Introduction: Blinking, Music Playing Death Star

About: Creative Technologist.

The Death Star featured in Star Wars is one of the coolest super weapons to ever spawn from human fantasy.

If you don’t agree, just look at this GIF until you’re fully converted to a Death Star fan. Take your time. Let it loop until you love:

The only problem is that building an actual Death Star would cost an estimate of $852,000,000,000,000,000, which is a bit outside the scope of this tutorial. So we'll settle for a plush version that compensates for its smaller radius by playing the Imperial March theme song and lighting up a green LED when you roll it.

How cool? Very cool.

Step 1: Get the Parts

We will be using an Arduino compatible microcontroller called the LightBlue Bean. It is programmed completely wirelessly, which is really great for projects where you need to put your Arduino in places that are hard to access. Like when it's sewn in to a Death Star!

Most of the components needed for this project are in the Maker Kit that you get when you buy four LightBlue Beans. Otherwise they can be bought at stores like Sparkfun.

This is what you'll need:

And the tools:

  • A soldering iron
  • Wire cutter
  • Basic sewing stuff

Step 2: Solder the Piezo Buzzer

Put the piezo buzzer on the perf board of the LightBlue Bean. Solder one of the legs to pin 0 on the Bean and the other one to GND with the resistor in between.

The piezo buzzer that you get in the Maker Kit can be soldered in either direction but with some piezo buzzers you'll need to make sure that you connect the negative pin to ground and the positive one to pin 0.

Step 3: Solder the LED

Solder the 10 Ohm resistor to the longer leg on the LED and then solder a red wire to the end of it. Solder a black wire to the shorter leg of the LED. Make the wires about two inches long. Insulate with heat-shrink tubing.

Solder black wire to ground and the red one to pin 5 on the Bean.

Step 4: Attach Battery Holder

The LightBlue Bean normally runs of a coin battery but to make the force stronger with this one (ugh, just had to) we will power it with two AA batteries. Attaching the battery is really simple, just solder the red cable to the BAT pin on the LightBlue Bean and the black one to GND. This is what the finished wiring should look like:

deathstar_bbIllustration made using Fritzing.

Tape the Bean to the battery holder to keep it in place when we sew it into the Death Star.


Step 5: Get Sewing

Carefully undo one of the seams on the Death Star, just big enough to fit the Bean and the batteries. Find yourself slightly disappointed that it’s not filled with tiny Stormtroopers.

Cut open a hole for the LED, make sure you’re not making it too big! Put in the electronics and push the LED through the hole. Sew it back together.

Step 6: Code

One of the best things about the LightBlue Bean is that you program it completely wirelessly. That means we can update the code even thought it’s sewed in to the Death Star. Pretty handy!

Upload this code to your Bean and play with your Death Star until your ears bleed!

Last but not least: kudos to nickjamespdx for adapting the Imperial March to play on a buzzer! You can't even tell the difference: