Hardware selection and programming

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Should I continue with this project?

Yes, moms are worth it.
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No, it's not feasible.
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No, you're in way over your head.
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Total votes : 5

Hardware selection and programming

Postby devilnuts » Wed Dec 07, 2005 8:26 pm

Okay, it's not exactly a computer, but it's going to sort of be one. Let me give you the background first. There is a show on HGTV called "I Want That!" Well, my mom has fallen in love with it. Actually, she's fallen in love with HGTV (that's almost all we watched when I was out there...heheheh). Anyway, she saw this lamp on it that she really wanted. It's called an EOS lamp. Picture below...
Image

For a short demonstration video, click here.

Well, I looked into it. Damn!!! They want $1000 for a little 3 ft one and $2000 for the tall one. I have now been on a mission to make a similar type of one for my mom. Here's the deal...I've found some RGB LEDs already. So I'm good to go there. I've found acrylic tubing that I want to use, so that's covered. But I'm not sure how to do the controller for the lights. I want to be able to have it be controlled by remote. So I need an IR sensor and decoder. I figure I can probably get away with just that, a microprocessor, some memory (to store RGB color settings), a power supply with 5, -5, 12, and -12 DCV outputs, 3 Voltage controlled regulators, a multiplexer, and probably a buffer.

I think that's all I need, but I also need some help because I have no clue when it comes to programming. What I basically want to do is to have it set about 216 RGB colors in memory. I want to program it to have about 12 of them controlled by the remote. I want to have running programs that will cycle through colors, turn one half of the tube one color at a time, etc. I want to make the controller with three optic wheels so that my mom can control the Red, Green, and Blue saturation individually to create any of the 16+ million colors that can be created with an RGB system. Oh, and I want to control each LED independantly...hahahaha. Hence the reason for the multiplexer. I figure that if 24 frames per second can fool your eyes into thinking it's motion, then I can surely set a rate of 45 Hz for these to switch on and off and still have plenty of processor time left to do other things.

I want to do all of this through either a USB port, or possibly an IEEE connector. As far as the programming goes, I don't care if I have to do it blind (i.e. write the code and put it into memory vice doing it 'live'). That will be harder, but I'm guessing it will be much more expensive to create a system where I can adjust it in real time. I'm used to programming EEPROMs at work blindly so I'm pretty good at estimating on the first try what I need to adjust and by how much. I just don't know how I can make it operate by hooking it up to my computer. If anyone has any idea how I can do this, I would really appreciate it. I know it's asking a lot...but I'd like to get this done for my mom before next Christmas...hahahah. Actually, I'm hoping for her birthday...which is in July.

Any thoughts? Too much? I figure if that one guy can do it with Christmas lights on his house, then I can surely do it with some LEDs in a tube. Oh, yeah, I almost forgot, I want to have one mode where it is sound activated. Someone at worked mentioned something called Color Organ or Sound Organ or something like that...anyone ever heard of it?
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Postby SierraBear » Wed Dec 07, 2005 9:28 pm

That is really cool. I have no idea on the programming questions, but the question about the Color Organ I can help you out with. They were called Color Organs, and were available through Radio Shack. I had one way back when (late 70's), but I doubt that they still have them. A quick Froogle search turned up some promising choices:

http://www.hobbytron.com/Power-Blaster- ... n-Kit.html

http://www.hobbytron.com/9922.html

There were several more available on Ebay. These aren't the same things that Radio Shack sold, but are very close (except RS came in a wood box with light bulbs inside so that it was self contained.
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Postby Smitty » Wed Dec 07, 2005 9:28 pm

As long as you don't want it for THIS Christmas, I would be glad to conspire with you over time. There are a lot of surprisingly cheap controllers out there - $100 range - but I'm not sure about IR control.

Programming is the least of your worries. You are smart enough to do what THE BOSS refuses, is incapable of doing - put it in English. Write the control program out in English. One sentence per action. One sentence per line. Google 'pseudo-code' to get the big "Ah ha!".

For a small controller, your EEPROM burning experience will come in handy. To save yourself the expense of a burner ($100?) you might want to document which chips your burner at work will handle and try to select a controller that uses one of them.

Whichever controller you settle on, make sure the company has a toll-free support line. We've developed a few projects with inexpensive controllers and the projects have required hours and hours of phone support to compensate for typically abysmal documentation.

I'm not your best source for the project, but I'll help out when I can. :wink:
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Postby devilnuts » Wed Dec 07, 2005 9:37 pm

Huge help so far...thanks. Well, our chip programmer here will handle just about any EEPROM made. So that shouldn't be a problem.

Programming is my problem...hahahaha. I am absolutely retarded when it comes to programming. I understand the workings of computers fine...it's when you get above the 1s and 0s that I start to get lost...lol.

$100 bucks for controller? Hmmm...that would be very good indeed. I'm pretty much figuring on getting an IR sensor and decoder because I'm going to have to make the remote myself. I just don't want to have to spend a lot more than $50 to make the remote. But if I want the three optical dials, then I'm going to have to. But I think those would be better than pots.

And that light organ thing is pretty cheap. Looks like it would be fairly easy to integrate into my board as well. Thanks a lot!!!

I actually did a search and just found a schematic for a color organ circuit. Wow, I could make one for just a few bucks. I will have to modify it, but that is pretty easy...
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Postby Smitty » Wed Dec 07, 2005 10:04 pm

devilnuts wrote:Programming is my problem...hahahaha. I am absolutely retarded when it comes to programming. I understand the workings of computers fine...it's when you get above the 1s and 0s that I start to get lost...lol.

Question: Do you have any experience with flow-charting? I wouldn't run out and learn it for this project, but if you already know how to flow chart, you know enough to write the program.

Odd. Cleaning out my email, I recently unsubbed from a motion control egroup - and can't remember its' name. You might check Yahoo and Google eGroups - and usenet - for related, amateur groups - often populated by professionals - that would be eager to help you map out the project.
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Postby devilnuts » Wed Dec 07, 2005 10:12 pm

That could be a good idea. Thanks for the tip.

Yes, I'm familiar with flowcharting. Not great at it, but I'm alright at it. But my problem is figuring out how I'm going to get all this stuff to talk to each other...hahahaha. I'm still looking up some schematics on line. I found one for an IR remote control and reciever. I would just then need to find a way to program different pulses for different buttons. I might be able to modify that one, but I would like to find one a little more along the lines of what I need.

I will search for some groups.
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Postby devilnuts » Thu Dec 08, 2005 10:39 pm

A coworker found a site that gives a schematic for making an RGB Controller. It appears that utilizing this controller I can only control up to 13 LEDs, but that's not a big deal. I can either modify the circuit to make more or just make two of them and run them in tandem. I also found a Java based RGB Programmer and other Java controls so that I can load it serially directly from my computer into the controller. As soon as I figure out how to integrate the color organ and the IR receiver/decoder, I should be all set. I just wish I knew that I could make it work before spending a few hundred dollars...hahahaha. Oh well, trial and error.
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Postby Endobrian » Fri Dec 09, 2005 3:01 am

Well, here's what I found. If you do make one, make sure it's not put up for sale...they patented the darn thing.

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/6626554.html

The link also has the led/circuit design documents.
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