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Hack an R/C Moon Phase Light to display the real moon phase

 
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imagitronics
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Joined: 25 Jun 2007
Posts: 7
Location: Okinawa Japan

PostPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 8:41 am    Post subject: Hack an R/C Moon Phase Light to display the real moon phase Reply with quote

I just finished a new little hack. I modified a ThinkGeek R/C Moon Phase light so that it reflects the current lunar phase in realtime.

Essentially, the R/C Moon Phase light is a nightlight that comes bundled with an infrared remote control. The controller allows the user to change the moon’s current phase with the press of a button - or automatically cycle through the standard phases of the moon throughout the day.

I decided that it would be more interesting if the model moon actually reflected the current phase of the moon based on the date. I did this by replacing the original PCB with an arduino and a DS1307 realtime clock module from Sparkfun. The DS1307 module maintains the proper time and date, while the arduino calculates the current phase of the moon based on the date. The RTC module contains a coin cell battery backup that enables the internal clock to maintain the proper time, even without power, for up to 17 years!

I also included a simple C# application for Windows.NET that updates the DS1307 in case it starts to drift over time.

Please take a moment to check it out at www.imagitronics.org/rc-moon/







Tim
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