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Hi all-

I just started experimenting with Arduino and love it.

Not too far into it, but it's fun and like many I have some ideas about making "real" smiley-wink versions of the mockups I'm building.

One of the first things that comes to mind is the idea of putting the code on a chip, obviously, but I tried to find a guide to:

1) Learn how to determine which IC (or whatever the term might be) is appropriate/required
2) Using the hardware to create the standalone chips.

One thing I'd like to do is build one of those silly "multi lights flashing fake computer data activity things" (blinkenlights!). I can start with a low number of LEDs, but am trying to figure out how to add up to 100 LEDs or so, power it in testing, then actually build one that runs on a chip.



Anyway.. pretty excited, just don't know what road to take. Any help appreciated!

cheers
Andrew
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What you are trying to achieve is fairly straight forward - I hesitate to say easy!

Build a stand alone Arduino on perfboard or similar. You can program the '328 in the Arduino you have, pop it out and plug it into the stand alone.

Use shift registers to output to multiple leds. 74HC595, etc.

A couple of points to bear in mind:
1) the power consumption of the leds. ~20mA each.
2) How many shift registers can you daisy chain together?
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Thanks!

I hesitate to say I don't know about most of what you said  smiley-roll-sweat but will do my homework.

Sounds like a good start. Gotta learn it sometime, I guess.

Also, interesting you ask about power consumption, as one of the things I plan is to control much higher output lights, and will need, at some point, to learn how to power/switch/dim them. Fun stuff.

cheers
Andrew
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1) Learn how to determine which IC (or whatever the term might be) is appropriate/required
2) Using the hardware to create the standalone chips.


1) I'd recommend Atmega328P dip version. Easy to handle and very sturdy.
2) Hardware required: Any Arduino (Do you already have an Arduino? which one?) , a breadboard, cables, crystal, resistors, and of course as many "out of the box" (virgin chips) Atmega328P you need.

Next step: Learn: How to program Atmega328P with Arduino as AVR ISP programmer
« Last Edit: July 18, 2014, 07:30:04 pm by mart256 » Logged

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Well, if you want to build something like that:

Then you do not want to muck about with shift registers and 8 or so LEDs at a time, you want to use the MAX7219 as used in these modules:

to control 64 LEDs at a time - and you can chain them easily at least up to 8 or 10 chips.

Even then you are going to get sick of soldering them all.

Actually, I think there are chips that will drive 128 LEDs, but 64 per chip sounds good for a start and the MAX7219 is very easy to use.

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Thanks guys!

I realize the Sparkfun board I have doesn't have the ability to swap chips...

Would this one do what I'm looking for ?  >   (link to company selling counterfeit boards removed)

Also - I see some chips are listed as "with bootloader"... just looks like a "regular" chip, but what do I know... can someone clarify if there's a difference?

Paul: thanks! Looks pretty interesting...

cheers
Andrew

« Last Edit: July 19, 2014, 03:51:37 pm by Coding Badly » Logged

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you do not want to muck about with shift registers and 8 or so LEDs at a time, you want to use the MAX7219

Agree.

Another possibility it to buy WS2811 LED strip and chop them into individual LEDs (with scissors).

Another possibility is to get some LED "pixels": http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_nkw=ws2812+Pixel

(or get an WS2811 LED strip and chop it into individual LEDs with scissors - you get pretty much the same thing).

It all depends on how you want your LEDs arranged (spacing between them, etc.)

...which is something we don't know.
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You have a Redboard, then?

I strongly recommend picking up an ISP Shield from EvilMadScientist (http://shop.evilmadscientist.com/productsmenu/tinykitlist/253). This will allow you to get DIP versions of the ATmega328P (note the P, don't get a 328, make sure to get 328Ps), the processor used by the Arduino Uno and upload the bootloader to them or upload the program straight out.

It's not strictly necessary, since you can make the right connections with a breadboard and some jumper wire, but trust me, it makes things so much easier.
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The WS2811 devices cost at least 20 cents per pixel as against four cents using the MAX7219.

You are paying five times as much for individual colour and brightness control.  For hundreds of pixels, that will add up (as will the RAM requirements to hold 16 or 24 times as much "state" data).
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