I’ve often thought that a lighthouse would make a great project for an Arduino, and so I decided to give it a try using one of the local lighthouses here in Erie, Pennsylvania as inspiration. I chose the North Pierhead Lighthouse that guards the entrance to Presque Isle Bay. The model features a white LED beacon, a rotating parabolic reflector, a foghorn, and a flickering red LED representing the keeper’s fireplace. The video above shows the lighthouse in action. (You may have to turn up the volume to hear the foghorn.)


Native American legend has it that the Great Spirit led the Erie tribe to the area now known as Erie, Pennsylvania because of its abundant game, plentiful fresh water and cool breezes. Legend also holds that members of the Erie tribe once ventured out into Lake Erie to discover where the sun set in the evening. Angered by this intrusion, the Spirit of the Lake raised a storm on the waters. To protect the Erie as they made their way back to shore, the Great Spirit stretched his left arm out into the lake to shelter them. The Great Spirit’s arm remained in the lake forming the peninsula now known as Presque Isle.

The peninsula encloses Presque Isle Bay with a narrow channel leading out into Lake Erie. This channel is guarded by the North Pierhead Lighthouse, first constructed in 1857. The current configuration of the structure stands about 10 meters (34 feet) high. The model here will be constructed at a scale of 5cm = 1m.

Step 1: List of Materials

The materials used in the project are:

  • Arduino board (I used a Duemilanove, but any board will work)
  • Arduino proto shield or sensor shield (optional)
  • Six 1.5 volt batties (I used AA)
  • Six cell battery holder with barrel plug
  • White LED
  • Red LED
  • 8 ohm speaker
  • Continuous rotation servo
  • Parabolic reflector (I used one from a $3 flashlight)
  • Thin, three-ply wood (about four square feet)
  • Saw
  • Wood glue
  • Hot glue/hot glue gun
  • GEM-TAC clear drying glue
  • Various screws, nuts and standoffs
<p>How did you get power to the white LED and continue to rotate the reflector? Is the LED stationary and just the reflector rotates?</p>
<p>This looks neat!!</p>
<p>You should post this in the Lamps and Lighting featured author contest! https://www.instructables.com/contest/tarun/</p>
<p>Thanks for the suggestion, it's been entered and is pending approval. Thank you also for the kind comments.</p>
<p>This is so awesome! Very cool, thanks for posting it!</p>

About This Instructable




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