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Count down to Christmas with an Arduino-powered Hackvent calendar

Arduino TeamDecember 3rd, 2021

Along with the typical Christmas decorations of trees and elves sitting on shelves, Tom Goff was motivated to build a DIY “Hackvent” calendar after being inspired by his son’s request for one. The project differs from the traditional Advent calendar in that it features an array of two dozen colored lights — one for December 1st to 24th — which illuminate sequentially whenever a button is pressed. On the 25th, all the small lights cascade off and a big white star begins to flash as Jingle Bells plays.

To create the calendar, Goff designed a 2D panel with cutouts for each of the LEDs and an additional one for a single button. After laser cutting a piece of plywood, he got to work coming up with a circuit. The components included an Arduino Mega, 25 LEDs and resistors that are directly driven by the Mega’s GPIO pins, an ISD1760 module that emits music from its embedded ROM, and a 3W speaker. 

After loading the code onto the Arduino, Goff tested his new Hackvent calendar by pressing the button 25 times and then stepping back to watch the resulting light show. You can read more here on Instructables and see it in action below.