Turning a Civil Defense Geiger Counter into a “Disco Containment Unit” @Hackaday @Hackadayio
Old Civil Defense survey meters like the V-715 are interesting conversation starters, but of very little practical use today. These devices were intended to be a sort of litmus test that survivors of a nuclear blast could use to determine when it was safe to venture out of their radiation shelter: if the needle on the meter moves, even when it’s on the most sensitive setting, you should probably go back inside. Since [Hamilton Karl] would (hopefully) never need such an indicator, he decided to have a little fun with this Cold War holdover and turn it into a Disco Containment Unit.
Since gathering and live events are dangerous, I tried to imagine a dystopian device that would safely contain a ‘radioactive’ mirror disco ball. I strived to maintain the charm of a civil defense era Victoreen geiger counter, with a few key modifications. The controls are kept to a minimum: Power, motor control, light toggle, and light mode. A geared motor drives a 3mm shaft through the center. The ball is surrounded by four Adafruit NeoPixels that I tediously soldered angled on tall header pins to direct the light precisely. A fifth RGB Led is placed in the rear of the device, underneath a clear indicator lens.
The brains of the operation are an Arduino nano clone, powered by eight AA batteries (wired 4 x 2 in series to output 6 volts). To top it all off, I painstakingly transposed the intro to “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees to play via piezo buzzer at boot.
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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