Light Show Website Update!

I’m happy to announce an update of the Arduino Light Show Project’s website! The update is mostly aesthetic changes, with a few added animations here and there.

As for the next show, progress has been slow but I hope to ramp it up a little bit. I’ve been sitting on half of an update so I should have an update posted by the end of the week.

Thanks for visiting the blog and I hope you like the ALSP website update!

Code dump of Light Show files

I wanted to let everyone know that I’ve dumped all of my Light Show code files (.ino) into a directory over at the Arduino Light Show website. I’ve lost some files over time so all of the files you see in that directory are all the files that I have. Hopefully this ends the requests (and straight up demands) for code.

Update (10/17): I decided to do a little more work on the Light Show website. The Code Directory is an actual page now and you can now watch each video directly on the website.

Brainstorming for Fountain Show 1.1

IMG_20140917_135652Ever since I wrapped up the first fountain show, I’ve been trying to come up with ideas on how to improve the show. The focus of the next stage, if it ever gets off the ground, is creating some kind of backdrop. I found that there were too many times where the stage was completely dark so a lit up backdrop would fix that, in addition to opening up more kinds of lighting effects which, as it is right now, is limited with just 5 fountains sitting there.
IMG_20140917_120624This is probably the easiest upgrade I can do because it doesn’t involve setting up any vertical elements like my other ideas have. It’s basically lining the basin with RGB LEDs which would make for some cool chasing patterns, but that’s about it. It’s not the idea I’m likely to go with but it’s a cheap option.IMG_20140917_120631This idea would be kind of a spin on Light Show 3 with the lit up towers, except that they’d be horizontal.

The issues I’m having are coming up with materials and figuring out how I’m going to set things up. I don’t have an abundance of cardboard any more so I don’t have the materials to make the backdrop. The original set up was somewhat temporary. I’d leave the basin filled with water, but I’d put it on top of a table to avoid bugs on the ground in my basement. I don’t think I’d be able to do that with a backdrop attached to it so I may end up building it completely separate of the basin. We’ll see.

I was contemplating putting the fountain show on a hiatus until next spring, but Halloween is coming up and I’d like to do some kind of LED project for it so it could be a Halloween themed fountain show. I always end up waiting until the last week before deciding to do something. If I can’t figure out a plan for the fountain show, I may just have to put it on hold and go back to my “traditional” light show, or something else completely, for Halloween. I also have plans (not on paper yet) for Christmas that’s separate from the fountain show. So yeah, the fountain show is in bit of a limbo right now.

Thanks for reading!

All dried up

It’s always a little depressing having a project at a standstill. Right now, for me, that would be my fountain project.

IMG_20140903_111805Have I given up? No, I don’t think so. I’m sitting on more ideas, but they’re just ideas until I actually start. I’m not exactly sure how to start, and I’ve also been preoccupied with my website, store, and PCBs. But let’s not get sidetracked here.

I’ve always tried to be secretive in my plans, mostly so I don’t disappoint myself if something doesn’t work out the way I planned. I’ve been sitting on this idea for a while now so I might as well just share it.

I want to create a waterfall backdrop, illuminated by a row of LEDs at the base, with three fountains in the forefront as the main focus on the stage. The waterpumps supposedly have a “head height” of just over a meter, which is taller than the waterfall I’m thinking, though I don’t think the flow rate of one pump would be good enough so I’d use two. I forgot to take measurements of the fountains, but I don’t think they reach any higher than about 20cm so the backdrop won’t be much taller than that. I’m having trouble finding materials for an elevated basin with a lip to create a smooth waterfall. That’s going to be the next experiment whenever this project takes off.

Come in, we’re open! (Updates on everything)

I’ve got a few things going on at the moment so I wanted to organize my thoughts in a post.

The Store

A couple days ago, I opened up a “store” selling the Attiny85 Programmer and Breakout PCB internationally. I’ve now expanded it so that Canadians can purchase an assembled board! Check out the purchase page here. The reason it’s only offered to Canadians is because of shipping. I hope to eventually ship assembled boards internationally, but I’m taking baby steps with this.

I want to expand the store to include other items because I have some parts that I never used that I’d like to sell. I want to do it independently of eBay and other sites like that because of their fees, which are on top of the PayPal one.

The PCBs

I went ahead and ordered a new set of PCBs. These PCBs are an Atmega328p breakout and an ASM1117 voltage regulator (3.3v & 5v) that I showed in the last post. I tend to sit on purchases like this for too long so I thought I’d just do it. They’re already at the board house being manufactured so hopefully it won’t be too long of a wait. What pushed me are the facts that I already have the components to assemble both and because of the store idea.

The Fountain Show

As with every Light Show to date, I always reach a point where I have no motivation to do a new show and/or I have a bunch of different ideas for it. I already feel these things.

My biggest issue is that I don’t like working in my basement because it’s dark and there’s bugs… It’s hard to focus down there. I’ve always been fearful that bugs will crawl into the stage when I leave it there for the night because it’s a damp thing sitting in the dark. Even though I cover it up, one bug so far has managed to get in. It’s covered up more tightly at this moment, but the nozzles are damaged…

As the stage sits now, there’s not a lot I can do to make a new show that’s different enough from the first show. That’s always the challenge which is why I end up adding something soon after one or two shows. I had some ideas for additions, but with my imperfect nozzle design, I feel like it’s not worth adding on to the current stage with its problems. I’m going back to the drawing board and starting from scratch… Stay tuned.

EDIT: Web Hosting

Yesterday, I decided to take a look at free web hosting options to move some of my external websites (listed on the side bar) out of Google Drive, in case Google Drive suddenly decides not to allow web hosting. The new Drive look also is unfriendly to it.

I found a host that seems to be holding up well. I hope to have my online store up on the new host first, and then migrate all of my existing sites over to it. I’ve been thinking of rebranding to MWH-Electronics but I don’t want to break any links so the WordPress blog will probably forever stay as asimowalk5. Existing and new external sites will go under than name I guess.

Before the curtain rose

Yesterday, I posted the first show of my new Arduino Fountain Show (Arduino Light Show 6). I wanted to give a better look at the day and provide some notes on the progress.IMG_2976This was my programming station which only yesterday got the table. I’ve been kneeling and lying down in awkward positions before then. Originally, this was actually looking at the stage from behind but I realized that the fountains looked pretty good from here so I programmed and filmed the stage from this side.

I’ve probably mentioned it once before in a random Linux post on here but I will say that the quick Arduino upload speed really helped shorten the programming process (though the mistyping on the small keyboard kind of goes against that). On Windows, it takes about 5 seconds to upload. On this netbook running Linux Mint, it’s just one or two seconds. It adds up when you’re uploading constantly to adjust the code.

Anyways, before setting up like this, I had the stage on a table where I taped up the LEDs to the nozzles that I prepared a couple days ago.

IMG_2972I did some testing to make sure the LEDs and then to set up my template. The template defines and declares variables and constants that make it easier to work with the fountain and LED I want without using cryptic pin numbers everywhere. In this picture, each fountain is set at its “min” value. The pumps are connected to PWM outputs and, since each pump performs differently, all of the values are different to get the same height. This is an example of something I’d want to have constants recorded to a variable for easy use.
IMG_2997The  fountains and LEDs were performing well until I got into the last hour of programming where the middle fountain started to fail. It seemed to do well whenever it was set to the maximum height but struggled at any other height. I’ll have to take a closer look at the nozzle soon. Still, I’m almost surprised things turned out the way it did. I’m satisfied with it. I had a secret feature I wanted to include but I was too much in a hurry to get a show done [before I broke something]. I hope to implement it in time for the next show.

Here’s a video of some of the testing before I began programming the first show:

Thanks for reading!