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Manual Crankable Larson Scanner

An analog Larson Scanner powered by a LEGO crank and conductive tape…

The most recent fun project at Brown Dog Gadgets is our take on the classic Larson Scanner. EMSL has an awesome kit, and many people who have experimented with an Arduino and LEDs have made a breadboard version.

Well, Josh and I made a LEGO version using Crazy Circuits parts, and instead of a microncontroller it’s controlled by a hand crank! Yeah, it’s an Analog, Hand-Cranked, LEGO-Based, Crazy Circuits Larson Scanner.

As with all of our projects, the instructions, files, templates and all that are available for free. Check it out! You can certainly use other components besides Crazy Circuits and Maker Tape for this, but as always, getting parts from us (or a reseller) ensures we can keep producing open source educational content and curriculum. And yes, schools, teachers, maker clubs, and other use these resources, and we incorporate their feedback into new designs and projects.

There’s a bit of an explanation about the cylinder and “coding” as it were, in the instructions. While this is a simple & fun project, you can expand upon the basic concept to talk about more advanced concepts. That’s pretty much our goal with these things.

Josh had a lot of fun making the video for this one, though I’ve heard that stock music way too many times in other videos! ;)

Perfect for your Knight Industries Two Thousand or Cylon!

2 replies on “Manual Crankable Larson Scanner”

Cool project.
But the text states it as being analog, that is not true, there is no analog about this, it is a electro-mechanical digital device.
Everything is build on the foundation of switches being on or off, nothing in between, i.e. only two states, thus digital.

Hi Martin, as a pedantic person, I appreciate your response. While the circuit itself can definitely be considered digital, we were thinking of the process of turning the crank by hand as the analog part of the mechanism.

For a bit of fun we’ve also connected up a motor to take the place of a person’s hand to turn the cylinder. (Didn’t get video of that yet.) We hoped it would be apparent this is meant to be a fun project to inspire creativity, making, and learning. Cheers.

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