Stop Light For HotWheels


[Paul] wrote in to show us this little project he did for his kids. His children love playing with their toy cars. In an effort to give them even more fun while playing, [Paul] built a stop light for them. He’s using an ATtiny13 to run them and has the source code available on his site. Not only did the kids get a new toy, he got an excuse to go build something in his workshop.

48 thoughts on “Stop Light For HotWheels

  1. kell makes a good point.

    This could have been done simpler, but hey if it works it’s good.
    It looks great!

    Lego car’s wheels are off center though. -careful on those hard right turns. ;)

  2. I actually built a similar avr8535 based controller for my real traffic light, which includes pedestrian walk buttons ;-) I

    Like the modern versions of many things, the new traffic lights are cheap plastic compared to the metal and glass lensed models of the past. Mine came from a NYC retrofit, complete with graffiti on the base.

    I’ll admit that sometimes controllers are overkill, but other times it makes sense to best utilize what you have on hand. It’s a lot easier to keep a couple of small micros around than it is to keep a full variety of 74xx’s, 555’s etc.

  3. A ‘real’ hack would have been to put the batteries, chip & LEDs all inside the pen! perhaps taking an existing pen LED flashlight and re-purposing it into a stop light.

    I’ll get me coat…

  4. You guys are sooo lame. Sure, he could have done it with 555, 40xx and more stuff. What he did was a great job of making it simple using a uC. It is cheaper than 555 plus all the passive omponents and more ICs. BTW: the code is very clean and simple. I think it is a great lil’ project that shows simplicity. Kudos!!

  5. maybe we’re lame flaming about this post
    but this is for babies and has’nt deserved to be on hackaday. sure, it’s very well done – but everyone who could build a businesscard sized webserver would build and code this without any instructions!

    so this is not a stupid or boring project, but it is stupid to post it here

  6. @ kiwisaft

    sorry dude, babies can’t build this. Adults can. The end game may be for a baby/toddler and that is right. What I find ingenious is to build simple projects that make parents and babies/toddlers happy. Why do you want a project her for something simple?

    Stupid is in the eye of the stupid-beholder (aka kiwisaft). Go and read other blogs if you don’t like this one.

  7. @ agent420:

    hey, pothead, you are as sicko as the sicko kid who got caught by the police a few days ago, if you think that your link is funny. Is one in your link post a member of your family, I suppose. Good.

  8. Seriously guys, give up with the bashing comments. If you aren’t interested in an article, why are you clicking through and commenting? If you’d like to see better hacks, then get off your ass and go make something and give back to the community. Honestly, I can’t be the only one who is sick of people whining about projects using prototype boards and how it doesn’t suit their own set of standards. This project accomplished exactly what it was supposed to, and guess what, the documentation might just be the perfect jump on point for the aspiring would-be hacker. /rant

  9. I agree. the spiteful bashing really needs to stop. I’m getting to the point where I don’t like coming here anymore.

    part of the problem is that some people just like to complain, and part of the problem is that the flames were fanned with “articles” like the matchbox-car-switch.

    how about this… if you have something constructive to say, say it. If you have a better way of doing things, say it. if your point is that hackaday sucks, or that some contributor sucks, buy a domain and set up your own page… and rant about it there.

  10. I kind of like this one. My kids are a little old, so I won’t be doing it myself, but if I had any kids still playing with toy cars I might be inspired to do so.

    @ sansan

    Forget your meds today?

  11. I forgot to say, very nice project.

    aside from the practical application of the gizmo as a toy for a little kid, “traffic light” programming has been a staple exercise for introductory PLC and controller classes for years.

    well done, sir.

  12. @ spadefinger

    No, I don’t take or need medicines… It looks like you like shootings and killings and all that macabre stuff that is feeding our kids today. No wonder we see so many shootings and things..

    Anyway, as Nixie and others say this is a place to enjoy hacks, good or bad, and to share knowledge with others, not to bash… and to @spadefinger and @agent420 Pothead, the sicko web sites are somewhere else. Check MySpace. You may find more like you there.

  13. As has been said not everyone one is a 733t hardware hacker and we all have to learn someplace. Alot of what I have learned over the years has come from projects on this site and i used to love reading the comments that were helpful for improving the projects or asking good questions.

    If you don’t like a project ’cause it is too “simple” don’t bash it as it really turns off people who just want to learn or just see what other people are doing.

    I think this is a great intro project to show there is more to uC than arduino as so many people are starting with arduino and making the jump beyond can be frustrating.

  14. this site is rally depressing.

    its called HACK A DAY! where is the hack in a blinking led? with no twitter? no zigbee?

    no come on seriously you are disapointing your real true fans! this is a fucking joke!

  15. Why you protecting this silly hacks ? You argument that its good for beginners worth nothing because there is a place called Instructables. This why we have pre school elementary, hs, college… so there is place for every one and it inappropriate to mix material

  16. @therian,
    wow, calm down buddy. You might want to wipe those bits of food and spittle off your monitor.

    Maybe we should send all hacks to therian for personal approval before we submit them to HAD. We would hate to mix material inappropriately.

  17. @ chuckthrow

    agree with you… Apparently @therian flunked out of college, since he didn’t know what was next. Education is missing here and we clearly see it… so no worry. Hey @therian, what’s next? What will teach you us next?

  18. i must side with the avr crowd on this one.

    i wouldn’t even mind someone trying it out on an arduino first and then moving the final project to an attiny – after all arduino is a great development platform. just as long as nobody tells me that a $40-arduino with a $30-usbport and a $20-blink-three-leds-at-once-shield is the perfect platform for cheap embedded processors ..

    sure, even using an attiny13 is overkill processor-wise. but so is every computer with more than 64kB ;)
    the chip is about $1.40 -a counter, a 555, and some passives would get you at the same price. that justifies overkill. i’ve been looking at attiny recently as well: i want to build a led bicycle backlight with adjustable blink and pause rate. that’s at least one 555 and two counters. i might as well go with an attiny where i can even store patterns and brightness.

  19. the point is not if its an avr overkill, the point is this project doesnt belong here.
    it might be fun for kids, blablabla, but still it doesnt belong here.
    just admit it. its a slap in our faces. we being the readers that used to MAKE THE COMMENTS A GREAT PLACE TO HUNG OUT. and now what are we supposed to do? watch how the noobs of had kill our site of inspiration?

    NO WAY

  20. Well, this feels like an opportune moment to join in the fray.

    I’m the author of the cited post. I submitted the article in response to the “Hey, why not submit your projects to hack-a-day” post on Sunday. To be honest, I didn’t think it was HAD worthy either but this was the first project I’ve completed that was actually functional and ‘pretty’ at the same time. So, what the hell, I submitted.

    I have enjoyed *all* the comments, thanks for the input! Next time I submit, I’ll make sure it’s something a lot more complex – or at least more interesting.

    Although it was a minor annoyance for some of you, this post (and comment thread) has put me in touch with some awesome and interesting people. So, thanks Hack-A-Day. And thanks to the commenters, all of you, the “yay!’s and the Nay!’s” are what make this an interesting site to visit and read.

  21. @jan

    yeah, yeah, you’re right. timed leds aren’t more of a hack than blinking ones.

    but look at the bright side: reused plastic crap from gum ball machines on top of a wood block! reusing trash to make a children’s toy that is both home made and inspirational follows the reuse manifesto and should at least be counted as a hack in-spirit.
    -and although it might not be a hack, seeing the spirit behind this little home made toy makes my hard jump out in joy and run down meadows singing julie andrews songs.

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