There are several Arduino Pumpkin projects available on the internet but this one explains the efforts of Chris Evans who made an attempt to make a pumpkin for Halloween. Much like any other pumpkin with LEDs fitted inside, this one also glows in the darkness. However, instead of LED bulbs, it makes use of a Neopixel which can be availed from eBay.
Interestingly a Neopixel is a combination of LED lights that are arranged in a more compact way and it is easy to solder on a circuit. Apart from the solder pads, it also contains two mounting holes which enable the user to secure it on any kind of surface. Apart from this, other components used in this project include an Arduino board, breadboard, resistor, state button, potentiometer and a 9V battery. Some knives and tools are also needed to carve the outer shell of the pumpkin.
Basically, the whole task was performed in two parts. First involved the configuration of the circuit along with the coding and another was about preparing the body of the pumpkin so as to give it an appealing look. To start with, Chris fitted the Arduino board on the breadboard and then wired all the required parts. The state button was kept outside the pumpkin so that it could be operated easily.
He also used a potentiometer which was inserted in a way that half of it was outside the pumpkin. This allowed him to turn it much like a knob that was aimed to provide a variable resistance which could be read into the Arduino as an analog value. There are certain projects which recommend using a speaker for adding a ghost effect. One can also add an LDR at the top of the pumpkin which is usually used in many light sensing circuits. As the shadow falls on it, various light effects can be seen.
As far as the software part is concerned, he wrote the code and uploaded it on the Arduino as per the effects that he wanted to add to the lighting. Moving on, he made several hexagons on a piece of paper and traced them on the front portion of the pumpkin. Some of them were hollow while some were just carved enough to impart a translucent look. At the back, a large part was cut so as to place the circuit inside. One can also keep these electrical components in a sealed plastic bag or some other cover. Then the Arduino was plugged into the laptop and on running the code, the project came to life.
Here is the video which shows how Chris presses the switch and the Neopixel starts radiating inside with colors like red, green and blue. Moreover, he also turns the knob at the nose, i.e. the potentiometer to adjust the voltage thereby bringing a change in the light effects. This is one way to do it but the same setup can be implemented with a number of effects. Right from the look of the pumpkin to the components, there is immense scope for making changes depending on the individual preferences.
Click here to see the Arduino Pumpkin in action.
Filed Under: Reviews