Name Tag Project: Completed using Plan C

The LED name tag project is complete! Two things went wrong so I fell back on backup plans. The end result is a simpler version of what it was supposed to be. The original plan was to have a standalone LED name tag, powered by an Atmega328 circuit. I didn’t have a capacitor for the voltage regulator so it wouldn’t have its own power supply, and something went wonky with the Atmega328 circuit. There’s more on that below.

IMG_0741To fix the no-voltage-regulator problem, I went back to the Desk Lighting Project to steal some power from it. In that project, I said that it was expandable simply by soldering on a couple of wires to the dip switch board. One of the switches now controls the power to the LED name tag.
IMG_0742The next step was to set up the Atmega328 chip. I’ve had great success in other projects where it worked right off the bat. This time, it didn’t. Taking out and plugging back in some capacitors got it going but it eventually started going all weird on me. The program sequences would get stuck in a for-loop forever or skip lines of code. It worked fine when it was running on the Arduino Uno. After about half an hour of trying to figure out what was wrong, I gave up and decided to let the switch control it. There won’t be any patterns, unfortunately. I have a feeling it’s the oscillator so I’ll order some more whenever I feel like it, along with those capacitors I need for the voltage regulator. I’ll take a break on these Atmega328 powered projects for a while.
IMG_0743It looks nice on the desk among my random things. In person, it looks better the further you are away from it. I think it may look better with diffused LEDs but I’m still satisfied with it.

Thanks for reading! I’ll be working on updating my Featured Projects page, as well as a post summarizing my recent projects and what I’m up to next.

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Nametag wiring complete

The wiring for my LED name tag is complete!
IMG_20140218_121229It depends on how you look at it… It looks better at certain angles and being a distance away from it.
IMG_20140218_123359It also helps when I run patterns on the four letters. You get to see my short sample of patterns once the project is completely complete with the Atmega chip I’m waiting on.IMG_20140218_121214Here’s a look at the back of the name tag.

IMG_20140218_125105I’ve added a button that will trigger the looping patterns. The reset button will be used to turn the patterns off as the program starts with all of the lights on until you press the pattern button.

As I mentioned, I’m still waiting for the Atmega chips to complete this project. I’ll be back then.

Hello. I am M.

I’ve been going along with the nametag project… I’ve hit another snag (obviously). After declaring not to spend any more money, I’ve run out of solder. I’ve got a little left that may last me for the rest of the project if I’m conservative about it. I was thinking about running out to one of the Sayal Electronics stores tomorrow (there are two about the same distance from me). However, there’s yet another snow system coming in overnight, and bus fare is more expensive than shipping these days, unless I go to the one in my region and make the trip quick to keep it all in the 2-hour transfer. If all else fails, I can wait until the weekend to borrow the car. Anyways, here’s a progress report.

IMG_20140217_141919The first thing I did was try to lay out the LEDs on the cardboard. I poked holes using the printed letters I showed you in a previous post, then poked additional holes for the two legs of each LED. The letters came out a bit crooked but they look ok… if you look at them from certain angles.IMG_20140217_170218I covered it in black tape before putting in the LEDs for real.

IMG_20140217_170249The next part was to solder all of the legs of the LEDs together to make them all parallel with one another.IMG_20140217_195516This is what it looks like with the M all wired up. I was going to wrap some of the wires that are close to one another with electrical tape, but the whole bouquet of resistors is pretty stiff so I don’t think they’ll ever touch.IMG_20140217_195452I think it looks ok. I mean, you can still read it.

I’ll let you know what happens with my solder shortage…

Seeing red

I’m definitely not angry, though.

IMG_20140217_121942These lucky LEDs (39 of them) will be part of my name tag project. The only power supply I have left is a 9v battery. With 620-ohm resistors, the current draw won’t be very much. Hopefully that helps the battery last longer. There’s also an Atmega chip that will be draining the battery. Each letter of my name will take one PWM pin. The next step is to find material to mount the LEDs on.