Electronic Ornament Will Definitely Put [Dave] On Santa’s “naughty” List


[Dave Vandenbout] says that his sister has gotten big on Christmas traditions, and decided that the whole family should start making ornaments for the tree each year. Not one to let a chance to tinker with electronics pass him by, [Dave] started brainstorming the perfect electronic ornament for their tree.

He settled on the Christmas tree design you see above, which will eventually hold 15 RGB LEDs. On the back of the board, he is planning on mounting a PIC 18F27J53 microcontroller, which will take care of the LED display along with his other more mischievous components.

You see, undeterred by his sister’s holiday spirit, [Dave] wants to arm the ornament with a foul mouth, and have it attempt to shake other ornaments off the tree. To do this, he’s installing a vibrating motor on the back of the PCB, along with a speaker and MicroSD card to provide the ornament’s sound bites.

To be honest, we think his idea is pretty entertaining, we can only imagine the look grandma will give when the cute, light up Christmas tree ornament blurts out, “Eat me Santa!”

We just hope he sends some video our way once he wraps up the project.

10 thoughts on “Electronic Ornament Will Definitely Put [Dave] On Santa’s “naughty” List

  1. I wonder if a vibrating motor is the most effective manner of shaking other ornaments off the tree.

    I have to imagine that a lower frequency oscillation would be more effective at screwing up other ornaments. Imagine perhaps a vertically oriented linear actuator or long-throw solenoid with a weight at the end. Also include an accelerometer (you only need a 1-axis accelerometer). Set them up so both axes are vertical, and start oscillating the motor at a low frequency and measure the total rise and fall, then slowly increase the frequency of the oscillator until you get maximum rise and fall (the sinister resonant frequency of the tree branch).

    This would probably require a more secure connection to the branch than just a little hook, and would probably also need external power which could be snagged from the string of lights (add a small transformer/recitifier/cap/voltage regulator and you’re go.

    That’s probably a little overkill, but if you’re serious about holiday evil, you’ve got to go all the way.

  2. In all likelihood, this ornament will only manage to shake itself of the tree. The weight of the ornament + the location at the end of the branch = ornament laying on the floor next to a box concealing an ugly Christmas sweater.

  3. I like the idea of more power…but, steal it from the light string…pull a bulb and replace it with a wire tap, and then you can do the step-down inside the glass sphere that holds the actuator.

    Might need to have setting for low-current or not though…LED string is extra low current while incandescent will be reasonable…need to setup a capacitor for charging during the off-cycle on the LED strand.

  4. Anyone else think this was jumping the gun? Some projects are different or grand enough to be interesting in the planning/construction stages but most are noteworthy AFTER completion. So we can actually see the lights and shaking.

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