Winter Solstice: DimBot 1.0

Unto us a sun is given!

Two years ago, when I was getting into electronics, the life partner said she’s always wanted one of those alarm clocks that turns a light on gradually to simulate getting up with the sunrise, but they seem too expensive, and could I make one?

I fiddled with the idea for a while. This summer, I worked out a plan. Got a proof-of-concept up and running in October, and then decided in November that it would make an appropriate Winter Solstice project, following my PrayBot for the Summer Solstice.

The long story is chronicled in pictures in the gallery, but the short story is: it worked, I got it done just in time, and… it felt fantastic, getting that light to come on while working at night in the darkest season of the year. Triumphant. In the height of summer, I turned that abundant sunlight into electricity and used it to give thanks for that light; in the depth of winter, I took electricity and made a functional surrogate sun, to remind our animal bodies of the great miracle that it will return and make us warm again.

It will need lots of tweaking. Currently, it’s hooked up to our reading lights, and so the controls for those are now both on my side of the bed. So the life partner needs a button on her side. And, it’s making a tolerable but undesirable amount of radio interference with our baby monitor a few feet away. And I haven’t even done the gradual-on feature yet - it just turns on abruptly (yet silently!). But that will come.

For now, I am on vacation, and savoring my role as the Family Sun-Bringer.

“And Maxwell said, ‘LET THERE BE LIGHT!’”