Hi everyone! I'm a newbie to this community, though I've lurked for a couple weeks already. ^_^ Nice to meet you all.
I'm posting because I'm beginning to feel a little overwhelmed, and I'm pretty sure I'm just not starting right. See, I've a project in mind that I've wanted to tackle for quite a long time, and now that I have the time and funds, I'm ready to get started. The only problem is that I don't know how to begin!
First, a bit of background. I am a software designer by profession, so as far as programming an Arduino is concerned, I'm not too bothered by it. When I was in college, C was my bread and butter, and besides, there are so many tutorials out there that seem perfect for the problem I'm trying to solve, so that part of it doesn't bother me a bit. For me, it's the electronics themselves that have me flustered. I have absolutely NO background in building circuits. None. We're talking baby's first steps here, folks.
As for my project, here is what I'm trying to do: I'm sewing a handbag for a costume, and I want it to have LEDs incorporated into the design. The actions of the LEDs are actually very simple. I need seven of them, and I want them all to blink in unison (all at the same time) for a statically defined span of time, over and over again. The blinking will be initiated and halted by the pressing of a button on the top of the handbag. In other words, when I press the button, the LEDs will begin to blink, and they will continue to do so until I press the button a second time. Odd button presses will allow the LEDs to blink, and even ones turn the blinking off.
Very simple, ne? But for me, with my total lack of understanding of how microcontrollers interact with power supplies, resistors, voltage, amperage, and all the other necessary concepts for a project like this (much less what these things even ARE), I'm totally baffled. I'm not asking anyone to solve my problem for me; that would take the fun out of it. I like finding solutions on my own. All I'm asking for is some guidance on where I should turn for good, fundamental, foundational information about building circuits with Arduino. Right now I don't even have enough knowledge to figure out how many batteries (or which ones) I need to power my LilyPad, the push button, and my seven LEDs. =(
Extraneous info: I've already bought a Lilypad, so that is the microcontroller I'll be using. I would prefer not to use conductive thread, since I need my project to be hardy and long-lasting. I'd rather use insulated wire. I'll have plenty of room to house the circuitry anyway, so I'd rather have the less resistance insulated wire would offer me.