Hanukkah Menorah (WiFI, Homekit and Siri Controlled)

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Introduction: Hanukkah Menorah (WiFI, Homekit and Siri Controlled)

About: I am a Software Engineer who likes to tinker with many different technologies. One motto I try to live by is " I can stop learning when I die".

So my wife asked me to build her a good size menorah for us to place in the bay window facing the street. This is what I came up with, I hope you like it.

Supplies

Step 1: Cutting the Small Pices

I used a pipe cutter to cut the PVC pipe into pieces about one inch long, I ended up needing 8 of them (yes I know there are only six in the photo). These will hold the Tee, cross and 90 degree pieces together. I also ended up cutting the piece which will be used to hold the top of the menorah to the base, this was about a foot and a half to two feet long. These were very imprecise measurements as I just eye balled everything.

Step 2: LEDs and Wires

So I had a nice long string of LEDs (fifty to be exact). I cut off nine of these, and by luck (and a bit of good estimation) they fit very nicely from one tee connector to the next. I was able to feed both sides of the menorah, then stripped the three wires at the starting end. I soldered the stripped wires to fresh wire long enough to go down one of the menorah arms and the vertical shaft. My suggestion is to mark your wires, specifically the positive and negative wires with some tape and markers. Makes remembering them a lot easier later in the process.

Step 3: Tape and Paint

Being short on time to complete this project and make it into a contest, I opted to leaved the electronics in and cover the LEDs with tape so they wouldn't get covered with spray paint. I took some 200 grit sand paper and did a quick once over to allow for the paint to better adhere to the PVC. I sprayed two coats of paint over the entire menorah except for a few inches at the base of the vertical PVC pipe where I was holding it. This unpainted area would easily be covered with the base. The result look almost like metal pipe once dried.

Step 4: Base, Controller and Hot Glue

I had a nice project box bought years ago from radio shack. I found the center of the top and drilled a 1" hole in the center, the outer diameter of the PVC pipe. Once I drilled out the hole I slid the vertical PVC pipe through. I then drilled a small hole in the back of the base box big enough for a USB Micro B connector to fit through. I fired up the hot glue gun, and glued the PVC pipe into place as well as the ESP8266 NodeMCU board.

For the flames (led covers) I designed a very simple cover. These went over the 8 LEDs with a taller one going over the shamash candle. I 3D printed all of these in transparent PETG, it ended up defusing the light very nicely. Each cover is held into place with a small dollop of hot glue on the back side.

Step 5: Code (aka the Brains)

So I have attached the arduino code. If you are to use it, you will need to supply your own SSID and password for your wifi hub. The code creates a mini web server so that you can control each LED candle individually as well as two options for "animations".

Step 6: Add Siri and IOS Home Control

So yes I am adding this a bit later, but now I can control the ENTIRE menorah from Siri. To do this I used my laptop and a library called Homebridge. This free software is great, but requires that the laptop always be on. To compensate for this I have installed the software onto a Raspberry Pi which will run continuously as a server. I have attached the config file which is the most important. I also am using the library homebridge-http, to make the http calls which can interact with the Nodemcu board.

Installation instructions:

  • make a new empty directory and cd into it
  • run "npm install homebridge"
  • run "npm install homebridge-http"
  • edit the config file in your home directory to be similar to what's in the supplied file
  • Run homebridge!

Step 7: The Final Result

So here's the final result. It is able to be powered for probably at least a day or two (or perhaps a miracle 8 days) on a USB power pack. For best results we will be plugging it into a USB power supply. I have attached two videos so that you can see it working. This is possible to be a single day build, but with kids in the house it took all weekend and part of Monday.

I hope you all like it and Happy Hanukkah!

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    2 Comments

    1
    ettron
    ettron

    2 years ago

    Amazing work, chag ha chanukkah sameach.

    0
    wentworthm
    wentworthm

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thank you! It was a fun quick project.