The Hacksmith: Pandora's Box

By The Hacksmith

The Hacksmith team has a new member, a co-op student from the University of Waterloo. Her name is Elena, and the first project they task her with is something they’re calling Pandora’s Box. The basic idea is to build a box that should never be opened. And if you do disobey the clear instructions not to, it will SCARE the S### out of you.

If you’re not familiar with the story of Pandora’s box, it’s a story from Greek mythology. In the original story, Pandora’s box was actually a jar, but the word was mistranslated to “box,” and we’ve been saying box ever since. Pandora’s box contains death, disease, and pretty much all things bad.

The box was given to humanity by Zeus, who was angry still angry at Prometheus for stealing the invention of fire from the Gods and giving it to humanity — since apparently chaining Prometheus to a rock and having an eagle eat his liver every day wasn’t enough punishment for Zeus. Today, “opening Pandora’s box” is a common saying for an action that leads to a lot of bad things. Anyway, check out Elena’s version of the mythological container of badness in the video below!


How Does it Work?

To accomplish this, Elena starts by wiring up 58 LEDs. Each LED is 100W and 9000 lumens. Together, that’s 5800W and 522,000 lumens. That’s like looking into the sun! But just being super bright isn’t enough, so she threw an electric air horn in and now it is deafening as well!

The box is powered by a 10 cell (42V) lithium polymer battery. Protecting the battery is a BMS, which keeps all of the cells balanced and also acts as a charger. The LEDs run at 40V but the air horn is only rated at 12V. To power the air horn, a step-down converter usually used on electric scooters was used. There is an Arduino Pro Mini controlling everything. When the lid is opened, a limit triggers the Arduino with a time delay to turn on the lights and horn. The box has a time delay so the unsuspecting individual can open the box entirely before getting blinded.

Once the project was complete, the team had to test it! What better way than to leave it out at a Halloween party? Who can resist opening a box that says “DO NOT OPEN”?

Schematic and BOM


More Hacksmith Creations with Arduino

The Arduino is often the go-to controller for “Make it Real” projects. Check out these other Hacksmith creations made with Arduinos on!

Making an Arc Reactor With Arduino

Arduino-Controlled Hot Potato

Arduino-Controlled LED System for the Bat Baja

QWOP Made Real: Control a Person (poorly) with Arduino

Remote Controlling the Bat Baja with an Arduino

Rainbow Six Blitz Shield

"Boom Box" Wireless Firework Detonator

Torbjörn's Turret From Overwatch

Zarya’s Particle Cannon From Overwatch

Arduino-Controlled Jet Engine for a Motorcycle

Flame Thrower Exhaust for a Spy Car

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