About this project
Updated offering: International Shipping on all kits.
Updated offering: Please notice the addition of a fully assembled and tested non-solder kit. You can see the sockets in the image below.
A couple of Christmases ago I bought a battery operated candle for each window of my house. In the evening walking home with the dog, I would look at them and think, I can do better. Those candles ended up in the trash when their batteries all leaked.
More recently I bought a bunch of votives to provide the ambiance of lit candles. It reminded me that I thought I could do a better candle.
I find the Store Bought battery operated candles and votives not very interesting. They require you to remember to turn them off and usually only have a single light emitting element. Often they seem very stiff and robotic, if you can say that about a candle.
I love flickering candle flames. I dislike;
Indoor air pollution.
Remembering to put them out.
Burning down my house.
After thinking about this for a couple years, last Christmas I decided that I had to do something better.
And I DID!
I designed qFlame to reproduce the flicker of a real candle without the negative issues. I settled on a simple design, a circuit board with a tiny processor, edge mounted battery holder for a base and LEDs mounted along the top edge.
qFlame exploits a tiny 6 pin microprocessor with just 256 words of code and 16 bytes of RAM. The firmware modulates its three LEDs to simulate an active flame. It has pushbutton start and you can hold the button for 1 flash -10 minutes, 2 flashes - 20 minutes, 3 flashes -40 minutes or 4 flashes and get 80 minutes of electric candle joy.
After the qFlame is running you may shut it off at any time by pressing the button once more.
Having a home lab and designing electronics for a day job, it's really not that difficult to design the hardware to blink some LEDs. But the devil is in the details. And 256 words of firmware.
I've already built three prototypes with a few more left un-assembled to help me when I develop the kit instructions. When the project is successfully funded investors will receive an email with all the ".pdf" documentation required. Then I will order the Kit Parts and the PCBs based on the quantity required. I have already sourced all the components and have several quotes from PCB fabricators. I will assemble the kits and solder the processors down to the PCBs in my LAB. The Physical kit will be delivered per schedule with all parts individually labeled and mounted to a kit card along with the circuit board. Assembly will require some SMT work (some large 1206 components and LEDs), but don't worry the programmed microprocessor will be pre-soldered by me to the circuit board.
After construction artistic additions are up to you. The flame diffuser shown in the video is constructed from tissue paper and wax paper formed to catch and diffuse the light from the LEDs.
Building this kit on Kickstarter will allow me to get better pricing and motivation to perfect the kit instructions and the firmware to simulate a flame.
Risks and challenges
My biggest risk is that I will be able to provide a kit that will produce a happy result with my investors.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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