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Distractions

a collection of '5-minute' hobbies

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Arduino

Track & Field Timer

I built my own Track & Field countdown timer to help when I officiate track meets. It was MUCH cheaper than buying a timer from the major track & field equipment suppliers. Mine also displays time on both sides…theirs do too, but at 5x the price. Mine is battery operated, wall-pluggable(if needed), and uses a remote keyfob for operation. It’s programmed to do exactly what I want and need and nothing more.

T.F. Timer – NeoPixel Edition v1.0

I’m using Adafruit’s NeoPixel LED strips instead of buying pre-made boards…they are bright, cheap, thin, and lightweight. The timer box/housing will look a lot like an A-frame home with a flat roof. I’m using 1/8″, 1/4″ and 1/2″ thick MDF for the build as well as smoked acrylic to cover the digits. It is mostly glued together with wood glue with a few screws hidden away for some extra rigidity. Continue reading “Track & Field Timer”

Harley Neopixel Brake Lights

I chopped the rear fender of my brand new(almost) 2014 Harley Superlow 883 and purchased a new LED tail light to mount under the fender as the replacement. I also wanted some additional braking lights at the rear for my own peace of mind and decided to turn the rear turn signals into more than just turn signals; by adding some LEDs to use as brake lights ‘inside’ the turn signal housing. I designed a little circuit board that I will install under the seat to engage the rear LED’s when I brake.

Continue reading “Harley Neopixel Brake Lights”

Automated StairLights…the easy way with an Arduino Pro Mini

There are numerous examples online for how to do stairwell lights. Some are expensive, some are complicated, some are well done, but still too much for my taste. You can buy a system ready-made, which can be very expensive or DIY. If you’re reading this, like me, you’d probably rather DIY.

I first read through Erica Kane’s project which is very well done, but a bit too much to simply light a few LEDs. Surely there has to be a simpler way to accomplish the same effect. Her code is rather long and involves more than what’s needed….for me. Continue reading “Automated StairLights…the easy way with an Arduino Pro Mini”

Sparkfun ProtoShield ATtiny85 programmer

A quick search for an ATtiny85 programmer will yield a variety of ATtiny85 programmers. Some slick, some that don’t work, and a variety of other possibilities. After downloading some Eagle board files for one of them and after ordering and soldering the necessary components myself, they didn’t work. It was either my soldering, the PCB manufacturer, or the boards themselves were defective. I was about to order another design I found until I realized I had all I needed on hand.

Sure, you could do it this way, but wiring that up every time is less efficient and crazy if you have to do it more than once. Continue reading “Sparkfun ProtoShield ATtiny85 programmer”

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