ATST Stencil Painting LED-ify… With an Air Freshener

I’m sure you’re confused by the title of this post, but I promise it’ll be explained in this article.  A few months ago I made a stencil painting of an ATST walker from Star Wars that was inspired by some of Marc Cody’s work.  After giving this original to a friend, Marc actually sent me a similar piece of art that he’d himself made (long story).  After having it for a few months, I decided to add some extra lighting to it!

Those that have been reading this blog, may remember that I’ve made lots of stuff with air freshers (Camera trigger, weird useless box thing, Limpy the robot to name a few).  The circuit for this freshener powers a motor in one direction for a second or so, then powers it in the other direction, reversing the polarity of the leads, commonly referred to as a “H-bridge circuit.”  Given that LEDs can only be powered one way, it occurred to me that this could be used to sequence two sets of them.  One set would trigger when the motor was meant to spin one way, the other set when it would reverse.  Since the automatic spray models have a passive infrared (PIR) sensor on them, this could allow me to light up something when a person walked by, much like the previously mentioned box-thing that I made.

atst-painting-red-backSo combining these two concepts, why not put them together by sticking these LEDs behind a painting?  When someone walks by, it would trigger the assembly and light everything up.  My thought was that this ATST walker painting could be made to look like it’s “eyes” lit up red.  The cannons would then shoot green.  I’m not sure what color they shot in the Star Wars movies, but green seems correct and I only had red and green LEDs available.

As you might be able to tell from the breadboard, to power these lights, all that was needed was two “rails” that would transmit positive and negative power that was previously going to the motor.  The red and green LEDs are reversed as to the positive and negative side.  The wiring that went behind the stencil painting was basically an extension of this.  Given more time, I could have just made a cutout PCB like used on these LED glasses.

The results have, honestly, been fairly marginal so far.  It manually works when pressed, however, as there is a time-lockout on this device so it only triggers every 30 minutes automatically.  Because of this, I’m not really sure how well the assembly works in automatic mode.  I’ve seen it work once this way, but not since then.  It’s not as scary as I’d hoped either, maybe I need to add some sound effects.  A chopped up Star wars toy might do the trick…

Either way, it was an easy little hack, and one more thing that I can use an air freshener for!  The Louvre should know that I’m available for consulting if they would like any of their paintings LED-ified!


  1. Another Automatic Air Freshener Use - Hack a Day - pingback on October 5, 2012 at 12:02 pm

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