My Arduino powered, Megajolt-driven Nixie Tachometer ! More Information here – This is a prototype I made to test several technologies I am developing for my other Project (a 1976 Valiant Hemi Charger). Most of the details are in the Video. Arduino (AdaFruit Boarduino), I2C Bus powering the OLED Display and Tayloredge Smart-Nixie Sockets running In-1(4) Nixie Tubes, In-13 Nixie Bargraph, Megajolt Distributorless Ignition Controller controlling the ignition timing and feeding the RPM (and other data) to the controller. Source code and Construction Tips (but no drawn circuit diagrams yet) are available if you contact me on the MegaJolt (www.autosportlabs.org) Forums. No, I won’t build one for you (unless you are prepared to pay consulting engineer hourly rates), but I will describe and help you build your own. Yes, I know the Gemini is hardly an impressive Street Machine, but its my daily driver parts-getter that I’m testing this stuff on while I build my Triple-Webered Hemi Charger where the final version is intended for.
I love developing on the arduino, but really enjoy the form factor of my RBBB (ModernDevice.Com) and Boarduino (AdaFruit.Com). Problem is, it’s a real hassel to use a bread board arduino with a standard arduino shield. Well, I jumpered a boarduino to one protoboard shield, And that worked pretty well. Lots of wires though. So, I was thinking about a bread board shield, bbshield for short.
Jonathan asked me, if I would like to do a project with him on Braitenberg vehicles. After some research and reading the first couple of chapters in Vehicles: Experiments in Synthetic Psychology, I was hooked in. Here is the first version of a Braitenberg vehicle, powered with two RC-Servos and an Arduino as its brain. Best of all, it needs no soldering, drilling or hot glue. And if you’ve played already with Arduinos, there is a good chance, that you have already most of the needed parts at home..
A TagTool seems to be a sort of physical computing drawing tablet. Sliders and knobs change drawing parameters, and a minicomputer inside does the heavy lifting.
Sam T. built one into a suitcase using a Boarduino!
So I got my new boarduino design in (with built-in USB!) and I have to test it so why not put it thru its paces with a BlinkM? Why not indeed!
Wiring it up to a boarduino is not as easy as simply plug&play as with an Arduino, so you’ll need a few wires. Still its very straightforward!
when you power it up it will immediately start doing its thing which is fading thru some nice colors
But the real fun is programming it…upload the Arduino Communicator sketch and then run the blink Sequencer on your computer. Connect and then select which colors to display
2 years ago when I worked on Duel Nature, I made a table of data that approximates a heartbeat. I couldnt quite duplicate it directly because the loop time is 3 seconds not 1 second, but I didn’t do too bad. Here it is in ‘autoplay’ mode with the heartbeat script. Sadly it doesnt seem like you can save the script to share it.
Next I wanted to experiment with talking to the BlinkM over i2c. I decided to make a little temperature display. When its cold, the LED turns blue, when its hot it turns red. For the sensor I simply used a LM34 which is super simple: just give it 5V and ground and the middle pin will be at +10mV/degF. So 68 degrees is 680mV.
I used a little heatshrink to protect the wires:
Then wrote a sketch to tell the LED to change color, here it is at room temperature
(65deg, its cold in here)
Squeezing the sensor brings up the temp a bit, to maybe 85 degrees, a little pinker
Then some icey water (its in a plastic bag to protect both the sensor and my drink!)
and some hot tea
The final analysis?
The BlinkM worked well and is a nifty little thing, the Sequencer software could be improved (can’t save scripts, cant adjust loopspeed, clicking on a ‘frame’ doesnt display the RGB value…) but its impressive that theres any software at all. It seems like the real control comes from sending it direct i2c commands, so one would have to write a custom Arduino sketch to make it do what you want. (Or, probably better yet, a python script that talks to the Arduino communicator since at least then you’re not uploading sketches) While its not the right thing for people who want to make 100-LED blinky projects (since its ~$12 each), its probably a good accessory for someone with an Arduino who just needs a few lights for a standalone project. I could see them being popular as integrated into wearables/fashion technology. They’re hella bright too!
ps. I’d like to see someone show how to control them directly using a motherboard i2c port such as the ones that have temp (and sometimes IR) sensors.
Thinking about the Arducopter project I posted about yesterday, as well as the RepRap project…I thought how useful it would be to be able to wire up a Boarduino without any soldering or breadboard. Then I remembered the terminal blocks I used for MidiSense!
Terminal screw-blocks allow lightweight ultra-quick prototyping: just tighten the little screws to add or remove components! Use Phoenix brand 0.1″ terminal blocks, part 1725672 (4-position), 1725698 (6-position), 1725711 (8-position), 1725724 (9-position)
Here’s an example I soldered up. You cant use huge wires, but for most small projects with 20-ish gauge wire it should be just fine!
Here is a ‘standalone’ light sensor (CdS cell, pullup resistor to Analog In 0, VRef tied to 5V)