CaveSim Instructions

Previous Topic: Connecting sensors to power supply and interface box

This Topic: Electronic gypsum flower installation and use

Next Topic: Adjusting stalactite and stalagmite sensors 

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Required tools and supplies:

NOTE: Try to avoid touching the gypsum flowers to dirty surfaces.  If you need to set the gypsum flower upside-down, place it on a clean white sheet of paper.  Also, handle it with clean hands.

WARNING: Never plug CaveSim serial cables or sensors into a standard computer, except as specifically indicated in these instructions.  Failure to follow this warning may destroy your CaveSim and/or computer hardware.

WARNING: Never plug telephone equipment into CaveSim phone jacks.  Failure to follow this warning may destroy your CaveSim and/or telephone hardware.

WARNING: Never ethernet equipment into CaveSim ethernet jacks.  Failure to follow this warning may destroy your CaveSim and/or ethernet hardware.

WARNING: Never open CaveSim sensors or other CaveSim electronic parts.  There are no adjustable parts inside the sensors.  Failure to follow this warning may destroy your CaveSim hardware.

Important Background:

Your gypsum flowers have proximity detectors built into them.  If you get too close to the gypsum while it is turned on, you will receive audible and visible feedback that you have gotten too close.  The audible feedback comes in two forms: the sensor beeps, and a recorded voice talks to you.  The visible feedback is two red LEDs that flash and shine on the floor of your cave, as shown below.

When you test the gypsum flower, don’t be alarmed if the sensor fires when you are not close to the flower.  The gypsum flower sensor is adjustable, as explained later.

The proximity detector in the gypsum flower is only sensitive to electrically conductive objects.  People are electrically conductive, so the sensor can detect fingers, arms, feet, etc.  Plastic is not electrically conductive, so the sensor cannot detect cave helmets.  Clothing is also not electrically conductive, so dragging an empty glove over the gypsum flower will not trigger the sensor.  However, if there is a hand in the glove, the sensor will still detect the hand if it gets too close.  The same applies for shoes: an empty shoe will not cause the sensor to fire, but the sensor will detect the foot inside of a shoe (if the foot itself gets close enough).  Metal plates and extension cords are all electrically conductive, so you’ll want to keep these away from your sensor for best performance.  More details are given below.

Another important point about the proximity detector: large conductive objects are easier to detect than small objects.  This means that a large object (like the palm of your hand) gets detected while it is farther from the sensor.  A small object (like your index finger) must get closer to the gypsum flowers to get detected.  Metal nails and screws in your structure are small, so you don’t have to worry about these objects getting detected.  If you have wire mesh in your structure, it may get detected.  In the steps below, you will test the gypsum flower to decide where to put it.

Trying your gypsum flower in situ:

Step 1: Choose a location in your cave for your gypsum flower.  We suggest a location on the floor that is up against a wall.  Set the gypsum flower down in your chosen location.  This is where you will drill holes for the formation’s cables, and where you will bolt down your gypsum rock.

Step 2: The gypsum flower comes with one serial cable plugged into it.  Extend this cable by plugging in a second serial cable into the end of the first cable.

Step 3: Plug the extended serial cable into a port on one of your serial hubs.  This is a temporary connection, so you can run your serial cable through the cave passage for now.

Step 4: Turn on your CaveSim power supply (if it is not already on).  The gypsum flower may start beeping.  If it does, move all conductive objects away from it, including your hands.  If the sensor continues to beep, you will need to turn down the sensitivity (explained below).  If it does not beep, move your hand close to the flower.  It should beep when you touch the flower (or when you are close).  If it does not, you may need to turn up the sensitivity (or, the gypsum sensor is not turned on -- flip over the rock and make sure that you see a blue or red LED.  If you don’t, the sensor is not powered -- check all connections).

Step 5: Observe the flashing red LEDs under the rock.  They are designed to shine on your floor.  You may need to tip the rock up slightly to see them.

Step 6: Test your speaker.  Plug the provided speaker into the black speaker cable that comes out of the bottom of the rock.  When the sensor beeps, the speaker should now talk to you.

Step 7: Only do this step if (1) the gypsum flower beeps when you are not close to it or (2) if the gypsum never beeps, even if you touch it.  Otherwise, skip to Installing the Gypsum Flower.  If (1) or (2) apply, turn the gypsum flower over:

Is the status LED in the center either red or pulsing blue?  If not, the sensor is not powered.  Check your cables and power supply.

If you have the CaveSim Interface box and software, adjust the sensitivity via software like you would adjust any other sensor.  If you don’t have an interface box, you may adjust the sensitivity using the switches on the underside of the rock.  Use a mechanical pencil (with the lead retracted) or other pointy object to move the switches as shown below.  Before you change any switches, make a note of the default switch setting (for USF, this is 5 on the scale shown below).

Each time you change the sensitivity, set the gypsum flower down again and test it.  Adjust the switches until the sensor goes off only when you are touching or nearly touching the flower.

Installing the gypsum flower:

In these steps, you will drill holes in your cave floor to install the gypsum permanently.  Be sure that you have first done the steps above in Trying your gypsum flower.

Step 1: Screw the allthread into the bottom of the gypsum rock, as shown below.  Do not over-tighten the allthread.

Step 2: Turn the gypsum flower right-side up.  Rest it on the allthread in the location that you chose previously.  Use a pencil to mark the floor around the alltread.

Step 3: Chuck your ⅜” drill bit into your drill.  Following the pictures below, drill an angled hole in your floor.  Take care not to get sawdust on your gypsum flower, as it may be difficult to get off.


Step 4: Set the gypsum flower down so that the alltread goes down through your hole.  Mark the centers of three additional holes for the speaker cable, the ID cable (ethernet type) and the serial cable.  Make sure that these holes are directly below where each cable comes out of the rock.  Set the gypsum flower aside.

Step 5: Drill a ¾” hole for the speaker cable and another for the ID cable (as marked in the previous step).

Step 6: Drill two adjacent holes for the serial cable, as shown in the sketch below.

Step 7 (optional): Mark and drill holes that allow you to see the switches and the status LED from under your cave structure.  This will make it easier to adjust your flower later, but it only makes sense to do if you have enough room to stick your head under the cave structure.

Step 8: Feed all three cables down through the three holes.  Set the gypsum flower down so that the allthread goes down through its hole.

Step 9: From outside the structure, take hold of each cable and plug it in as described in Trying your gypsum flower.  Turn on the power (if it is not already on).  From inside the structure, test the gypsum flower.  You should see the red LEDs shining on the floor.  

Step 10: Decide whether the rock is tilted up too much.  If you don’t like how much it is tilted up, you may use your ⅜” bit to make the allthread hole more vertical.  Caution: You cannot undo this step, so adjust the hole a little at a time, trying the gypsum flower each time you make a change.  Your goal is to still see the lights flashing on the floor without the rock being tipped up too far.

Step 11: Lie the speaker down under the floor so that it points up at the gypsum rock.  Can you hear the voice well when you are inside the cave?  If not, remove the gypsum flower and drill a few ⅛” holes under the footprint of the rock.  This will let more sound through.

Step 12: Put the gypsum flower back in place.  Put the wingnut on the allthread from the outside of the cave.  This holds the rock in place.  Do not overtighten the wingnut.

Congratulations!  Your gypsum flower is ready to use.  Try it out!

CaveSim Instructions

Previous Topic: Connecting sensors to power supply and interface box

This Topic: Electronic gypsum flower installation and use

Next Topic: Adjusting stalactite and stalagmite sensors 

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