It’s a pumpkin! It’s a Jack-o-lantern! It’s an electronics project! It’s… a Cylon!
Cylons are great. They’re evil, menacing, and shiny. They have glowing red lights, computer-monotone voices, and they aim as precisely as imperial stormtroopers.
For halloween this year, we made Cylon Jack-o-lanterns in both large and small versions.
The design consists of two parts, a pumpkin-carving part and an electronics part. The big idea, of course, is to make the Cylon’s red eye scan back and forth…
…It runs on a 9V battery and uses two cheap integrated circuits (a 555 and 4017) that together control six LEDs (or six groups of LEDs).
Circuits like this are quick, easy, and cheap to build. It’s also fun merely from the standpoint of making something that people might expect to require a microcontroller. For this particular circuit, it turns out to be cheaper and faster to do it without one.
If you’re handy with a soldering iron, you can build this circuit for less than ten dollars, in less than two hours, without any programming at all.
HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Each weekday this month we’ll be bringing you ideas and projects for an Electronic Halloween! Expect wearables, hacks & mods, costumes and more here on the Adafruit blog! Working on a project for Halloween this year? Share it with us on Google+, in the comments below, the Adafruit forums, Facebook, or Twitter— we’d love to see what you’re up to and share it with the world (tag your posts #ElectronicHalloween). Tune in to our live shows, Wearable Electronics with Becky Stern, 3D hangouts with Matt, Pedro, and Noe, and Ask an Engineer, featuring store discount codes, ideas for projects, costumes, and decorations, and more!
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, or even use Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for MakeCode, CircuitPython, 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.