can update to the latest. You could use 2 9v in parallel but the battery area would need to be modified. They should be able to fit tho. I still recommend the buck converter set to 5v to power the arduino and servo separately.

hello i have a problem.
it tells me seci Documents \ Arduino \ libraries \ Servo
Not used: C: \ Program Files (x86) \ Arduino \ libraries \ Servo
exit status 1
Compilation error for the Arduino / Genuino Uno card.
you can thank me for your understanding

I think we'll need some more info. In the editor preferences there is an option that says "Show verbose output during" and put a check next to compilation. It sounds like the IDE is not finding the servo library but that one should be built into the install of the arduino ide. Please post the entire output of the failed compilation after turning on verbose.

Know if the BOM will work with a Pro mini as opposed to a Nano?

Should work. You need 7 pins for the LEDs, 2 serial for the LCD, 2 for the buttons, and one for the servo. Looks like the pro mini has all you need.

Awesome. I've got most of my parts in and looking to mod the code before fitting the electronics. Looking for where the Analog Out code is as I have to move those to somewhere to A0-A3. Any suggestions as to where those are hiding?

The LCD I was using talks over i2c so requires you to use the SDA/SCL pins. On the pro mini it looks like those are the a4 and a5 pins that are slightly inside the board and not on the edge


Yeah. I eventually discovered the pins under the board. Since it's a clone I have, the underside has no marking.

Great job, thanks for sharing ;)
happy building.

Thanks! and thanks for sharing the model to begin with. Made this a really fun project :)