Introduction: Arduino Time Machine Control Box


I was at an estate sale and came across boxes of cool 1940-1970 misc electrical part. Lots of ruby crystal lamps that us incandescent bulbs, cigar boxes, old switches. I picked up a bunch of stuff for a couple of bucks.

So I figured using some of the stuff I picked up, make a cigar box with some switches, dial, knobs and lights, hook them up to a Arduino and see what I could come up with in a couple of evenings.

Basically turn someone's trash into internet Arduino treasure!

And yes I still need to build the time machine part, but at least I have the control box~


Parts that I picked up at the sale -

Cigar box, 1" pilot lamps and bulbs, very cool brass radio tuner (that fits a 1/4" potentiometer!) on off switches, some smaller lamps. $4 bucks.

Parts I bought -

Arduino knock off ($9.99)

Some NPN 2N3904 Transistors ($1)

220 olm 1/4 watt resistors

1 10K 1/4 shaft potentiometer(2 bucks)

A 9v Battery holder (2 bucks)

9V battery

misc wire, nuts, bolts

Tools Needed:

Drill press (hand drill will work)

tin snips (to make the bracket for the potentiometer)

wood glue,

Silicon sealer (I use this a lot in place of glue - sticks to everything)

Step 1: What It Does

Turn on the power, the red power light will come on, the green power level light will be on solid.

Start with the dial turned all the way to the left - zero.

Start turning the dial to the right, at about 50 the clear light will come on.

As you are turning the dial, the green power level light will start to increase in its blinking frequency

Keep cranking the dial and about at 97 the red light will come on.

Once the red light is on, you can press the button (the button won't do anything before the red light is on)

Once pressed a buzzer will buzz for .5 seconds, then 1 second, then 1.5 seconds.

that's it!

I used this to understand how better to use a Arduino - I wasn't aware of the PWM ports before, how to start using transistors to turn things on vs the cheap but bulky relay boards and get a general idea how not to wire something in a kinda small box.

That's it!

Step 2: Wiring Diagram

Rather than a full wiring diagram, I included the details for anything that connected to the Arduino - which is pretty much everything.

I used 220 olm resistors and 2N3904 transistors for everything. I kinda did the math in the beginning but they seemed to work so I went for it.

For the lamps, they are 6v and I've got them connected to 9V. They do work real well (real bright) so what I did was hook them up to PWM pins on the Arduino and used about 1/2 of the max value that makes them light up like a 6V would.

Wiring - Well I kept adding to the initial project so the wiring is a rats nest - completely. I had an Arduino developer hat I SHOULD OF used to put the transistors on and manage the grounds/Vcc from. Next time. I'm pretty good at wiring things and I'm the first to admit this is a mess. But once in the box and double sided taped down, it should ride ok. Just going to sit on the coffee table.

Step 3: The Code

Trash to Treasure Contest 2017

Participated in the
Trash to Treasure Contest 2017