Talking Back to the Future Time Circuit – What You Built!

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John Guarnero shared with us some movie props projects he has been creating using Adafruit components, including his talking Back to the Future time circuit working from this Adafruit Learn Guide by Phil Burgess!

I suspect we’ll be sharing a number of more of these in the coming weeks, perfectly timed for Halloween! (And check out a video of it in action, hosted on his website here.)

I have made several projects using Adafruit components. I have made how-to documents on all of the projects. The projects include a talking BTTF time circuit, talking ET with flashing heart, C3PO, etc. I have documentation and videos on my website on how to do it. I am currently making a Zoltar replica using an Adafruit Arduino and one of your new sound shields.

BTTF – Time Circuit

The back to the future time circuit utilizes components and part of the design as shown at adafruit.com. The time circuit utilizes 2 Arduino Uno controllers, a real time clock, (12) 1.2 inch 7 segment led displays, Arduino  wave shield, and a custom aluminum enclosure,

The current time is the actual time and represents the real time clock circuit.  The last time departed and destination time displays cycle every 15 seconds through birthdays and other dates and times of significance to my family.

The time circuit announces the time on the hour and half hour.  Some random phrases are also announced at different time intervals.  The time and phrases utilize a Doc Brown voice. I utilized the services of a Doc Brown voice impersonator on Fiverr.com to provide the audio tracks I needed.  If you need excellent voice talent at a reasonable price, contact Stevevz at fiverr.com.

Read more.

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Featured Adafruit Learn Guide!

Adafruit Learning System

From the moment these LED displays made an appearance on our weekly Ask an Engineer show, comparisons were being made to the DeLorean time circuit from the Back to the Future films. It was a moral imperative then to make a demo! If you’re handy with Arduino and some shop tools, you should be able to pull off something similar (better, even), or adapt the ideas to other projects. This was quickly built in fun, so please don’t expect the same level of polish as a finished product tutorial. (read more)


As 2022 starts, let’s take some time to share our goals for CircuitPython in 2022. Just like past years (full summary 2019, 2020, and 2021), we’d like everyone in the CircuitPython community to contribute by posting their thoughts to some public place on the Internet. Here are a few ways to post: a video on YouTub, a post on the CircuitPython forum, a blog post on your site, a series of Tweets, a Gist on GitHub. We want to hear from you. When you post, please add #CircuitPython2022 and email circuitpython2022@adafruit.com to let us know about your post so we can blog it up here.

Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

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