Posts with «fastled» label

Digital Rain Cloud

 
 

Description

This is a very simple project that turns a Rainbow Cube Kit from Seeedstudio, into a digital rain cloud. It features a relaxing rain animation which is ruined by a not-so-relaxing yet somewhat realistic lightning effect. The animation has a very random pattern, and is quite satisfying to watch. The strategically placed cotton wool on the top of the cube makes all the difference to the project, and is sure to impress all of your friends. Luckily, I have done all of the hard work for you. You will find the full source code for the animation sequence below. You just have to provide the Rainbow Cube Kit and the cotton wool. Have fun !!

 
 

Need desk lighting? How about 1,200+ LEDs?

After he’d just finished a project using RGB LEDs, Imgur user nolobot’s brother mentioned he needed a new computer desk. Most people would probably just let their brother buy one, others would make something out of wood, but nolobot instead decided to create something truly amazing using more than 1,200 WS2812 RGB LED modules, an Arduino Mega, aluminum extrusion, and translucent polycarbonate.

The Mega controls these LEDs with the FastLED library, which are sandwiched between a base piece of plywood and a strip of polycarbonate using custom spacers. This diffuses the light nicely, allowing for beautiful light animations directly on the desk’s surface.

You can find more on this awesome build on the project’s Imgur page!

Arduino Disco Ball Cake


 

Description

This is a fun project that will surely impress anyone you make this for. If you are having a "Disco" themed party, you cannot have a boring old cake. Let me tell you, this is probably the only Arduino project that my wife has ever been willing to be a part of. She did the hard work of putting the cake together, and I, well.... I was in charge of lighting. My biggest fear was that one of the wires would come loose and ruin the event at the most critical moment... While a wire did come loose, I managed to fix it in time before the guests arrived. Ok enough of my monologue, let me show you how to make one of these things.

 


Parts Required:

Note: powering this project using batteries is possible, but not recommended, and done at your own risk.

You will also need a Disco Ball Cake which you will have to make(or buy).My wife made this one. And as you will see shortly, the cake on the inside was Pink, because it was a strawberry cake.


Arduino Libraries and IDE

You can get the Arduino IDE from here: https://www.arduino.cc/en/Main/Software
I used version 1.6.4, which is probably way out of date... but works fine nonetheless.
 
You can get information about how to use the FastLED library here: http://fastled.io/
And you can download it from here: FastLED Library
I used version 3.0.3, which is also probably out of date.

ARDUINO CODE:

ARDUINO CODE DESCRIPTION:

  • FastLED Library: You need to make sure that you have downloaded and installed the FastLED library into your Arduino IDE. The library is included in this sketch otherwise the FastLED functions will not work.
  • The "NUM_LEDS" variable: tells the Arduino how many LEDS are in use. In this case, we have 4 LED rings, with each LED ring containing 16 LEDs, and therefore a total of 64 LEDs. If you define a lower number, for example 16, then the sketch would only illuminate the LEDs on the first LED ring.
  • The "DATA_PIN" variable: tells the Arduino which Digital Pin to use for data transmission to the LED ring. In this case, I am using Digital Pin 9.
  • Other variables: I have a couple of other variables which are used for LED randomisation and hue control. Hue is the colour of the LED. By incrementing the hue variable, you can get the LEDs to cycle in a rainbow-like pattern. The "hue" variable is a "byte", which means that it will only go up to a maximum value of 255, before it jumps back down to zero.
  • Initialisation Code: If you have a different LED ring to the one in this tutorial, you may have to modify the initialisation code. This LED ring has a WS2812-B chipset (according to the ICStation website), and so this line:
     
    FastLED.addLeds(leds, NUM_LEDS); Will tell the FastLED library which chipset is being used (NEOPIXEL), the pin used for data transmission (DATA_PIN), the LED array to be controlled (leds), and the number of LEDs to be controlled (NUM_LEDS).
  • In the "loop()": section of the code: the "hue" variable is incremented to create a rainbow effect, and a random LED is selected using the FastLED's random8() function.
  • The random8(x) function: will randomly choose a number from 0 to x.
  • The randomSeed() function: is there to help "truely randomise" the number. This is helped by reading the randomness of a floating analogPin (A0). It doesn't have to be analogPin 0, it can be any unused analog pin.
  • leds[rnd].setHSV(hue,255,255): This line sets the random LED to have a hue equal to the "hue" variable, saturation equal to 255, and brightness equal to 255. Saturation equal to zero will make the LED shine white.
    Brightness of zero essentially turns the LED OFF.
  • FastLED.show(): No physical changes will be made to the LED ring display until a message is sent from the Arduino to the Digital input pin of the LED ring. This message is transmitted when you call the FastLED.show(); function. This tells the LED rings to update their display with the information contained within the led array (leds). So if you set all LEDs to turn on, the board will not illuminate the LEDs until the FastLED.show(); function is called. This is important to know - especially when trying to design your own LED sequences.
  • The delay(50) line: will set the amount of time between flashes to 50 milliseconds. You can change the delay to increase or decrease the number of flashes per second.
  • The leds[i].fadeToBlackBy( 180 ) function: essentially fades the LEDS by 180 units. You can increase or decrease this number to achieve the desired fade speed. Be warned however, that if you forget to call this function or if you fail to fade the LEDs sufficiently, then you may end up with ALL LEDs turning on, which could potentially destroy your Arduino board - i.e. depending on the number of LED rings you have, and how you have chosen to power them.

 

The Cake


  • Slide 1 - Base Plate: It is important to create the base plate with all of the electronics fitted and in working order BEFORE you put the Cake onto it. Trying to fit wires/cables LEDs and circuits under the base plate while there is a Cake ontop is a recipe for disaster. So prepare the base plate first, and then move to the cake making part later.
  • Slide 2 - Bake Cake: You will need a couple of hemisphere cake pans to make the two sides of the ball. You have to make a relatively dense cake to withstand the overall weight of the cake, icing and fondant, and to maintain it's shape. Once cooled and chilled, you can place them ontop of each other to form a sphere. They are held together by a layer of icing between them.
  • Slide 3 - Fondant Icing: The fondant icing has to be rolled out on a special non-stick mat. We found that adding a bit of flour helped to reduce the stickiness. There are special rollers which ensure that the thickness of the fondant is consistent throughout. You then have to cut them into square pieces (about 1 cm squares worked well for us). The squares are then painted Silver with a special/edible silver fondant glaze. You may need to use a few coats, and allowing it to dry between coats.
  • Slide 4 - Iced Cake on Base: The cake can either be iced on or off the base plate... probably better to do it off the base plate. But if you decide to do it on the base plate, you will need to protect the LEDs from stray icing that may fall from the cake (in the process). Once the cake has been fully iced (with icing/frosting), you will need to place the cake into the central position on the board. There may be a chance that the cake may slide from the base... so do what you need to do to make it stay put.
  • Slides 5-7 - Place Fondant Squares: While the icing is still soft, you will then need to quickly, methodically and tirelessly place the fondant squares in a horizontal linear pattern around the cake. Work your way towards the north and south poles of the cake doing one row at a time. You can cut a fondant circle for the north pole of the cake. In slide 7, you will see a hole at the top of the cake. This was made to cold a plastic canister inside, which would be used later the hold the decorations in place at the top of the cake. Do this before placing the fondant circle at the top of the cake.
  • Slide 8 - Add Glitter: After placing all of the fondant squares onto the cake, it is very possible that some of the Silver glaze may have been wiped off some of the squares. This is where you go over it again with a few more coats of silver glaze, and on the last coat, before it dries, you can sprinkle some edible glitter all around the cake to give it that extra shine.
  • Slide 9 - The end product: The final step is to add some wire sparklers and some other decorations to the top of the cake. Push the wires through the fondant cap at the north pole into the canister within. This will hold the wires in place without ruining all of your hard work.


LED Ring pins

  • WS2812-B chipset: This LED ring uses the WS2812-B chipset, and has 4 break-out pins
    (GND, 5V, Din, Dout)
  • Power: To power this module, you need to provide 5V and up to 1A of current
  • Signals: To control the LED ring, you need to send signals to it via the Digital Input pin (Din).
    You can connect another LED ring to this one by utilising the Digital Output pin (Dout)

 

Power Usage Guide

  • General Rule: Each individual LED on the ring can transmit Red, Green and Blue light.The combinations of these colours can make up any other colour. White light is made up of all three of these colours at the same time. Each individual colour will draw approximately 20mA of current when showing that colour at maximum brightness. When shining white at maximum brightness, the single LED will draw approximately 60mA.
  • Power multiplier: If each LED can draw up to 60mA and there are 16 LEDs on a single LED ring, then 16x60mA = 960mA per LED ring. To be safe, and to make the maths easier, you need to make sure that you provide enough current to accommodate 1A per LED ring. So 4 LED rings will need a 5V 4A power supply if you want to get full functionality out of the modules.


 

Fritzing diagram

Connecting ONE LED Ring to the Arduino- (Click to enlarge)


  • 3 wires: You only need 3 wires to connect to the LED ring. If you only plan to light up a couple of LEDs at any one time this should be ok.
  • The SAFE WAY: A safer way to do this is to use an external power supply to power both the Arduino and the LED ring.
  • Electrolytic capacitor: By connecting a large 4700 uF 16V Electrolytic capacitor between the positive and negative terminals of power supply leads, with the negative leg of the capacitor attached to the negative terminal of the power supply, you will protect your LED rings from any initial onrush of current.


  • Protecting Resistor: It is also advisable to place a 300-400 ohm resistor between the Arduino's Digital Pin 9 (D9) and the LED Ring's Digital Input pin (Din). This protects the first LED from potential voltage spikes
  • Suitable wires: If you plan to chain a few of these LED rings together (see below), then you will probably want to keep the wires as short as possible and use a decent guage wire that can handle the current being drawn through them.


 

Connecting TWO LED Rings to the Arduino- (Click to enlarge)


  • Three extra wires:You only need 3 extra wires to connect an additional LED ring. A wire needs to connect the Digital output (Dout) of the first LED ring to the Digital Input (Din) of the 2nd LED ring.
  • Stay safe: Once again, a safer way to do this is to use an external power supply, a large electrolytic capacitor at the terminals, and a 300-400 ohm resistor between the Arduino and the first LED ring's digital input pin.


 

Connecting FOUR LED Ring to the Arduino- (Click to enlarge)


  • Sixty Four LEDs:You need 3 extra wires for each additional LED ring. 4 LED rings provides a total of 64 LEDs.
  • Watch the AMPS:At full brightness, this setup could potentially draw up to 4amps (or roughly 1 amp per LED ring)
  • External Supply essential: It is essential to use an external power supply to power these LEDs when there are so many of them. If you don't use an external power supply and you accidentally illuminate ALL of the LEDs, then you are likely to damage the microcontroller from excessive current draw.


Connection Tables

How to connect ONE LED Ring to the Arduino- (Click to enlarge)


How to connect TWO LED Rings to the Arduino- (Click to enlarge)


 

Concluding comments

In this tutorial I showed you how to go about decorating a Disco Ball cake and also showed you how to use the RGB LED rings from ICStation. If you look at the video you will see just how versatile these LED rings are. I would like to thank my wife for providing such an exciting project to work on, and ICStation for their collaborative efforts. Please make sure to share this project with all of your friends and family.
 






If you like this page, please do me a favour and show your appreciation :

 
Visit my ArduinoBasics Google + page.
Follow me on Twitter by looking for ScottC @ArduinoBasics.
I can also be found on Pinterest and Instagram.
Have a look at my videos on my YouTube channel.

             

ScottC 04 Jun 07:38

Arduino Disco Ball Cake


 

Description

This is a fun project that will surely impress anyone you make this for. If you are having a "Disco" themed party, you cannot have a boring old cake. Let me tell you, this is probably the only Arduino project that my wife has ever been willing to be a part of. She did the hard work of putting the cake together, and I, well.... I was in charge of lighting. My biggest fear was that one of the wires would come loose and ruin the event at the most critical moment... While a wire did come loose, I managed to fix it in time before the guests arrived. Ok enough of my monologue, let me show you how to make one of these things.

 


Parts Required:

Note: powering this project using batteries is possible, but not recommended, and done at your own risk.

You will also need a Disco Ball Cake which you will have to make(or buy).My wife made this one. And as you will see shortly, the cake on the inside was Pink, because it was a strawberry cake.


Arduino Libraries and IDE

You can get the Arduino IDE from here: https://www.arduino.cc/en/Main/Software
I used version 1.6.4, which is probably way out of date... but works fine nonetheless.
 
You can get information about how to use the FastLED library here: http://fastled.io/
And you can download it from here: FastLED Library
I used version 3.0.3, which is also probably out of date.

ARDUINO CODE:

ARDUINO CODE DESCRIPTION:

  • FastLED Library: You need to make sure that you have downloaded and installed the FastLED library into your Arduino IDE. The library is included in this sketch otherwise the FastLED functions will not work.
  • The "NUM_LEDS" variable: tells the Arduino how many LEDS are in use. In this case, we have 4 LED rings, with each LED ring containing 16 LEDs, and therefore a total of 64 LEDs. If you define a lower number, for example 16, then the sketch would only illuminate the LEDs on the first LED ring.
  • The "DATA_PIN" variable: tells the Arduino which Digital Pin to use for data transmission to the LED ring. In this case, I am using Digital Pin 9.
  • Other variables: I have a couple of other variables which are used for LED randomisation and hue control. Hue is the colour of the LED. By incrementing the hue variable, you can get the LEDs to cycle in a rainbow-like pattern. The "hue" variable is a "byte", which means that it will only go up to a maximum value of 255, before it jumps back down to zero.
  • Initialisation Code: If you have a different LED ring to the one in this tutorial, you may have to modify the initialisation code. This LED ring has a WS2812-B chipset (according to the ICStation website), and so this line:
     
    FastLED.addLeds(leds, NUM_LEDS); Will tell the FastLED library which chipset is being used (NEOPIXEL), the pin used for data transmission (DATA_PIN), the LED array to be controlled (leds), and the number of LEDs to be controlled (NUM_LEDS).
  • In the "loop()": section of the code: the "hue" variable is incremented to create a rainbow effect, and a random LED is selected using the FastLED's random8() function.
  • The random8(x) function: will randomly choose a number from 0 to x.
  • The randomSeed() function: is there to help "truely randomise" the number. This is helped by reading the randomness of a floating analogPin (A0). It doesn't have to be analogPin 0, it can be any unused analog pin.
  • leds[rnd].setHSV(hue,255,255): This line sets the random LED to have a hue equal to the "hue" variable, saturation equal to 255, and brightness equal to 255. Saturation equal to zero will make the LED shine white.
    Brightness of zero essentially turns the LED OFF.
  • FastLED.show(): No physical changes will be made to the LED ring display until a message is sent from the Arduino to the Digital input pin of the LED ring. This message is transmitted when you call the FastLED.show(); function. This tells the LED rings to update their display with the information contained within the led array (leds). So if you set all LEDs to turn on, the board will not illuminate the LEDs until the FastLED.show(); function is called. This is important to know - especially when trying to design your own LED sequences.
  • The delay(50) line: will set the amount of time between flashes to 50 milliseconds. You can change the delay to increase or decrease the number of flashes per second.
  • The leds[i].fadeToBlackBy( 180 ) function: essentially fades the LEDS by 180 units. You can increase or decrease this number to achieve the desired fade speed. Be warned however, that if you forget to call this function or if you fail to fade the LEDs sufficiently, then you may end up with ALL LEDs turning on, which could potentially destroy your Arduino board - i.e. depending on the number of LED rings you have, and how you have chosen to power them.

 

The Cake


  • Slide 1 - Base Plate: It is important to create the base plate with all of the electronics fitted and in working order BEFORE you put the Cake onto it. Trying to fit wires/cables LEDs and circuits under the base plate while there is a Cake ontop is a recipe for disaster. So prepare the base plate first, and then move to the cake making part later.
  • Slide 2 - Bake Cake: You will need a couple of hemisphere cake pans to make the two sides of the ball. You have to make a relatively dense cake to withstand the overall weight of the cake, icing and fondant, and to maintain it's shape. Once cooled and chilled, you can place them ontop of each other to form a sphere. They are held together by a layer of icing between them.
  • Slide 3 - Fondant Icing: The fondant icing has to be rolled out on a special non-stick mat. We found that adding a bit of flour helped to reduce the stickiness. There are special rollers which ensure that the thickness of the fondant is consistent throughout. You then have to cut them into square pieces (about 1 cm squares worked well for us). The squares are then painted Silver with a special/edible silver fondant glaze. You may need to use a few coats, and allowing it to dry between coats.
  • Slide 4 - Iced Cake on Base: The cake can either be iced on or off the base plate... probably better to do it off the base plate. But if you decide to do it on the base plate, you will need to protect the LEDs from stray icing that may fall from the cake (in the process). Once the cake has been fully iced (with icing/frosting), you will need to place the cake into the central position on the board. There may be a chance that the cake may slide from the base... so do what you need to do to make it stay put.
  • Slides 5-7 - Place Fondant Squares: While the icing is still soft, you will then need to quickly, methodically and tirelessly place the fondant squares in a horizontal linear pattern around the cake. Work your way towards the north and south poles of the cake doing one row at a time. You can cut a fondant circle for the north pole of the cake. In slide 7, you will see a hole at the top of the cake. This was made to cold a plastic canister inside, which would be used later the hold the decorations in place at the top of the cake. Do this before placing the fondant circle at the top of the cake.
  • Slide 8 - Add Glitter: After placing all of the fondant squares onto the cake, it is very possible that some of the Silver glaze may have been wiped off some of the squares. This is where you go over it again with a few more coats of silver glaze, and on the last coat, before it dries, you can sprinkle some edible glitter all around the cake to give it that extra shine.
  • Slide 9 - The end product: The final step is to add some wire sparklers and some other decorations to the top of the cake. Push the wires through the fondant cap at the north pole into the canister within. This will hold the wires in place without ruining all of your hard work.


LED Ring pins

  • WS2812-B chipset: This LED ring uses the WS2812-B chipset, and has 4 break-out pins
    (GND, 5V, Din, Dout)
  • Power: To power this module, you need to provide 5V and up to 1A of current
  • Signals: To control the LED ring, you need to send signals to it via the Digital Input pin (Din).
    You can connect another LED ring to this one by utilising the Digital Output pin (Dout)

 

Power Usage Guide

  • General Rule: Each individual LED on the ring can transmit Red, Green and Blue light.The combinations of these colours can make up any other colour. White light is made up of all three of these colours at the same time. Each individual colour will draw approximately 20mA of current when showing that colour at maximum brightness. When shining white at maximum brightness, the single LED will draw approximately 60mA.
  • Power multiplier: If each LED can draw up to 60mA and there are 16 LEDs on a single LED ring, then 16x60mA = 960mA per LED ring. To be safe, and to make the maths easier, you need to make sure that you provide enough current to accommodate 1A per LED ring. So 4 LED rings will need a 5V 4A power supply if you want to get full functionality out of the modules.


 

Fritzing diagram

Connecting ONE LED Ring to the Arduino- (Click to enlarge)


  • 3 wires: You only need 3 wires to connect to the LED ring. If you only plan to light up a couple of LEDs at any one time this should be ok.
  • The SAFE WAY: A safer way to do this is to use an external power supply to power both the Arduino and the LED ring.
  • Electrolytic capacitor: By connecting a large 4700 uF 16V Electrolytic capacitor between the positive and negative terminals of power supply leads, with the negative leg of the capacitor attached to the negative terminal of the power supply, you will protect your LED rings from any initial onrush of current.


  • Protecting Resistor: It is also advisable to place a 300-400 ohm resistor between the Arduino's Digital Pin 9 (D9) and the LED Ring's Digital Input pin (Din). This protects the first LED from potential voltage spikes
  • Suitable wires: If you plan to chain a few of these LED rings together (see below), then you will probably want to keep the wires as short as possible and use a decent guage wire that can handle the current being drawn through them.


 

Connecting TWO LED Rings to the Arduino- (Click to enlarge)


  • Three extra wires:You only need 3 extra wires to connect an additional LED ring. A wire needs to connect the Digital output (Dout) of the first LED ring to the Digital Input (Din) of the 2nd LED ring.
  • Stay safe: Once again, a safer way to do this is to use an external power supply, a large electrolytic capacitor at the terminals, and a 300-400 ohm resistor between the Arduino and the first LED ring's digital input pin.


 

Connecting FOUR LED Ring to the Arduino- (Click to enlarge)


  • Sixty Four LEDs:You need 3 extra wires for each additional LED ring. 4 LED rings provides a total of 64 LEDs.
  • Watch the AMPS:At full brightness, this setup could potentially draw up to 4amps (or roughly 1 amp per LED ring)
  • External Supply essential: It is essential to use an external power supply to power these LEDs when there are so many of them. If you don't use an external power supply and you accidentally illuminate ALL of the LEDs, then you are likely to damage the microcontroller from excessive current draw.


Connection Tables

How to connect ONE LED Ring to the Arduino- (Click to enlarge)


How to connect TWO LED Rings to the Arduino- (Click to enlarge)


 

Concluding comments

In this tutorial I showed you how to go about decorating a Disco Ball cake and also showed you how to use the RGB LED rings from ICStation. If you look at the video you will see just how versatile these LED rings are. I would like to thank my wife for providing such an exciting project to work on, and ICStation for their collaborative efforts. Please make sure to share this project with all of your friends and family.
 






If you like this page, please do me a favour and show your appreciation :

 
Visit my ArduinoBasics Google + page.
Follow me on Twitter by looking for ScottC @ArduinoBasics.
I can also be found on Pinterest and Instagram.
Have a look at my videos on my YouTube channel.

             

ScottC 04 Jun 07:38

Arduino LED Light Box

Description

Long straight lines of LED luminescence is nice, but sometimes you may want to light up something that has an unusual shape, or is not so linear. This is where the 12mm diffused flat digital RGB LED Pixels can come into play. This cool strand of 25 RGB LED pixels fit nicely into 12mm pre-drilled holes of any material you like.

This tutorial is dedicated to making a LED Light Box. I wanted the box to be equally as interesting during the day as it was at night. If you decide you make your own, feel free to be as creative as you want !! However, if you lack artistic acumen, you may need to source a minion or two.


 

Arduino Libraries and IDE

Before you start to hook up any components, upload the following sketch to the Arduino microcontroller. I am assuming that you already have the Arduino IDE installed on your computer. If not, the IDE can be downloaded from here.

The FastLED library is useful for simplifying the code for programming the RGB LED pixels. The latest "FastLED library" can be downloaded from here. I used FastLED library version 3.0.3 in this project.

If you have a different LED strip or your RGB LED pixels have a different chipset, make sure to change the relevant lines of code to accomodate your hardware. I would suggest you try out a few of the FastLED library examples before using the code below, so that you become more familiar with the library, and will be better equipped to make the necessary changes.

If you have a single strand of 25 RGB LED pixels with the WS8201 chipset, then you will not have to make any modification below.


 

ARDUINO CODE:

Arduino Code Description

The code above will generate a randomised raindrop pattern on the Arduino LED Light box, however I have written code for a few more LED animations. These animations were written specifically for this light-box setup. In other words, once you have hooked everything up, you will be able to upload these other LED animations to the Arduino board without any further modification to the hardware/wiring, and yet experience a totally different light effect. You can find the code for the other animation effects by clicking on the links below:

  1. Breathing effect
  2. Ripple effect
  3. Clock effect
  4. Rotation effect
  5. Sweep effect
  6. Spiral effect
  7. Lightning effect
  8. Paparazzi in the Rain effect

Hooking it up:

Power requirements

Each LED pixel can draw up to 60 milliamps at maximum brightness (white). ie. 20 mA for each colour (red, green and blue). Therefore you should not try to power the LED strand directly from the Arduino, because the strand will draw too much current and damage the microcontroller(and possibly your USB port too). The LED strand will therefore need to be powered by a separate power supply. The power supply must supply the correct voltage (5V DC) and must also be able to supply sufficient current (1.5A or greater per strand of 25 LEDs).

Excessive voltage will damage or destroy your LED pixel strand. The LEDs will only draw as much current as they need, however your power supply must provide at least 1.5A or greater for each strand. If you chain two strands together, you will need a 5V 3A power supply.

RGB LED pixel strand connection

There are 25 LED pixels per strand. Four of the wires at each end of the strand are terminated with a JST connector. The red wire is for power (VCC), blue wire for ground (GND), yellow wire is for Data, and green wire for Clock. A spare red wire (VCC) and a spare blue wire (GND) are attached to the ends of each strand for convenience, however, I did not use either. Please double check the colour of your wires... they may be different.

If you want to attach the LED strand to a breadboard, you can cut the JST connector off and use the LED pixel strand wires. Alternatively, if you would prefer to preserve the JST connector, you can simply insert jumper wires (or some male header pins) into the JST connector, and then plug them into the breadboard as required.

Each LED pixel is individually controllable using two pins on your Arduino. The strand is directional. i.e. There is an INPUT side and an OUTPUT side. The strand should be connected such that wires from the microcontroller are attached to the INPUT side of the first LED pixel. The arrows on each LED show the direction of data flow from INPUT to OUTPUT. The arrow on the first LED pixel should be pointing towards the second LED pixel, NOT towards the breadboard.

Other considerations

As a precaution, you should use a large capacitor across the + and - terminals of the power supply to prevent the initial onrush of current from damaging the RGB LED pixels. I used a 4700uF 16V Electrolytic capacitor for this purpose. According to Adafruit, a 1000uF 6.3V capacitor (or higher) will also do the trick. You may also want to consider a 330 ohm resistor between the Arduino Digital pin and the strand's DATA pin.

If you want to power the Arduino using the regulated 5V external power supply. Disconnect the USB cable from the Arduino, and then connect the positive terminal of the power supply to the 5V pin on the Arduino. Be warned however, that excess voltage at this pin could damage your Arduino, because the 5V regulator will be bypassed.
 
Providing the USB cable is NOT connected to the Arduino, it should now be safe to plug the power supply into the wall. This setup will allow you to power the RGB LED pixel strand and the Arduino using the same power supply.
 
WARNING: Never change any connections while the circuit is powered.

For more information about these RGB LED pixel strands, you may want to visit the Adafruit site. Adafruit was the source for most of these RGB LED pixel Strand precautions.


Fritzing diagram

The following diagram demonstrates how to connect the RGB LED pixel Strand to the Arduino and to the External 5V power supply.


This diagram was created using Fritzing


Connection Instructions

These instructions will help to guide you through the process of connecting your RGB LED pixel strand to the Arduino, and to the external power supply. The instructions assume that you will be powering the Arduino via a USB cable.



LightBox assembly

You will need to drill a 12mm hole into the craft timber box for each LED on the strand. It is worth taking the time to make accurate measurements before drilling the holes.
 
I made 12 holes for the outside circle pattern (12cm diameter), 6 holes for the inside circle pattern (8cm diameter), and a hole in the centre. I also made two holes at the front of the box, two on the left side, and two on the right side. I made one last hole at the back of the box for the 2.1mm DC power line socket.
 
Therefore you should have a total of 26 holes in the box. 25 of the holes are for the RGB LED pixel LEDs and one for the external power supply socket.

The lid of the box is about 19.5cm x 14.5cm long, which makes for a very tight squeeze. Probably too tight, because you have to account for the inner dimensions of the box. The inside of the box is used to house the Arduino, breadboard, the chipset side of the LEDs and cables/components. The inner dimensions of the box are 18cm x 13cm. Therefore, the housing for the LED chipset PCB (1.8cm x 2.5cm) prevented the box from closing. I used a Dremel to carve out the space required to close the lid.

Each LED is approximately 8cm apart on the strand, however, if you are really keen, you could cut the wires and extend them to any distance you require. But keep in mind that each LED is mounted on a small PCB (with a WS2801 chipset).You will therefore need to leave a minimum of 2cm between each 12mm hole to accomodate the size of the PCB+LED. If you plan carefully, you can probably squeeze a couple of LEDs within a distance of 1cm... but I would recommend that you give yourself a bit more room, because the PCBs are not square, and there is a good chance that you will have to start all over again.

In hindsight, I could have made the circle patterns a bit smaller, however I don't know if I could have packed these LEDs any closer. The diameter of the inner circle pattern must be at least 2cm smaller than the outer circle pattern. So I think "a bigger box" would have been the best option.

Once all of the holes have been drilled, paint and decorate the box to suit your style.

When the paint is dry, insert the LEDs into the drilled holes in number order.
You can see the end result below.



Project Pictures

These pictures show the Light box after it has been drilled and painted. The LEDs have been inserted into their respective holes, and all wires + Arduino + breadboard are hidden within the box.





Concluding comments

Once you start writing LED animations for the RGB LED pixel Lightbox, it is very hard to stop. The colour combinations



If you like this page, please do me a favour and show your appreciation :

 
Visit my ArduinoBasics Google + page.
Follow me on Twitter by looking for ScottC @ArduinoBasics.
I can also be found on Pinterest and Instagram.
Have a look at my videos on my YouTube channel.

             

This project would not have been possible without OpenLab's collaborative effort.
Please visit their site for more cool projects.



However, if you do not have a google profile...
Feel free to share this page with your friends in any way you see fit.

Arduino LED Light Box

Description

Long straight lines of LED luminescence is nice, but sometimes you may want to light up something that has an unusual shape, or is not so linear. This is where the 12mm diffused flat digital RGB LED Pixels can come into play. This cool strand of 25 NeoPixels fit nicely into 12mm pre-drilled holes of any material you like.

This tutorial is dedicated to making a LED Light Box. I wanted the box to be equally as interesting during the day as it was at night. If you decide you make your own, feel free to be as creative as you want !! However, if you lack artistic acumen, you may need to source a minion or two.


 

Arduino Libraries and IDE

Before you start to hook up any components, upload the following sketch to the Arduino microcontroller. I am assuming that you already have the Arduino IDE installed on your computer. If not, the IDE can be downloaded from here.

The FastLED library is useful for simplifying the code for programming the NeoPixels. The latest "FastLED library" can be downloaded from here. I used FastLED library version 3.0.3 in this project.

If you have a different LED strip or your NeoPixels have a different chipset, make sure to change the relevant lines of code to accomodate your hardware. I would suggest you try out a few of the FastLED library examples before using the code below, so that you become more familiar with the library, and will be better equipped to make the necessary changes.

If you have a single strand of 25 Neopixels with the WS8201 chipset, then you will not have to make any modification below.


 

ARDUINO CODE:

Arduino Code Description

The code above will generate a randomised raindrop pattern on the NeoPixel LED Light box, however I have written code for a few more LED animations. These animations were written specifically for this light-box setup. In other words, once you have hooked everything up, you will be able to upload these other LED animations to the Arduino board without any further modification to the hardware/wiring, and yet experience a totally different light effect. You can find the code for the other animation effects by clicking on the links below:

  1. Breathing effect
  2. Ripple effect
  3. Clock effect
  4. Rotation effect
  5. Sweep effect
  6. Spiral effect
  7. Lightning effect
  8. Paparazzi in the Rain effect

Hooking it up:

Power requirements

Each Neopixel LED can draw up to 60 milliamps at maximum brightness (white). ie. 20 mA for each colour (red, green and blue). Therefore you should not try to power the LED strand directly from the Arduino, because the strand will draw too much current and damage the microcontroller(and possibly your USB port too). The LED strand will therefore need to be powered by a separate power supply. The power supply must supply the correct voltage (5V DC) and must also be able to supply sufficient current (1.5A or greater per strand of 25 LEDs).

Excessive voltage will damage or destroy your Neopixel strand. The LEDs will only draw as much current as they need, however your power supply must provide at least 1.5A or greater for each strand. If you chain two strands together, you will need a 5V 3A power supply.

Neopixel strand connection

There are 25 Neopixel LEDs per strand. Four of the wires at each end of the strand are terminated with a JST connector. The red wire is for power (VCC), blue wire for ground (GND), yellow wire is for Data, and green wire for Clock. A spare red wire (VCC) and a spare blue wire (GND) are attached to the ends of each strand for convenience, however, I did not use either. Please double check the colour of your wires... they may be different.

If you want to attach the LED strand to a breadboard, you can cut the JST connector off and use the Neopixel strand wires. Alternatively, if you would prefer to preserve the JST connector, you can simply insert jumper wires (or some male header pins) into the JST connector, and then plug them into the breadboard as required.

Each neopixel LED is individually controllable using two pins on your Arduino. The strand is directional. i.e. There is an INPUT side and an OUTPUT side. The strand should be connected such that wires from the microcontroller are attached to the INPUT side of the first neopixel. The arrows on each LED show the direction of data flow from INPUT to OUTPUT. The arrow on the first NeoPixel should be pointing towards the second NeoPixel, NOT towards the breadboard.

Other considerations

As a precaution, you should use a large capacitor across the + and - terminals of the power supply to prevent the initial onrush of current from damaging the Neopixels. I used a 4700uF 16V Electrolytic capacitor for this purpose. According to Adafruit, a 1000uF 6.3V capacitor (or higher) will also do the trick. You may also want to consider a 330 ohm resistor between the Arduino Digital pin and the strand's DATA pin.

If you want to power the Arduino using the regulated 5V external power supply. Disconnect the USB cable from the Arduino, and then connect the positive terminal of the power supply to the 5V pin on the Arduino. Be warned however, that excess voltage at this pin could damage your Arduino, because the 5V regulator will be bypassed.
 
Providing the USB cable is NOT connected to the Arduino, it should now be safe to plug the power supply into the wall. This setup will allow you to power the Neopixel strand and the Arduino using the same power supply.
 
WARNING: Never change any connections while the circuit is powered.

For more information about these NeoPixel strands, you may want to visit the Adafruit site. Adafruit was the source for most of these NeoPixel Strand precautions.


Fritzing diagram

The following diagram demonstrates how to connect the NeoPixel Strand to the Arduino and to the External 5V power supply.


This diagram was created using Fritzing


Connection Instructions

These instructions will help to guide you through the process of connecting your NeoPixel strand to the Arduino, and to the external power supply. The instructions assume that you will be powering the Arduino via a USB cable.



LightBox assembly

You will need to drill a 12mm hole into the craft timber box for each LED on the strand. It is worth taking the time to make accurate measurements before drilling the holes.
 
I made 12 holes for the outside circle pattern (12cm diameter), 6 holes for the inside circle pattern (8cm diameter), and a hole in the centre. I also made two holes at the front of the box, two on the left side, and two on the right side. I made one last hole at the back of the box for the 2.1mm DC power line socket.
 
Therefore you should have a total of 26 holes in the box. 25 of the holes are for the Neopixel LEDs and one for the external power supply socket.

The lid of the box is about 19.5cm x 14.5cm long, which makes for a very tight squeeze. Probably too tight, because you have to account for the inner dimensions of the box. The inside of the box is used to house the Arduino, breadboard, the chipset side of the LEDs and cables/components. The inner dimensions of the box are 18cm x 13cm. Therefore, the housing for the LED chipset PCB (1.8cm x 2.5cm) prevented the box from closing. I used a Dremel to carve out the space required to close the lid.

Each LED is approximately 8cm apart on the strand, however, if you are really keen, you could cut the wires and extend them to any distance you require. But keep in mind that each LED is mounted on a small PCB (with a WS2801 chipset).You will therefore need to leave a minimum of 2cm between each 12mm hole to accomodate the size of the PCB+LED. If you plan carefully, you can probably squeeze a couple of LEDs within a distance of 1cm... but I would recommend that you give yourself a bit more room, because the PCBs are not square, and there is a good chance that you will have to start all over again.

In hindsight, I could have made the circle patterns a bit smaller, however I don't know if I could have packed these LEDs any closer. The diameter of the inner circle pattern must be at least 2cm smaller than the outer circle pattern. So I think "a bigger box" would have been the best option.

Once all of the holes have been drilled, paint and decorate the box to suit your style.

When the paint is dry, insert the LEDs into the drilled holes in number order.
You can see the end result below.



Project Pictures

These pictures show the Light box after it has been drilled and painted. The LEDs have been inserted into their respective holes, and all wires + Arduino + breadboard are hidden within the box.





Concluding comments

Once you start writing LED animations for the NeoPixel Lightbox, it is very hard to stop. The colour combinations



If you like this page, please do me a favour and show your appreciation :

 
Visit my ArduinoBasics Google + page.
Follow me on Twitter by looking for ScottC @ArduinoBasics.
I can also be found on Pinterest and Instagram.
Have a look at my videos on my YouTube channel.

             

This project would not have been possible without OpenLab's collaborative effort.
Please visit their site for more cool projects.



However, if you do not have a google profile...
Feel free to share this page with your friends in any way you see fit.

NeoPixel Heart Beat Display


Project Description


In this project, your heart will control a mesmerising LED sequence on a 5 metre Neopixel LED strip with a ws2812B chipset. Every heart beat will trigger a LED animation that will keep you captivated and attached to your Arduino for ages. The good thing about this project is that it is relatively easy to set up, and requires no soldering. The hardest part is downloading and installing the FastLED library into the Arduino IDE, but that in itself is not too difficult. The inspiration and idea behind this project came from Ali Murtaza, who wanted to know how to get an LED strip to pulse to his heart beat.
 
Have a look at the video below to see this project in action.
 
 
 

The Video


 


 
 

Parts Required:


 

Power Requirements

Before you start any LED strip project, the first thing you will need to think about is POWER. According to the Adafruit website, each individual NeoPixel LED can draw up to 60 milliamps at maximum brightness - white. Therefore the amount of current required for the entire strip will be way more than your Arduino can handle. If you try to power this LED strip directly from your Arduino, you run the risk of damaging not only your Arduino, but your USB port as well. The Arduino will be used to control the LED strip, but the LED strip will need to be powered by a separate power supply. The power supply you choose to use is important. It must provide the correct voltage, and must able to supply sufficient current.
 

Operating Voltage (5V)

The operating voltage of the NeoPixel strip is 5 volts DC. Excessive voltage will damage/destroy your NeoPixels.

Current requirements (9.0 Amps)

OpenLab recommend the use of a 5V 10A power supply. Having more Amps is OK, providing the output voltage is 5V DC. The LEDs will only draw as much current as they need. To calculate the amount of current this 5m strip can draw with all LEDs turned on at full brightness - white:

30 NeoPixel LEDs x 60mA x 5m = 9000mA = 9.0 Amps for a 5 metre strip.

Therefore a 5V 10A power supply would be able to handle the maximum current (9.0 Amps) demanded by a 5m NeoPixel strip containing a total of 150 LEDs.
 
 


Arduino Libraries and IDE


Before you start to hook up any components, upload the following sketch to the Arduino microcontroller. I am assuming that you already have the Arduino IDE installed on your computer. If not, the IDE can be downloaded from here.
 
The FastLED library is useful for simplifying the code for programming the NeoPixels. The latest "FastLED library" can be downloaded from here. I used FastLED library version 3.0.3 in this project.
 
If you have a different LED strip or your NeoPixels have a different chipset, make sure to change the relevant lines of code to accomodate your hardware. I would suggest you try out a few of the FastLED library examples before using the code below, so that you become more familiar with the library, and will be better equipped to make the necessary changes. If you have a 5 metre length of the NeoPixel 30 LED/m strip with the ws2812B chipset, then you will not have to make any modification below.
 

ARDUINO CODE:


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/* ================================================================================================ Project: NeoPixel Heart Beat Display Neopixel chipset: ws2812B (30 LED/m strip) Author: Scott C Created: 8th July 2015 Arduino IDE: 1.6.4 Website: http://arduinobasics.blogspot.com/p/arduino-basics-projects-page.html Description: This sketch will display a heart beat on a 5m Neopixel LED strip. Requires a Grove Ear-clip heart rate sensor and a Neopixel strip. This project makes use of the FastLED library: http://fastled.io/ You may need to modify the code below to accomodate your specific LED strip. See the FastLED library site for more details. ================================================================================================== */ //This project needs the FastLED library - link in the description. #include "FastLED.h" //The total number of LEDs being used is 150 #define NUM_LEDS 150 // The data pin for the NeoPixel strip is connected to digital Pin 6 on the Arduino #define DATA_PIN 6 //Attach the Grove Ear-clip heart rate sensor to digital pin 2 on the Arduino. #define EAR_CLIP 2 //Initialise the LED array CRGB leds[NUM_LEDS]; //Initialise the global variables used to control the LED animation int ledNum = 0; //Keep track of the LEDs boolean beated = false; //Used to identify when the heart has beated int randomR = 0; //randomR used to randomise the fade-out of the LEDs //================================================================================================ // setup() : Is used to initialise the LED strip //================================================================================================ void setup() { FastLED.addLeds<NEOPIXEL,DATA_PIN>(leds, NUM_LEDS); //Set digital pin 2 (Ear-clip heart rate sensor) as an INPUT pinMode(EAR_CLIP, INPUT);} //================================================================================================ // loop() : Take readings from the Ear-clip sensor, and display the animation on the LED strip //================================================================================================ void loop() { //If the Ear-clip sensor moves from LOW to HIGH, call the beatTriggered method if(digitalRead(EAR_CLIP)>0){ //beatTriggered() is only called if the 'beated' variable is false. //This prevents multiple triggers from the same beat. ifbeated){ beatTriggered(); } } else { beated = false; //Change the 'beated' variable to false when the Ear-clip heart rate sensor is reading LOW. } //Fade the LEDs by 1 unit/cycle, when the heart is at 'rest' (i.e. between beats) fadeLEDs(5);} //================================================================================================ // beatTriggered() : This is the LED animation sequence when the heart beats //================================================================================================ void beatTriggered(){ //Ignite 30 LEDs with a red value between 0 to 255 for(int i = 0; i<30; i++){ //The red channel is randomised to a value between 0 to 255 leds[ledNum].r=random8(); FastLED.show(); //Call the fadeLEDs method after every 3rd LED is lit. if(ledNum%3==0){ fadeLEDs(5); } //Move to the next LED ledNum++; //Make sure to move back to the beginning if the animation falls off the end of the strip if(ledNum>(NUM_LEDS-1)){ ledNum=0; } } //Ignite 20 LEDS with a blue value between 0 to 120 for(int i = 0; i<20; i++){ //The blue channel is randomised to a value between 0 to 120 leds[ledNum].b=random8(120); FastLED.show(); //Call the fadeLEDs method after every 3rd LED is lit. if(ledNum%3==0){ fadeLEDs(5); } //Move to the next LED ledNum++; //Make sure to move back to the beginning if the animation falls off the end of the strip if(ledNum>(NUM_LEDS-1)){ ledNum=0; } } //Change the 'beated' variable to true, until the Ear-Clip sensor reads LOW. beated=true;} //================================================================================================ // fadeLEDs() : The fading effect of the LEDs when the Heart is resting (Ear-clip reads LOW) //================================================================================================ void fadeLEDs(int fadeVal){ for (int i = 0; i<NUM_LEDS; i++){ //Fade every LED by the fadeVal amount leds[i].fadeToBlackBy( fadeVal ); //Randomly re-fuel some of the LEDs that are currently lit (1% chance per cycle) //This enhances the twinkling effect. if(leds[i].r>10){ randomR = random8(100); if(randomR<1){ //Set the red channel to a value of 80 leds[i].r=80; //Increase the green channel to 20 - to add to the effect leds[i].g=20; } } } FastLED.show();}


 

NeoPixel Strip connection

The NeoPixel strip is rolled up when you first get it. You will notice that there are wires on both sides of the strip. This allows you to chain LED strips together to make longer strips. The more LEDs you have, the more current you will need. Connect your Arduino and power supply to the left side of the strip, with the arrows pointing to the right. (i.e. the side with the "female" jst connector).
 



NeoPixel Strip Wires

There are 5 wires that come pre-attached to either side of the LED strip.
 

 
You don't have to use ALL FIVE wires, however you will need at least one of each colour: red, white & green.
 

 

Fritzing sketch

The following diagram will show you how to wire everything together
 
(click to enlarge)

Arduino Power considerations

Please note that the Arduino is powered by a USB cable.
If you plan to power the Arduino from your power supply, you will need to disconnect the USB cable from the Arduino FIRST, then connect a wire from the 5V line on the Power supply to the VIN pin on the Arduino. Do NOT connect the USB cable to the Arduino while the VIN wire is connected.
 

 

Large Capacitor

Adafruit also recommend the use of a large capacitor across the + and - terminals of the LED strip to "prevent the initial onrush of current from damaging the pixels". Adafruit recommends a capacitor that is 1000uF, 6.3V or higher. I used a 4700uF 16V Electrolytic Capacitor.
 

 

Resistor on Data Pin

Another recommendation from Adafruit is to place a "300 to 500 Ohm resistor" between the Arduino's data pin and the data input on the first NeoPixel to prevent voltage spikes that can damage the first pixel. I used a 330 Ohm resistor.
 

 

Grove Ear-clip heart rate sensor connection

The Grove Base shield makes it easy to connect Grove modules to the Arduino. If you have a Grove Base shield, you will need to connect the Ear-clip heart rate sensor to Digital pin 2 as per the diagram below.
 

 

Completed construction

Once you have everything connected, you can plug the USB cable into the Arduino, and turn on the LED power supply. Attach the ear-clip to your ear (or to your finger) and allow a few seconds to allow the sensor to register your pulse. The LED strip will light up with every heart beat with an animation that moves from one end of the strip to the other in just three heart beats. When the ear-clip is not connected to your ear or finger, the LEDs should remain off. However, the ear clip may "trigger" a heart beat when opening or closing the clip.
 
Here is a picture of all the components (fully assembled).
 


Concluding comments


This very affordable LED strip allows you to create amazing animations over a greater distance. I thought that having less LEDs per metre would make the animations look "jittery", but I was wrong, they look amazing. One of the good things about this strip is the amount of space between each Neopixel, allowing you to easily cut and join the strip to the size and shape you need.
 
This LED strip is compatible with the FastLED library, which makes for easy LED animation programming. While I used this LED strip to display my heart beat, you could just as easily use it to display the output of any other sensor attached to the Arduino.
 



If you like this page, please do me a favour and show your appreciation :

 
Visit my ArduinoBasics Google + page.
Follow me on Twitter by looking for ScottC @ArduinoBasics.
I can also be found on Pinterest and Instagram.
Have a look at my videos on my YouTube channel.


 
 
             

 
This project would not have been possible without OpenLab's collaborative effort.
Please visit their site for more cool projects.



However, if you do not have a google profile...
Feel free to share this page with your friends in any way you see fit.

NeoPixel Heart Beat Display


Project Description


In this project, your heart will control a mesmerising LED sequence on a 5 metre Neopixel LED strip with a ws2812B chipset. Every heart beat will trigger a LED animation that will keep you captivated and attached to your Arduino for ages. The good thing about this project is that it is relatively easy to set up, and requires no soldering. The hardest part is downloading and installing the FastLED library into the Arduino IDE, but that in itself is not too difficult. The inspiration and idea behind this project came from Ali Murtaza, who wanted to know how to get an LED strip to pulse to his heart beat.
 
Have a look at the video below to see this project in action.
 
 
 

The Video


 


 
 

Parts Required:


 

Power Requirements

Before you start any LED strip project, the first thing you will need to think about is POWER. According to the Adafruit website, each individual NeoPixel LED can draw up to 60 milliamps at maximum brightness - white. Therefore the amount of current required for the entire strip will be way more than your Arduino can handle. If you try to power this LED strip directly from your Arduino, you run the risk of damaging not only your Arduino, but your USB port as well. The Arduino will be used to control the LED strip, but the LED strip will need to be powered by a separate power supply. The power supply you choose to use is important. It must provide the correct voltage, and must able to supply sufficient current.
 

Operating Voltage (5V)

The operating voltage of the NeoPixel strip is 5 volts DC. Excessive voltage will damage/destroy your NeoPixels.

Current requirements (9.0 Amps)

OpenLab recommend the use of a 5V 10A power supply. Having more Amps is OK, providing the output voltage is 5V DC. The LEDs will only draw as much current as they need. To calculate the amount of current this 5m strip can draw with all LEDs turned on at full brightness - white:

30 NeoPixel LEDs x 60mA x 5m = 9000mA = 9.0 Amps for a 5 metre strip.

Therefore a 5V 10A power supply would be able to handle the maximum current (9.0 Amps) demanded by a 5m NeoPixel strip containing a total of 150 LEDs.
 
 


Arduino Libraries and IDE


Before you start to hook up any components, upload the following sketch to the Arduino microcontroller. I am assuming that you already have the Arduino IDE installed on your computer. If not, the IDE can be downloaded from here.
 
The FastLED library is useful for simplifying the code for programming the NeoPixels. The latest "FastLED library" can be downloaded from here. I used FastLED library version 3.0.3 in this project.
 
If you have a different LED strip or your NeoPixels have a different chipset, make sure to change the relevant lines of code to accomodate your hardware. I would suggest you try out a few of the FastLED library examples before using the code below, so that you become more familiar with the library, and will be better equipped to make the necessary changes. If you have a 5 metre length of the NeoPixel 30 LED/m strip with the ws2812B chipset, then you will not have to make any modification below.
 

ARDUINO CODE:


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/* ================================================================================================ Project: NeoPixel Heart Beat Display Neopixel chipset: ws2812B (30 LED/m strip) Author: Scott C Created: 8th July 2015 Arduino IDE: 1.6.4 Website: http://arduinobasics.blogspot.com/p/arduino-basics-projects-page.html Description: This sketch will display a heart beat on a 5m Neopixel LED strip. Requires a Grove Ear-clip heart rate sensor and a Neopixel strip. This project makes use of the FastLED library: http://fastled.io/ You may need to modify the code below to accomodate your specific LED strip. See the FastLED library site for more details. ================================================================================================== */ //This project needs the FastLED library - link in the description. #include "FastLED.h" //The total number of LEDs being used is 150 #define NUM_LEDS 150 // The data pin for the NeoPixel strip is connected to digital Pin 6 on the Arduino #define DATA_PIN 6 //Attach the Grove Ear-clip heart rate sensor to digital pin 2 on the Arduino. #define EAR_CLIP 2 //Initialise the LED array CRGB leds[NUM_LEDS]; //Initialise the global variables used to control the LED animation int ledNum = 0; //Keep track of the LEDs boolean beated = false; //Used to identify when the heart has beated int randomR = 0; //randomR used to randomise the fade-out of the LEDs //================================================================================================ // setup() : Is used to initialise the LED strip //================================================================================================ void setup() { FastLED.addLeds<NEOPIXEL,DATA_PIN>(leds, NUM_LEDS); //Set digital pin 2 (Ear-clip heart rate sensor) as an INPUT pinMode(EAR_CLIP, INPUT);} //================================================================================================ // loop() : Take readings from the Ear-clip sensor, and display the animation on the LED strip //================================================================================================ void loop() { //If the Ear-clip sensor moves from LOW to HIGH, call the beatTriggered method if(digitalRead(EAR_CLIP)>0){ //beatTriggered() is only called if the 'beated' variable is false. //This prevents multiple triggers from the same beat. ifbeated){ beatTriggered(); } } else { beated = false; //Change the 'beated' variable to false when the Ear-clip heart rate sensor is reading LOW. } //Fade the LEDs by 1 unit/cycle, when the heart is at 'rest' (i.e. between beats) fadeLEDs(5);} //================================================================================================ // beatTriggered() : This is the LED animation sequence when the heart beats //================================================================================================ void beatTriggered(){ //Ignite 30 LEDs with a red value between 0 to 255 for(int i = 0; i<30; i++){ //The red channel is randomised to a value between 0 to 255 leds[ledNum].r=random8(); FastLED.show(); //Call the fadeLEDs method after every 3rd LED is lit. if(ledNum%3==0){ fadeLEDs(5); } //Move to the next LED ledNum++; //Make sure to move back to the beginning if the animation falls off the end of the strip if(ledNum>(NUM_LEDS-1)){ ledNum=0; } } //Ignite 20 LEDS with a blue value between 0 to 120 for(int i = 0; i<20; i++){ //The blue channel is randomised to a value between 0 to 120 leds[ledNum].b=random8(120); FastLED.show(); //Call the fadeLEDs method after every 3rd LED is lit. if(ledNum%3==0){ fadeLEDs(5); } //Move to the next LED ledNum++; //Make sure to move back to the beginning if the animation falls off the end of the strip if(ledNum>(NUM_LEDS-1)){ ledNum=0; } } //Change the 'beated' variable to true, until the Ear-Clip sensor reads LOW. beated=true;} //================================================================================================ // fadeLEDs() : The fading effect of the LEDs when the Heart is resting (Ear-clip reads LOW) //================================================================================================ void fadeLEDs(int fadeVal){ for (int i = 0; i<NUM_LEDS; i++){ //Fade every LED by the fadeVal amount leds[i].fadeToBlackBy( fadeVal ); //Randomly re-fuel some of the LEDs that are currently lit (1% chance per cycle) //This enhances the twinkling effect. if(leds[i].r>10){ randomR = random8(100); if(randomR<1){ //Set the red channel to a value of 80 leds[i].r=80; //Increase the green channel to 20 - to add to the effect leds[i].g=20; } } } FastLED.show();}


 

NeoPixel Strip connection

The NeoPixel strip is rolled up when you first get it. You will notice that there are wires on both sides of the strip. This allows you to chain LED strips together to make longer strips. The more LEDs you have, the more current you will need. Connect your Arduino and power supply to the left side of the strip, with the arrows pointing to the right. (i.e. the side with the "female" jst connector).
 



NeoPixel Strip Wires

There are 5 wires that come pre-attached to either side of the LED strip.
 

 
You don't have to use ALL FIVE wires, however you will need at least one of each colour: red, white & green.
 

 

Fritzing sketch

The following diagram will show you how to wire everything together
 
(click to enlarge)

Arduino Power considerations

Please note that the Arduino is powered by a USB cable.
If you plan to power the Arduino from your power supply, you will need to disconnect the USB cable from the Arduino FIRST, then connect a wire from the 5V line on the Power supply to the 5V pin on the Arduino. Do NOT connect the USB cable to the Arduino while the 5V wire is connected to the Arduino.
 

 

Large Capacitor

Adafruit also recommend the use of a large capacitor across the + and - terminals of the LED strip to "prevent the initial onrush of current from damaging the pixels". Adafruit recommends a capacitor that is 1000uF, 6.3V or higher. I used a 4700uF 16V Electrolytic Capacitor.
 

 

Resistor on Data Pin

Another recommendation from Adafruit is to place a "300 to 500 Ohm resistor" between the Arduino's data pin and the data input on the first NeoPixel to prevent voltage spikes that can damage the first pixel. I used a 330 Ohm resistor.
 

 

Grove Ear-clip heart rate sensor connection

The Grove Base shield makes it easy to connect Grove modules to the Arduino. If you have a Grove Base shield, you will need to connect the Ear-clip heart rate sensor to Digital pin 2 as per the diagram below.
 

 

Completed construction

Once you have everything connected, you can plug the USB cable into the Arduino, and turn on the LED power supply. Attach the ear-clip to your ear (or to your finger) and allow a few seconds to allow the sensor to register your pulse. The LED strip will light up with every heart beat with an animation that moves from one end of the strip to the other in just three heart beats. When the ear-clip is not connected to your ear or finger, the LEDs should remain off. However, the ear clip may "trigger" a heart beat when opening or closing the clip.
 
Here is a picture of all the components (fully assembled).
 


Concluding comments


This very affordable LED strip allows you to create amazing animations over a greater distance. I thought that having less LEDs per metre would make the animations look "jittery", but I was wrong, they look amazing. One of the good things about this strip is the amount of space between each Neopixel, allowing you to easily cut and join the strip to the size and shape you need.
 
This LED strip is compatible with the FastLED library, which makes for easy LED animation programming. While I used this LED strip to display my heart beat, you could just as easily use it to display the output of any other sensor attached to the Arduino.
 



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