I’ve had a desire to turn this Pacman Ghost Light into a status indicator for my monitoring since like 2016. Somewhere around 2017-1028 I started accumulating hobbyist electronics parts — soldering gear, various Micro:Bit, Espressif, and RP2040 boards, breadboards, wiring, misc. sensors, etc. — with all sorts of intended projects… that never came to fruition because, frankly, I don’t like soldering stuff because I was very bad at it. And for many project ideas I’ve had, if I procrastinate long enough, the market eventually produces something I can just buy and convert to Tasmota or ESPHome.

Recently I’ve had an idea for something that I need strongly enough to overcome my foot-dragging. But it’s complicated, with several types of components involved and safety implications for some of our pets. I need to build up some experience before taking it on.

Over the past month or so I’ve worked on a few “easy” things where the end result was pointless but the experience of doing it was beneficial. My soldering is now ok-ish. I’ve done stuff with the Arduino IDE and ESPHome, on ESP32 and Pico W boards, using breadboards and buttons and tiny OLED screens and RGB LEDs. Two weeks ago I noticed my Pacman Ghost Light being boring and knew I’d be taking it on as my first actually useful project.

Pictured above is my first go at it, using a Pico W, several RGB LEDs for the body, and the original white LEDs in the eyes. I initially got it going a week or so ago using ESPHome and the Uptime Kuma HACS Integration. Over the past few days I’ve completed a 2nd one with CircuitPython that polls Uptime Kuma directly and adds RGB LEDs to the eyes, running on an ESP32-C3 board. And circled back to put that CircuitPython code on the original.

And last night I published the code on GitHub so now anyone can build one. Well, if they can figure out how to put all the hardware bits together — as a rank beginner, I don’t really want to write up a full tutorial.

When I have more roundtuits I’d like to add some Pacman sounds and the ability to connect to multiple Uptime Kuma instances, but for now I’m going to move on to the next project.

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