Small Projects #54: More steampunk (don't read until finished - actively editing)

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Blog entry by Madmark2 posted 09-09-2021 02:24 AM 468 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 53: Walnut Air Filter Stand Part 54 of Small Projects series no next part

Another steampunk inspired kitchen sink gadget.

  1. Bluetooth radio w/LED display
  2. separate LED volume bar graph meter & green LED sw
  3. time/temp green LED module & green LED sw
  4. RH% LCD meter (always on)
  5. storm glass w/RGB LED & blue LED sw
  6. prism w/RGB LED & red LED sw
  7. display stand uplight RGB LED puck & white LED sw
  8. high voltage antenna terminals

This is a conglomeration of three or four other projects into one big overly ornate and complex gadget.


The final dimensions are still fluid as I’m waiting on parts. I can’t do more than doodle until the real parts are on hand.

I started by looking for an inexpensive yet functional car radio. I found a nice one in my budget ($25) that had 4×50w outputs and usb, Bluetooth, etc features. Its also controllable by smartphone. This means I can use it like a stereo even when offline.

I settled on the Dual XDM17BT single DIN (50mm x 180mm, 2-1/8” x 7-3/16”) unit. This is a very shallow (under 1-3/4”) box so it will fit in a small sized box.

Full featured car stereo, $25 at Walmart .

I purchased a 10A @ 12VDC power brick and put a car cigarette lighter socket on it this gives safe, UL approved power with no liability or safety issues.

AC adapter is UL approved and puts out 12VDC @ 10A, ~$25 from Walmart

Here is the lighter cord set:

Lighter connector can carry 10A, $10 at Walmart

The speaker terminal block is readily available at Walmart.

About $10 at Walmart

Bluetooth radio & PS pre-wires.

Some of the parts have been trickling in and I’ve pre-wired & tested as much of the support electronics as possible. I’m using these really cool lighted push buttons to turn off and on each gadget individually. This adds more needless complexity and ornamentation that, to me, hallmarks steampunk. Lots of machine screws!

Found these cool lighted push buttons:

$5 ea. at SuperbrightLEDs

Found this car clock/temp/voltage display. It comes with dual (short & long) temp sensors and has all sorts of options but no docs. It’s not that hard to figure out but a cheat sheet would be nice. I’ll see if I can work one up.

$11.69 at Walmart

Top center I’m going to mount a waterproof remote control RGB LED puck. It’s designed to run off three AAA batteries, but I’ve modified it to run off a small 12v to 5v regulator. I’m going to add a USB charger port out the back so the regulator has a heat sink to carry the heat load (potentially ~15w).

Puck with remote is $10 from SuperbrightLEDs

The prism and Storm Glass are both underlit with RGB oversize (3/8” dia) LED’s. They have 365 ohm ½W series limiter resistors in the power lead to prevent overload.

8mm (3/8”) color changing LED is under $1 ea. from Digi-Key

The 12v to 5v regulator IC has just three terminals; in, gnd, and out. The red leads are 12v while the yellow are the +5v power. Again, purchased thru Digi-Key

Pre-wires for: RGB LED w/sw, time/temp w/sw, 5v RGB puck w/sw, remote, and v reg.

This will be the living room stereo with a nice set of Bose speakers as well as a night light. Each item is individually switched so the entire thing can be turned off or lit up like a carnival. Big color changing LEDs go under the prism and storm glass. There is a 3” dia remore control LED puck that will be used as a lighted base for a display stand. None of the lights are synchronized so the color mixes and patterns will be strange — the stranger the better!

RGB Puck and 12v-5v regulator with wiring to battery clips.

These LCD humidity modules are cheap and cool.

A pair for under $15 from Walmart

A Storm Glass is and old piece of technology. It respondes to changing weather conditions by having crystals in the fluid go up and down. If the top is clear the weather will be. The more crystals at the top the worse the weather. It looks really cool underlit by a giant RGB LED.

Storm Glass. From WalMart

A 6” prism will be captively mounted upward to balance the Storm Glass visually.

$16 at Walmart

I’ve always loved watching the VU meters while listening to music. The particular radio used here doesn’t have built-in VU metering functionality so I’m hoping to be able to add it via the preamp output jacks. I’ll cobble it up on the bench first before finalizing the layout. Centered over the radio module might work …

Dual LED VU meter, $15 at Walmart .

Again, I’m going to mix lots of colors and patterns in the wood and joinery.

I normally use a two terminal barrier strip for the antenna leads on the radio. These are plain-Jane but functional. For this monstrosity I’m going to use a couple of high voltage ceramic insulators just for nonsense as the actual antenna leads. Maybe put a Jacob’s ladder shaped coat hanger on it. LOL

Should be impressive as antenna terminals!

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

2 comments so far

View Redoak49's profile


5368 posts in 3205 days

#1 posted 09-09-2021 10:56 AM

I really like project. I hope you post a list of components.

View Madmark2's profile


3063 posts in 1804 days

#2 posted 09-09-2021 05:43 PM

TYVM! Will do!

-- The hump with the stump and the pump!

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