Make Your Own Boston Bomb




About: I have a background in digital electronics, and am very interested in computers. I love things that blink, and am in awe of the physics associated with making blue LEDs.

In this, my first instructable, I will provide enough information to allow you to make your own small scale Boston Bomb as a fridge magnet.

We just had the anniversary of 31 Jan 2007, the day that shook the city of Boston. Prior to this day, we here in Australia had not even heard about Moonitites, or the Adult Swim Channel. Once the Boston Police did what they did best, the whole world knew...

The stupidity of the event shocked me, so I decided to make my own small scale version to remind the kids that problems can be solved - not simply blown up!

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Step 1: Lay the Parts Out on the PCB

In this case - I used veroboard (sometimes called Stripboard)

Lay the components out, and use point to point wiring on the back of the board to connect them.

Step 2: The Construction Method

The Boston Bomb is constructed using a sandwich technique, where the top board holds the components, the bottom board holds the magnet, and the battery holder is held in the middle.

The boards are held together using bolts and spacers.

A big magnet that I salvaged from a microwave oven magnetron is glued to the bottom board. Using a big magnet means that your Boston Bomb will be able to hold many school notes.

Step 3: Circuit Diagram

This is the circuit diagram.

It is essentially a DC-DC converter, and a PIC 16F84 (or PIC 16F88) to drive it.

Sw1 is a test switch - push it to cause the device to flash.

There is a LDR on the board to detect when it gets dark - that's when it flashes for a while.

Step 4: PCB Layout

If you would like to create your own PCB, here is the PCB layout.

In the PCB version, I did not worry about the eyes.

Step 5: PCB Parts Placement

Here is the parts placement guide for the PCB.

Step 6: Best Fridge Magnet in the World!

Here is the unit mounted on the fridge - The kids and I believe that it is the best fridge magnet on the planet!!!

If you would like a detailed construction article (rejected by an Australian Electronics Magazine Publisher - Because 'Our readers don't like veroboard'!) drop over to
The Construction Pages

There you will also find the source code for the PIC.

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    42 Discussions

    Thank you for your constructive comment.

    If you look at the article, you would see that it shows the following information on the right hand side of it:

    "About This Instructable
    23 favorites
    Posted: Jan 31, 2008"

    This was published 5 complete years prior to the cretins detonating a bomb at the Boston Marathon. In response to an event where the Boston police were being tools.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I'd just go to a garage sale, buy a lightbright and remove the housing ;)


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Fantastic! Great work. I too was awed at the total overreaction of the Boston authorities, it made big news in the UK too! Egg on their faces delivered all over the globe. drj you mentioned the cartoon makers made the original bomb should shoulder a little of the 'responsibility', but how could they ever have anticipated it would be mistaken for a bomb? Its a big display! If anybody would make a real bomb, they'd make it inconspicuous - invisible. Anyway, your version seems a lot more sophisticated, detecting light levels, I didn't think the originals did this, do they? If I were to make one, and I'm tempted simply for its infamy, I'd make one with the finger. I wholely understand why you didnt though, I respect that. Thanks, a great instructable, but I'd just make mine with power, some resistors and the LEDs. Thanks.

    2 replies

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    What is the Boston Bomb, and where to Mooninites come from before Aqua Teen? Sorry, I'm not very knowledged about this area of knowledge.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Cool - glad you liked it - yes, there is always a simpler way - I based my basic hardware design on the photos of the original. - And it was a way of experimenting with DC-DC converters.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Major ATHF fan here. Great job! I fixed it up, the edges, and changed it to green LEDS and a nice pink Err, flippin' the bird. 5*

    2 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Photobucket compromised(really, who wants it?), but I'll try and get it off my hard drive.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    im aussie too this is a cool instructable


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    I used a PIC for this, as I wanted to reduce power consumption - A 555 would have blinked constantly during the night, whereas the PIC is programmed to detect a light-dark transition, and then flash for a little while - in the demo, it flashes for about 30 seconds, but in production, it would flash for 5 hours ie dusk till about 11pm, then it would shutoff, waiting for another day-night transition.

    RFilyawGarbage Man

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Yes, it really was a fiasco that Boston police department blew things so wildly out of proportion, then had to blame someone else for their own ineptitude.