I’m Far Too Easily Amused (Or: Ooooh… Flashing lights!)

When I was younger I used to love tinkering with electronics, but I haven’t done much of it in years. A few months ago when I broke out the soldering iron to solder up a wiring harness for a new car stereo, the smell of hot rosin and solder reawakened something.

So anyway… I came across this page. Having always been a sucker for pointless flashing lights, I was particularly drawn to the 16 Stage Bi-Directional LED Sequencer. If you’re old enough to remember the TV show Knight Rider then you can probably picture exactly what this looks like. If not, I’ll help you out: It’s a row of (16!) LED’s that chase back and forth, from side to side (thus the “bi-directional” part).

I got to thinking; “why couldn’t I mount the LED’s in a 5 1/4″ computer bay cover, power the circuit with 5VDC from an unused Molex (hard drive) connector, and have groovy (KITT-style) flashing lights on (one of) my computer(s)?” (Yes I know, I’m a dork.)

Unable to think of one good reason not to, I ordered the necessary parts and assembled the circuit on a breadboard. Reasonably satisfied with my handiwork, I powered it up. The lights flashed, in sequence, but alas, in only one direction. After carefully going over everything again I found my wiring mistake and was as giddy as a school-girl when I hooked it back up and the lights sequenced in a bi-directional fashion, just like they were supposed to.

Now I just have to decide if I want to stick with traditional red LED’s of if I should switch to violet or insanely bright blue for the final installation. Even Der Hasselhoffer himself will be envious!

Yep, I’m just an over-grown 12 year old with a job and too much free time.