TTC Light Map Build!

On December 17, 2017, the Toronto Transit Commission opened its new subway extension. With free rides on opening day, I had no excuse not to go check it out!

Along the way, they were handing out little goodies. One of the hot items many people were grabbing up were opening day subway map posters. For the longest time, I wanted to buy one of the subway maps they sell and fit it with LEDs but I never got around to it. Since a map was literally put into my hands, the motivation instantly came to get this project done.

Materials

1 x Subway map

2 x Sheets of black foam core board

75 x WS2812b LEDs

1 x Atmega328p Breakout Board (An old custom PCB of mine!)

1 x USBTinyISP MicroUSB module

1 x Toggle switch

1 x 5v 2A Power Supply Adapter

The Build

The process was straight-forward: Cut out the station holes, hot glue all of the WS2812B modules down, and then solder them all together. I did find that the module ends up getting hot enough to remelt the hot glue while soldering but it was still manageable even with small gooey messes along the way.

I initially put down Line 1, just to see how it would look before I did the rest of the system:

Despite the really unclean holes, it looked good enough to continue.

Lots of soldering and hot glue was involved…

I did run into issues on the first power on after soldering all of the LEDs. Reflowing some of the joints and replacing some of the wire fixed it.

The system uses an Atmega328p with a USBTinyISP microUSB module I picked up on eBay some time ago. It’s my first project using one of these. I’m definitely getting back on eBay to order more because they’re a dream to work with and it combines with my Atmega PCB perfectly.

I’m very happy with the way this project turned out. It feels great to kick off the new year this way!

Videos

I tweeted a video of it in action. It’s also up on YouTube.

I’m planning on getting some hooks to hang it on my wall. I’m not sure what it will display once it’s up but for now it’s just playing the Demo Reel example sketch from the FastLED library.

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It’s 2018. How y’all doing?

It’s been a while.

My last post here was March 2017. That’s embarrassing… but I’m back for a new year and for a comeback! Here’s a few things that have been going on:

Christmas Light Show… was a bust.

I had another light show project that was actually progressing over the past few months but very slowly… so slowly that I didn’t even manage to make anything for Christmas. I ended up abandoning it and now I just have this big thing taking up a lot of space. I’ll post an update on that project in a bit.

Toronto Subway Map project

Last year in December, the Toronto Transit Commission opened a new subway extension. I rode around on it the day it opened and they happened to be handing out subway map posters. For the longest time, I’ve wanted to go buy one and fit it with LEDs but I never got around to it. Since I literally had the map put in my hands, I couldn’t let time go on and procrastinate again. I got to work almost immediately and I’ve got something really fun to show you. Stay tuned for a project build post on this very soon!

New Soldering Iron!

I built this work station way back for the new year in 2016. It’s grown bit by bit and naturally that leads to clutter. I decided to do a bit of cleaning up.

I built a new spool holder that sits the spools vertically so they take up less horizontal space. It’s made out of an polyethelene ‘L’ (scrap piece from work) and a couple of wooden dollar-store dowels. It works well.

The main reason for the clean up was to make space for a new soldering iron. I’ve been a Weller guy since my college days since I started out with a Weller iron (no station) in college. I’ve been using a Weller WLC100 since 2014 since I couldn’t afford anything better at the time. I felt like it was time for an upgrade so I picked up one of these Hakko irons since I always hear how nice they are. After using it to complete my subway map project, I have zero regrets. Would recommend!

This is it after I finished the subway map project… So much for cleaning up, eh?

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Let’s hope the new-year motivation continues on! See you soon!