I like to make homemade Christmas props for the front yard. I have a handful of props I put out by the sidewalk to make things interactive and this year I thought that I would try something new, The Christmas Spirit-tron (the spelling on the last word is up for debate and I would love to get some thoughts). Basically you spin a crank to light some bulbs. The faster you spin, the more lights you light up. I was basically shooting for something like the strong-man sledge hammer games at the fair when you try to ring the bell. I had a couple of things I was shooting for with this project that I thought would be fun. I was thinking it would be nice to make this one a little more educational, I was planning on writing something up to help people understand what was going on (which I of course haven't done yet, but maybe this will help get me moving ), I tried to recycle/reuse as much as I could for this, and lastly I wanted to show how hard it can be to create enough power to light up a few light bulbs.
I have a video I am working on, and I hope to write some more up soon. I am part way done with a schematic, but it is a pretty small BOM, so it should be pretty easy to follow once I finally do it. So far the kids seem to enjoy it, and it gets many spins a night.