Monday, May 7, 2012

RC Lights

This Blog will be a journey from the idea of a RC mounted, gravity controlled, dynamic visual display, to its completion.

Lets start a little beyond the beginning since this is my first attempt at blogging and it's staring 1/3rd the way through this project.

The hardware consists of 39" of red, green and blue (RGB) LED's that are microprocessor controlled. On-board will be a 3 axis accelerometer to monitor craft orientation (knife edge, free fall, hang, inverted flight etc..) and preform specific effects based on the XYZ axis detected.

The Propeller based program core is complete, whats left is to program is specific lighting effects and detect "tricks", some of which will need to be programmed on site.

*A note on functionality of the RGB LED's at this time. Currently I can control intensity from off (0) to full (511), and color from red (0) to violet (1532) in four channels with all additive colors in between, and of course white.

5/9/12: I have completed the CAD (right) of the PCB that will carry all of the components seen in the picture (above). Also, Gerbers have been sent to seeedstudio for manufacture.

5/26/12 The finished board finally arrived (above) and I wasted no time soldering it.  

In the mean time I will tweak and program what tricks I can from the bench.

To the right is a section of the LED driver in assembly. I had previously wrote a LED driver in SPIN to control intensity for Red, Green and Blue LED's, and consequently the combination of them to produce any additive color. Spin unfortunately did not provide the necessary speed required to control four RGB LED strips at a fast enough rate to trick the human eye into seeing a steady light (120hz).

A few frantic hours later, four light shows,  two   (the best of which) were designed by my wife are complete.


What else could be done with a sensitive accelerometer? Perhaps, if its sensitive enough, pick up the vibrations caused by moving vehicles, or even people! Add FFT and triangulation, monitor location and rate of speed! That sounds like a new project!