I wanted to make sets of blinking led eyes in the bushes in front of my house for Halloween.

After considering many options and some false starts I remembered that I had a Basic Stamp homework board and figured I could get at least 16 LEDs to blink when I wanted them to. Since 16 LEDs would give me 8 pairs of eyes I figures that would be enough for the effect I was going for.

Step 1: Parts List

Basic Stamp Homework board
16 8 foot pieces of 2 strand thermostat wire. You can get it from OSH or most hardware stores.
(As an after thought I should have bought 8 8 foot 4 strand wire)
Hot Glue Gun
2 16 pin male header strips
16 Female Female header jumpers
Heat shrink tubing
Soldering iron

Step 2: Schematic

This is the schematic of the Basic stamp connections.

Step 3: Basic Stamp Program

Program notes.

The main things to know about the program are that 1s mean the light is on and 0s mean the light is off. The DelayTime variable allows you to set how long the varous lights will stay on or off. You should set the 1s and 0s in pairs to get the sets of eyes effect.

' {$STAMP BS2}
' ==============================================================================
' File...... LEDBlinkingEyes
' Purpose... Blinking LEDS
' Author.... Mike Goodman
' E-mail....
' Started...
' Updated... 10 24 2008
' ==============================================================================
' ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
' Program Description

' I/O Definitions
' ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
LEDs VAR OUTS ' LEDs on Pins 0 - 7
' ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
' Constants
' ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DelayTime CON 2000 ' delay time in milliseconds
' ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
' Variables
' ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
counter VAR Byte
' ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
' Initialization
' ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
DIRS = %1111111111111111 ' make pins 0 - 7 outputs
' ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
' Program Code
' ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
LEDs = %1111111111111111
PAUSE DelayTime ' pause before next number
LEDs = %1100000011001111
PAUSE DelayTime
LEDs = %0011111100110000
PAUSE DelayTime
LEDs = %1100110011001100
PAUSE DelayTime
GOTO Main ' do it again

Step 4: Creating the Wires

After stripping the wires I soldered an LED to each set of wires. The positive to the red wire and the negative to the white wire. I used a couple of small pieces of heat shrink after soldering to keep the connections insulated. Your wire color may vary just make sure you use the same colors for power and the other color for ground.

Next I put 2 wires and their LEDs together and used some heat shrink to keep them together. I did this for all 8 pairs.

Step 5: Connecting to the Basic Stamp

The next part is about connecting it all to the basic stamp but it is crucial that each positive wire of each pair is next to each other on the header of the basic stamp otherwise you will not have pairs of eyes but instead the LEDs will appear to flash at random.

After making all the wires and stripping the other end I found the most difficult part. 16 8 foot lengths of wire are heavy and unwieldy. I tried many times to plug the red wires into the pin header and the white wires into the breadboard on the basic stamp homework board. The wires would just not stay in due to the weight of the wires and the weak connection.

Step 6: Conneting the Wires to the Header

I had some Female Female header jumpers lying around and found that the LED wire ends stuck into the crimp on the jumpers (with a little bit of pressure) and made a solid connection which did not come apart easily.

I put the 2 16 pin male header strips into the basic stamp and then connected the other end of the female jumpers to the header strips. Once again I had the same problem. The wires were just to heavy and unwieldy and the jumpers to the header strip would not stay connected.

The solution was a hot glue gun. Once got all the jumpers connected to a header strip I just hot glued them in place. Now all I had to do was connect the male header strips to the basic stamp and viola the connections were solid.

Step 7: Assembled

Here is the assembled project. The ground wires are connected the same as the power and glued to a header and connected to the breadboard which is is connected to a ground pin.

Step 8: Installing Into the Bushes

Now that it was all together I was able to push each set of eyes through the bushes in my front yard and then adjust them the way I wanted them.

I took the resistors out to make the LEDs brighter but I have to admit it kills a 9 volt battery pretty quickly. Luckily I have an adjustable power supply so it was not a problem.

Step 9: Side View

placed leds

Step 10: Video

Sorry for the poor video. I did not have a very good camera. The lights were very bright and well you get the picture.
Awesome. I know nothing about the basic stamp, but if you can get each pair to blink once or twice, quickly and also independently of each other and at random intervals, that'd make it even more realistic.
Thanks for your comment. That would not be hard to do since the stamp has a pretty good programming environment. Next year for sure.
This looks really cool!

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