Monday, January 28, 2008

My electronics projects...

Wow! I just found out that I've been getting traffic to my blog via a link on "Evil Mad Scientists" website (Thanks EMS!) So I figured I better throw a post up real quick with a bit of an explanation.
About a week ago, I sat down and put together an electronics project that I first saw on EMS's website (via the makezine blog) called the "dark detector". It was a slightly more complicated "Throwie" made popular by GRL. I'm not too crazy about making "throwies" and then just throwing them outside as a sort of digital graffiti. It's not very enviro-friendly either. BUT... I found the perfect use for them... as a nightlight in my bathroom. With a fresh coincell battery, these little LED lights are pretty bright! They tend to last a good 3 weeks or so until they become so dim as to not really be much good. I've also found that if I use a red LED, it doesn't mess with your "nightvision" so at 3am as I stumble in to the bathroom, I don't have to blind myself with the overhead light.
Then I saw EMS's "Dark detector"... it was perfect (or so I thought). I thought I could put one together and this way, if it only comes on at night time, I'll increase the life of the battery by about 100%! The instructions were clear and easy for me to understand. I had a little difficulty actually ordering the parts... I emailed a friend from "the hacktory" who sent me some links and recommendations on the parts list, it was just what I needed (thanks Josh!). Everything went together smoothly and I was very happy with the end project. I also modded it slightly by adding a battery holder which makes it easy to swap in a new battery when needed, and also makes a good magnetic base. My ONLY complaint... the IR sensor is not sensitive enough. It only shuts the LED off when it's in direct sunlight, or if the incandescent lightbulb is shining on it. My bathroom has no windows, and is not bright enough during the day to trigger the IR sensor. So the circuit has not really suited my intended purpose. I would imagine it would work great though if this were to sit on a windowsill - which I may make another one for another project I've got brewing in my mind.
I'd love to figure out how to modify this too to work with some rechargable AA batteries - or even go solar with them!
So... all in all, thanks EMS for posting this project... I look forward to trying out (at least) 2 more projects of yours... the BristleBot is AWESOME! and I've currently got the LED Micro-Readerboard 2.0 project waiting for me...

No comments: