Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Flight Suit Works!

So much to do before we take off for BRC but the suit is fully functional!

I'll post photos and videos and all design files after the long weekend at some point, but here's a video showing the audio mode, which was the target all along:

Polishing work to deal with:
  • Test foot "A" and "B" strips Velcroed to shoes; hook and loop glue should be cured by tonight.
  • Finish remote control: straighten display, sand outside, glue top layers.
  • Tidy up buttonhole wiring and shift bands to correct alignment along Velcro loop bands.
  • Finalize light strip lengths: clip any extra length and seal ends.
  • Come up with a better remote control attachment... clip? hook? Velcro?
  • Make a cover for the ZX-Sound audio input board.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

(F)Light Suit Progress: Almost There!

So much progress in the last two weeks, the big milestones being...
  • I got the MOSFET boards and built three-- they worked right away! As expected I needed resistors between the 595 outputs and the MOSFETs; didn't notice that until I hooked up the third one and things weren't behaving. I'm not crazy about the screw terminals but they'll be OK.
  • Testing the MOSFET outputs with all 22 segments-- 53' of light, so bright! The first tests were just "All Fade" mode.
  • Expanding the program to sense arm angles. The routine automatically sets arm levels, either up/down or matching angle, and how many levels there are (since arms up can create a new level).
  • Adding a proper "Rolling" mode to sweep a band or bands over the whole suit, top to bottom, with variables delay (ms), brightness, direction, and number of bands (density). Seeing all the bands rolling through was a relief.
  • Sewing is awesome. I've sewn 10 out of 19 "loop" side Velcro bands into the suit: both legs and the hips and waist.
  • ZX-Sound works! Filtering and sampling will be the last things I dial in, but I have working bouncy light code, smoothed and at whatever Hz I want, dynamically computing the high and low so it will bounce if it's quiet or loud.
Still big items:
  • Integrate audio sketch into main line, finish filtering code, and use filtering code for gravity sketch,
  • Finish sewing hook-side Velcro strips onto the suit,
  • Cut the loop-side Velcro for the light strips and stick it on with silicone,
  • Measure and cut and route in-suit leads: 4 solder points each, 6 pieces of shrink,
  • Sew in conduit for left-to-right board, battery, audio, and accelerometer leads.
  • Address shoes, hat(s), headband mounting and routing...
That's all I can think of for now, back to sewing...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Nanode: Arduino-compatible with Ethernet

The Nanode project from (the?) London Hackspace has been on my radar but didn't make the spreadsheet since I was waiting for it to become available. Well, it's out ($40 kit), and it seems to be a hit!

Unlike the Arduino Ethernet and shield and other boards with built-in ethernet, the Nanode does not use the Wiznet W5100, instead using the Microchip ENC28J60 found in JeeLabs EtherCard, and you can even program it over ethernet!

Not all rotary encoders are created equal...

I had a hell of a time getting the (F)Light Suit remote control to work with the Modern Device LCD117 backpack and inexpensive BI EN11-HSM1AF15 rotary encoders. It turned out that I was having two issues:
  1. The LCD117 was getting its updating commands too quickly, so chose to reset instead of display, and
  2. the rotary encoders make contact so quickly when stepping up or down, my debounced code for bigger rotary encoders with more even click timing wasn't working.
Preventing the LCD117 from updating too quickly solved the first problem, and redoing the rotary encoder code from scratch solved the second problem. I'll post code later when the project is complete, but I based it on Max Wolf's very simple first example from the Arduino Playground rotary encoder page. The interrupt-based examples are too cryptic and (I think) unnecessary in a sketch that loops at a few KHz, which all of my sketches run at.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

(F)Light Suit Major Components

The main components of the (F)Light suit:
(Updated 8/15/11)
LED stripsDealExtreme 22 strips with connectors, need sealing and velcro backing.
8-channel MOSFET Output BoardsDorkbotPDX board orderThree built and tested, work perfectly
Arm accelerometers Modern Device Left one on main board, right attached with 3-wire lead across shoulders
Black flight suit Amazon Needs velcro for LED strips
Arduino-compatible main board: Minimalduino 105 DorkbotPDX board order
Arduino interface board: Adafruit protoshield Adafruit Industries Done, ready for mounting and cable threading. Ports for MOSFET output boards, right accelerometer, remote control, audio sensor
Remote control homemade, various parts Needs laser-cut acrylic surround, rot 2 flaky
Batteries eBay 12V, 4800mAh Li-ion battery packs with barrel connectors, powering third MOSFET board.
Audio input: ZX-Sound board RobotShop.com Test, add light, change connector, paint, velcro back
Missing anything?