K7LTC/W7LTC Cabin Communications
Like many Hams, I try to learn to do new things from time to time. Woodworking, metal working and fabrication, etc., have been my focus for a while. Last Christmas I decided I had to have a Christmas Tree topper star that blinked out "Merry Christmas" in Morse Code.
So my first project idea was a result of a Facebook posting that showed the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree blinking. It appeared to be blinking the letter "H". I said to self, wouldn't it be nice to have a tree topper star that blinked out "Merry Christmas" in Morse Code. After the holidays last year I started researching how to make that a reality. I found that Arduino's were perfect for implementing my idea. The old star on the tree was burnt out so the shell became the basis of the project. I looked up a bunch of videos on YouTube and found Paul McWhorter's channel. He demonstrated how to build and led Arduino that turned off and on. I did some more research and found out it was possible to time the on and off. That was enough to start. I copied the code Paul McWhorter showed on his video and used that as the basis of the code I would eventually develop. After two months of experimenting and researching power out on the Arduino vs power required for Leds I used White Leds from an Arduino project kit purchased via Amazon with 1000Ohm resisters in line. Each Led is wired to a port on an Arduino Nano. The code turns on and off each port simultaneously and blinks "Merry Christmas" continually. Because the Arduino Nano has a max power out constraint, I needed to keep the Leds under or at least very close to that limit to keep from burning out the Arduino Nano. The tree topper has been blinking for 8 to 14 hours at a time and not had an issue so apparently, the Led power requirements are close enough to what the Nano will do. A video is posted below.
So my second project idea was to create two Ham Radio "Towers" in my Christmas Village that blinked out "Merry Christmas" in Morse Code back and forth to each other at opposite ends of the train diorama I set up on a table for the Holidays. Using the code developed for the first project I basically set up a program to run one "Merry Christmas" on one port and then switch to another port for the second "Merry Christmas" and then repeat indefinitely. I don't have video of this. But the photo of the Arduino Nano and the two towers are below.
If you want the .ino file for the Merry Christmas Tree Topper, contact me at my email address on Qrz.com and I will send it to you.