Although the Sunstar Back to the Future 1:18 DeLorean models are awesome on their own, I really wanted to hear sound bites from the movies and see some fire under the tire action every time I walked by my display case. Using the Arduino and Adarfruit Wave Shield, I can play music and quotes from the movies with the push of a button. In addition, I installed several LED lights underneath the models and hacked an Under-Cabinet Light so that it can be controlled by my Arduino. Not only does my setup play sound, LEDs light up the DeLorean from the corresponding clip. Right now my system plays 13 different clips taken from all three movies. The grand finale is a fully choreographed light show to the BTTF theme song! Check out my videos to see it in action!
This does not necessarily have to be used for BTTF model cars. You can use these same techniques to add lighting to any model car display case. Also, you can add sound clips from any tv show or movie to complement your particular model on display.
Step 1: Hack the Overhead Spotlights
These LED Under-Cabinet lights by Rite Lite are really cool and easy to hack so that you can control with an Arduino. First, unscrew the back cover of the light. Cut all the wires away from the main PCB in the light. Unscrew the PCB and remove this along with the power button. Also, remove the wires that connect the PCB to the battery holder. I have a couple of different version of this light so that is why there are two different colored lights pictured (one gray and one white). There should just now be one pair of wires coming from each light head. If you connect the + and - wires coming from the heads to a power supply, the LEDs will light up. You have a lot of flexibility here. All four of the lights can be controlled by one pin on the Arduino or each one can be controlled individually. For my display, I opted to control two light heads with one pin so that I had separate right and left overhead lights. Solder the + and - wires together from the two light heads that you want to control in tandem and then solder on extension wire long enough to reach your Arduino. Feed the wires through the vacated button hole.
I used my multimeter to measure the voltage and current going to each light head before and after it was wired to the circuit board. When the lights were connected to a +5V power supply with the circuit board removed, the current and voltage going to the LEDs was higher then what it was out of the box. I added two 8.2 Ohm 1 Watt resistors to each of the two power cables going to the lights to protect the LEDs. I used electrical tape to organize and rout the wires in order to make the light easier to install. I may make a separate instructable on the hacking of this style of light.
Once the light is wired up, mount it above the models using the hardware that comes with the light. Also, drill a hole in the back of the bookcase so that you can feed the wires up to your Arduino/breadboard.