Who says it’s too early to get in the holiday spirit? We say it’s not. After all, people need time to get in the spirit before it comes and goes. And what better way to count down the days until Christmas than an electronic Advent calendar?
[Tom Goff]’s kids had some pretty cool ideas for building a decoration, like a musical, lighted sleigh complete with robotic Santa Claus. While that’s a little much to pull off for this year, they did salvage the music and lights part for their Hackvent calendar.
There are 24 small LEDs for December 1st through the 24th, and a big white star for December 25th. Each day, the kids just push the button and the day’s LED lights up. On the big day, all the small lights cascade off and the white one lights up, then it plays Jingle Bells through a sound playback module.
Each LED is connected directly to an input on an Arduino Mega. While there are several ways of lighting up 25 LEDs, this one is pretty kid-friendly. We think the coolest part of this build is that [Tom] and the kids did it old school, with nails hammered into the laser-cut plywood and used as connection terminals. Be sure to check it out in action after the break.
The more time you have, the more you can put into your Advent calendar build. Like chocolates, for instance.
Continue reading “Hackvent Calendar Will Open The Door And Get Your Kids Soldering” →
[John] sent this one in to us a little bit after Christmas, but we’ll give him a pass because it’s so beautiful. Think of it this way: now you have almost a full year to make a binary advent calendar of your own before December 1st rolls around again.
Normal advent calendars are pretty cool, especially when there is chocolate behind all 24 doors. But is it really a representational ramp-up if you never get more than one chocolate each day? [John] doesn’t think so. The economics of his binary advent calendar are a bit magical, much like the holiday season itself. Most days you’ll get two pieces of chocolate instead of one, and many days you’ll get three. That is, as long as you opened the right doors.
A momentary switch hidden behind the hinge of each door tells the Arduino clone when it’s been opened. The Arduino checks your binary counting abilities, and if you’re right, a servo moves a gate forward and dispenses one chocolate ball per opened door. We love the simplicity of the dispensing mechanism — the doors are designed with a ceiling that keeps non-qualifying chocolates in their channels until their flag comes up.
[John] is working out the kinks before he releases this into the wild. For now, you can get a taste in the demo video featuring a bite-sized explanation. If you don’t like chocolate, maybe this blinky advent calendar will light you up inside.
Continue reading “Binary Advent Calendar Does More With Fewer Doors” →
CNC machines are powerful tools when used correctly, but it’s often necessary to test a new machine before getting into serious production work. This advent calendar is a great festive project that was designed to put a CNC through its paces.
The calendar is made primarily from wood. This is an excellent choice for test machining projects, as it is softer and less likely to cause tool or machine damage when compared to steel or aluminum. The calendar base was first milled out using end mills, while a 30-degree V-bit was used to engrave the days of the week. Brass brazing rod was then used to create hangers for the calendar tags.
Thanks to the clever use of chalkboard paint and removable tags, the calendar can be reconfigured to work for any given year and month combination — just in case you wish to have an advent calendar year round. Overall, it’s a good low-intensity machining project that would also be a fun craft project for kids.
As it’s that time of year, you might like this blinky advent calendar, too. Video after the break.
[Thanks to Michael for the tip!]
Continue reading “Advent Calendar – ‘Tis The CNSeason” →
What’s a hacker to do when Halloween’s over and a new source of ideas is needed for more hacks? Make something for Christmas of course. That’s what [Dario Breitenstein] did when he made his Advent calendar both as a decoration and to help instill some Christmas spirit.
Designed in SketchUp, it’s a WS2812 LED strip mounted in a clean looking walnut enclosure. The light diffuses through 3D-printed PETG lids with vinyl over them to outline the days. Naturally, it had to be Internet-connected and so an ESP8266 based WEMOS D1 mini board fetches the date and time from an NTP server. Sundays light up in red and Christmas Eve in purple.
This appears to be just the thing hackers like [vk2zay] could use for inspiration during their sort-of-annual Advent Calendar of Circuits wherein a different circuit is made each day leading up to Christmas.
Let’s start off with some high voltage. Here’s a sweet Jacob’s Ladder build from [Robert]. The site hosting his short writeup has been up and down for us so here’s a cache link.
Speaking of high voltage, if you want to switch mains with your project [Tom] has a breakout board for cheap mechanical relays. [via Dangerous Prototypes]
[Dario] made his own version of an electronic Advent calendar [translated]. There are no numbers, you must solve the mystery of the flashing LEDs to figure out which package goes with each day.
If you ever work with lighted arcade buttons here’s a guide for swapping out the light for an RGB LED. This hack uses through-hole LEDs. We’ve actually seen a surface mount hack that includes a PCB to mimic the old bulbs.
Next time you stay overnight at an event you can give yourself the best view in the campground. This tiny little camper was mounted on a scissor lift! That first step on the way to the Porta Potty is a doozy! [via Adafruit]
[Žiga] was nice enough to demonstrate this smart-watch hack by displaying our name and logo (we love pandering!). It features the MSP-WDS430 which is a surprisingly stylish offering from Texas Instruments. In addition to analog clock hands it has an OLED display driven by the MSP430 inside.
Here’s a quick PIC-based metal detector which [Nicholas] built.
And finally, [Chet] saw the oil tank level sensor we featured this week. He built a nearly identical system earlier this year. The oil level sensor works in conjunction with the custom thermostat he built around an Android tablet.
We missed 60% of it already, but luckily you can easily watch the back catalog of [Alan Yates’] 2011 Advent Calendar of Circuits. As with traditional Advent Calendars he’s got a treat for every day in December leading up to Christmas. Instead of chocolate, the treat is a video about a different electronic circuit.
We didn’t find a playlist link, but you can just head over to his YouTube channel as each day is clearly labelled in the video titles. He starts off with a current limiting voltage regulator. A couple of days later he busts out a metal detector that will be fun to play with. Day 7 brings an AM transmitter/receiver pair, and Day 12 illustrates a burnt-out Christmas light detecting tool which we’ve embedded after the break.
The sheer volume of projects he’s putting out every day is remarkable and delightful. He doesn’t even limit himself to one video a day, but has posted several ‘extra’ editions with quick, circuit demos. Continue reading “Advent Calendar Of Circuits” →
It’s officially September now (in some parts of the world), and that means we’ve been watching the Christmas decorations go up on the floor of Costco, Walmart and Target for the last few weeks. As a small test of reality, [Eric] decided to build an electronic advent calendar that counts down the days until Christmas. As a simple build using parts lying around on the bench, [Eric] did a pretty good job at deferring his kid’s questions of, “How long until Christmas?” to a machine.
The build is fairly bare-bones, using only an Arduino Pro Mini, RTC and LCD display. For the real-time clock, [Eric] used the ever popular DS3231 RTC. The software reads the time from the clock and calculates the number of seconds between the present time and the hard-coded target date.
Everything is powered by a 9 Volt battery that wouldn’t last the remaining 115 days until Christmas. There is a power switch and the RTC has a battery backup, so the build will probably suffice for all but the most fanatical child.