Debut [of sorts]: “How we do it”

The light show that never was… Enjoy these 15 seconds!

The challenge of this one was to see what I could come up with using my updated shift register boards (which are available  on Tindie!). In the previous light shows that used my older shift register boards, I couldn’t use any PWM because those boards didn’t have the Output Enable pin broken out to use. My new ones do so I really want to see what I could do with them. Each color has its own shift register board, with an extra shift register board dedicated to all colors of the LEDs attached to the servos. I like some of the effects I made up and I hope to continue working on it so I can come up with something better with another song in the future. It’s “How We Do It” by Lights, by the way.

Thanks for visiting the blog!

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Shift Register Board Rev C – Vias everywhere!

Hindsight is 20/20, that’s for sure.

I’m currently waiting for Revision B of my 74HC595 Shift Register Boards in the mail. I’m eager to get them because they’re my first manually routed boards so I want to see if they turn out right. The revision is a minor one with the only real changes being a connection that was missing in the first revision and breaking out the Output Enable pin.

I plan on using 3 or 4 of these boards for an update to the Light Show. I only checked yesterday to see if I had enough shift registers. I don’t. I started looking around for some more and I quickly realized that using the SMD version of the 74HC595 would have been cheaper. That’s why I’m looking at another revision already…

SRrevCI’m not sure how likely it would be for me to get these made since I already have the new boards coming in but I was really excited to start this design anyway because I haven’t use SMD components very much. The only board I have used SMD components is my AMS1117 board, but the circuit was so much simpler… and at the time, I was new to Eagle so I just used the auto-router.

It’s an interesting adjustment for me to have everything start on the top layer of the SMD ICs. I ended up adding a lot of vias. There are vias that are only there to make a gap for the fill to reach some of the pins. I’ll have another go at it to try and clean some of that up.

Since I’m still new to Eagle, I like to go to websites like Adafruit and browse the boards to see how they’re laid out. I’d like to make my boards as pretty as theirs. That’s one of the reasons I’m trying the rounded corners again, which I didn’t do in Rev B for whatever reason…

Thanks for reading! If the mail service is good, the new Rev B boards should be here in a couple of days. Fingers crossed!

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!