Poorly Documented Projects

I was cleaning up my office and opened a box and found a couple of projects. You know, the kind of projects where you really focus, get about 80 percent of the way there, then put them down and forget about them. 

I thought, "Hey, I bet I could take a couple of photos of these and describe them, that'd be better than nothing at all." Hence, this page.

Holiday themed glowing LED strand

A heap of wired LEDs, all displaying a color ranging from white, to pink, to red, to purple, and everything in between.

I have been fascinated with these LED strands, I originally got one from Adafruit, and IDK if they still sell them but I found the same thing on Aliexpress. Honestly I feel like I should have gotten more when they were readily available. 

Anyway my first project with these was a giant tree you can change the color of the lights on. 

Then I started playing around with different fades and glows and the like. And honestly, I think I have written this "fade a strip of LEDs in an animation" code at least three times on Arduinos, and I keep losing the code!

This is the most recent iteration. I found a perfect transition effect for Christmas lights (red, green, white) that was very nice. And then I followed it up with this Valentines Day color scheme. My plan was do to all of the holidays and put them up in my window. But then I promptly lost the source code. So it's stuck on Valentines Day. And I don't know if I have it in me to write this code a fourth time. 

Shitty metal detector

A circuit on a breadboard with wires everywhere, and a big, loosely coiled bit of wire going around the whole thing

My next door neighbor lost a hearing aid in some thick grass. I didn't have a metal detector so I went inside quick to google and see how hard it was to make a metal detector. (The whole neighborhood was already helping him look for the hearing aid when I got there so I didn't know how much additional help I would be.)

I figured, maybe I can make something that will detect a dime? I don't know. I found a 555 based circuit, and all of the parts I needed. The idea is the coil is a large inductor, and the inductor changes inductance if something metal enters or gets near the coil. The 555 chirps at a constant rate, so if the rate changes, then it detected some metal. 

In actual practice, it was very hard to hear or notice minute differences in the chirp frequency. I could imagine writing some Arduino code to figure out a base oscillator frequency and light up a light if that changed in a measurable way. That would probably be more reasonable. 

But without that, just using your ears, it was hard to tell that it detected metal unless it was like, a fairly substantial fork, or like, my whole entire DSLR. Dimes were impossible and I don't think I ever took it outside to try to look for the hearing aid.