Super Easy and Cheap Monster in a Box Prop – Pandora’s Box

I wanted to see how easily I could build a prop with parts bought online that would be available to anyone anywhere and just how cheap I could do the whole thing. This is what I came up with! Its super fun and easy to build so let me know what you think!

****IMPORTANT**** Be sure to use a quality name brand battery in this setup. Cheap off brands will not provide enough power to get the same speed and lift you see here. I tried cheap ones at first and simply didnt work right. I replaced them with Duracell batteries and as you can see it works great!

Links to the parts used

Battery holder

12v wireless relay controller

Door lock actuator


Here is the wiring diagram I created for this project

Wiring Diagram


10 thoughts on “Super Easy and Cheap Monster in a Box Prop – Pandora’s Box

  1. RE- Monster in the box- How did you get the remote control to give you the quick momentary burst? I have that specific remote and similar ones and I can’t seem to get a mode like that. The best I can do is like a one second on time. Gotta love the imported stuff without clear detailed English instructions!

    • there are two settings for the relay controllers momentary (it stays on for as long as you hold it) which is the one Im using. So I can quickly press the button rapidly over and over to get the quick effect. The other setting is called latched (press one to turn on and press again to turn off) yours might be setup for latched. most controllers will do either one but as you mentioned it requires reading the poorly written directions! Part of the reason I got this 4 relay controller was because it already came programmed for momentary so I avoided the complicated instructions haha. if you bought one from amazon check the reviews i found lots of helpful instructions in the reviews from other people who bought them! Hope this helps!!

      • That’s the problem with the one(s) I have, the momentary isn’t quick it has a set on time (around a second or so), I went through probably 4 different cheap remotes of different types before I finally found one that was on only as long as the button was pressed. I’m assuming that the short delay was designed to work with car door locks.

  2. Instead of using the 12v wireless relay controller u have mentioned, could i use a 12v Home Automation Delay Timer Control Switch Module Digital Display LED in place of the one u used?

    • Reading over the instructions for the 12v timer on amazon I dont think this would work in this application. power needs to be applied to the IN pin on the timer to start the time then power must be removed to reset the timer so it can start again. It doesnt appear that the timer will continue to run over and over without the power being reset to the IN pin

  3. Hi just trying to copy your version of Pandora’s box and after copying everything you have done nothing is working I’m using Duracell bats and when I press the key fob the light on the wireless relay controller flashes but nothing is happening when left on the door lock actuator got really hot any suggestions

    • I would be sure to double check your wiring one more time. Take the actuator out of the picture and press the key fob do you hear the relay on the board click on when you do it? Its possible you might have a bad relay board which is not unheard of when dealing with cheap made in China electronics like this. if you have a 12v LED test the system with in place of the actuator does the LED come on when you press the button. The actuator getting hot tells me that its getting constant power even when you are not pressing the button

    • Thanks!! To answer you question its yes and no! So adding a PIR to the system I was using here would be a little bit of a pain in the butt but since the time I have made this prop I learned about this awesome arduino setup that is super cheap and easy to use and will allow a pir as well as sound!!! Im going to eventually be switching most of the things I build over to this new system! Check it out its super easy to setup and has so many uses!!

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