New Year Mini Ball Drop LED Timer

It’s New Years and it’s time to celebrate! The Ball Drop in Times Square NYC is an annual event marking the beginning of the new year in a rather unique way. I’ve always wondered about the tech behind the scenes in the NYC ball drop. Well, this year I was inspired to build my own mini version of a ball drop complete with a one minute action time followed by the playing of Auld Lang Syne.

I used some 10mm LEDS because I have a bunch of them in several different colors. I mounted them inside Ping Pong balls to help diffuse the light and to add some bulk to the color emitted. The lights count down from one minute in 15 second intervals each until it gets to the one minute mark, then the bottom light with eight LEDs lights up and 2012 starts to flash at the base of the whole thing. The LEDs in the ping pong balls are controlled and driven by an Arduino micro controller on pins 1-5. The flashing 2012 is powered up by the output of pin 3 on a 555 astable circuit on a separate perfboard. The 555 is turned on by 5 volts over pin 6 of the Arduino.

This can be a project that you can configure as you wish. I used a salvaged “electron gun” from the broken CRT of an oscilloscope to mount the LEDs on!! Your “LED’s” could be anything you can trigger with an Arduino so get creative and share your project with me via email if you build one!

Happy New Year and …
Keep on hackin!

Parts List:
2 – 1.2K resistors
1 – 220 uF electrolytic capacitor
1 – LM555 timer chip
1 small piece of perf board
1 – Arduino or compatible micro controller
LEDs of your choosing with matching resistors is needed.
1 – 8 ohm speaker
9 volt battery
9 volt battery clip
1 – SPST switch
Some hook up wire

Click here for the Arduino code.

About Dino

Self taught electronics and hardware hacker.
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