Blinking Christmas Ornament

About: I am a Dad to two kids who are constantly need attentions and I am passionate about technology and trying to fix anything that is broken.

I had the urge to add some bling to the Christmas Ornament. So the simplest circuit to do this will be to use the multivibrator (Flip Flip) circuit. But after ravaging through my list of component I can't locate any suitable transistors and capacitor. I know I can simply order this but it will take time, and I had the urge to create the circuit now. So I use the NE555 timer circuit as a substitute.

Step 1: Create the Holiday Ornament

Create the Holiday Ornament as per the instructables instruction. I use the BW instructions and let my Son and Daughter have the fun colouring the it. Don't glue it all until complete, when you get to step 6, put the hanging loop at the top. Then you can glue the middle part to the bottom part, but don't glue to top part, as we are going to put our blinking lights in.

Step 2: The Astable Multivibrator Circuit

The first picture is the Astable Multivibrator circuit using NE555 timer circuit. If you are not interested in the technical part you can skip this boring steps. The NE555 timer had a variety range of usage, one of them is astable multivibrator circuit. As the name suggest, it is turning the lights on and off. This is achieve by charging the capacitor through the trigger and threshold pin. When the capacitor is full, it will then discharged through the pin 7 (Discharge) via 470k ohm resistor which then connect through the output and thus lighting up the LED, we use 1K ohm resistor to limit the current that went through the LED. Once discharged, the capacitor will start charging again, the whole cycle repeat itself.

We need to connect the reset pin to Vcc, so we connect this together with pin 8.

I don't have NE555, but I do have NE556, which is consist of dual NE555 in one package. So the second diagram is what I used for my circuit. I also can't find the 1 micro farad capacitor so I substitute this with 2 x 100nF capacitor in parallel thus the combine capacitance is 200nF which is1/5 of 1micro Farad. This make the LED blink faster, because it will charged up and discharge a lot faster.

Step 3: Connecting the Circuit

I use the wire wrapping method to connect the circuit up. First I connected up the 1K to pin 1 and pin 14. Then I connected 180K ohm resistor between pin 1 and pin 2, as shown in the second picture. The connect pin 2 (Threshold) with pin 6 (Trigger) as shown in the third picture.

Step 4: Seal Using Shrink Wrap

Then I seal the pin 1 with shrink wrap to prevent it from short circuiting. This is shown in the first picture.

The second picture shown my preparation to connect the 2 x 100nF capacitor in parallel, then the third picture shows the connection of the capacitors to pin 2 (Threshold) and pin 7 (GND) shown in the final picture.

Step 5: Reset Pin and Output

The next step is to connect pin 4 (Reset) to pin 14 (Vcc) this is shown in the first picture. The we connect the Output (pin 5) to 1K ohm resistor as shown in the second picture. I inserted the shrink wrap as shown in the third picture prior to connecting the LED.

Step 6: Connecting LEDs

Connect the Anode (Longer leg) to the other end of the 1K ohm resistor, and the Cathode (shorter) leg to the GND. Then Connect the other 2 LED in parallel while measuring the distance through the inside of the Ornament. Finally connect the power cables pin 14 (Vcc to red) and pin 7 (GND to black) as shown in second picture. Don't forget to put the shrink wrap prior to connecting.

Step 7: Test the Circuit

Connect the 9V battery to the circuit. If all goes well, the LEDs should start blinking. Congratulation you had made it. This is something to be proud of, you had created astable multivibrator using NE556.

Step 8: Finishing the Holiday Ornament

Now you can put the circuit into the Ornament and glue to top part, don't forget to test it again once you had glued it on to make sure that everything is still working.

Step 9: Hang It to the Christmas Tree

Now you can proudly hang it to your Christmas tree and enjoy the festive season with your proud creation.

Final thought: NE556 consist of 2 NE555, in this circuit we only using one NE555, it seems like a waste, so the challenge for you is to create the second circuit using the same IC.

Thank you for reading this through the end. If you like this circuit please vote for me, and visit my website and subscribe to have access to other simple circuits.

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