Instructables
Picture of LoveBox - The box of love
lovebox-finished.jpg
As most guys I don't tell my wife that "I love you" as often as I should, but this little gadget will at least improve that situation as bit.

So by combining a nice box and some hardcore electronics nerdiness I've made a nice christmas gift for my wife. The LoveBox is a small box that when opened displays a random message of love to the viewer.


 
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Step 1: Alternative usages

Picture of Alternative usages
Love might be what makes the world go around - or was that money?

So in order to get the world spinning the LoveBox can be changed into a DecisionBox by altering the software to give a random answer of "YES", "NO" and once in a while even an "MAYBE" when the box is opened. That's the perfect gift for the undecided decision maker. ;-)

For gamblers the box could be adapted to show lotto numbers when opened.

The possibilities are endless as most people needs to be told something or make decisions....

Step 2: What you need

Picture of What you need
You need the following things:

  • A nice box
  • A alphanumeric display
  • A microcontroller
  • A 74HTC138 (3-to-8 decoder)
  • Some resistors
  • Two 3-volt batteries
  • A microswitch (NC)
  • Wires, hot glue gun, soldering iron and other small tools.

In this project I used a box that I stole from my wife, an eight character 14-segment display I got of eBay a year ago, a AVR ATtiny2313 micorcontroller and two 3-volt lithium batteries for cameras.
Nantto12 months ago
Excuse me, is there another way to do it? I can't find the display anywhere:c
If I do it with a 16x 2 LCD display...Can I do it with that microcontroller? Do I need another one?
robot7971 year ago
can this be done with an arduino
cus i cant understand C
alank22 years ago
Where did you get the datasheet for the alphanumeric display? I bought some off eBay and they say "IF = 7 ma" but you mention 2ma above. Can you post the datasheet here? Thanks
matseng (author)  alank22 years ago
Sorry, it was a long time ago and I've moved to a different continent since. But it seems like most specs for the TSA1605A says 7mA which doesn't seem unreasonable...

TSA1605A
Three-Five Systems, Inc.
Search: TSA1605A
Segmented Alphanumeric LED Display - Clear,Bubble,2x
Package Style (Basic)=2-Edge+Hol
Number of Characters=8
Connection Type=Comm Cath.
Color=Red
Character Height (mm)=4
Peak Wavelength (m)=660n
Iv Min.(cd) Luminous Intensity=450u
@I(F) (A) (Test Condition)=7.0m
V(F) Max.(V) Forward Voltage=1.8
@I(F) (A) (Test Condition)=7.0m
I(F) Max. (A) Forward Current=7.0m
Package=2-Edge+Hol
virgiltu3 years ago
Just as an FYI the box you used for this project it is actually used to keep the hair of a one of the kids when they pass away under the age of 10. Usually this box is only used by the pastor. I found this picture on google images and i thought it was unusual that you used it in a project.
psgarcha924 years ago
how do we program this thing????
dgs5 years ago
Finally made one myself :) Yipee!!!

Made few customizations:
LCD 16x1 screen without backlight { for power consumption }
based on PIC16F876A { coz I'm into PIC world =) }
PCB
ICSP connector { for future firmware updates :) }
low battery indicator
embedded battery charger
17 messages { hope this enough }

Some photos below
2009-04-02 06-55-18.JPG2009-04-02 06-56-54.JPG2009-04-02 06-57-12.JPG2009-04-01 10-40-53.JPG2009-04-01 10-40-09.JPG2009-04-01 12-32-18.JPG
Maarek6 years ago
Could you explain the purpose of the 74HCT138 and how it works? Why couldn't you control the display with the uC? Thanks.
Azayles Maarek6 years ago
The 74HCT138 is used because there aren't enough output pins on the µC to control all the pins on the display. The 74HCT138 is able to individually address each of the 8 display sections using only 3 pins of the µC, instead of 8 µC pins.
stovall6 years ago
For those of us that are are not as comfortable with circuitry, you could buy a cheap voice recorder (sometimes available at the dollar store) & record a few seconds of "I love you's" then just use a simple switch to activate it when the lid is opened!!!
Bran6 years ago
Is the box made of camel hump? I have one almost exactly like it, and mine is! (Well, it's from a friend's dad who was in Iraq.)
matseng (author)  Bran6 years ago
It might be. I've never seen the inside of a camel hump but the material beneath the brown paint/dye on the outside had a off-white bone like color and emitted an disgusting burnt hair-like odor when I Dremelled it.
buck_20076 years ago
Hi, First off, this is a great project! Thank you for your post. My only complaint is that the instructions are a bit lacking in some places. This leads me to the question...where do you solder the power supply at? Also, is the code that you posted the edited version(the one you tweaked due to you soldering some resistors in the wrong place) or will it work if the resistors are attached as shown in the schematic? Thanks!
mpd-70006 years ago
hii need help making this can you help ple i whant to make it for my gf
matseng (author)  mpd-70006 years ago
Ok, what kind of help do you need?
ert6 years ago
I think its great and don't you think you should add romantic music
wesie426 years ago
sound really confusing :&
rocotillo6 years ago
you must have some time on your hands. just buy her flowers. the results are the same.
the results would not be the same. flowers take little thought/effort. a woman is much more touched and impressed by taking the time to create something personal.
matseng (author)  rocotillo6 years ago
It only took two evening to make this, and it's fun to actually do something physical. My days are usually spent reading and writing reports and attending meetings so this is an welcome break from that. Besides, if I'd buy her flowers she probably just suspect that I had been cheating on her.... :-)
that, plus this is way better than flowers. they know the difference between you taking time to do something, and you putting absolutely no thought past "this bouquet or this one?".
babyboi5126 years ago
sweeet!
dgs6 years ago
This is just a brilliant idea, definetely gonna make this soon :)
chuckc134456 years ago
Thanks, I really enjoyed your work.
yt6 years ago
WOW! Good job! This is quite inspirational.
dropcase6 years ago
God Jul! Someday when I have a little more money and time, I'll have to try this one out. I really like the display, it almost gives a steampunk feel...
DGerman6 years ago
Most Awesome! Wish you presented this earlier. Well there's always next year!\\ Peace and Joy be with you and your family the Holy and Joyous season.
Make sure to tell her you love her when she unwraps it! Nice idea.
Kiteman6 years ago
Very nice - I just hope your wife doesn't read this site, otherwise the surprise is ruined.
Very Keri6 years ago
Aww, nerdy love! Great idea. It will be a hit for sure!
Patrik6 years ago
Wonderful! You did an amazing job cramming all that in such a small space.

As for "it's not like anybody will notice it anyway" - if your wife ever does have a peek inside, she'll just be even more amazed at your god-like powers of nerdiness! :-D
amazing! i would do this, if i could.
Really a nice idea and I hope the wifey loves it! Soldering it dead-bug style like you did requires brain power! The last picture reminds me of the time I had to make a Slot Machine for school. *shudders*
Megax296 years ago
too confusing for a regular person but the detailed instructions and good pics should help ty
matseng (author)  Megax296 years ago
Yea, I agree that it's not for the Average Joe to build this. Without a good deal of soldering / electronics building experience it'll be very hard to duplicate this project. It's mainly meant as an idea of what you could do with a nice box and some electronics tinkering in an evening or two. If it could be sold as a complete kit with all the parts including a suitable box and a PCB to the "general public"....