Saturday, April 30, 2011

Some Assembly Required

One of the gifts I got last Christmas (though it may have just been an early birthday present) was a tangle of wires, resistors, LEDs and this thing that looks like a giant Triscuit cracker. It was from Brad and Jodi and at the time, it seemed like more than I could handle. I put it in a drawer and forgot about it.

Brad and Jodi were visiting this week. We always like to tackle an interesting project. I'd say that this was good luck. I know Brad would say good planning. Below is the beginnings of everything needed for a great project. Coffee, a schematic or two, parts, tools and (of course) balloons!
The ingredients of FUN
As it currently rests, the the assembly looks pretty much as below...
Let's hope we were being graded on function over form
WTF? I know. This looks strange, even for me. It's a flash trigger with breadboard and a few extras thrown in for good measure. It was ordered from this site for anyone intrepid enough to want to make their own.

The essence of what we built (and here I say "we" in the sense that Brad was Dr. Frankenstein and I was Igor) is an adjustable delay unit or timer. The kit came with a photo-gate which triggers the timer (and then the flash) when it's line of sight is broken (by a passing person or object) and a sound detector which can be calibrated to detect varying degrees of vibration (like a clap, volcanic eruption or the popping of a balloon).
What's it good for?
Balloon Pop
Balloon Pop with H2O
Lots of things, really. I've only had a chance to test it with a couple of things so far. Leo and Anwyn were very helpful filling balloons and quite patient as Brad and I taped foil over all the windows, set camera angles and focus, adjusted settings etc... I'm thrilled with the first results. 

Haven't had a chance to use the photo-gate yet. I'll have to get back to you on that one. Here is the picture gallery.
Flash Bang