Older news


Pummers and Things That Flash


Description: A pummer is basically just a flashing LED with a decay value. This simply means that the LED turns on fast then softly fades away.

I have built a fair amount of pummers, the ones here were just handy in my apartment to take pictures of. I have given about 6 away as gifts, left another 12 at my old home, have 7 at my new home, built about 8 prototype pummers for Solarbotics, then finished another 50 Solarbotics hex pummer kits for sale. That's up till about 2002 and I still like building them...

I really like pummers, they are quiet, aesthetic, run by themselves and have an operational life in the years. I have a few that are approaching 4 years old that are still going. Mark has a few at his place that are well over a decade old and still working! 



Build Date: June 18, 2003

The smallest pummer I have built to date. Used as many SMT components as I could. Powered by 5 SCPD's and using an SMT 74HCT240, the pumm cap is 100uF.

Top picture shows the pummer sitting on a quarter for size comparison.

Middle picture shows pummer in a bottle...

And bottom picture shows the pummer beside the soldering iron I used to build it.

And yes it really works.




Build Date: Jan 23, 2003

Not really a great looking pummer, just trying to fit this in a nice small container. Hidden beneath the circuitry is a powerful rare earth magnet so that this can basically be stuck to anything made of nickel, cobalt or most importantly iron.

This uses a newer high efficiency pummer type circuit, the large white LED will flash for about 2 hours and the smaller red LED will flash for about 10 hours and that's on a single 1F cap. That sure beats the 45min max that the first generation circuit gave, and its such a small change too its another one of those "why didn't I see it before!" type of things.




Build Date: Aug 18, 2002

Just a quick little bright blue pummer.

Uses a SC2433 solar panel and a pair of AAA nickel metal hydrides for power storage. This little guy will easily run all night, on a decent days charge. Built as more of a test using the NiMH batteries instead of the usual Ni-Cads. Given the choice I still prefer Ni-Cads.




DSCN0052.jpg (39038 bytes)


Build Date: July 20, 2002

LED color: Blue, Red

This is a Pummer that I built for my cousin Brent.

This uses a pair of AAA Ni-Cads for power and a SC3766 to charge. I used a 10% duty cycle for better efficiency and longer battery life. The main LED is a bright blue that is filed flat to give a nice pinpoint of light. This one also has a small red LED that can only be seen from the back.




Yellow-pumm.jpg (83721 bytes)


Build Date: Aug 5, 2002

Hmmm this one has a bit of a story...

I went to the AAAI conference in Edmonton in July, there were these flashing buttons from NASA AMES research sitting on a table for free, I took a couple and proceeded to hack one into my name tag with my multitool while watching the botball competition. When I got home I converted it into a solar power blfnar, you can also set the frequency of the flashing as well by adjusting the yellow thing pointed out the side.

I also made a similar one using a ultrabright green LED for Dave to thank him for taking me along, Thanks Dave!




Build Date: 2001

A white LED Pummer that uses a hard drive platter spacer as the "frame". Not really an original idea, I saw a few at MarkT's place and for fun built one.

This runs off of a 1F 2.5V gold cap charged by a SC2433 solar panel. 

Will run for about 2 hours on a good charge.




Build Date: Aug 2001

A solar powered laser pointer, not a pummer but still the same basic category. Pair of 1/3 AAA batteries being charged by a SC2422 cell.



Build Date: Aug 2001

Pummer built from a chunk of crystal that I acquired in New Mexico. I drilled a hole in the bottom for the LED so that it is actually imbedded inside, flashes a very bright green actually see for yourself (1.9MB).



Build Date:  Jul 2001

A small triple LED pummer that uses a pair of coin cell Ni-Cad batteries. The three small red LEDs are all in parallel so that they all flash at the same time. The coin cells will usually run this for the whole night.





Build Date: Jul, 1999

A dual pummer but the second LED is located near the bottom so it lights up the base. An older pummer built during one of my first pummer building binges. All exposed steel is rusting, gives it an interesting retro-futuristic look, still I tend not to use much carbon steel anymore.