Tuesday, October 26, 2010


I'm a bit of a procrastinator. A bit more than a year ago I bought this nifty little kit for Yummy and I to put together ... together. It's called the Larson Scanner. Available here for $13. It's named for Glen A. Larson, the producer for both Knight Rider and Battlestar Galactica. What these two shows have in common is artificial intelligences with a string of lights that light up in a back and forth kind of pattern. That's what this kit does.

The plan was that we'd put it together and shove it in a pumpkin last Halloween. We finally got it assembled Saturday night. I did most of the soldering, but I did make Yummy solder in one LED over her objections. And last night I stuck it in a pumpkin.
The assembled Larson Scanner and the tools of the trade.
You like my work surface? It's my coffee table, if you want to get specific. Yummy got it from someone cutting down trees along side the road several months back.

The power switch is on the battery case. A button at the tip of my thumb speeds it up and slows it down. 
I did add a last minute change. The kit came with an extra resistor and LED. I got some of my own wire and wired the extra light in parallel with the Larson circuit. Then I let it dangle behind the mouthpiece so the mouth has a solid glow.

This one is much better than mine. Also doesn't seem to use the same kit.
It's not fancy, but you can get simple LEDs in your own Halloween decorations with a coin battery and any LED. By coin battery I mean any of the flat round batteries you'd use in a watch. LEDs from the store have two long pins coming off of them. Just wedge the coin between them and you have a simple light. Tape may be necessary to keep the coin in place and the circuit closed. This is good for a bright light in your jack-o-lantern or a glowing ghost or something. A little electrical tape around the sides and you have a pair of eyes from the shadows that don't actually light up the shadows. 

Don't use a straight 9 volt battery. That'll burn out many LEDs in the blink of an eye. If you do use a 9 volt instead of a coin battery you'll need to shove a resistor between the two. 

A hack for the Larson Scanner came out the other day. It's a way to extend it as long as you'd like. [link]


Clayton said...

This is *CRAZY* fantastic. I'm both reverent and envious.

GreenCanary said...

My soldering sucked. It's okay to acknowledge that to the Internets.

I need to do something with my pumpkin. Though it looks awfully fantastic all warty like it is.