Ground-Breaking Holiday Tea Light

Starting November 1st, it is officially reasonable to start talking about Christmas! For my innovative switch project I decided to make a self-lighting holiday ornament. I really “broke ground” with this one. When hung on a conductive surface, the ornament lights up.

Here is how I started:





And here is how it turned out:


But then…

I decided that wasn’t a good enough story. So, late last night I had an idea. Why not turn this into a REAL holiday ornament?!? I’ve always loved Charlie Brown’s Christmas Story, and I’ve always wanted a Charlie Brown tree of my own.

After a quick trip to Michael’s, I started fabricating…









And then, it was all done 🙂


Angler by Michael Kenney


This project was a lot of fun but also a lot of work. I started by creating a paper mockup that I turned into a pattern. After cutting and sewing it all together, I rigged it with 4 LED’s; one for the lure, and three for the back.

If I had to do it all over again, I would work a little harder on the prototypes so that I could have a better pattern to work from.

Here are some process photos:

IMG_1893 IMG_1897 IMG_1911 IMG_1917

Bond. James Bond. + RGBLED Trials

I don’t read sheet music. I tried to learn how from a 10 minute video, but it turns out that a 10 minute video doesn’t make you proficient enough to decode your favorite 80’s song. So, I turned to the giants that came before me. I found a sweet James Bond theme sketch and a tone library. The volume for the “song” is controlled by a potentiometer, and I have admit, that fade really made me feel like a DJ 🙂

What I liked about digging into someone else’s tutorial was figuring out the mechanics for building and loading custom libraries to Arduino. What a powerful addition to my skill set!

Here it is in action:

Well, that went swimmingly. Unfortunately, my RGBLED was a dud. I wired up the circuit diagram, tried two different sets of code, and two different LEDs. Alas, no luck. I will be inquiring as to why. Stay tuned.


Circuit 2 and 6: The Late, Late, Late Edition :/

I had the opportunity to take a physical computing class this summer, so many of these exercises are familiar to me, but practice makes perfect, right?

I especially like the Piezo exercise, because of the addition of the sound, because its output feels so much more physical and rewarding. Seeing the translation between the fequencies and the audio output kinda feels like magic 🙂

Circuit 2:

Circuit 6:


Michael Kenney

Teardown: The Late Edition

Breaking down this LG Dumbphone with my Tekton Small Electronics Repair Kit was a fantastic peek inside the black box of mystery and an exercise that really had me intrigued. What is this magic that ruled my life in 2005; this mix of plastic, aluminum, steel, copper, glass, and conductive tape, that is printed, pressed, pulled, stamped, cut, glued, and screwed into a plastic-injected, machine-milled, (wo)manhandled package?


Well, the answer is simple: my favorite phone of all time.

But now you ask me why?

Maybe it’s the sexy Qualcomm RFR 6500 Diversity Receiver?


Or this sweet LED?


Perhaps this LG PCB SUB Flex Cable?


Or the MV8652CAB Logic Board?


Well, no. It’s actually the exterior control functions that I loved the best. I mean, can you resist a touch screen that only exists for the novelty, and could barely register a finger at full tap? Probably not. But if you can, I’m sure that the landscape-intuitive photo button that encouraged proper video capture will steal your heart.

Class Introduction: Michael Lee Kenney

Hello, World! It’s me, Michael Kenney 🙂


Whaaat?!? I love cheese, but I hate wine. Beer is my thing, if I’m thirsty. Recently I left my abundantly green homeland of Cascadia to vision-quest my way through the concrete jungle of Manhattan. I’m glad to be here with lots of cool new peeps and learning some bad new skills.