Building an Air Quality Top Hat and Letting the Smoke Out

smoke out.png

I’m building an Air Quality Measuring Top Hat for my Red Nose Day Lecture in Rhyme next week.

I think I’m the first person in the world to do this. No idea why.

Anyhoo. I’m going to equip the hat with a bunch of coloured leds to indicate the quality of the air around the wearer. Yesterday I started building up the hardware. I was driving all the leds with one of my trusty Wemos 8266 devices. Half way through my first test of the leds I noticed smoke rising from the device. Now, I don’t know much about electronics (obviously) but I do know that all electronic devices are actually powered by “magic smoke”. I know this for one simple reason.

If you let the magic smoke out of a device, it stops working.

It turns out that I hadn’t turned on my main power supply for the leds, so all the power was being drawn through the Wemos device; specifically the blackened and unhappy looking component above. Which got very hot, let out its magic smoke and stopped working.

Oh well.

The good news is that the Wemos devices only cost around two pounds each. I’ve ordered ten more…