TfCD Smart Christmas Balls

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Introduction: TfCD Smart Christmas Balls

Do you want to create your own Smart Christmas Ball?

This instructable will explain how you can build your own smart Christmas balls for your Christmas tree. As soon as you switch on the electronics, the Christmas Ball will respond to its surrounding. (See the end of this instructable for a video of the final result).The two main functions these Christmass Balls have are:

  • When it’s getting darker in your house (the sun is setting), your Christmas balls will adapt to this by activating an extra Christmas ball.
  • At the same time, the Christmas balls change colour when you or your family walks by the Christmas tree.

Do you want to make an impression on your friends or family this Christmas?: then follow these steps:

Step 1: Gather the Components

Before you can start building, you need to have the following components:

  • 1x Seeeduino + USB cable
  • 6x red LED’s
  • 6x green LED’s
  • 1x Grove Light sensor
  • 1x Grove Button
  • 1x PIR Grove motion sensor
  • 13x Cables Electrical connection thread
  • 3x acrylic plastic balls (transparent)
  • 6x Resistors of 330R
  • Breadboard
  • Tape (masking tape)
  • Stripping Plier
  • Cutting Plier
  • Soldering Iron
  • Solder
  • Christmas decoration (optional)

Step 2: The Circuit

To build the circuit, a circuit was drawn to shows you how the system works. This allows you to make small changes and personalise your Christmas decoration to your preferences and makes it easier to build it.

The circuit

The circuit is built in the following way.

The PIR motion sensor, Grove Light sensor and Grove button are directly connected to the Seeeduino. All the LEDs are connected on a breadboard:

Step 3: Build It!

Now it's time to build the hardware. Take your Seeeduino and start connecting all the components as shown in the picture and the scheme above.

Step 4: Time to Do Some Programming (Arduino Code)

Now you can programme the code yourself! If you already want a working version of the code, you can download the attached ChristmasBall.ino file and upload this to your Seeeduino.

Step 5: Time to Do the Decoration!

Now it’s time for the most fun work: translate this into an amazing Christmas ball!

Drill 2 holes in each side of the plastic transparent parts. These holes are necessary to connect the wires from the Arduino to the LED's in the balls.

Get some decoration and tear it in some pieces to put this in the Christmas balls.

Step 6: Soldering the Components

To be able to put the LED's inside the transparent balls, you need to connect the LEDs and resistors in such a way that the breadboard is not necessary anymore. Solder a wire to a 330R resistor and connect two LED's (of the same colour) parallel as visible in the picture.

Repeat this steps until you have 6 of those component parts of which 3 with red LED's and 3 green LED's.

Step 7: Mount the Components Into the Shells

Take a green & a red soldered component string and tape them both to the inside of a shell. Then close the two shells and check if the unisolated wires are not connecting each other (in that case it will not work!). Open the shells again to fill them with decoration (gold paper or whatever you like) and close them again.

Repeat this for all balls.

Step 8: Testing

Before testing the Christmas balls on an actual tree, try if they work! Plug in your Seeeduino in the computer and try the motion sensor to see if the colour changes. Furthermore, try to adjust the light in the room to see if the number of balls that are lighting up changes.

If both are working, Good Job!

Step 9: Hang Them in Your Christmas Tree

Now it's time to hang your Christmas balls in an actual Christmas tree! Of course, you can add many more balls to have a more densely filled Christmas tree and cooler effect.

Make sure the motion sensor and the LDR are not too hidden in the tree, they must be able to "see" !

Have a Merry Christmas!

Step 10: Next Level?

Of course, you can add other features to upgrade your Christmas balls. For example, you can change the colour of the LEDs, add a blinking pattern when someone is walking by or even include a humid sensor so it can measure when your Christmas tree needs water!

It’s up to you!

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