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This is what makes an automated Halloween work. The first year I held a haunted house, I was manually flipping switches... so I built a 10 event control in 2001, and recently expanded it to 20 lines. This is managed through the parallel port, and allows me to actively monitor 20 input signal triggers (Infrared Lightbeams) and manage the output to 20 outputs (Relay Switched Outlets), as well as manage a unique sound for each event.

1) The user sets the control parameters for each line, whether to activate on 0V or 5V (depending on trigger type), how long to wait before activating, how long to stay on, and whether to activate multiple times (pause), and how long to wait before allowing that trigger to re-activate the event. Additionally, the user can select a local or remote sound file to play with each event, and coordinate the timing of that sound effect with the event occuring.

2) The system constantly monitors the parallel port for activity, and using the user settings, determines the correct outputs. It writes to the ports and sets the outputs on the Parallel Port Interface appropriately.