9 Cool Electronics Projects to Bring You Holiday Joy
On this holiday weekend, enjoy these nine cool electronics projects to make your “C.H.R.I.S.T.M.A.S” bright.
From all of us on the All About Circuits team, we wish you Happy Holidays and a Merry Chrstmas! We know how engineers like you get a kick out of learning about how other engineers and makers put together cool projects using easily available electronics, software, and computing.
With that in mind, on this Christmas weekend, we thought we’d round up 9 interesting projects for your enjoyment. We’ve sifted through not only All About Circuits and its sister site Maker.Pro, but also crowdfunding project sites such as Kickstarter and Crowd Supply.
Some of these are new, and some are as evergreen as an uncut Christmas tree.
Enjoy this little slice of fun for C.H.R.I.S.T.M.A.S.!
C – Cooktop … a Teardown Project
Teardowns always make for an interesting project. It’s fun to take apart a device and find out what electronics are inside. It’s a great way to gain insight into how something works.
In this All About Circuits article, the author looks inside an induction cooktop and examines its two circuit boards, its temperature sensors, and its induction coil.
Read the article here:
Teardown Tuesday: Induction Cooktop
From the teardown project, shown here is the cooktop with the top removed. Image from Alex Udanis
H – HATs! … Raspberry Pi HATs That is
Over the past couple of years, there has been a proliferation of Raspberry Pi add-on boards, called HATs. HAT stands for “hardware attached on top,” a hardware specification for add-on modules for the Raspberry Pi SBC.
This cool Kickstarter project, PiTalk, takes advantage of the HAT concept. PiTalk is a 4G IoT HAT for Raspberry Pi, plus a 4G dongle.
Find the project on Kickstarter here:
PiTalk - 4G IoT HAT for Raspberry Pi & 4G Dongle
PiTalk is a 4G IoT HAT for Raspberry Pi. Image used courtesy of Ravinder Singh via Kickstarter
R — Rotary Encoder … with TFT Display
Here’s a fun one! Funded on Crowd Supply, RoenDi is an open source rotary encoder with a 1.27-inch TFT customizable display.
RoenDi is described as a “visually adaptable rotary encoder” and it can display customized graphics. You can just connect a MicroUSB cable or ST-LINK connector, upload your code to the microcontroller, and you’re good to go.
Learn more about the project on Crowd Supply here:
RoenDi: An open source rotary encoder with a 1.27" TFT customizable display
RoenDi is an open source rotary encoder with a 1.27" TFT customizable display. Image used courtesy of Xtech via Crowd Supply
I — iPhone .. Using it as an Input/Output Device
Smartphones such as the iPhone have become part of our everyday lives. But they can also be used as part of clever engineering projects. How about using your iPhone as an input or output device? In this way, you can tap into all sensor data from the iPhone like the accelerometer or microphone—or use it as an output device to display stuff through its screen.
In this project article from our sister website Maker.Pro, you can learn how to link your iPhone to a “Processing” sketch using the Tramontana app and the WebSockets library.
Find the article on Maker.Pro here:
Using an iPhone as an Input/Output Device
Using readily available tools and resources, you can turn your iPhone into an input or output device for your project. Image from Zac Jackson, Pierluigi Dalla Rosa, and Ankkit Modi via Maker.Pro
S — Single Board Computer … to Build a DIY Laptop
How would you like to build your own laptop yourself using a single-board computer? SB Components has gone to Kickstarter with a project called LapPi 2.0. The LapPi 2.0 is what the company claims is a 100% DIY modular laptop that is compatible with all single board computers.
You can build a LapPi 2.0 yourself and add your preferred single board computer. This DIY format means you can upgrade components any time you like.
Check out the Kickstarter project here:
LapPi 2.0 - A Better than Ever DIY Laptop
The LapPi 2.0 claims to be a 100% DIY modular laptop compatible with all single board computers. Image used courtesy of SB Components via Kickstarter
T — TinyML … for Voice Controlled Robotics
Bringing machine learning (ML) to edge applications, TinyML has quickly become a popular technology. All About Circuits writer Jake Hertz made use of TinyML in a cool project article.
In the story, Jake walks you through how to create a robotic subsystem with a voice-activated motor leveraging ML and an Arduino Nano 33 BLE Sense.
Enjoy this interesting project article from All About Circuits here:
TinyML In Action—Creating a Voice Controlled Robotic Subsystem
This project steps you through creating a voice-activated robotic system using TinyML. Image from Jake Hertz
M — Metronome … Two Fun Audio Projects
Back again here to Crowd Supply, this project uses basic audio gear as a means for learning how to solder for the first time, or sharpen your soldering skills. Audio Builders Workshop (ABW) says it created the Metronome Kit and Low Pass Filter Kit specifically for education purposes.
The Metronome Kit lets you build a metronome that produces a steady beat with a wide range of tempos. The more advanced Low Pass Filter Kit provides everything you need to craft an analog audio effects device capable of processing audio in real time.
Get the details about these kits from the Crowd Supply project here:
ABW Metronome & Low-pass Filter Kits
Metronome and Low Pass Filter shown here mounted on plexiglass for a demo. Image used courtesy of ABW via Crowd Supply
A — Arduino … for a Christmas Village
Here’s another cool project from Maker.Pro. This project shows you how to set up automated lights for your Christmas Village. The project uses an Arduino Uno board to control LED Christmas lights while also enabling the lights to flash in sync with music from a MIDI track.
Get started by reading the Maker.Pro article here:
Christmas Village lights with Arduino
This project uses an Arduino Uno to control flashing LED lights and do so in sync with music. Image from André Dalmolen via Maker.Pro
S — Santa Detector … using Raspberry Pi
Here’s another project article from All About Circuits. Santa is on his way tonight, but you can prepare by building your own Santa Detector using Raspberry Pi.
This project combines multiple projects into one, including an automatic camera detection system, an ultrasonic ranging detection system, a voice recognition, and an alarm system.
Have fun reading about this project on All About Circuits here:
Put an End to Stockings Full of Coal with the Raspberry Pi Santa Detector
This project shows you how to build your own Santa Detector using Raspberry Pi. Image from Robin Mitchell
! — Exclamation Point … Hear us Exclaim as We Drive Out of Sight
Yeah, we know. Technically not a letter. But we just want to “exclaim” (as we drove out of sight) our appreciation for all of you in the All About Circuits community, including all our industry supporters, and especially you, our readers. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all. We’re looking forward to another great year together with you in 2023!
Lead article image (licensed) from Adobe Stock Images