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Help me win an office xmas contest. (electronics advice)

Dark_SideDark_Side Registered User regular
edited December 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
We're having a stocking design contest at our office this year with the winner getting some mysterious prize. They provided a bunch of decoration stuff, your standard fare such as glitter, lettering, tinsel, stuff like that. But in order to claim myself as the champion of the office, I have decided to instead build a harness of LED's to stick around the border of my stocking which I can hopefully program to blink in differing patterns.

In a perfect world I would have ordered a Arduino microcontroller and fabbed the whole thing up over the last couple of weeks, but I didn't and now only have this weekend to pull it off. Anyone have any ideas on a cheap, effective way to do this with off the shelf parts?

My goals are to have blinking LED's in a simple chase pattern, or barring that blinking on and off in sets. I did some research on google, but didn't find anything that really jumped out at me. I have all the equipment to build this, I just have never had to design something like this before and am strapped for time.

Dark_Side on

Posts

  • TechnicalityTechnicality Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    with three sets of LED's (A, B and C) spaced like ABCABCABC you can have a basic chase type thing if you make them blink in a staggered fashion.

    You then just need three blinking circuits each hooked up to a set of LED's, that you run offset from eachother. Three 555 timer circuits is the simplest way I can think of.

    You build the 3 circuits (which for a 555 are really really simple), give each a switch to turn it on, and then flip them one at a time.

    You might need to drive the LED's with a transistor if you have more than a few, but other than that its minimal parts, and no other hardware needed.

    handt.jpg tor.jpg

  • Dark_SideDark_Side Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Yeah, I was kind of headed down that route, but wasn't totally sure. Thanks for the advice, I'll start trying to figure out how to design the 555 circuit.

  • ecco the dolphinecco the dolphin Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    How about the first circuit under "practical applications" here:

    http://www.allaboutcircuits.com/vol_4/chpt_12/6.html

    It looks like it will do exactly what you want.

    Edit: If a 5-bit chaser is preferred over a 10-bit chaser, you might want to consider using a wired OR configuration with diodes (e.g. connect Q0 with Q5 using a wired OR, then Q1 with Q6, etc...)

    Penny Arcade Developers at PADev.net.
  • ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    It is stupidly easy to make a string of christmas lights powered by battery. Just buy a set that can blink/chase and you're good to go.

    Voice actor for hire. My time is free if your project is!
  • TechnicalityTechnicality Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    How about the first circuit under "practical applications" here:

    http://www.allaboutcircuits.com/vol_4/chpt_12/6.html

    It looks like it will do exactly what you want.

    Edit: If a 5-bit chaser is preferred over a 10-bit chaser, you might want to consider using a wired OR configuration with diodes (e.g. connect Q0 with Q5 using a wired OR, then Q1 with Q6, etc...)

    Good point. A shift register is ideal. Then you would only need one 555 or similar generating the clock, and one chip full of flip flops.

    handt.jpg tor.jpg

  • Dark_SideDark_Side Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    How about the first circuit under "practical applications" here:

    http://www.allaboutcircuits.com/vol_4/chpt_12/6.html

    It looks like it will do exactly what you want.

    Edit: If a 5-bit chaser is preferred over a 10-bit chaser, you might want to consider using a wired OR configuration with diodes (e.g. connect Q0 with Q5 using a wired OR, then Q1 with Q6, etc...)

    Good point. A shift register is ideal. Then you would only need one 555 or similar generating the clock, and one chip full of flip flops.

    Yeah after looking through some of the circuits posted, that looks to be the easiest way to pull it off. Though I may just say fuck it and hack up some xmas lights to run off a battery.

  • WezoinWezoin Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Be sure to post the results - this is something I wanna see.

  • Dark_SideDark_Side Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    I intend on doing so, I fabbed up a prototype tonight using a 556 timer, which is 2 555's on the same chip. Using two of them together I will be able to control 4 different strands of lights, which I will wire in parallel. For the stocking, I'm going to use coat hanger wire to go around the outline of my stocking. Then solder the negative ends of the diodes to the coat hanger wire, and finally wire up a harness for each color I plan on using.

    I'm going to use wire to hang the board in the middle of the wire frame and if I get enough time I hope to fab up a merry x mas with black lettering and fiber optic cable interspersed throughout to light it up, but that's probably a pipe dream at this point.

    Pic of prototype.

    4158982549_9d1e211084.jpg

  • WezoinWezoin Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    I hope "coat hanger wire" is insulated and not just a coat hanger since I'm assuming having uninsulated electricity touching fabric would be a fire hazard.

  • Dark_SideDark_Side Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    There won't be any fabric, though yeah, that is something to think about. It's only 9 volts, and I'm using it as the ground bus, but I may have to change the design some.

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