I have designed a little gimcrack since my Flash-Light venture seems to be going no where.

What I have designed is an electronic takeoff on The Magic 8 Ball. Except this being electronic it will not be limited to the 20 phrases possible on an icosahedron. Because this is software and hardware, 80 responses will be easy. And adding in 800 more phrases is certainly possible. I have the memory chip picked out if that becomes a design requirement.

The Magic 80 Ball™ is a take off on my Flash-Light design in that it will use the same power conversion chip the Flash-Light uses. I expect that battery life will be on the order of 100 to 300 hours of on time depending on the final power consumption of the device when it is on. Since it uses a trickle of current to keep everything alive when it is not displaying an answer, the maximum off time before a battery change is required will be on the order of at least ten years.

I have the circuit board laid out and a preliminary design for the software done. The random number generator to pick out a phrase is an interesting trick. It will cycle as long as you hold down the “Ask A Question” button. Since it will run through random numbers until you let go of the button – you never know – except through your mysterious contact with the secret forces of the universe what will come up. That and the phrases that will be programmed into the device.

If you have some ideas for phrases I’m all ears. But if you post them here you are giving me permission to use the word or phrases without compensation. That said I can also do custom versions. Everything that shows up on the display can be your choice. The display (for now) is a 2 line by 16 character LCD display. So the phrases you design will have to fit in that format.

There is also the possibility to program the device to use in party games. Or for any other use you can come up with. Let me know what you would like. We can work out a way to accomplish it at low cost. I’m a retired aerospace engineer (with commercial experience) so the price will be right. We use the Forth programming language designed by my long time friend Clyde so programming will be easy.

What I need right now is $80 to build two prototypes to do testing on so I can refine the power use specs and get a working model for further advances (like designing a case). The first board has already been laid out. So all I need to go is the money for the prototypes.

Anyone who donates $60 or more to the project will get a fully functioning prototype (uncased) for their very own. You will have to pay shipping when the software is done (about 2 months). I have already built a board using the processor chip so this design is not completely brand new. Most of the parts have already been tested.

If you would like to donate to the project – I will be grateful for any amount – you can use my PayPal account. Please note on your donation the name of the project.

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