It all started with a simple Christmas Native scene with lights, stars and fireplace. From there the idea came up to build a winterland scene which grew year by year with a ski lift and waterfall and in the end controlled by Arduino.
The whole winterland scene runs in a fast 24 hour cycle starting and stopping street lights, houses, skating and ski lift run at logical moments.
In the latest addition the control was taken over by Android app to get things running as a whole or parts individually controlled.
My grand-children enjoyed playing with it.
Maybe the information is not very instructable
Step 1: Building Winterland
The Christmas Nativity scene was made of wood, and cork materials to house the Holy Family with shepherds and three kings and animals.
The houses module with skating pond was made of some boxes and paper mache, inside there are cables to set up street lights and lights in houses.
After having build that the idea arose to make a ski lift. The whole module is home made. First I made the outline of the cable with motor and chairs. when that was running wel the landscape was build around that, again with paper mache, paint, and artificial snow.
I then discovered that the slope was to narrow to add some figures to it so i made an extra slope aside the lift slope. At this point I joined a contest of ... and got a third prize.
Last year I decided I need some live water stream as well. First a pump and waterflow was tested in a styrofoam bed. Then it was covered with tile adhesive, painted and so on.
Step 2: Control by Arduino
When I discovered the Arduino it was obvious to use it to have the winterland run a cycle by adressing relays, so I used an 8-channel relay-board. On 4 I connected 220V outlets. On the other 4 there are some low voltage connections as needed in the scene.
I used a Humax box to home all the connections and by now I even use the power unit of the box to power up Arduino.
Besides the channels there are some leds indicating power, status and break; buttons for a start-up/reset, emergency break and individual adressing two channels of the board. Every channel has a led in the window to show status.
Step 3: Control by the Android App
I added control by Android app with a bluetooth connection. The app is build in Android Studio.
The app itself is really straight forward:
- connect to bluetooth;
- do some settings;
- find available bluetooth devices;
- select the right one to connect;
- 8 switches control the individual relay channels;
- the TEST button sets the choosen channels on;
- the PROGRAM button starts the 24 hour schedule as defined in the program;
- the PANIC button stops execution immidtiately;
- the RESET button lets it run again;
- the CLOSE button shuts down the connection.
I included the source.