Halloween props: Pumpkin in standby-mode

Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories is preparing for Halloween with this standby-mode pumpkin. Inside there’s an LED plugging a hole that is drilled just to the skin of the gourd-like vegetable. It fades in and out similar to a sleeping Mac, using what we think is a vastly over-powered circuit based on an ATtiny2313 (1k  of programming space for this?). But we still like the idea and we’d enjoy seeing it scaled up to a full LED matrix.

We’ve come to expect pumpkin hacks from EMSL and they don’t disappoint. Last year was a mechanized version, and the year before an LED schematic symbol. So what about your creation? With about one week left, take a look around and see if you can’t create something as wonderful as the Pie of Sauron.


  1. Paul Potter says:

    Slight overkill, but amusing. Nice.

  2. will says:

    slight overkill? this is major overkill. using a capacitor and a coulple of transistors would achieve the blinking.

  3. will says:

    cellphone parts? anyone?

  4. I’d have done this with a 555 timer and a capacitor sized to provide the proper ramp-up-down curve. (did something like this back in the 80’s)

  5. Pedro says:

    I was thinking of an op-amp to generate a triangle wave, but there are plenty of ways to do this without a microcontroller.

    Still, an ATtiny13A probably costs the same as the discrete solution. :)

  6. macegr says:

    Haha…if you want to pare it to the minimum complexity, there are actually single-purpose chips designed to handle this slow pulse effect, for a dollar or less. Voila: http://search.digikey.com/scripts/DkSearch/dksus.dll?Detail&name=FAN5646S700XCT-ND

  7. Drew says:

    Hey guys, I put an LED in something, is this a hack?

  8. Anon says:


    Of course.



  9. Amos says:

    I would put a wifi antenna in the top, and have one randomly blinking amber LED and another steady on green one.

  10. Hirudinea says:

    Add a couple more leds and you can make a face.

  11. Adam says:

    My pumpkin last year was the Red Ring Of Death (really scary) complete with red LED’s to provide the glow. I doubt anybody recognized it but it was fun and simple to carve. This year i’m building a talking “jigsaw” puppet. If i can find a small tricycle it will be epic!

  12. truthspew says:

    I’m going to use the PWM functionality of an Arduino to flicker some yellow LED’s inside my carved pumpkin. Safer than tea candles.

  13. vonskippy says:

    Dullest Pumpkin EVER!!!!!!!!

  14. BLinc says:

    I was thinking more along the lines of a Knight Rider array ( circa hassellhoff)

  15. Gdogg says:

    Yeah I have to say this isn’t much of a hack…

    I also like how the GPL license in the code took the majority of the zip file’s size.

  16. grenadier says:

    Should’ve used an orange LED.

  17. Addidis says:

    It would be oddly amusing to do this with a PIC32 and literally not use the processor at all to do it. Now /thats/ overkill hehe.

  18. Hackius says:

    Knowing people these days they’ll call the police because they think it’s a pumpkin bomb

  19. Soho says:

    And the most boring, trivial and utterly useless “hack” of the year goes to…

  20. smoker_dave says:

    Last years home made capacitive touch sensor pumpkin on AVR freaks was 100% better than this:


    Check it out.

    While you are there, google “multi vibrator” (might be a good idea to turn safe search on first!). You can make this circuit with two transistors, two capacitors and 4 resistors. Electronics 101.

  21. macbooker says:

    I put my mac book inside my pumpkin.

  22. Whatnot says:

    You should have embedded the video, it’s much better seeing it, and in the video it’s a white LED.
    It’s also amusing to see how huge the PCB is.

  23. Marvin says:

    Seriously guys…

    What overkill? You have one µC, one LED, one resistor and batteries?

    Yes there may be the NE55 approach or even one specialized circuit you would have to order first, BUT WHY?

    Things can be easily done in software nowadays, so why bother to find a “better” hardware approach?

    The only thing he could have done is not to use the prototype board and solder the few things together somehow.

  24. Haku says:

    Ramping up the idea, a Picaxe 08m with a red LED, 38khz IR sensor and a small speaker or piezo could be setup so whenever you point any remote control at the pumpkin the red LED stops doing the blink-fading thing and starts playing a halloween tune, like the knock box from last year plays the Addams Family tune – http://hackaday.com/2009/10/27/piecax-the-poltergeist-reinvents-the-knock-block/

  25. Tristra says:

    This would make a cool base to build an animated emoticon pumpkin.

  26. Kakureru says:

    Ill just wait for Pumpkin Pie OS 11

  27. Adam says:

    Seriously that board is huge. Even if they want to use a micro, they could go for one of those pic10f. it could be wired up “dead bug” style and would be about the size of a dime or smaller and could handle this. You could even laminate it with clear tape and stuff it in the pumpkin

  28. walt says:

    so long efficiency. overkill is the new standard. wtf!

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