Jumbo Size New Years Countdown

New Years celebrations tend to get bigger and bigger every year for most people, and [Brian] takes no exception. In order to top his lighted tree of a few years ago, he has concocted a 40’x40′ set of Seven-Segment displays made out of Christmas lights, hung from nearby trees. These displays would start counting down the minutes an hour before the ball drop, and be synchronized with music. Also in the spirit of a New Years party, the music he has chosen is in the form of a Power hour. The control board [Brian] is using also comes with two extra outputs, which he plans to use for the most exciting possible additions: Fireworks and Flamethrowers.

Be sure to check back after New Years to see a video of the device in action. Be sure to Hack, Drink, and Party Responsibly out there.

Woot lights and mice transplants

[Nathan Long] sent in two fairly simple mods he’s been working on. The first is the control of Woot-off Lights via LPT port. A computer checks Woot for the Woot-off logo, and if the logo is spotted, on go the lights. It’s really just a twist on the LED/Arduino email message system, but the creativity is nice.

His other modification is the stuffing of a Microsoft Intellimouse inside of a Logitech Wingman. With the goal of giving the old PS/2 mouse USB capabilities and removing the terrible ball. For those that are asking themselves “why bother? Terrible ergonomics, no scroll wheel, etc.” [Nathan] claims it’s for Quake 2 nostalgia, to each their own we suppose.

20-channel DMX controller

[Joshua] shares his details on building this 20-channel DMX controller. He’s sourced some extension cords to cut up for the complicated wiring project. He plans to drive 120V lights with the system so he’s also using the extension cords to connect a bunch of outlet boxes to the main controller. Inside you’ll find a set of AVR chips ready for your commands. Instead of using jumpers or DIP switches to set their addresses he set them in the firmware and burned a different version to each chip. The key here is writing the address right on the chips to prevent any confusion.

This will be used of Halloween and Christmas displays. We love Halloween hacks just about as much as we love Christmas hacks, so hit the basement and don’t forget to share the result of your labors with us.

Motion sensing light module

[Muris] is pumping out the home lighting hacks. He developed this motion sensing module as an add-on to the IR switch we saw last week. There’s some kind of fuse box above his entry door and its white cover, which you see above, is where he mounted an IR distance sensor to detect movement and switch on the lights. The RC5 infrared protocol is used to transmit the necessary signal to turn the lights on, then when a set amount of time has passed it will turn them back off again.

Trailer side indicator lights

[Imsolidstate] is working to add side turn signals to a trailer. These orange clearance lights are illuminated when the vehicle’s headlights are on to increase a long trailer’s visibility. They also blink along with the turn signals on the back of the trailer. A standard 6-pin lighting harness doesn’t support this functionality so the trick is to add them without altering the towing vehicle in any way. He’s using an ATtiny24 microprocessor to interpret the logic from the vehicle and then translate the turn signal and tail light data into a signal for the additional side indicators.

Hackaday Links: Christmas 2009

It’s a Guitar Hero Christmas

Nope, we’re not adding Christmas songs to the game, but instead making the game part of the decor. [kumbaric] hung strings of lights on his garage door in the shape of this familiar gaming interface. The best thing is, you can actually play the game based on these lights. [Thanks Yuppicide]

Smallest… Snowman… Ever.

You can make one of these if you have an electron microscope and an ion beam on hand. This is the product of some clever folks at the National Physical Laboratory near London. This is a pretty fat snowman, 1/5 of a human hair across. By the way, you should have read the subtitle with the voice of Comic Book Guy (like we do when reading the tolls’ comments). [Thanks Matthias]

A little help please

[Andy] outdid himself with this creative decoration. Hanging a dummy from the gutter and placing a tipped over ladder beside it had some folks alarmed. The police asked him to remove the prop after they almost ran off the road while driving by. This was real enough that somebody actually came to the rescue, climbing to the top of the ladder before discovering the ruse. [Thanks Rob]

Lights that blow your mind

This video is from a 2007 display and features over 45,000 lights running on 176 channels. Individually controlled colors, fading effects, and music synchronization put on a show that will get you kicked out of your gated community. Admittedly this guy runs a business dealing in Christmas lighting displays, but that doesn’t diminish the sheer awesome of what he’s done. [Thanks Patrick]

Have a safe and happy Christmas. We’ll keep our fingers crossed that you get that new Weller you’ve been hoping for.

Bouncy iPhone controlled dance lights

[John Boiles] introduces us to dimlet, his portable network controlled light dimmer. Inside the box is a fonera 2100 router that is running openWRT connected to an unnamed AVR microcontroller. Right now, he’s controlling the unit with his iPhone. It has three modes of control; a manual “slider” mode, an accelerometer controlled “dance” mode, and a programmable “tap” mode. You can download all the source code and schematics on his site.

[via Makezine]

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