ATTiny85 WAV Audio player for Halloween

It has been ages since I last posted. I wont get in to the reasons for it right now. Lately I have been working on a project for next years Halloween fun.

A few years ago I built a “Lightning Box” based upon a color organ circuit, and a halogen flood light. The unit works, but is a bit clunky, and relies upon an external CD player boom box unit I bought at the Dollar store for $5. The whole contraption definitely could use some re-working.

The current plan is to make the unit fully self contained (with the exception of the speakers) and solid state. The C player will be replaced with a audio player circuit I located that is based upon the ATTINY85 processor. I also plan to remove the amplifier board from a set of old computer speakers, combine that board with the audio player, and then feed the amplified audio into the color organ as well as the speakers. This entire collection of hardware should be able to be housed in a standard Carlon 4x4x4 PVC watertight junction box. More on that later…

I have attached a picture of the working prototype Audio board.


St paddys at the Kendall pub

Gordon and I found ourselves at the Kendall Pub tonight. Our friend Steve was scheduled to play, but unbeknownst to us they also scheduled a bagpipe & drum group as well. Poor Steve. The bag pipers were great, We even managed to impress the hell out of them by complimenting them on their rendition of “leaving of Liverpool”. The look on their faces was priceless.

Fight #1

Well, so far the fight count stands at one.

Every so often since Halloween Palley has asked me to get physical pictures made from Halloween.   I kept telling her I would, and decided that I woudl put them in an album and give them to her as a Christmas Gift.  (I thought about doing some sort of scrap book thing, but I know nothing about scrap booking)  So I went ahead and selected all of what I thought were the best pictures from the night and made prints.   I then hunted through half a dozen stores to find what I thgouth was a nice albulm to put them in.   It was nothign fancy, but it was soemthign she had been asking me for.

When she opened it the response was,  “Ohhh! oh good now I can finally get copies made.”   “Uh, if you want extras, let me just re-print them, making copies from the prints is not going to be as good as the original files.” “Why do you need extra copies?”  “Well I told you I want to send them to Micheal.” “No you didn’t.”  “Of course I did, thats the whole reason I wanted them was because he wanted to see them.” “Ok, whatever… I’m pretty sure you never mentioned that though”  “Of course I did, you just have to many things goign on and never remember these things.”  “Whatever” “Oh good grief, don’t start!”

So, turns out she didn’t want the pictures for anything other than to give to Micheal.  Should have known…

The party

As promised, here is the post about the party. Before I get into details, I would again like to thank for picking me up, and returning me safely to the hotel.
We arrived shortly after nine to a party that was in full swing. The party officially stated at eight, and neither of us wanted to be among the first there. As we were getting organized and ready to head in we were met by our host, the one and only Bilgemunky. We then headed in and met with the guests inside the door. A few seemed familiar, and it turned out they were. 🙂 Most were people I’ve met through the Port Washington Pirate Festival. and I then proceeded to fill our mugs. He had brought along ingredients for a special concoction that was extremely tasty. While our beverages were being concocted, I felt a gun shoved into the small of my back. I didn’t give it a second thought, or even a reaction at all frankly… (Yeah, I’m not normal) The owner said, in a very familiar voice, “See, the man has a gun to his back and doesn’t even flinch…” I responded with, “Why would I, when I knows I got nothin’ ta worry bout from the man whats holdin’ it.”

Bartholomew Grogswiller and John T. Hawser
Bartholomew Grogswiller and John T. Hawser

I then turned to greet my good friend Ian, and his wife Chris. The four of us made full introductions once again, to make sure everyone was acquainted. At this point we were hit up for pictures, a strangely frequent occurrence when Ian and I are together. Ian, Chris and I wandered the party together most of the night. We talked of a great many things, past, present, and even planned a few events to come.
Later in the night Bilgemunky carved the roasted pig, and many pirates set out to balance out the libations with a little meat.

Bilgemunky and the Pig
Bilgemunky and the Pig

After eating, many of us moved out into the back yard to continue our discussions and after a while, it was time for the group photos. I didn’t had my camera up to the collection so I don’t have a copy, but I suspect there will be some passed around at some point.
As the party thinned out a little, with a little prodding from yours truly, started a shanty sing in the back yard. (He brought songbooks, so it wasn’t like he wasn’t planning it all along 😉 ) He started off the night with “Rolling Down the River“, funny thing about that is that song had been stuck in my head since Thursday afternoon, so I actually had a pretty good idea of the chorus and all. He continued with a few other songs, with the other party goers joining in when they could. Ian and Chris were standing next to me and also joined in. After the 4th or fifth song I looked to and said, “What’s next?” He looked back and said, “you could do Ambletown”. “Now?” “Yeah” “Ok…” and with that I launched into Ambletown. I finished to applause, which still dumbfounds me every time I think about it… From there I let the pro handle a few more, then I ended up doing “Long time ago”. Not that this will come as any surprise to any of you that know me, but standing there, singing along, and even leading on a couple songs was the highlight of my night. I really just have a lot of fun with it, and even if I’m not all that great it doesn’t matter as long as it was fun. I think we finished up the singing with Drunken Sailor, which by this point in the night most guests left were. After that we milled about again talking and carrying on until about 2 am, when there was only a few of us left and we decided to call it a night. After thanking our gracious hosts, and I got back into his car, and he dropped me back off at the hotel.
All in all a fantastic night, and I look forward to next years party 🙂

It’s beginning to look a lot like Halloween…

Halloween? What? John, it’s June… Yes, yes it is. I have had an idea for a prop I want to build since the after Halloween sales netted me some faux planters. The idea is to have a skull burst from under the “dirt” of the planter. To do this with enough speed to startle anyone will require theist of pneumatics. Tonight I sat down with my Dremel in hand and built the inner workings. I’m proud to say that as of 10:15 pm I have a basic working prop.
the solonoid I’m using is a low amp model capable of being directly driven from a micro controller. This means I should be able to add in lighting, sound and perhaps even fog all controlled by whatever trigger I wwant.
I’ll post pictures soon.


The caroling party was a lot of fun. The few pictures I took are up. We sang a lot of songs and I think everyone had a good time. As always there was lots of food, we don’t have a party without gluttony 🙂

The caroling also left room for some hijynks including some snowball fights, and a bit of wrestling in the snow by the ladies of Bounding Main.
Bounding Main Ladies


Today is the day of the Port Washington Christmas Parade. The parade starts at 3:00, and I’ll be leaving to head up there about 9:30. I’m going to be in the parade for the Pirate Festival, then hang out a bit afterwards to hand out flyers, pose or pictures, etc. Not sure what will be on the agenda for the way home, but if anyone on the 94/294 corridor wants to get together, give me a call on the cell, It will be me and the girlfriend.