Joule Thief Steals in Favor of Christmas

A lot of things tend to get stretched during the holiday season, like shopping budgets and waistbands and patience. This year, [Chris] is stretching the limits of both the mini breadboard and the humble 1.5 V LR44 coin cell with his joule thief-driven LED mini Christmas tree.

With the push of a micro momentary, the joule thief circuit squeezes enough power from an LR44 to boot an MSP430 microcontroller, which needs 1.8 V – 3.6 V. After boot, the micro takes control of the joule thief circuit and milks it whenever the voltage falls below 3.2 V. This tree may be small in stature, but it’s feature-rich. A push of the same momentary button cycles through four different light shows, ending with a medley of all four. Be dazzled after the break.

The code for this tiny tree, which features an awesome ASCII breadboard layout and schematic, is up on GitHub. [Chris] has it listed among a few other manageable bare-metal ‘430 projects that would be great for beginners at pure C. If that sounds like you, why not give yourself the gift of learning a new language?

We’ve seen some spirited ways of lighting LEDs, but doing it with candle power takes the fruitcake.

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Swapping coins cells for capacitors for noise filtering

Here’s an interesting idea: replace a disposable coin cell battery with a capacitor in order to filter the noise from an external power supply. [David Cook] is taking advantage of the falling costs of digital calipers. He’s mounted one on his milling machine but noticed that with an external power supply the readings would sometimes reset in the middle of his work. The LR44 cell he’s replacing makes for very difficult in-place soldering so instead of permanently replacing it he built an insert that matched the form factor. The outer ring is from a piece of copper tubing and soldered to a PCB that he etched.

If [David’s] name sounds familiar it’s because we featured his Happy Meal toy scavenging a while back.

[Thanks Thomas]