The force is strong with this Christmas tree light show

star-wars-christmas-tree

[Zach] is a huge Star Wars fan, and in addition to the array holiday decorations that adorn his house, he says that his wife is nice enough to let him put up a Christmas tree full of Star Wars ornaments. For the past few years, the tree sat in the corner of the room unlit, but his wife thought that it should have some lights this year.

His wife came home with a small string of battery-operated lights, but [Zach] wanted something with a bit more geek cred. He decided to program the lights to play the Star Wars theme song, translating the tune’s pitch to light intensity.

He dug through his bin of electronics and found an MSP430 along with a small target board that would do the job nicely. He sat down with some sheet music, translating the notes to PWM values, resulting in the light show you see below.

While his wife provided a lovely violin accompaniment to the tree, we think that a small audio module would make a great addition to the tree next year.

[Read more...]

Creating art from an old Christmas tree

So you manged to get a great deal on a fake tree during the after Christmas sales, but what should you do with your old one? If it was lighted with fiber optics you can reuse the strands to create your own star map. [Mr Trick] shows how to disassemble one of these trees, grouping the fibers by length. He built a wood frame, then covered it with a layer of cardboard and another of black fabric. From there the painstaking process of routing the fibers in a way to looks convincing starts.[Mr Trick's] final product uses multiple LED light sources and even includes RF control.

Think this project is large and time-consuming? Check out the same idea built into a bedroom ceiling.

Hackaday links: December 26, 2010

Obligatory tech tree

It’s hard to let a Christmas go by without looking in on a geeky Christmas tree project. Luckily, [Peter Davenport] decided to share his Arduino and LCD shield tree.

Blinking USB dude

If you’ve got a 555 timer and some commonly salvageable components give this blinking LED man a try. The version above is USB powered but that’s just to take advantage of the 5V regulated power.

Propeller business card

[Jay's] business card is packing quite a punch with this Propeller microcontroller. We love seeing electronics design in cards (however unrealistic the price and portability may be), and this is a big processing upgrade compared to the Tiny85 based offering.

Flying high in NYC


We leave you with a spectacular view of New York City. This breathtaking footage is just as fascinating as the first videos we saw from these folks.

Christmas tree low-water monitor

The end of the year is rapidly approaching and there’s a good chance you have a slowly dying tree in your living room. Help it hold on a little longer by using [Eric Ayars'] Christmas Tree water monitor. He’s built a sensor out of a piece of strip board. Three bus strips on the board allow for a variety of alerts. When all three are submerged everything is ok. When the two longer traces are still under water but the third is not an LED will blink to let you know it’s time. If you don’t pay attention and there’s no water left, a piezo buzzer makes noise until you add water (or the coin cell runs out of juice).

This project centers around an ATtiny85 that [Eric] programmed using an Arduino, one of the methods we covered in our AVR Programming Tutorial. But if this simple circuit isn’t high-tech enough for you, we saw a similar method last year that will send an alert to your iPhone.

Fake Christmas tree makes it fake snow

Let it snow inside your house this Christmas by building your own snow making tree. [Trey] was inspired by a snowing lamp-post he came across in a story. He looked around the house and came up with all the stuff necessary to make this happen with a Christmas tree. The snow is loose Styrofoam like you’d find in a bean bag chair. At the bottom of the tree there’s an inverted umbrella to collect the snowfall and funnel it into a blower salvaged from an inflatable Halloween yard ornament. The blower shoots the Styrofoam up through a PVC pipe, which also serves as the trunk of the fake tree, and it erupts from the top bringing Christmas cheer to an otherwise quiet room. See for yourself.

Light up your limbs

Here’s a Christmas tree project we can get behind. The “tree” itself is made of twisted pairs of insulated copper wire.  At the end of each pair a surface mount LED has been soldered between the two conductors.  All of the wire limbs converge into a 4×4 matrix. One tree uses a prototyping shield and an Arduino, the other tree is just using an ATtiny2313 microprocessor. Take a look at the twinkling tree in the video after the break.

This artful creation uses one color of LEDs.  We’d love to see future improvements that incorporate multiple colors, enhance the fading effects, and perhaps add some interactivity such as pulsing to an inspiring rendition of Chestnuts Roasting on and Open Fire (which, consequently, is called “The Christmas Song“).

[Read more...]

Control your tree from anywhere

We honestly never thought we would see an internet controlled Christmas tree before, sure maybe a remote controlled claw or online soccer robots, but a tree? Regardless, team [Schwippy] did just that. 5 separate sets of lights are connected to 5 individual x10 modules. The x10s are listening over the household’s AC lines for commands from a server in the other room, with its own x10. At about 12$ a module, the project can get expensive quick, totalling over 200$ for [Schwippy's] setup. Just to control a tree, but anything to spread the holiday cheer, right?
[Thanks Yon]

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