So I worked from home today and had a ton of stuff to do, but was really quick on finishing everything; paying bills, calling customers, assisting in the technical miscellany that comes up in my normal job every day. As soon as I was finished I called the girls down to open everything up and at connect things so I can do the final test.


They pulled out the speakers and here is a quick video of us doing our sound test.

Now I never tested the actual daughter board. I have no idea if those outlets will work. So I start the program and test. This looks pretty good.

Well… I am very happy… Everything tested out OK and works the way I would expect.

I told the girls that we needed a “break from this project” as it was getting boring and we should go hang Christmas lights in our sun room. They were all excited and started plugging them into the outlets to turn them on. I told them I wanted to be the one to plug them in because it was too dangerous for them to plug them into the wall. That didn’t deter them at all and they started plugging them in and it was a whole thing.

2015-12-11 – 10:29PM

Well… Today the boot drive on my home computer went bad and at a very bad time. I was on site at a customer site and couldn’t connect to it to get to some important notes for a project, but even after my wife rebooted it she said it was giving an error… Something like, “Insert boot disk blah  blah blah”. After dinner at my parents house I checked it and sure enough… ”


Oh… Yeah… No. No. No. that wont work… that wont work at all. I checked it… The boot drive is dead. The problem is all my latest notes on on that system, not on the boot drive, but on another set of disks that are attached to it… Oh well… When life gives you lemons…

There are a few things that are good about that. I will list them in order of importance for this project:

  1. I can’t work on my PC. That means I have to finish hanging Christmas lights tonight (I don’t like hanging Christmas lights).
  2. I wanted to get a cheaper PC to use for my desktop anyway. I am not a gamer or power user, I just need it to configure stuff for customers and document. I built that PC for a lab system originally with lots and lots of power to get things built out and tested for customers quickly… The only reason I use it for a workstation was when I was doing video editing for a web commercial. That has been done this past April… It is overkill for me now.
  3. I want to use parts from that computer, specifically the camera you see on the top. I want to make a video of Project CORHAKADA and put it on youtube. The iPhone 5 camera on my phone wont be as nice as that.

With all that being said… I am off to plug in Christmas lights. I don’t know why I have such an aversion to hanging Christmas lights. I like looking at them. I love Christmas. My shrink thinks I don’t like it because when I was a little kid my father died on Christmas Eve climbing down our chimney and got stuck.. Oh… Wait  a minute that wasn’t my father… he is still alive. Oh yeah… That was from that silly girl from Gremlins… WORST CHRISTMAS STORY EVER! I am not sure what Chris Columbus the screen writer for this movie was thinking.


Anyway who cares if I don’t like hanging Christmas lights. It has to be done so I do it. Here is a picture of me hard at work.


I know what you are thinking. You are thinking, “Joe has gone off the rails and now he is just showing us everything he has to do because he is bored and his wife is making him do things he doesn’t like”. To that I say, “PISH POSH!!!” There is a reason for this madness. And here it is:

  1. I have 120VAC outlets on my project CORHAKADA.
  2. In my sun room I have 8 strands of Christmas lights placed strategically on the tree, around windows and even on the furniture.
  3. I am going to connect all of these together and attempt something that will make my kids very happy… And make myself laugh and laugh.

Let’s get going…. Her is a picture of the room with all of the lights in place. Only the Christmas tree is on because my wife did that part a couple of weeks ago. Nothing else is plugged in.


I taped lights to the windows, chair, couch, table, etc. I first tried electrical tape… It all fell off the next day. Then I used blue painters tape. That worked much better.

Here is what I am going to do:

  1. I am going to take the power cord from our device and connect GPIO0 to the Christmas tree.
  2. I am going to use the spare extension cords we bought earlier and connect the rest of the lights in no particular order to the rest of the lights on the windows and furniture.
  3. I am going to connect our speaker system to the motherboard.
  4. Then I am going to experiment to see if I can get something going that my kids will think is just great.

Oh… One more thing… Remember me and Kasia carving out the case to make that extension for a USB port? Yeah… Well I had to stick a wireless adapter in there so my project can communicate to a notebook in the back of the sun room where I am sitting now. I need to configure this first… It is going to be tricky because all of my notes on how to do that are on my computer that won’t boot. Grrr…


OK.. That is done… Let’s do a test.

OK… That worked all eight channels. The rest of the stuff is just boring tedious things. Testing sound, etc.

2015-12-12 – 11:15PM

Happy Birthday Mom if you are reading this.

I know… I know… It is super late for most people… 11:15PM what am I doing writing? Well… I already went to Mass earlier, the wife and kids are all asleep. I don’t do actual “work” on Sundays… So I can do what I always wanted with this project. I can stay up until I am literally too tired to work on it.

My hard drive on my computer died yesterday… I went to Fry’s with the kids today… They didn’t even notice I bought them their Christmas presents while we were there! Too fun.


Soldering irons…Solder removers… Wire clippers…. Multimeters… Toolboxes… And most importantly… The Christmas morning project (if they want to put them together) little light up Christmas trees they have to solder together!!!….. Crap! I just realized I need to get a couple of 9 volt batteries to power those little Christmas trees up.

Anyway… I also bought a new hard drive at Fry’s and it took a while for me to get back on line. I know… Boring right? But… I did need that to get my computer back on line and continue project CORHAKADA. Here is where we are with that project. I figured out how to make one of those channels light up when the motherboard “talks”.

2015-12-13 – 1:13AM


That was pretty good. I don’t know why it sounded like someone was taking a bite out of an apple after, but it was OK by my standards.

Now there is probably a way better way to do this, but I am just going with what I know. I have a script that allows me to make any channel on our daughter board talk. My setup works like this:

  1. I have a text to speech synthesis program that will upload any text I type to a Microsoft cloud server. That server will spit back out a MP3 file that I can play and push through the program.
  2. I control which channel they go out to by a config file that says basically “Only use channel 0 or channel 1 or any channel I choose for the lights”.
  3. The outputs of our “daughter board are connected to lights that cover different areas of my sun room.

With all of that put together I can run a script that looks like this:

./ “I am a Christmas tree.”
./ “I am a big window.”
./ “I am a couch.”
./ “I am a table.”
./ “I am a chair.”
./ “I am a lower window.”
./ “I am just some extra lights daddy had lying around.”

That is pretty simple stuff… Here is what you get.

2015-12-13 – 2:33AM

Well… I got my wish… I am literally too exhausted to do anything more. Good night.

2015-12-13 – 9:22PM

It was another long day. I had to finish fixing my computer so I could do real work tomorrow. But once that was done it was right back on to project CORHAKADA.

I didn’t like that each window or piece of furniture sounded just like the Christmas tree, so I used that program called “espeak” to generate those. The Christmas tree sounds more “human” the rest of the furniture and windows are robotic, but with different voices (different pitch, frequency, etc.) it was a tiny bit of work to get that right.

I wrote out a script for the Christmas tree to talk to my kids. I was able to test it a couple of times before we left for Grandma’s birthday party. When we got back… I just decided. Time to finish this project. No explanation necessary. Here is what the project was all about.


OK… Let’s call this project done. I am looking forward to the next project that I come across to teach my girls. Can’t wait for them to open their Christmas presents. Go STEM!


  1. Wow, Joe! Really, really cool! I’m blown away.

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