My wife and I have really been into re-purposing old/broken ‘things.’ A few years ago we took a broken old microphone and turned it into a lamp. And these days it feels like I’m constantly rewiring the insides of old radio for someone. While Iwas looking for old radios on eBay I found this…
An old space heater from the 70’s. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it but I loved the look of it and figured that it would make a great addition to a shelf, a room, or somewhere in our house. About the same time I was starting to re-learn Arduino from a beginner’s kit that I bought. The last time that I had played with one was back in 2006-7 for my voccordion, but I wanted to start messing around with DIY home automation and figured that Arduino would be a fun place to start.
I really liked the idea of being able to flip a switch and have lighting and music turn on, depending on what mood you were in. Very similar to the ‘Emergency Party Button.’ But I was thinking of switch that you could choose from ‘Happy Time’ or ‘Make Out Time’ I figured that this lamp could play a part in it, and I think that some day it will. But at this point I just wanted a lamp who’s color I could manually change.
While looking up colored LEDs I stumbled upon Neopixels (LINK) from Adafruit and thought they were perfect since they already had integration with Arduino. From there I was off.
I found a potentiometer that also functioned as an on/off switch and after doing lots of searching through Arduino forums I found some code that would help me use my pot to cycle through the different colors on the neopixel. So I opened it the heater, ripped out the guts, and put it all back together with my new parts.
It is my daughter’s favorite new toy (at least until she meets her new feline friend later this week) and I while I didn’t think of it at the time, it is actually going to be a great tool for teaching her colors. It looks great up on the shelf and while I love be able to manually change it, I think that once I get the home automation up and running I’ll figure out a way to change it wirelessly…Or perhaps with the ‘Make Out Time’ switch.