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Pinewood Derby

A SparkFun customer designs a cool Pinewood Derby car outfitted with electronic goodies!

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Blinky LEDs are just generally a lot of fun. In fact, you probably won't find many bigger fans of "blinky" than the folks roaming the halls of SparkFun. But a blinking LED by itself, while fun, isn't all that "cool." What makes an LED "cool" is how it is used! In fact, we have mostly found that the coolest projects aren't always the most complex or intricate, or the ones that require a huge amount of programming. Rather, it seems to be the implementation that matters.

So, naturally, combining something that is fun/cool with electronics can only lead to something even better. Check out this project that is based around a Pinewood Derby car. For those that aren't familiar with pinewood derbies, they are a common event for the Boyscouts of America, where one makes a small wooden car designed to rifle down a sloped race-track.

The designer took his car and add a bit of cool blinky that is controlled by a Funnel I/O, an XBee. It also features a custom PCB with a whole plethora (A plethora?) of LEDs.

The result is a dang cool little car that employs different lighting patterns based on what stage of the race it is in - and it's all controlled wirelessly. Nice work!

Comments 8 comments

  • I just want to mention that Pinewood Derby is not necessary just for the Boy Scouts, it is also for Cub Scouts (mostly).

  • Yes it is an official PWD kit that I used, but it was actually 2 kits. It was exactly 5oz. If you look in the reflection in the glass, you will see that the sides are hollowed out. This was due to paint weight. Who knew it weighed so much. :0)

  • Cool car.. Is it still under 5 oz (legal to compete??)

  • Two years ago I added brakes lights to my son's car using a contact switch, two amber LEDS and clear light-bright for lenses. It worked great. The contact switch was on the bottom and would close the circuit when the car reached the end of the track and was lifted up on the breaking rail (not sure all coursed have that rail).

  • Neat project! I also made a PWD car with some processing power... I turned mine into Knight Rider using a PIC, and it played the theme song...

  • I like it! I am awaiting the announcement of any new products coming down the pipeline, too.

  • Now thats a cool piece of art - and functional, a bit extreme, but functional.

  • Those don't look like materials from the official kit :p Nice job! What would be interesting is if you had an accelerometer on there...

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