Ringing in the new year with an Arduino and Calcium Carbide

carbide

It’s the first we’ve heard of it, but a New Year’s Eve tradition in The Netherlands called Carbidschieten sounds like it’s just up our alley. Basically, a small chunk of calcium carbide and a little bit of water is placed in a metal milk churn. The carbide decomposes into acetylene and a flame is held up to a small hole in the milk churn. The resulting explosion sends the lid of the milk churn across a field and much fun is had by all.

[Edwin Eefting],  [Johan Postema], [Elger Postema] are exploding 1000 liters of acetylene this New Years and needed a safe way to detonate their celebration. They came up with an electronic ignition system based on an Arduino that probably makes just as much noise as the explosion itself.

The build is basically an Arduino with a few relays. When a pair of buttons are pressed for longer than a second, the Arduino goes into countdown mode with the requisite alarms and ringing bells. When it’s time to fire the carbide cannon, a power supply is turned on that heats up a glow plug, igniting the acetylene. It’s a great build, and adds an adequate amount of safety for an event involving exploding 1000 liters of acetylene.

You can check out the videos of the countdown timer after the break, or check out the Facebook group here.

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Buzzed Buzzer gives you a Breathalyzer test while ringing in the new year

alcohol-sensing-party-buzzer

We’re not sure if there’s enough time to get a parts order delivered, but no geeky New Year’s party will be complete without a party buzzer that doubles as a Breathalyzer. The Buzzed Buzzer hides all of the necessary bits inside of a paper and plastic party favor. We guess it only buzzes if you’re over the limit? Actually that’s not the case at all. The accuracy of the sensor used in the project really just measures the presence of alcohol and can’t quantify BAC.

A Teensy 2.0 microcontroller board drives the project. Powered by a Lithium cell, it monitors an MQ-3 Alcohol gas sensor and drives a buzzer. The components are just small enough to be hidden by the cone of the party buzzer. You can see a demonstration of this in the short clip after the jump.

This is a fun project, but we’re still big fans of getting the crowd involved with this large LED meter which is hooked up to the same style of alcohol sensor.

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Disco icosahedron rings in the new year

While city engineers were setting up the multicolored ball of lights in Times Square this year, [Phil] at adafruit was busy designing the X2 Time Ball, a disco icosahedron perfect for celebrating the new year.

The ball is made of 20 acrylic triangles zip-tied together into an icosahedron. On each face, six RGB pixels light up via commands from an Arduino. The entire project is able to be controlled remotely thanks to the help of a pair of XBees. [Phil] whipped up a Processing sketch to control the LED ball any way we could possibly imagine.

Although it may be a little late to build an LED disco ball for this year’s New Year’s Eve party, that doesn’t mean we couldn’t use it the other 364 days of the year. It’s perfect for parties, weddings, and our weekly lightswitch raves. Check out the action video of the Time Ball after the break.

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Doomsday Keg of Radness helps ring in the New Year

doomsday-keg

Lots of people buy noise makers for New Year’s eve, others opt to sing Auld Lang Syne – then there’s these guys.

The crew at Stone Brewing Company throw an annual bash at their brewery in celebration of New Years, and while [Dino’s] countdown timer is great for intimate settings, they needed something bigger to wow the crowd. A busted half barrel was all the inspiration they needed to build the “Doomsday Keg of Radness”.

[Mike Palmer], the Creative Director at Stone handed the keg off to the maintenance crew for some remodeling, and got ready to fit it with all sorts of lights and other goodies. Holes drilled in the keg were fitted with bright pulsing LEDs, while additional LED light strips were laid out around the perimeter. The bottom was cut out to accommodate a Moonflower LED module, and a 24” monitor was strapped to the side in order to display a countdown timer. An old Macbook jammed inside the keg runs the video display, while the rest of the lighting is remotely controlled with an RF transmitter.

Now mind you this all went down last year, but since the display was such a hit, they will be busting it out again for the 2011 celebration.

Check out the short demo video below to get a look at the Doomsday Keg in action.

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Counting down to the New Year

[Rod] is in a position to provide a community service on New Year’s Eve. He spends the evening at a relative’s house next to the beach. There are fireworks at midnight, but the crowd has no communal way to count down to the deadline. This year, he build his own count-down display so that everyone can join in during the last few seconds.

This is a temporary build so each digit is housed in a cardboard box. [Rod] first drew the outline of the seven segment digit on the front, then added holes for three LEDs in each segment. He’s feeding the segments with 12V and therefore is able to run the LEDs in series, along with a resistor, switching each segment with one transistor. He chose an Arduino to drive the display, and since he had two sitting around, used both instead of grabbing a shift register as port expander.

If you’re looking for a more permanent solution, we really like the digit displays designed for this scoreboard. But you’re going to have to etch the boards yourself if you want them done in time for the festivities.

 

New Year’s Eve ball drop in your kitchen

[Tech B.] hacked together a Ball Drop for New Year’s Eve using stuff he had lying around. The ball itself is an old Christmas ornament that he cut in half and filled with 14 LEDs and a 9V battery. He finished up that portion of the project by gluing the halves back together and adding a hole for the guide rod. The base is made of some cardboard boxes and hides an Arduino, a servo motor, an LCD screen, and the base for the vertical rod. When the last ten seconds of the year are counted down, a servo lowers the ball by unspooling some yarn that loops over the top of the rod. As the yarn is slowly dished out gravity pulls the ball toward its goal. We’ve embedded [Tech B.'s] demonstration video after the break.

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New Year’s party favor?

[Infernoz] built a POV display to help ring in the new year. There is a low component count; an ATtiny26, DIP switch, power switch, CR2032 battery and holder, pin header, 8 LEDs, and a pull-up resistor. The board is single sided without any jumpers that we can see. He’s moving the display by swinging it on a rope but the PCB is the perfect shape to attach to a fan. We love these blinky displays and if you’ve got some parts this makes a great party favor for New Year’s Eve. Check out the video after the break.

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