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1  Using Arduino / LEDs and Multiplexing / Controlling an RGB Laser module on: April 29, 2014, 02:06:40 pm
I guess this looks like a good place to start!  Feasibility wise at least.
First statement of fact.  I am a newbie to Arduino.  I have had a couple of UNO's for almost a year but have had too little spare time to tinker so am starting this topic with very little idea of how to proceed.

I bought an 800mw (total) RGB laser module that includes the driver board with analog modulation inputs.  I don't know what the specifications are regarding those inputs except to say they are supposed to be max 5 volts.  With nothing connected each laser seems full power and I have a white beam.

I have been reading on several areas using Arduino as well as just NE555 timers to create PWM signals. I also came across a simple circuit to convert PWM to an analog signal.

Now to my first then eventual goals using the Arduino.

1.  Simple control by way of potentiometer of the brightness of each of the lasers in order to mix into any color of the rainbow.

This first would be so I can just tune the color of the laser beam by dialing the brightness of each individual laser diode. I found code to use Arduino to generate PWM out puts but I don't have a clue about how to go about this by way of manual potentiometers.

2. Second stage of my project would be to incorporate the output control of each color along with driving two galvo's to make a complete light show driven by computer.

I have found a number of free ware programs to drive galvos etc. for a light show but none specifically address an Arduino interface.

Being new to Arduino I guess what I am looking for here is some guidance to know how many "tasks" Arduino can manage to accomplish at one time ( multiplexing? ) Is it reasonable to think a UNO can control three laser diodes at once? Could it also manage two galvos for twirling the mirrors?

I know that due to persistence of vision, light can be switched sequentially fast enough to appear to be "always on" to the human eye which might suggest to me that an Arduino could multiplex the output control by switching between the diodes at a fast enough rate that it looks uniform even if it is really managing only one color at a time.

So I think I have laid out my goals.  Does anyone have any experience doing this? Any input on how to approach this project is most appreciated from anyone with the patience to prod an old man along. 

( Image is the W500 module but physically is nearly identical to the w800 I have other than output power )
2  Topics / Robotics / Re: Fan that knows where you are? on: May 07, 2013, 08:20:29 am
Sounds good.  As a former alarm company owner I am familiar with masking PIR's to control their field of view.  I would mask these to a horizontal fan only a few degrees "thick" across the room to avoid lights or anything else that might cause noise.

I will probably be a bit before I start this...right now I am working on extracting an engine from a welder for use on a hovercraft.

( Oh ... and I still have a web company to attend to when I have spare time !  smiley-mr-green
3  Topics / Robotics / Re: Fan that knows where you are? on: May 06, 2013, 08:15:59 am
Sounds like a good plan.  I have one PIR now that I got for testing even before I had this idea.  I could get a second quickly.

Would you be willing to share the sketch you wrote to follow you this way?  Perhaps submit as a library?

Thanks. smiley-cool
4  Topics / Robotics / Re: Fan that knows where you are? on: May 03, 2013, 01:51:10 pm
Yea.  smiley

As you will note if you read my most I immediately eliminated the PIR method for that reason.

Before I actually try this I will do some learning to get a feel for the platform.

Basically I envision a platform about 12" dia and about 1.5 to 2" tall on which any suitable table fan would sit.
My initial thought is to use perhaps 5 IR sensors/lenses arranged with one in the center position where the fan will "aim" with two on each side spaced to permit them to see a fairly wide area.

If I use a PIR for anything it might be as an occupancy sensor to simply turn the fan on when I enter the room and off again after I leave.

I found a few discussions on solar panel tracking. I need only one axis of course.  When I get to the point of experimenting I may need some help learning how to program to tell Arduino to try to look at 5 inputs and aim to put the IR transmitter in the center detector.  I have a pretty good idea what I need it to do but not yet how to get to that point.

I will follow up on this here later after I get my first Arduino on Monday and have a bit of time to learn about the hardware and software.

Have a great day !  smiley-cool
5  Topics / Robotics / Fan that knows where you are? on: May 03, 2013, 11:04:41 am
Not sure if this falls under robotics or home automation?

I have an idea to use an Arduino to control the direction in which a table fan blows air.  The thought was first to use PIR to locate me and aim the fan in my direction as I moved but decided that would be too imprecise and would be confused if another person entered the area.  ( It's my air...get your own  smiley-razz )

What I think I will try to do is use IR sensors and a simple IR tag clipped to my clothing that emits a pulsed IR light in all directions.  ( 555 timer, LED and coin cell ) The sensors would use auto tracking similar to solar collector following the sun to keep the fan pointed at me as I move around my shop.

I expect my first Arduino board and a few items such as a PIR sensor, a relay output board and a couple of servo motors with controllers to begin experimenting with.

Any ideas most welcome, thank you.
6  General Category / General Discussion / Introduction. Newbie to Arduino in NE Florida on: May 03, 2013, 10:57:08 am
Just wanted to drop by and say "hi"  I just ordered and expect delivery soon of my first few Arduino items.  Just finished reading two books including one by one of the developers of Arduino.

Excited to get started.

My first adventures into computers started "way back" with a Timex computer that ran on a Z80 chip and plugged into a TV for monitor. Used audio cassette for data storage. Programmed in BASIC. I added option 16K of RAM and thought that was huge!

I also had early RC Helicopter...really wish Arduino was around then to add gyro etc. for stabilization etc.  Looking to eventually revisit RC Helicopter...perhaps quad rotor?

Also working on a hover craft and at some point a CNC machine (Arduino) for laser cutting and engraving.

Visit my personal site to see what's going on.  http://www.paulckruger.com
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