Posted on

Day of the Geek Badge

This is a short guide on how to assemble the day of the geek badge.

First up you need to check that you have everything you need:


  • Skull PCB
  • 20mm Battery holder
  • LEDs
  • Pin back

Not included:

  • CR2032 Battery
  • Soldering Iron
  • Solder
  • Pliers
  • Flush cutters

Step 1.

Place the battery holder into the provided holes and solder to the board, make sure you get this the correct way around! You need to be able to insert the battery from the bottom of the badge.

Step 2.

You need to apply solder to the centre of the pin back pad on the PCB. Tin your soldering iron then hold the tip against the large round pad on the rear of the PCB then apply solder, you want to cover about half of the area of the circle in the centre.

Step 3.

Using your pliers hold the pin back onto the centre of the pad you have just applied the solder to. While holding down with the pliers heat the pin back and hold the iron in place until you notice the solder flow to the edge.

Next remove the iron while still holding in place with the pliers. This will stay very hot for a while so be careful!

Step 4.

Turn the board over and insert the LEDs, ensuring the short legs are towards the centre of the board. Next turn the board back over again and solder the legs in place.

Step 5.

Using your cutters it’s time to snip the legs from the LEDs. You should wear eye protection as the legs can fly off!

If you want to have your badge stand up on a desk only snip the inner two legs and bend the remaining legs down slightly.

Step 6.

Insert the battery writing side facing out and you are ready to augment your best threads with some Dia de los Muertos geek fusion!

Posted on

Super Scary Halloween Pumpkin Using the BBC Micro:bit and Our Micro:Pixel


With Halloween on its way, its time to get your skills on with a Pumpkin again!.

But instead of using the traditional candle to light up the juicy pumpkin meat, why not stay ahead of the neighbours and use the latest tech in the form of our Micro:pixel add on for the BBC Micro:bit?

This piece of wonderment is a 4×8 array of WS2812B Neopixels all mounted to a Micro:bit compatible add on board.

Our tech guy, Drew,  has knocked out a piece of code that will cause the Micro:pixel board to light up with a most satisfying flickering candle vibe.

To show you just how nice this looks, our expert Goods In/Out girl, Sammy, spent the morning carving pumpkins out so we could take some cool pics and videos for you guys. She is the only responsible adult here at Proto-PIC and sharp things were involved. I think you’ll agree she did a great job!

Once we had two pumpkins carved out quite nicely, we downloaded Drews code and dropped it into the BBC Micro:bit

We then dropped the BBC Micro:bit with the Micro:Pixel add on connected up to a AAA battery cage into the pumpkins.

Drew has done two different Micro Python versions of the code for you to try. We have included links to the code and youtube videos of what you should see with each one below:

Version 1. Realistic Flame
This is a very realistic candle effect, very subtle colour changes and it looks great  when the light reflects around the inside of the pumpkin.
Download Realistic Flame Hex File (right click and Save Target As, then copy to your micro:bit)

Version 2. Spooky Halloween Colour Show
A little bit more disco – when you look at it cycling on the micro:pixel itself, it looks like it shouldnt REALLY look like a flame, more like a party. But when you drop it in the pumpkin and take a step back it looks really cool!
Download Spooky Halloween Colour Show Hex File (right click and Save Target As, then copy to your micro:bit)

Want to make it even better?

  • Why not addin a PIR sensor so your pumpkin lights up only when there are people around to see it!
  • Put the Micro:pixel inside one of our small packing boxes to diffuse the light – this creates a great effect