Designing a flux capacitor from Back to the Future

In a recent Instructables post, Maker Chris Fry (who goes by the handle of n1cod3mus) details his journey to construct a flux capacitor from the ‘80s classic Back to the Future. Using an Arduino Uno (ATmega328), Fry certainly succeeded at his task.


In the post, Fry discusses his early obsessions with the hilarious film trilogy, “10 years back I decided I wanted to build a flux capacitor, but I got stuck back then because I didn’t have the correct skills at that time.”

Much like Dr. Brown, now a decade into the future, he decided to come back to it with my now improved skills and technology.

The Maker did some serious research to assure that his flux capacitor was as authentic as possible. After scouring the web he concluded that the enclosure was a Stahlin J1210HPL, which is now out of production. He used stills from the film to color and outfit this case as accurately as imaginable.


Though, he does divulge one change from Doc’s initial iteration claiming, “The original flux capacitor used in the films used incandescent bulbs, LEDs are better suited for our needs.” Subsequently, he went on to attach the Arduino to control each of the device’s many LEDs.


Once securing the electronics within the box and wiring up a speaker, the talented Maker even found time to add a remote control to this prop. In the video below, you can see the full device in action.

Looking to get up to speed on Fry’s project before October 21, 2015? You can find his entire Instructables post here. If you want to explore one of his latest projects, discover how he turned old floppy drives into tunes.

3 thoughts on “Designing a flux capacitor from Back to the Future

  1. n1cod3mus

    Hi guys, someone just pointed out that you have written an article on my flux capacitor. this was my first project using an Arduino.I do have a little bit of an advantage as I work in the IT industry and program C# so picking up the code for the Ardunio wasn’t very difficult.

    I am currently in the process of using an Arudino to build the Time Circuits, the bit that doc punches in the date he wants to go, and it displays the destination time, present time and previous time. The time circuits will be using a bunch of shift registers, and I will also be equipping it with sound, and it will be able to be hooked up to the Flux Capacitor so they will work in tandem, along with future, back to the future props I intend to make.

    I am struggling with one part which is no longer made, the TRW Keypad, if anyone can let me know if anyone has one they would be willing to sell that would be awesome. Doesn’t even have to work. (but in olive green if possible, but any color will do)

    Thanks for checking out my instructable guys, I appreciate the support, and I hope I inspire other makers to go that extra step further to make the projects not just great but amazing and awesome.



  2. Pingback: Turning old floppy drives into music | Bits & Pieces from the Embedded Design World

  3. Pingback: Replicating Doctor Who’s K9 with Arduino | Bits & Pieces from the Embedded Design World

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