Light Show Debut: “Can’t Hold Us”

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Cleaning code

Untitled-1I have a template for the light show which is rebuilt every time the hardware stage is rebuilt. The template includes variables, arrays, and functions that make programming a lot easier.

Declaring the alphabet as individual variables is handy so that I don’t have to keep declaring variables within the program. I can just pick a letter, use it, and reuse it. Declaring arrays make it easier to address the desired LEDs as opposed to addressing them using pin numbers. I have a few basic functions, basically used for turning a group of LEDs on or off, like to turn on all of the red LEDs or turn off the “spotlight” LEDs. I don’t normally program functions that make patterns since the stage has so many things going on now. Functions would prevent me from doing multiple things at a time.

So anyways, I rewrote some functions that takes up less lines, significantly reducing the size of the file, which makes it easier to find things. Some of the new functions combine previous functions. For instance, I had separate functions to turn on or off each row color of LEDs, like AllRedsOn() that would turn on all of the red LEDs, AllRedsOff() would turn them off, etc, etc. I wrote a new function called AllLEDs(int ColorSelect, int State) where I would pass a character (a letter, like ‘R’ for red) that signifies the color and an integer (1 or 0) that indicates whether I want them on or off.

After I did this clean up, I got to work on a new show. It’s another short one, clocking in at 55 seconds. It should be out next week. Stay tuned & thanks for visiting!

Arduino Light Show 5.2 debut: “Radioactive”

Once again, I’m really happy to have gone with the upgraded light bar. While it is a bit too bright, I think it still looks good. This short clip was a good way to see some of the things I can do with everything in place. I don’t expect to do anymore tinkering with the hardware. There are a few songs lined up so hopefully I can get onto the programming soon! Thanks for watching!

Upgrading to Light Show 5.2

After the dust settled, I’m quite happy that I went through with this idea. The top bar of the light show is now made up of six RGB LEDs.
IMG_20140620_101534I ditched the old way I was going about it, trying to solder each LED together using wires. That was too frustrating so I found this piece of perfboard that was the perfect size for the bar. They’re all chained together in parallel so there are only four wires coming off of the bar. Hopefully that means less room for something to go wrong. With the solder underneath, it couldn’t sit flush to the original bar. If I sat it on top of the bar even with the solder, it was sitting too high for my liking. I ended up having it hang off of the end which still turned out great.IMG_20140620_121510At a certain angle, the LEDs flood the “ground” LED area with color which I really love. In the testing I found that, with the protruding board from the bar, it was hitting one of the “spotlight” LEDs when the spotlight was horizontal.IMG_20140620_122300The beauty about this perfboard is that it’s really easy to cut so I chipped bits off of that area until there was enough space to avoid the LED.

There are two things left to do before I start any real programming. I want to make the two support columns that are holding up the backdrop a little stronger. That probably just means more tape. The other thing I want to do is cover the perfboard with black tape or black paper if I can find some from my elementary school days.

Thanks for reading!

Change of plans, but still a plan!

The original plan for the new addition was an RGB LED matrix behind the backdrop. After considering how I would go about it and how it would look, I felt like it wasn’t worth the trouble. I didn’t think it would look good and that it would probably be something to consider in a refresh with a new stage built from the ground up.

The top bar was disassembled anyway so I decided to do something different with it. It will be fitted with RGB LEDs so I can solder them and make better connections.

IMG_20140618_142810Each color of all of the LEDs will be controlled by one pin. I haven’t used transistors in a long time (I’ve always had a fear of them) so I did some testing on a breadboard before I start soldering anything.IMG_20140619_154622I never use stranded wire so I went to pick some up today and soldered the “main” LED. The other LEDs will be chained to to each other, but this one will be the point of connection from the LEDs in parallel to the transitors. While I lose the ability to control each LED individually, I only have four moving wires to worry about this time. Hopefully my circuit makes sense. I’ll be back with a test soon enough. Thanks for visiting!

Risk and Reward

I’ve been in a project slump for a while now. I’ve decided to make a move on yet another experiment with the light show project. There’s a lot of risk in diving into the mess backstage. With wires flying everywhere, it’s so easy to have one (or a bunch) become disconnected and make for a really bad headache. I have a really interesting plan but it’s not going to happen if I don’t take the dive.IMG_20140617_131111The new light bar seen in the newest show, Jealous, was unreliable. Sometimes, an LED would randomly stop working and I couldn’t trace it back to any of the connection points so I think it was just some bad jumper wires. They will all be combined and controlled by one pin so I can free up a few pins to add something new.IMG_20140617_131147I don’t want to solder these LEDs because I want to be able to swap them for different colors depending on what I want for the next show… but the jumper wires have proved to be unreliable in this application so I’m not sure what to do next. Hopefully I can make a compromise soon.

The new addition will be a secret until it becomes part of a show. I want it to be one of those things that show up as a surprise, kind of how I wanted the light bar to be in Jealous, only being used halfway through the show. This will likely be the last addition to this stage. It’s somewhat of a big addition, with both new hardware and programming challenges, so it will be a while. Stay tuned!

EERef: Wrapping it up

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The Electronics Engineering Reference program is a personal project that started back in March of 2014. Over the weeks, it expanded with the addition of new topics, calculators, and tutorials, and the Quiz Center. It also went through major design changes that changed both the color scheme and layout of the program.

This project, like all of my projects so far, have been for fun. I take on these different projects to experiment with things I already know and to keep learning more. I’ve learned a lot from this project in both design and function and so I think it’s time to move on. I still have a list of things I would have liked to add to the program, but with pretty low public usage, I don’t have much motivation to continue. With that, the version now available (2.1.0.1) is the final build, unless something comes up. You can make requests for features by commenting on this blog post that could maybe possibly reopen this project.

Thank you for using EERef.