Trying to contact a UFO. Please help.

Hi everybody. My name is Victor.I have come seeking guidance on the Path of Singularity.
Just kidding. I’m a model maker and artist who was forced to become a web developer or forever work in a Tshirt shop. So I know some JavaScript, some CSS and HTML. I looked over Arduino code, and it looks very familiar.

So I found a model of a UFO, your typical saucer with the glass dome cockpit. It has a circle of 14 round holes on the bottom that a clear ring would fit into place to simulate lights. It’s only 90mm diameter, but I came up with the brilliant idea of putting real lights in it. So I bought some leds, resistors, wire, batteries, soldering equipment and an assortment of surface mount switches. I had no idea what I was doing, mind you. I knew it would be a real challenge for me to build this circuit after learning what a parallel circuit was (forgive the English). But I came up with a good plan. I designed this in illustrator after some study. After the initial “blueprint” was finished, I discovered the LilyPad and immediately realized it was perfect to run my parallel circuit.

That brings me here to you fine people. Hi!

I knew all along that the power switch was going to be a challenge on my UFO, and I didn’t want to have some lame switch on it any ways. So I found 433Mhz RF Transmitter With Receiver Kit For Arduino ARM MCU Wireless 15mmx30mm, 20mmx20mm that I’m not sure will work to turn it on via remote, and it doesnt look like it will work on the LilyPad. I know that nothing explicitly states it will work on a Lily, but does anyone know of a unit that will work? I dont understand what is powering the receiver when it is turned off so that it has the ability to sense the signal from the remote and I also don’t know if I must use the transmitter or how that whole thing works as far as a diagram or how to set it up).

Then I started wondering if I could add an input/output shield to expand the LilyPad so i could tinker around in the future. I saw the mp3 Lilypad but it’s expensive and I don’t think it would run evrything it needs to (14 lights and on/off)? I would be awesome if it could play talk radio and the news from an FM card.

Im getting ready to purchase this stuff, so I would love some advice. I guess the most important thing is to make sure I get everything I need on the list or I’ll be waiting for a month to get what I missed.

Anyways, your input is welcome. Thank you. Make sure you check the attachment. The blueprint is to scale. The saucer is 90mm diameter.

A quick video so you can actually see the model. Don’t watch the whole thing.

TheRealVictor: A quick video so you can actually see the model. Don't watch the whole thing.

Well that pretty much means we have to to see what you don't want us to see. :)

PCA9685PW is a 16 channel led dimmer chip that will work off of I2C.

Nasa: PCA9685PW is a 16 channel led dimmer chip that will work off of I2C.

Thank you Nasa. I took a look at that and I would have no idea how to implement that without guidance. It looks like I would have to go to college again in order to figure out how to use it.

You might like to look at the neopixel leds.

Lots written on those and large no's can be controlled from a single arduino pin.

Need to learn how to use the serial libraries though, lots of examples for that though.

They can be had in strips or individual leds as well

From your pictures it appears that all you want to do is turn your lights on and off at the same time in parallel ,that only needs a transistor.

Can you explain preferably with a proper circuit diagram.

This is good but I would need to use normal leds and would like a remote control on/off switch.

Here is another example of the kind of thing I would like to build.

Boardburner2, I would love to give you a proper diagram but I would have to know what I want and what I am doing first. That NeoPixel is really cool. Im thinking that the Lilypad will work, I just dont know if I can add an IR relay to turn it on and off.

It llooks like there is a three hole spot to solder the recevier on the Lilypad. Please look at the attachment and tell me if i can plug the three prong shield in. I’m pretty sure that’s the receiver.


I’m not sure I would have picked a Lilypad. A Pro Mini is about the same size and mostly more convenient.

You refer to finding a convenient place for an on/ off switch.

If you plan to operate from batteries - which I presume you are - then you will need an on/ off switch as the Arduino - of any model - will draw some small current as long as it is operating and tend to drain the battery.

Adding a radio control receiver is useful to control the behaviour of the Arduino, but not to turn it on and off, as the receiver itself draws a small but significant current to operate.

Admittedly without a pilot LED or regulator, a Lilypad can be put into sleep mode and its current draw substantially reduced, but you still need something to wake it up and the radio module is completely inappropriate to do this for various reasons in addition to its own current draw.

Paul__B thank you very much for a very well stated explanation. So I guess I am right in thinking that the receiver pictured would work on that model? And I will take another look at the ProMini. I just didn't know if I could run 14 leds on it (maybe its not the end of the world). I don't know very much about arduino/circuitry at all and the Pro only has 8 in/out. As of right now, I'm too ignorant to know if I can run 2 leds on one i/o.

For example would it be possible to add a I2C I/O Extension Shield Module (16 I/O ports)?

I know I have a lot of questions that are unlearned. I really appreciate what you have already cleared up.

Promini can drive up to 20 LEDs no problem, you just need to limit current to each one appropriately. So 14 is not a problem. That leaves you 6 pins free to interface with a simple remote for controlling pattern selection. Could also put a P-channel MOSFET circuit between the battery and Promini to let the promini control self power down (but need a button press to wake up).

CrossRoads that's exactly what I wanted to know. Thank you. I imagine that is a pretty big chunk for a neophyte to bite off, but I have free time.

I liked your idea and checked out the P-Channel MOSFET and there are two kinds, the IRF9540 and the BS250 P Channel MosFET TO-92. I'll buy both.

I also considered putting a photo-sensor in the UFO so i could shoot it with a laser pen; what that would do- I don't know but it would be cool. ;)

I have absolutely no idea how to build a custom shield that will even (fit) do any of this (in my mind I want to call them "expansion cards"). I would think it to be a rather simple affair but Ive never seen it done. If I could learn how to do that I think I would be set for this project except for a purchase list.

The most important thing for me is learn what I need to know without getting sidetracked learning "unnecessary and inappropriate but must know things" like I always seem to do.

Thank you for your input CrossRoads. You've been a big help finishing the plan.

IRF9540 does not have a Logic level gate - it needs a 10V swing between full off and full on.
Same with BS250.
You want a part like this
And then wire it up like the attached.
The NPN may not be needed, depending on what you are using for a power source.