Arduino-enhanced pinewood derby car


So, it was pinewood derby time for the Cub Scouts again. My son’s pack has a race for the adult kids too. I had been plotting my car since last year’s races. I wanted to really light the thing up. Last year I had working head and tail lights, but this time I wanted bigger and better. I was just not sure what form it would take. I had considered many options. The most predominant idea was using an accelerometer to change the light settings based on force. The problem was that I wanted the lighting to stay very minimal until race time so that the surprise factor would be maximized. I was leaning heavily towards the Arduino Pro 3v due to it’s nice and tidy size. After more thought I started heading away from the accelerometer and started thinking about using an XBee to control the Arduino remotely. Then while shopping at Sparkfun one day, I stumbled upon the Funnel IO board and that locked the plan together.

Funnel is an Arduino based board, with the added benefit of having an on board Xbee socket. Plus it is tiny, has a 3.2v line in (for LiPo), and a LiPo charger onboard too.

Eagle boards, schematics and Arduino code on the builder’s project writeup. (Note: He calls his car the Joule Thief, but it’s not a joule thief.)


2 thoughts on “Arduino-enhanced pinewood derby car

  1. Art says:

    I watched the vid, and and it’s pretty much entirely in the dark. It’s a cool idea, but I really wonder just how visible those lights were at the actual race, under normal bright lighting.

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My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal

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