I made this instructable for the Instructables Advent Calendar. I hope it adds some fun to your waiting time for Christmas.
This display is highly customizable. I used a mini breadboard instead of a solid circuit board to give you the ability to customize the behavior of the LED by changing the components around the NE555. So this display is not only beautiful - its also educational. Learn about the timer IC NE555 by playing with your "Customizable Holiday Display"!
I added a small contest. Win a 1 year pro membership with your own circuit! See step 4 for more information.
Step 1: Parts and Tools
- Altoids tin
- spray paint
- mini breadboard
- some wire
- 9V battery+ battery clip
- black paper
- translucent paper
- 1 resistor 33k
- 1 resistor 330 ohm
- 1 capacitor 100uF
- 1 transistor BC547
- 1 LED yellow
- various resistors
- various capacitors
- various LEDs
- various transistors
- ....no limit in creativity!
- wire cutter
- credit card sized plastic card
- paper cutter
Step 2: The Display
- Cut out a square 1.25x1.25 in (35x35mm) on your Altoids tin lid. (Pic #1) I used a sharp knife for that.
- Color the tin with black spray paint (Pic #2)
- Use your credit card as a template to cut out a credit card sized black paper (Pic #3)
- Cut out a star (or a symbol you like - I made a heard shaped one for my boyfriend) in the maximum size of the square in the Altoids tin lid (Pic #4)
- Glue a piece of translucent paper to the back of the black paper (Pic #5)
- Glue the black paper to the Altoids tin lid. (Pic #6)
Step 3: The Electronic
- I used double sided tape to fix the battery in the case (Pic #1)
- the mini breadboard has a self adhesive backing to fix it (Pic #2)
- breadboard the default circuit (Pic #3) by following the step-by-step instruction sheet (Pic #4). Click here to get a bigger version. Cut the leads of the LED, resistors, capacitor and transistor to fit in the tin.
- Close the tin.
Step 4: Customize and Win
Because I used a breadboard instead of a solid pcb you can simply change the behavior of the LED by changing the components around the NE555. In the default mode it fades in and out. Have a look at the images for some alternative circuits.
The first one is the simplest. Just light.
Picture #2 shows a circuit for a flashing LED. Change the value of C2 and R1 to adjust the speed.
Picture #3 shows 2 alternately flashing LEDs.
Go creative and share your circuits! (Contest)
I would be happy if you made the display and play around with the circuit. If you made your own circuit design, share it in the comments to get a 1 year pro membership. The only restriction: the circuit has to fit on a mini breadboard. Deadline is Jan. 31th 2012. So go creative and win!