Picture of Plane in a Globe - Hacking A PIR Sensor To Do Your Bidding
Hi All.

Ever had an idea pop into your head and you can't stop thinking about it?  Well my idea was to have a tiny plane spinning inside a light bulb, activated by a sensor!  Yes I know - not much of an idea but there it is. 

First I prowled the internet trying to find the right type of sensor and I came across the PIR sensor.  These are really ingenious and work by sensing infrared radiation. Everything emits some low level radiation, and the hotter something is, the more radiation is emitted.

I purchased a couple from Ebay and started to try and hack them by using a relay.  After much frustration I decided to give this up and try another avenue.  I found a heap of articles using arduino but I wanted to keep it simple.  In the end I decided to use a 8 LED Light PIR Motion Sensor .  The sensor had everything I needed to enable me to hack away with ease.

So here's my idea come to life - kind of.  After much breaking of light bulbs I finally managed to complete the project.

Hope you Enjoy.

Step 1: Things to get

Picture of Things to get
Parts List

1. 3v geared motor. You can get these here. this one has 15 revolutions every minute - nice and slow.

2. 2 X 5mm LED's. I used yellow ones.  They can be purchased here on Ebay

3. Plastic diffusers for the LED's.  I used some from a set of solar LED's.  You don't have to do this but it makes the LED light softer.

4. Small peice of dowel wood.

5. PIR sensor light - you can buy these here

6.  PIR sensor (just the sensor).  Buy these here

7. Copper wire - I used 2 types, 1 thin and 1 a little thicker.  These can be purchased from your local hobby shop.

8. various coloured wire

9. Various brass attachments.  i purchased these from my loacl hardware store. 

10. Samll square peice of wood for base

11. Battery holders.  The voltage I used was 7.5v so I used a 3v and a 4.5v battery holder.  These can be purchased from your local electronic shop

12. Tiny plane! I used this one


1. Phillips head screwdriver

2. Hot glue

3. Soldering iron

4. Dremmel

5. Drill

6.  Pliers

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spylock2 years ago
Nice,it gives me some other good ideas.
florlayamp2 years ago
Very cool!
lonesoulsurfer (author)  florlayamp2 years ago
Thanks dude
lonesoulsurfer (author)  florlayamp2 years ago
Thanks dude
foobart2 years ago
Good work. I love the simplicity and the overall look.
curiousgood2 years ago
Hello! Nice project! I was wondering why you cut off the light's PIR sensor only to add one back on? Was it because the you wanted to be able to move it around?
lonesoulsurfer (author)  curiousgood2 years ago
You don't have to do this step if you don't want to - it all depends on where you want the sensor. I did it so I could move the pir sensor to where I wanted it.
jlyvers7432 years ago
This is a very cool lamp!! All your links to the materials is wonderful. Thank you for posting!
This is one of the coolest little hacks I've seen, nice work!
Machine2 years ago
What an astoundingly simple and excellent flying model lamp. Beautiful. Thanks for showing us and may I ask what is that superb music that played when the video of the lamp was being shown?
lonesoulsurfer (author)  Machine2 years ago
The song is: "Music For A Found Harmonium" from the Cafe Del Mar The Best Of album
I think this is very cool project. I have small grandchildren so in the next year or so, I will start making these for Christmas "stocking stuffers" for them. Should be an instant hit. Thanks so much for freely sharing this with me!
lonesoulsurfer (author)  deadsnakebiting2 years ago
Anytime - glad you liked it
ddhix2 years ago
This is a great idea, really very neat looking, perfect for a cabinet of curiosities.

I'd like to do something similar, except try to use some planetary gears to create our solar system, with the LED in the center as the sun.
lonesoulsurfer (author)  ddhix2 years ago
Love the idea of sticking a solar system in one. If you get around to making one post a picture so i can check it out!
ChrysN2 years ago
This is so cool, I love it!
lonesoulsurfer (author)  ChrysN2 years ago
Cheers - love your work too!
Good luck in the light and lamp contest : )
Thanks, good luck to you too!
Awesome idea. I suspect you could sell a tonne of these, you should go into production;)
JKPieGuy2 years ago
Very cool honestly!
Only thing I have to say, is that I hope people use old burnt out light bulbs to do this project instead of ruining perfectly good ones.
especially since there Edison bulbs and those may not be around for much longer.
jamlad2 years ago
Really cute, I like it! I too was reminded of the old Paramount intro.

I assume the sensor isn't binary on/off? It would be a even slicker if the brightness/speed was proportional to the distance of the viewer. I'm definitely adding this one to my 'potential projects' list.
Arduino + ultrasonic sensor will do that in a jiffy. And won't cost you an arm and a leg, just the arm. :) Worth it!
stumitch2 years ago
GREAT! I really like this project... unique, interesting, well documented and worth a try!
danamark2 years ago
Nah, no plane, want old school zeppelin or modern space shuttle. :)
behruz.omid2 years ago
neonix2 years ago
This is awesome. Very nice steampunk feel :)
davidandora2 years ago
This is so fantastic! I hope you win!
Looks interesting this is ideal to give to your wife/lover/husband who has everything
DurocShark2 years ago
This is awesome! My 9 year old daughter is already thinking fairies, dragons, etc... Because I really needed another project. LOL!
agis682 years ago
lovely!!!nice job done
lonesoulsurfer (author)  agis682 years ago
f.dufourg2 years ago
Good job, very well done and really inspiring.....
lonesoulsurfer (author)  f.dufourg2 years ago
Cheers dude
sitearm2 years ago
@lonesoulsurfer; Hi! I could not resist your Intractable (favorite spelling) title and watched and Liked and Tweeted your video... "it's a tiny airplane in a lightbulb; that's all I'm sayin'" Cheers! : ) Site
lonesoulsurfer (author)  sitearm2 years ago
Thanks for checking it out. It's good to see that i'm not the only one who digs planes in light bulbs ; )
This has to be one of the neatest instructables ever! I've been reading these since they started and this one has really got me going on trying to "MAKE "one! Thanks for a great project and very well done video.
lonesoulsurfer (author)  doctorbigdaddy2 years ago
Thanks mate - have fun making one!
WVvan2 years ago
Most excellent!!
deltafour2 years ago
Now, That's Bad ASS!
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