Flickering Jack O’ Lantern Is An Easy Beginner Build

The Jack o’ Lantern is a fun Halloween tradition, though one that does come with a few risks. It’s pretty easy to slice off a bit of finger when carving a stiff pumpkin, and candles draw more enmity from fire crews than most household items. For the electronics beginner looking for a learning project, [Oyvind’s] build might be a nice safe bet.

The build starts with a 3D-printed pumpkin figurine with a suitably spooky face, though [Oyvind] notes there’s nothing stopping this project from being executed with a real orange gourd instead. Inside, an Arduino is hooked up to a trio of orange LEDs. They’re attached to PWM pins and each is given a random brightness value at regular intervals to create a pleasant flickering effect.

It’s a very simple project, but it’s also the kind of thing that’s perfect for introducing new people into the world of electronics. There’s little to get wrong, and mistakes aren’t costly, making it an ideal project for beginners. From there, the sky really is the limit! Video after the break.

8 thoughts on “Flickering Jack O’ Lantern Is An Easy Beginner Build

  1. I remember reading somewhere a long time ago that the flickering LED candles use a pre-set flicker pattern that was recorded from real candles because they found that purely random flickering wasn’t “realistic” enough. I wish I could find that article again.

    1. When this came up recently here, some commentators insisted they were using ICs intendedfor brief audio messages in greetig cards.

      But it seems way more likely to be a long pseudo random number generator, ie a long shift register with feedback from the right outputs. This seems the easiest solution. A very specific use, so the IC doesn’t need pins beyond power, ground and output. Or put it on the same die as the LED.

      I actually bought a hundred LEDs that cycle through the colors last week from Amazon. I’ve seen those in Christmas decorations. Have no real use. They also had for a bit more the flickering LEDs.

  2. Something like this was my initial thought for the flickering pumpkin nose in my animated Zero build but then one of my fellow R2 builders told me to just get a flickering LED out of a tea light and it was perfect.

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