Bindicator Project - CircuitPython, 3d Printing, Custom PCB

SO back in September I saw a viral post from a few years ago about a dude in the UK who made a ‘bindicator’. Basicaly a garbage bin that lights up with the colours for whichever bin needs to go out on that day.

I thought it was a very cool idea but design was outdated with a oversized microcontroller and a clunky stl file. So my friend and I decided we’d design our own.

The STL file is now on its fourth iteration. Though a fifth will be needed once the breakout board arrives from Pcbgogo.

The code is coming along nicely. Though I almost wish that CircuitPython had better multithreading support. (its being worked on currently, apparently). The last bits to be worked on are scraping the Bin dates from the council website.

Is there much interest in this project? I have been working on a google doc that lays out the components and steps needed to make one… Really all you would have to do is download the code from github and write your own function to get the Bin Dates from your own councils website.


Great project idea!

What feature requires multithreading?


Nothing absolutely necessary but id like to have been able to control the LED array on another thread so that I can have animations play whilst slow tasks like connecting to the wifi occur.

I did see this thread though so maybe Ill have that ability soon.
Add support for async · Issue #6000 · adafruit/circuitpython · GitHub

Hi Morpha,

Welcome to the forum :slight_smile:

Do you have any photos of your bindicator setup?
It sounds a lot more interesting than a calendar reminder on my phone (which I dismiss because I’m busy and then forget about).

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Yeah here is the stl model render and the printed prototype. This is the fourth iteration of the model (and it will get one more once the PCB arrives)

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Hi Morpha,

That is an awesome print! I didn’t think it would be possible to make a wheelie bin look cute :grin:

Wow! Very smart outlook.

Today I have a question for the more experience engineers here. I have idea’s but thought this is a good opportunity to see how other people came up with solutions to the same problem.

This project has 4 circuits and therefore 4 ground wires. The QT PY has only a single ground pin. How have you all combined multiple grounds together on your own projects? Used a small peice of perfboard? soldered all the wires together like an octopus?

Is there a standard/common practice for this in design philosophy that im not aware of?


Hi Morpha,

Both are very valid ways to connect a common pin, it very much depends on the project.
As long as you aren’t creating ground loops (where a local reference voltage differs depending where you measure) you’ll be fine.

To rephrase your question a bit, what do your circuits look like? (Various sensors, digital or analog, outputs ect)

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I havent got a diagram to show you at this stage but its not too complex so ill describe it.

Currently it looks like this:
5v pin to small RGB LED array.
3.3v pin to Button (+ 10kohm resistor) to gnd.
A2 pin to button led (+ ~200ohm resistor) to ground.
A0 pin to gnd (optional; to toggle the QT PY filesystem)

The button is on a breakout board so ive already combined the two grounds there but I still have 3 ground wires to connect to a single pin on QT PY. and there is a big difference in the voltages between the button, led and RGB array.

Im considering putting a small strip of copper in the bottom of the bin to solder all the gnd wires too.

LOL one of the contributors for this project found your instagram post about this project.

And now we have the first fully assembled Bindicator!

Currently im working with my local council to get a better API endpoint setup for this… good luck to me, getting councils to do shit is difficult at the best of times haha.

Also planning to reach out to a local community group who has an injection moulding machine that uses recycled bottle lids. Will see if getting the body done out of recycled plastic is an option. Getting moulds CNC’d will be expensive!