Picture of LED scrolling Christmas tree ornament with built in video game!

Hello all and welcome to this Christmas tree decoration instructable.

This ornament is designed to hang on your Christmas tree just like any other decoration, but it's just that little bit more eye catching! When you turn it on it will scroll a "MERRY CHRISTMAS" message across the 8x8 display. Not interesting enough for you? Well just grab the ornament from the tree, turn it off - hold down one of the push buttons - then turn it on and now you will be presented with (possibly) the worlds smallest Christmas tree ornament video game - SANTAS SCRAMBLE!

The game is very simple, you press one of the two push buttons (on the rear of the unit) to move santa either to the left or to the right in order to avoid the oncoming obsticles (preventing him from delivering presents to the children...) the game gets faster the further you get and will tell you what level you made it to if you crash.

To return to the scrolling message, just turn it off then on without holding down a game button.

Here is a youtube video detailing the project:

If you would like to buy a make it yourself kit, feel free to send me a message. Or if you would just like the circuit board on it's own then let me know also.

The kit contents:

- 1 x PIC16f677 microcontroller (SMD)
- 1 x 8x8 bi-colour LED matrix
- 1 x coin cell battery holder
- 1 x PCB
- 2 x coin cell batteries
- 2 x 10k ohm resistors (SMD)
- 2 x mini push buttons
- 1 x mini slide switch (SMD)

The complete kit is $8.95US
PCB on its own is $3.95US

Alternatively you can download the pcb layout from the link below. It is in diptrace format you can download a freeware version of diptrace from www.diptrace.com

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stavros0158 months ago

Nice project!!! Do you have any PCB left? I want 3 of them :)

How do i change the message?

Fayez slim1 year ago
i have a question
can i replace the bicolor led matrix with one normal that have a single colour
plz reply
and thanks
hey brad, i was just wondering if you still sell these kits if so where can i get one
bradsprojects (author)  imonaboatfool4 years ago

Unfortunately I only have the circuit boards left (about 100 of them!)

I am pretty sure that I have run out of all the other parts. I can check to see what I can find for you though.
Hi Brad,
I would like 10 of the PCB if youy still have them?
Do you have any other parts left?
Let me know how much and i'll Paypal it.
choop1014 years ago

great site. Would you be willing to sell me a board with chip and program installed.(through step 3) This would be a good project for me and my 5YO. If so let me know what it would cost and how to complete transaction.

bradsprojects (author)  choop1014 years ago
Hi, really sorry for the late reply.

Unfortunately I have run out of parts for this kit. I do have plenty of boards left over though but no microcontrollers.

I also have a number of faulty completed kits (they work but some of the LED's light up when they shouldn't)

That's all I have i'm afraid.
Do you have a PDF of the circuit board so I can etch my own...I have all the other parts and it would be so much easier not having to solder all those jumper wires
pedronanez5 years ago
hey brad ,I want to ask you an important question would you be able to send me this kit but with the microchip allready soldered and with the hex files of the game and the merry cristmas,like you did in step 3. HOPE YOU RESOND BRAD AND HAVE A NICE DAY.
bradsprojects (author)  pedronanez5 years ago
I can do that, although it would cost a bit extra due to the time involved. It would cost US$15 all up. Just let me know if you're still happy to go ahead. -brad
Adum245 years ago
Hey bradsprojects, I noticed on your sight you talk a lot about Jesus. I like that about you. I'm the same way.
bradsprojects (author)  Adum245 years ago
Thanks = )

I figure that God has given me the ability to work with electronics - so why not spread the great news about Him where I can = )
So are you Catholic? Or Christian?
i must say i am a tad bit offended by that,i am Catholic wich is just a kind of Christian,i do not like it when people say Catholics are not part of the Christian Faith.wether that is what you ment or not i don't know but i would appreciate a change of wording. thank you very much.
We all belong to the one church family. As long as the faith is centered on Jesus then that's what matters. there are many denominations which all look to Jesus = )
yep i know i just was just a bit annoyed by the wording :-)
Uh, hey I am super sorry. I wasn't trying to offend any one. Really. I'm absolutely sorry.
thanks alot,I dought that you were meaning what i thought you were at first 
Your Welcome. I'm just grateful no one was offended.
yay! :-)
bradsprojects (author)  Adum245 years ago
I am Christian.

Hey thanks you've been a huge help. I mean, we're talking sears tower big. Or is it the willis tower? Anyway thanks a lot for all the help and i'll try to send you a patch.
bradsprojects (author)  Adum245 years ago
Thanks very much. Glad I could help you out = )
rilson5 years ago

Your project is excellent!
How can purchase a kit?

bradsprojects (author)  rilson5 years ago
Hi, you can get them straight from me (all though I only have a limited number left)
--modder--5 years ago
where can I buy a pcb?
Adum245 years ago
Hey, I want to make stuff like tis, but have no experience what so ever. Could you tell me where to start?
bradsprojects (author)  Adum245 years ago
Hi Adum24,

Have a look at my electronics website www.bradsprojects.com for some tutorials in programming microcontrollers and also some information on building my other projects.

I will one day transfer all of my projects over to instructables.com (when I get the time)

You can also feel free to drop by the forum on my site and ask questions on the various projects that I have made. (eg if you wanted to build them for yourself and wanted help with something etc..)
Great,thanks! I'll definetely check it out. But do you know a book or other website to learn all this too? I mean like I also want to know what like transistors and resistors do and stuff on a circuit board do. Does your website have this? Don't take this the wrong way, though.
bradsprojects (author)  Adum245 years ago
There certainly are plenty of websites out there that can help you. Google is your friend!

I don't reallu have any information on my site just about individual components, but if you are going to be working with microcontrollers, then you will certainly be interfacing them with transistors and resistors along the way.

I think more specifically you will want to search google for the operation of BJT's (bipoloar junction transistors) rather than fets.
OK, thanks alot!
bradsprojects (author)  Adum245 years ago
no problem buddy!
That's neat. I would consider something like this except that I don't think it would be worth writing in assembly again. (Congrats on having the patience for that.)

I'm guessing that the circuitry for the multicolor games is too large to fit on the back of the grid?

Also, to answer your question about Xmas, although most people don't know it, the X is actually an abbreviation for Christ. (See the wikipedia.)
HANKS9655 years ago
i would like a kit
bradsprojects (author)  HANKS9655 years ago
Hi, just send me an email through instructables.com so I can figure out the postage post to you.

ac1D5 years ago
I like game like this! Ill make one only for the game :D
bradsprojects (author)  ac1D5 years ago
If you'd just like to make the game, I have full details on my electronics site (that I will one day upload to this site)

just goto:


then click on "The Great Race"

it has sourcecode, schematic and parts list on that page.
It's a kind of a pocket version of your 8x8 game system. Would it be possible to adapt other game?(chopper ftw!)
bradsprojects (author)  ac1D5 years ago
Yes that would be possible.

The only thing with this version is that it is only one colour. Whereas the 8x8 game system has upto three (red / green / orange)

So it is a little more limited with this version
Also there is only two button, but most game could be OK with two anyway.
What ever, I already started this one, and ill build your 8x8 game system too. I have a perfect housing for it.
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