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Forums > Technical Discussion > LED skunkworks: Wish list/brainstorm.

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vim
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Member Since: 2nd Dec 2003
Total posts: 142
Posted:Like quite a few of you I've been bitten by the LED bug, and while I've managed to create a few nice poi I would like to take if further. I've spent the last two days reading documentation and spec sheets, and now I'm 100% certain I've absorbed at least 1% of the information I'll need to in order to produce PIC controlled poi and staff.



But what to do? I've had a few ideas since seeing FlameOz perform recently, but I'm sure others out there have bucket loads of ideas they wouldn't mind sharing with the HOP community, in the interests of giving the geeky ones something to do if nothing else.



SO

If you could wish for anything in your LED toys, anything at all, be it simple or complicated, humble or part of some fiendish plot to take over the world, please post it here!



Some thoughts.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Synchronization.

poi and or staff following the same lighting sequence, in unison.



This would require either physical contact via a conductive surface (located on the tips of staff/poi heads) to transfer the sequence and establish a heartbeat, or wireless communication to do the same or transmit the sequence real time from a controlling source (master staff/poi).



I figure this would be good for group performance, or to unify a group of individual spinners.

----------------------------------------



Audio sequence triggers.

lighting sequences (as simple as a single pulse) being triggered by audio input. ie flashing to the beat.



This could get quite complicated I suppose, as different frequency ranges could trigger different effects (spectrum analyzer in your poi/staff anyone?)

----------------------------------------



Programmable sequences.

the ability to key in a lighting sequence via the staff/poi.



applies to setting the tempo as well.



few problems with producing enough user feedback here, ie 'are we tapping the sequence for blue or red???'

----------------------------------------



Lighting effects.



Strobe



colour fade: fade from one colour to another, or through the rainbow with three LEDs



others?

----------------------------------------







peace

ViM


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vim
strange/r/st/-ish
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Member Since: 2nd Dec 2003
Total posts: 142
Posted:let me know if this works.



http://www.angeltowns.com/members/vim/
br>


(pics of version 1, for those who are interested)



peace

EDITED_BY: vim (1081307092)


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MillenniuM
MillenniuM

Hyperloops suck

Member Since: 10th Jul 2003
Total posts: 595
Posted:Ooh, the RGB one is quite pretty. Make me a pair! I'll give you a dollar! Or I'll shine our shoes! Or dance like a monkey! ubblol

Looks great, keep it up.


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vim
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Total posts: 142
Posted:GraY: how did you go sourcing the couplings? I know the ones you're talking about and I think you have something there. Another thing to consider - how many revolutions are they rated for.

peace


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vim
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Posted:Drakien: thanks for the input.

I've been working on the EQ thing for poi, but it would look a _lot_ better in a staff. Have the basic sound detection circuit working, but have to make it lot more sensitive before it is usable. It only works if things are very loud and only has a small volume range as yet.

Night rider would work the same way as the skyliner effect above, just a different sequence and very easy once you have the basic circuit. This one isn't on my short list as there are not a lot of things you can do once you go past the word writing and night rider effect.

peace


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vim
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Posted:MillenniuM: yeah, thought you might like that one.

ubblol a dollar. hehe

if I ever get the 'MillenniuM Pulse' working perhaps I'll send you a pair. tongue

peace


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vim
strange/r/st/-ish
Location: upside down
Member Since: 2nd Dec 2003
Total posts: 142
Posted:Quote:
My ultimate LED poi would be able to strobe multiple colors with a pulsating effect. I'd love a pair of those... I have 7 color strobing Electroglos, they're QUITE nice, but a pulsating effect would make me smile.





I think I may be able to do this now and would like to give it a go, if you can give me a more detailed description of what you mean.



Quote:
I really think morphing effects are key... I was just thinking, and a constant, extremely slow morph would be absolutely beautiful. Imagine a constant morph (It is always changing from one color to another) that takes about 5 seconds to change from one LED being 100% to 0%... it'd look absolutely stupendous.





Have V1.0 of this working. So simple, in the end.



If I can get hold of a camera again I'll post some pictures. hmmm, with it only changing slowly your not going to see much... might have to be a 15 second exposure while I run around the yard. biggrin



peace


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UCOF
UCOF

Carpal \'Tunnel

Member Since: 17th Apr 2002
Total posts: 15414
Posted:oioooh...3 posts in a row.. I havent done that for sometime..

wink

erm.. yeh..leds.

MCP told me a great idea.. like someone said earlier about the leds on Kit (the car not spinner) that went up and down in a line. Imagine how groovy that would look on a staff!!

or if you had two LEDS at one time travelling in one direction down the staff. When you spin it.. what pattern would you get?

Think about it... biggrin


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UCOF
UCOF

Carpal \'Tunnel

Member Since: 17th Apr 2002
Total posts: 15414
Posted:4.

wink


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mo-seph
mo-seph

enthusiast
Location: Edinburgh, UK
Member Since: 24th Feb 2004
Total posts: 524
Posted:'lo

Just a couple of thoughts:

transparent silicone sealant is my friend at the moment. It gives you extra diffusion, waterproofing, impact cushioning and a strange look all in one, and it's cheap and easy to apply - there's some prototypes here.

Also I've been working on a little bit of software for designing light sequences for poi/staff etc. The idea behind it is that you can create a light sequence fairly easily, and then somehow send it to your toys. It's quite rough at the moment, but if anyone's interested I'll tidy it up a little and release it. there's a screenshot here to give you an idea of what I'm talking about (all the displays at the top are strobing in a variety of ways). Currently you can only have one colour at once, and there's only a few different things you can put in the sequence, but that should be easy to chance if people throw ideas at me!


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UCOF
UCOF

Carpal \'Tunnel

Member Since: 17th Apr 2002
Total posts: 15414
Posted:That looks highly confusing.

Im sure it isnt really..but it looks it.

Hat?


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mo-seph
mo-seph

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Location: Edinburgh, UK
Member Since: 24th Feb 2004
Total posts: 524
Posted:Quote:
That looks highly confusing.



Yup, it's not pretty biggrin

It makes a bit more sense when you use it, though...

Coupla things I forgot to mention,

One simple plan for programming toys would be to put a photosensor in the toy; you could then hold it up to your monitor and use a program which would flash a black/white area to give you a very basic serial link (and many pic's etc already have serial protocols built in, so it should be very cheap). The main problem is speed - I don't think you'd get more than about 20 bit/s given the refresh rates of monitors

For polycarbonate I'm speaking to Davis Plastics who have a useless website, but they're quoting me under 6 per meter for 20mm od 2mm wall PC tube.

Oh yeah, and I've got a black beanie tongue

cheers,
mo


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UCOF
UCOF

Carpal \'Tunnel

Member Since: 17th Apr 2002
Total posts: 15414
Posted:a black beanie?

my, my...that is very helpful!

ubbrollsmile ubbrollsmile ubbrollsmile

grrrr volcom.


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*HyperLight
*HyperLight

old hand
Location: Great Malvern [UK]
Member Since: 9th Dec 2003
Total posts: 1174
Posted:Quote:
'lo



Just a couple of thoughts:



transparent silicone sealant is my friend at the moment. It gives you extra diffusion, waterproofing, impact cushioning and a strange look all in one, and it's cheap and easy to apply - there's some prototypes here.



Also I've been working on a little bit of software for designing light sequences for poi/staff etc. The idea behind it is that you can create a light sequence fairly easily, and then somehow send it to your toys. It's quite rough at the moment, but if anyone's interested I'll tidy it up a little and release it. there's a screenshot here to give you an idea of what I'm talking about (all the displays at the top are strobing in a variety of ways). Currently you can only have one colour at once, and there's only a few different things you can put in the sequence, but that should be easy to chance if people throw ideas at me!







ahh, someone thinking along VERY similar wavelengths to myself smile I have been toying with the exact same idea... in fact a lot of this thread appears to be what I've been thinking about recently!



Did you have a way to store the sequences in the Poi when the power goes off? As far as I could see, there wasn't any way to store it?



I'd been thinking you could maybe have a USB port or similar in the end of your Poi to plug into to transfer data.. ?



[Edit]Been busy reading stuff - take a look at the datasheet for the PIC16F872 :



Quote:
"11.17 In-Circuit Serial Programming

PIC16F872 microcontrollers can be serially programmed

while in the end application circuit. This is

simply done with two lines for clock and data and three

other lines for power, ground, and the programming

voltage. This allows customers to manufacture boards

with unprogrammed devices, and then program the

microcontroller just before shipping the product. This

also allows the most recent firmware or a custom firmware

to be programmed.

When using ICSP, the part must be supplied 4.5V to

5.5V if a bulk erase will be executed. This includes

reprogramming of the code protect, both from an onstate

to off-state. For all other cases of ICSP, the part

may be programmed at the normal operating voltages.

This means calibration values, unique user IDs or user

code can be reprogrammed or added."





...sounds good no? biggrin

EDITED_BY: FireGeeK (1081890217)


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vim
strange/r/st/-ish
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Total posts: 142
Posted:like you needed that post twice ubblol
EDITED_BY: vim (1081923461)


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vim
strange/r/st/-ish
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Member Since: 2nd Dec 2003
Total posts: 142
Posted:@ UCOF
noooooo! you broke my run, I was going for five in a row tongue
Quote:
or if you had two LEDS at one time travelling in one direction down the staff. When you spin it.. what pattern would you get?


ooooooooooh ubblove

@ mo-seph
nice work, love the name ubblol
I had been thinking along the same lines (lots of that going on here it seems wink), looking for something I could dip the PC tube in when it was all done. That you have had success along gives me confidence that it's a good idea (and the lumps on my head indicate not doing so is just stupid wink) Now to work out which type is the best (http://www.dowcorning.com/content/rubber/)!

Love the software! At the moment it's fairly easy for someone with a little programming experience to code the chips I'm using (in basic and I can already produce all the effects you show there as well as multi colour), but your interface is _way_ ahead in terms of usability and the graphical representation of the finished effect is fantastic.

For simplicity - how about the ability to drag and drop modules?
ie, have a time line for each colour, then drag the 'fade in' module to the colour you wanted, set speed, min and max illumination etc. That would make it easy to overlap colours.

My only concern about the idea is the cost of the hardware. I think I can come up with something, but fitting all the code to interpret the incoming signal onto inexpensive hardware might not be possible.
If you're willing to keep developing the software I have a couple of larger chips with much expanded memory and will have a go at creating some code to read input (pulses from a com port, or possibly usb - can you output to ports in java?) and interpret them. If I can get that done in a few hundred lines we're laughing.
lol, flashing monitor. can put a light sensor in if that's the only way. biggrin

@ FireGeeK
nice info.
I'm using modified picmicro chips (picaxe) These are easy to use and program, but you pay for that with lost functionality. Take a look at http://www.rev-ed.co.uk/picaxe/
for the features. The big reason I have been using them is because they don't require a AUD$100+ programmer and can be reprogrammed as often as you like while leaving them in place.
Looks like picmicro have either caught up or I missed that ability when I was researching.

argh, have to go.

peace


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mo-seph
mo-seph

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Location: Edinburgh, UK
Member Since: 24th Feb 2004
Total posts: 524
Posted:Quote:
I'm using modified picmicro chips (picaxe) These are easy to use and program, but you pay for that with lost functionality. Take a look at http://www.rev-ed.co.uk/picaxe/
for the features. The big reason I have been using them is because they don't require a AUD$100+ programmer and can be reprogrammed as often as you like while leaving them in place.



You might want to check out atmel's stuff as well - I've got a friend who swears by them, and uses a very cheap programmer that plugs into the serial port. They do some decent spec chips for around $3-5. It's amazing how slow 4MHz suddenly becomes when you're trying to do nice PCM etc...

Cool, I'll have a play with the software and try and get something decent sorted out. Java does speak to serial ports, but I think you need some extensions, which is a bit annoying. There's some stuff to get it to talk USB, but that seems even more bleeding edge. Should all be do-able, though biggrin

I think my first priority is multiple light sources per sequence, so we can have pretty fades etc biggrin



monkeys ate my brain

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*HyperLight
*HyperLight

old hand
Location: Great Malvern [UK]
Member Since: 9th Dec 2003
Total posts: 1174
Posted:Quote:
@ FireGeeK
nice info.
I'm using modified picmicro chips (picaxe) These are easy to use and program, but you pay for that with lost functionality. Take a look at http://www.rev-ed.co.uk/picaxe/
for the features. The big reason I have been using them is because they don't require a AUD$100+ programmer and can be reprogrammed as often as you like while leaving them in place.
Looks like picmicro have either caught up or I missed that ability when I was researching.



Interesting, although I suspect PICs may have come a way since you last looked at them. You can find a schematic to build a simple / very cheap PIC programmer here (as well as a host of other interesting information!).

My current thoughts on using PWM to balance the colours...

1) use set the base PWM rate so that no LED is using more than it's specced current - that's your base PWM rate.
2) reduce the duty cycle of the red / green until their intensity matches the blue (i.e. with all three on, you get white light).
3) adjust the duty cycle of the different colours different amounts to reproduce different hues / saturations. The hues / saturations could be programmed via some software like mo-seph's.

I've never tried anything as complicated as this, but I shouldn't think it's impossible
wink


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*HyperLight
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old hand
Location: Great Malvern [UK]
Member Since: 9th Dec 2003
Total posts: 1174
Posted:Some posible strobing / colour combinations I've been thinking about..


Non-Https Image Link


..lots of combinations of those kinds of patterns / colours should look pretty goddamn awesome smile


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MillenniuM
MillenniuM

Hyperloops suck

Member Since: 10th Jul 2003
Total posts: 595
Posted:Number 4, number 4! That is absolutely gorgeous.

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*HyperLight
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old hand
Location: Great Malvern [UK]
Member Since: 9th Dec 2003
Total posts: 1174
Posted:Oops, forgot I was moving my server today - pictures will be down 'till ~tuesday (probably). Remind me which (4) was? Was that the smooth transition through all colours?

...and as for the software, how about having 3 timelines, one for each colour. In each time line, you set the amount of light you want to produce for that colour. If the range of each is 0-255, full-on/white would be 255,255,255 and off would be 0,0,0. You could split it into different 'blocks' that you build up so you could build up a little library of effects and just slot them in to create nice sequences smile


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old hand
Location: Great Malvern [UK]
Member Since: 9th Dec 2003
Total posts: 1174
Posted:Well, server is back up. Found some interesting information here. Maybe we could build some software like their 'ColorPlay' software?

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mo-seph
mo-seph

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Location: Edinburgh, UK
Member Since: 24th Feb 2004
Total posts: 524
Posted:Quote:

...and as for the software, how about having 3 timelines, one for each colour. In each time line, you set the amount of light you want to produce for that colour. If the range of each is 0-255, full-on/white would be 255,255,255 and off would be 0,0,0. You could split it into different 'blocks' that you build up so you could build up a little library of effects and just slot them in to create nice sequences smile



What I'm working on at the moment is having any configuration of different lights at different places on your toy, so you can build up *really* complicated patterns, by controlling all the lights individually. As soon as that's done and stable, I'll post it so you can all have a play.

It won't be till after beltane, though... biggrin


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simian
simian

110% MONKEY EVERY TIME ALL THE TIME JUST CANT STOP THE MONKEY
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Posted:you guys have some wicked ideas, but i don't reckon that anything too complex is gonna get used (ie. specific sequences for specific performances). i don't know anyone who uses the pc linkup for doing complex stuff with their aerotechs.



or is that pc linkup just a figment of my imagination..? confused2



i think average Joe Poispinner has the following basic wish-list for his glotoys:



1. as bright as aerotechs

2. reliable and extremely resistant to damage

3. relatively cheap



so i reckon those are the things to make sure you've got down before getting into all the bells and whistles. i've seen loads of glotoys, and none give the same bright solid colour that aerotech manage to put out, which is why i'm not interested in anything else... but aerotech she so expensive eek



edit - i deny all responsibility for eating mo-seph's brain angel2

EDITED_BY: simian (1082992207)


"Switching between different kinds of chuu chuu sometimes gives this "urgh wtf?" effect because it's giving people the phi phenomenon."

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vim
strange/r/st/-ish
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Total posts: 142
Posted:the bells! the bells! sooo bright, so shiny. ooooooh. ahhhhhh



No, you're not imagining it smile It's not possible to incorporate control for all the features of our uber toy (did I mention the put-a-motor-in-it idea yet?) into the toy itself.

It also helps not to have to dismantle the prototypes every time you want to try something new.



I have to agree with you 100%, though it tarnishes my geekyness to admit it wink

the whistles! noooo! it's ours. ours! the feeeving...



1. How bright are these aerotechs? Do they light up a large area, or is it more that they present a very solid and uniform light?

I think FireGeeK and Chiron must be close to as bright as you would want as far as pure output goes and a good diffuser would smooth things out.



2. I think polycarbonate is about as tough as we can manage. I have other ideas but have been unable to find a source. I can't say, as I am using acrylic, but I suspect it's fairly durable.



3. It's fairly easy to make something that doesn't cost much (though there are minimum quantities etc) per toy, and kept simple most people could make them. As soon as you start going for brightness and features things quickly become expensive though.



What sort of $$ would you like to pay for a toy with the qualities you mentioned?

What would you like it to be able to do? Are we talking one colour, three, five? One sequence or ten?



Thanks for the input.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------





Quote:
If the range of each is 0-255





<problem>

@3.6v maximum (4.8 - transistor voltage drop)

Using PWM



RED:

on @ 190

50% @ 212

100% @ 220



BLUE:

on @170

50% @ 220

100% @240



YELLOW:

about in between

</problem>



Fades all looked fine until I saw the pictures frown

I rewrote the code, trying to normalize everything with yellow, but they don't all reach 50% at the same time...

A lookup table or three will fix the problem, but the number of steps available is going to be limited and I don't think it's going to fit on a 12F629 any more. frown



I suspect these values will we different for other LEDs, so would it be possible for the program to be configured for different hardware?



peace



PS. be warned, posted before morning coffee, contents may induce insanity.

oh, too late...


EDITED_BY: vim (1083022557)


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simian
simian

110% MONKEY EVERY TIME ALL THE TIME JUST CANT STOP THE MONKEY
Location: London
Member Since: 11th Oct 2002
Total posts: 3149
Posted:Quote:
1. How bright are these aerotechs? Do they light up a large area, or is it more that they present a very solid and uniform light?
I think FireGeeK and Chiron must be close to as bright as you would want as far as pure output goes and a good diffuser would smooth things out.


until recently i never saw any LED products as bright as aerotechs, but thats been changing. i assume thats purely cos of superbright leds becoming more available / falling in price.
The diffusion is really good. The balls are almost completely solid and uniform. The sticks are not so good, but still far better than any other equipment i've seen. Have

Quote:
2. I think polycarbonate is about as tough as we can manage. I have other ideas but have been unable to find a source. I can't say, as I am using acrylic, but I suspect it's fairly durable.


The toughness of the 'shell' is one thing, but its the stuff inside that'll be vulnerable to damage. i like the idea of silicon sealant or something similar, but that would make maintenance an impossibility wouldn't it?

(psst... the 3 colours should be RGB, not RBY - but i assume that was the caffeine deficiency talking wink )


"Switching between different kinds of chuu chuu sometimes gives this "urgh wtf?" effect because it's giving people the phi phenomenon."

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*HyperLight
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old hand
Location: Great Malvern [UK]
Member Since: 9th Dec 2003
Total posts: 1174
Posted:Super bright LEDs help, but Luxeons are much brighter!



Acrylic isn't the best material - it shatters. I've got some polycarb tube which seems to be virtually indestructable! smile



As for the sealant, it depends what you mean by maintenance?

EDITED_BY: FireGeeK (1083147371)


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simian
simian

110% MONKEY EVERY TIME ALL THE TIME JUST CANT STOP THE MONKEY
Location: London
Member Since: 11th Oct 2002
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Posted:maintenance = when things go wrong and you have to open them up to fix them smile

Like i said, your polycarb tube might be indestructable, but the stuff inside it needs to be equally shock resistant, but also needs to be accessible if it goes wrong.


"Switching between different kinds of chuu chuu sometimes gives this "urgh wtf?" effect because it's giving people the phi phenomenon."

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old hand
Location: Great Malvern [UK]
Member Since: 9th Dec 2003
Total posts: 1174
Posted:Well, if you've sealed them in some kind of silicon sealant / resin, they should be impact resistant. Wires and so forth should never need tampering with once you've got them glued in place. If you're worried about the microcontroller / LEDs failing / needing replacement, you could always mount them in sockets so they're removeable.. ?



I think if you've made a little PCB and everything is held in place, this isn't really much of an issue? Maybe I've over-looked something you were thinking about though? smile

EDITED_BY: FireGeeK (1083147693)


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old hand
Location: Great Malvern [UK]
Member Since: 9th Dec 2003
Total posts: 1174
Posted:Here's the bit with all the electronics (LEDS etc.) in my Poi :




Non-Https Image Link




And here's the inside :




Non-Https Image Link




There's a load more room in there if you tidy up the wiring - I was in a rush to see them lit wink



Sanded polycarb tube is what I use as a diffuser. Te rest of the metal exposed to the LEDs light is highly polished so virtually all the light is reflected out :




Non-Https Image Link

Non-Https Image Link




The thicknesses I've used are on the big side (better to be safe than sorry) which makes each unit much heavier than it need be, but it's certainly very strong and despite loads of collisions with each other / several walls, both the electronics and the units themselves seem unaffected...

EDITED_BY: FireGeeK (1083163563)


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simian
simian

110% MONKEY EVERY TIME ALL THE TIME JUST CANT STOP THE MONKEY
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Posted:Sounds wicked, superior to the majority of "home-grown" glotoys i've seen.
Can't see the pics tho...
i was just saying you can't overstate how hard wearing this stuff should be. Electrical equipment isn't generally made to be abused in the way that juggly equipment is.
any plans to make affordable\durable\bright\strobing\non-wobbly glow staffs?
i can think of quite a few people who'd be interested in a reasonably priced aerotech competitor.
The main design problem being a material to make the staff from thats transparent, feels "solid" but doesn't shatter. All the polycarbs i've used are too wobbly once you go past 4foot-ish. Even the newer aerotechs with the extra sheath bit.

erm.. sorry, rambling a bit i guess ubbangel


"Switching between different kinds of chuu chuu sometimes gives this "urgh wtf?" effect because it's giving people the phi phenomenon."

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