Weather Smart Lego Lighthouse

Short Description: 

As the father of two sons, I'm required by international law to be into Lego.  And of course after my boys lost interest, I had to go on and build 'adult' Lego sets. Not so much required by law, but strongly encouraged by The Lego Group, plc.

Lego advertising photo of the setSo, last Christmas, as a request, I received the Lego Motorized Lighthouse set

This is, to say the least, an extremely cool, and as the title says, motorized, lighthouse kit. I managed to  hold off on finishing the build for 24 WHOLE hours. But once finished, I added batteries, turned on the switch, turned off the lights in the room, and watched the beacon light sweep around the room, with a warm gentle fireplace light showing in the little house. To say I was smitten is to understate the patently obvious.

But then . . . and here come the words that any engineer will tell you are the most dangerous in the world . . . . I got to thinking . . . 

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Feb 17 2023 to May 31 2023
Percent complete: 
Finished project?: 
The basic Lego Lighthouse kit on our kitchen table, awaiting . . . magic
Work History: 
  • 12/26/2022 - Jay builds the Lego lighthouse kit.
  • 12/27/2022 - Jay starts to thinking . . . 
  • 2/17/2023 - Jay draws a basic function diagram and then goes fracking crazy.
  • 3/15/2023 - Jay starts ordering parts
  • 3/23/2023 - Prototyping the electronics starts
  • 4/15/2023 - Interface to the actual lighthouse electronics
  • 4/17/2023 - Building the base box
  • 5/4/2023 - Installing elecronics into the base
  • 5/6/2023 - The entire thing is working. All that remains is finalizing the finish on the box, adding feet, and deciding whether or not I want to order a large clear plexy cover to go over the lighthouse ($$$)
  • 5/31/2023 - I'm calling it finished. No cover for now. I've added feet to the case and left the case unfinished.
Design Notes: 

For the moment, this is a placeholder until I can add the updates. I've moved very fast on this project, and only a little bit of it is woodworking related. Otherwise it's Lego, electronics, interface design, sound design, and python programming. I'll start with the wish list:

The motorized lighthouse is cool and all . . . but I want it to do more. I made the mistake of, the second night while showing it to my wife, opening my phone, finding a lighthouse sound effects video on Youtube, and played that in the background. Even she got goosebumps. So I wanted it to do more:

  • Sound effects . . . obviously
  • Timer function to turn it on and off
  • A foghorn . . because DUH, obviously.
  • Oh, and the foghorn has to turn on when it's foggy out.
  • And it has to lose the batteries, so I need it to plug in and run all the time
  • And it can't have an attached computer, so I need a way to control the thing

See . . . . nothing much. Just a standalone lighthouse toy that looks, sounds, and acts like a real automated lighthouse with foghorn.

Sounds  a bit mad.    But ya know what . .  .I've BUILT it. And it is AWESOME!

Much more to come.


TBD - I have some more of the project updates to add. After I've done those, I'll add my final thoughts here.