This project was made to fulfill a need at the lab I work in. We have live camera feeds watching over testing to ensure everything is going well, but sometimes these cameras freeze, and there is really no way to notice. That’s where this device comes in. It shows a rotating light pattern that shows up on the camera feed. As long as the lights keep spinning, you know that the camera is still working.
The circuit design and programming is pretty simple. The ATtiny sends binary commands to the shift register telling it which LED to light up at which time. The main challenge was designing the traces such that everything would fit in the circular pattern with as few jumpers as possible.
The Simon game was my first real project, and I wanted to make it a permanent portable board that I could bring around to allow people to play. I laid out the board by hand (this was before I learned how much easier it is in Fritzing) and began soldering.
With all the components added, I tested all the pins of the Arduino with the socket on the board so I could make sure all of the functions worked.
Success! The board works, and it’s pretty fun to play.
A couple months ago at Ultra Music Festival, one of my friends was carrying an inflatable penguin that he held above his head so that we can always find the group in the crowds of the festival. This gave me the idea to make a compact yet noticeable beacon. Using an old TV antenna and a ping pong ball, I created a light-up color changing beacon. This is what it looks like:
Here it is in action:
This showcases how the button is used to change the flashing speed as well as cycle through individual colors:
To start off, I programmed the ATtiny and got the circuit working on a breadboard, and then I designed the PCB using Fritzing. I knew that I was going to use a pong pong ball, so I matched the PCB to the ball’s diameter at 40mm.
I then printed out the PCB diagram onto photo paper using a laser printer and transferred the image using a clothes iron.
I then placed the board into a bath of Ferric Chloride for about an hour.
After cleaning off the toner, a pretty good etching job is revealed. I printed two on one board since I had the room in case of any problems with one of them.
I am pretty inexperienced with the Dremel, so I was pleased to find it wasn’t too difficult to cut the outline of the board.
I then cut a ping pong ball in half with the Dremel. It fits the board nicely.
I then drilled the necessary holes and soldered on the parts. I wanted the button and battery to be accessible, but the LED to be on the opposite side. Here is the board:
This was a fun 12 hour project split over 2 days. One day for coding and design, and the second for etching and fabrication.
My brother and I spent a lot of time creating the Theremax, but we only produced one. We decided that I would keep the final product, and I decided that it would be a bit unfair. Thus, I decided to surprise him with his very own Theremax by trying out self-etching of my own PCB.
I started out by designing the PCB based on the wiring from the pre-perf PCB schematic I used to create the first Theremax. Since it is a single-sided PCB, I had to use some jumper wires to make it work.
I then printed the schematic onto photo paper and used a clothes iron to transfer the toner onto the copper board.
I then etched the board with ferric chloride for about an hour.
I then removed the toner with the rough side of a sponge. A successful etch!
I then used a 1/32″ drill bit to drill all the holes required.
I then began soldering on the components.
Theremax Pro complete!
I am glad that I was able to learn how to etch and make my brother an excellent gift at the same time. Etching is not as bad as I expected, and I plan to etch all of my future projects to save hours of wiring and soldering onto pre-perforated boards.
My brother and I spent a long weekend together in a hackathon-like fashion to create a theremin-like instrument using an ultrasonic sensor. The user waves his/her hand in front of the sensor to chose a note, and can adjust the octave using a knob. There is also a record mode which creates a loop that the user can edit on-the-fly.
Some photos of the final product:
The source code and circuit diagram can be found here:
I now have the Simon game working without an Arduino board! I wanted to be able to make several running projects without having to buy a board for each one, so I followed this guide: http://arduino.cc/en/Main/Standalone
In the photo above, the large circuit board is performing all the functions that the Arduino used to, including providing regulated power, a clock, a status LED, and connections for the I/O pins of the ATMega chip. The ATMega standalone chip with the Arduino bootloader preloaded can be purchased from sites such as sparkfun, or you can burn your own bootloader.
I can now program the chip in the Arduino then use it in an independent project. Now I just need to clear off these breadboards for my next project by soldiering it all on a PCB!
This project is still a work in progress. Functionally, it is complete, but I want to learn some soldiering skills by making it permanent on a PCB.
The idea for this project was to learn the basics of input and output with Arduino. This is my first real project, and I am happy with how it turned out. Before embarking on this project, I made sure not to google anything related to Arduino and Simon lest my mind become clouded with other’s ideas. I wanted to build this from the ground up, using my own inputs, outputs, and logic along the way.