Microcontroller Projects

Ask and answer questions, share tips and resources for installing lighting and other electronics in your models.

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kitty
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Post by kitty » Sat Jan 10, 2009 2:55 pm

I don't think it's wise to try and develope a board dedicated to a single purpose or model, the market is too small.
Not with these cheap programmable tiny boards around.
Basicaly you can just solder a few leads from such boards to a Led driver, or directly to a LED-resistor pair.
in most cases you wouldn't even need a board for that.
I think it would be smarter to develope a modular system around one of these existing low cost small boards and write the necessary programs for the functions.
That way at least your design would not be limited to just 1 model, but universal.
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But at least it's not as loud.
You broke your little ships. See you around Ahab. :spock:

sbbbugsy
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Arduino for model lighting

Post by sbbbugsy » Sat May 16, 2009 6:25 pm

If anyone has written a code that controls the LEDs for a model starship, could they post it? (please, please?)

I have an Arduino Mega board, but have never programmed before. I can make one LED blink. Sure, it's pretty, but not quite enough to light the NX-01. :P

jwrjr

Post by jwrjr » Sat May 16, 2009 10:23 pm

I've done that ... for a couple of PICs. It would not be useful for you.

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kitty
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Re: Arduino for model lighting

Post by kitty » Mon May 18, 2009 3:06 pm

sbbbugsy wrote:If anyone has written a code that controls the LEDs for a model starship, could they post it? (please, please?)

I have an Arduino Mega board, but have never programmed before. I can make one LED blink. Sure, it's pretty, but not quite enough to light the NX-01. :P
Now try and make that led fade in and out.
if you can do that you have the collission light in principle.

Now make a second led blink and fiddle with those values untill you have it full for 1/10th of a second then fade till it's out in 0.15 seconds, pause 0.5 second and repeat.
Once yo have managed that, you already have collision lights and nav stobe.
First just write programs for each group, then put them as routines in a larger programm and call those routines.
Build it routine by routine.

You have an arduino, so you can reprogramm via USB and fiddle with the values without having to unplug anything.
You can use 14 outputs on those breakout boards i think (the sandwich board that plugs in on top) 6 of them PWM.
So you have an ideal board to experiment with.

And once you figured it all out and have it all in 1 neat programm, get yourself an arduino mini and put that programm in it.
Last edited by kitty on Fri Aug 27, 2010 4:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
Democracy may be only a few steps removed from anarchy,
But at least it's not as loud.
You broke your little ships. See you around Ahab. :spock:

Ant
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Post by Ant » Fri May 28, 2010 7:34 am

I put together an ATMega based system for the Pegasus Area 51 UFO last year (Video here http://www.vimeo.com/8074653 ) and now have reduced the design down into a cheap generic 8-channel LED driver than can be used in many other projects, each coded up to requirements.

I've recently had 50 PCBs made but have been too busy to actually finish off the instructions / literature allowing me to go more 'live' with the project but hope to do so soon!

Prototype video 1 http://s113.photobucket.com/albums/n202 ... river2.flv

Prototype video 2 http://s113.photobucket.com/albums/n202 ... Driver.flv

Final PCB http://i113.photobucket.com/albums/n202 ... C_1645.jpg

The prototypes have a piggyback board with smd leds on for quick change/testing purposes.

Ant

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Underlord
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Post by Underlord » Mon Nov 21, 2011 4:30 pm

I'm jumping on the Arduino band-wagon too. I read up on it, and it looks promising. I'm a software developer, and I went to college for electrical engineering and robotics so this thing has my brain jumping from project to project! Exciting stuff!

Anyway, I ordered an Arduino Uno for testing, and a handfull of Arduino Pro Mini boards for installation in various models. I've downloaded the development environment and even coded up what I think will be a good base for Star Trek models. I haven't been able to find a software emulator yet, so I'm really anxious to receive my boards to see what my code does.

I'm a big fan of open source, so once I debug my code I'll share it. If anyone else out there has used an Arduino and wants to share code, please PM me. I'd love to see other solutions, and better yet, one that already has been proven! LOL
Your mileage may vary, void where prohibited, if it lasts more than 4 hours, see a doctor. All prosecutors will be violated. Only fools are certain. Substantial penalty for early withdrawal. The best advice I ever received was "Don't take anyone's advice. Listen to what everyone says, then make up your own damned mind."

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Prototype Federation blinker done. (That was easy!)

Post by Underlord » Fri Dec 02, 2011 6:13 pm

I've got my Arduino UNO, and after a few tweeks, my code works great! I've currently got navigational and collision blinking lights, a control line for main lights, green/blue fading deflector tied with warp engines, warp engine control line, and left/right glow-up & flash torpedoes! What is even cooler is I've got it coded to take serial commands. I've ordered some bluetooth adapters. I'm going to code up an LCARS control panel on my Android phone to control the lighting!

Development cost is irrelevant'cause it was just so damn fun! In-model cost is a different case...
$10.00 - Arduino pro mini
$10.00 - Bluetooth serial board
$ 0.10 - 3x 2n222 transistors

Ok, so that's a bit more than 555 timers or 4060 chips and their components, but I don't think I have the electronic know-how to do all of these things PLUS add wireless remote control from an LCARS interface without it!

I've gotta go back and watch "The Motion Sickness" to get the timing exact off of the beauty shots in space dock, but I kinda like the timing I have now. I've also got to capture the timing for Voyager 'cause she's on my TODO list too.

Next up is the transistor control for multiple LEDs 'cause the Arduino can only power one LED per pin. I'm hoping I can use 2n222 transistors to power a bunch of LEDs based on the logic output of the Arduino... In fact I know I can, the issue is if the Pulse Width Modulation on the Arduino pins will translate so I can run a bunch of green/blue LEDs to the deflector.

PM me if you want a copy of my schetch! :)
Your mileage may vary, void where prohibited, if it lasts more than 4 hours, see a doctor. All prosecutors will be violated. Only fools are certain. Substantial penalty for early withdrawal. The best advice I ever received was "Don't take anyone's advice. Listen to what everyone says, then make up your own damned mind."

Madman Lighting
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Post by Madman Lighting » Fri Dec 02, 2011 6:35 pm

Wow thats all pretty cool stuff there.

I gotta ask, how many LEDs can you drive with each output? I can drive six with each output on mine... :wink: And its a constant current source so brightness it the same no matter the battery voltage.

But keep on with it, sounds like a neat project!
That Madman Who Lit Up Deep Space Nine

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Underlord
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Post by Underlord » Fri Dec 02, 2011 7:38 pm

Madman Lighting wrote:Wow thats all pretty cool stuff there.
Coming from you, that's HIGH praise! :)
Madman Lighting wrote:I gotta ask, how many LEDs can you drive with each output? I can drive six with each output on mine... :wink: And its a constant current source so brightness it the same no matter the battery voltage.
The Arduino only supplies 40mA at 5v, so you can only drive one LED per connection directly. Thats why I'm going to be using 2N2222 transistors to drive main lights, deflectors, collision, and navigation LEDs from a higher current source. Even with those I can only push 600mA so each pin will be able to light 2 feet of 3528SMD light tape or 20-24 LEDs. That should be enough for now!

This is my first embedded processor, and my first Android app so I may be pushing myself a bit too hard. :)
Your mileage may vary, void where prohibited, if it lasts more than 4 hours, see a doctor. All prosecutors will be violated. Only fools are certain. Substantial penalty for early withdrawal. The best advice I ever received was "Don't take anyone's advice. Listen to what everyone says, then make up your own damned mind."

wbrowniv
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Post by wbrowniv » Sat Dec 03, 2011 11:45 pm

I too have really been interested in using the Arduino for lighting. I know absolutely nothing about them but I want to learn! I will be interested in your progress.
Bill Brown

Ant
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Post by Ant » Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:16 pm

I've had a lot of success with the board I produce - got a variety of applications now. There are some sample videos up on my web site here http://www.antsnest.net/LEDDriver.php

Keeping it simple and generic means its easy to adapt to all sorts of uses

Ant

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Underlord
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Post by Underlord » Sun Dec 04, 2011 11:37 pm

Ant wrote:I've had a lot of success with the board I produce - got a variety of applications now. There are some sample videos up on my web site here http://www.antsnest.net/LEDDriver.php

Keeping it simple and generic means its easy to adapt to all sorts of uses

Ant
Ant, I remember seeing your board, very cool!

One thing that is very important to me is to give back to the community. I'm not interested in making a business out of modeling. At least for me, that would take some of the fun out of it. This site has been invaluable in getting me re-indoctrinated into modeling. I've learned more from trying things I hear about on here than I could have learned on my own. One individuals work in particular has really driven home the importants of freely distributable knowledge. Carlos "Arthur Pendragon" Zangrando donated his work on aztec decals for many different ships. Without his downloadable decals, my work on several Star Trek models would have been much less satisfying. Sure I could have (and have) bought professionally created decals to do the same job, but I really appreciated his effort being provided for non-commercial use without anything further than attribution. BRAVO, and Thanks Carlos!

I've been involved in many open-source projects, including some commercial ventures. I'm a big fan of getting paid for my work as I do it, and letting others benefit after I'm done. I've found that the Arduino projects share the open source ethics that I hold so dear, so I'm going to do this very specific pointed project for myself, but if anyone else wants access to what I did, they are welcome to it. There will be virtually no support, no refunds of the nothing people have paid for my work, and probably very little interest except for folks to see what I've done. The reward for me is sharing my excitement for the project.

I may be making some people a little uncomfortable by giving away my work, but I don't think any of our professionally created packages have anything to worry about. Besides, if they like what I've done, they can grab it all, make it better, and provide their amazing build quality and far greater experience to make something they can make money on!

I've created some short videos to document the process. I recorded it in a storage room where I have my computer set up for now. Please pay no attention to the boxes and furniture stacked around :) If you've got the bandwidth, and you're still listening :) Here's the links:
http://youtu.be/qvGooknHZRE
http://youtu.be/PKSK9K0tGkU
Your mileage may vary, void where prohibited, if it lasts more than 4 hours, see a doctor. All prosecutors will be violated. Only fools are certain. Substantial penalty for early withdrawal. The best advice I ever received was "Don't take anyone's advice. Listen to what everyone says, then make up your own damned mind."

wbrowniv
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Post by wbrowniv » Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:47 pm

Ant,
I too was way impressed with your board. I saw your video on the Area 51 UFO light up and the Alpha Centauri kit which I plan to build in the future. Is your board available for purchace?

wbrowniv
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Post by wbrowniv » Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:50 pm

Underlord,
Those are some great videos! I like how you can program the Arduino and if you don't like the end result, change it until it's acceptable. The LCARS interface sounds cool as well. Can't wait to see more.

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Post by Underlord » Tue Dec 06, 2011 8:44 am

I did some research last night... and since this will be a refit enterprise project (at least at first) I decided to go with the blue theame late movie era LCARS. Then I realized that Star Trek Online uses a very similar look... the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Anyway... Graphics are NOT my strong suite. Anyone out there want to lend a hand? I need qHD (1/4 HD video) size screen formats for controlling main lights, warp, torpedoes, and maybe some other systems that would only have an interface on the "PADD" itself like comms, distress call, red-alert etc.

Gee... I hope this doesn't turn into another runabout interrior or JJPrise :\

... I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...
Your mileage may vary, void where prohibited, if it lasts more than 4 hours, see a doctor. All prosecutors will be violated. Only fools are certain. Substantial penalty for early withdrawal. The best advice I ever received was "Don't take anyone's advice. Listen to what everyone says, then make up your own damned mind."

broderp
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Post by broderp » Wed Feb 11, 2015 8:41 pm

Kind of sad to see that this topic died a few years ago, with links that are no longer good in some places. As a new Star Trek Modeler, I am very interested in getting parts to build my 350 NX-01 and my soon to be delivered 350 Refit kit.

An Engineer by trade, I have worked in the business and have made a few circuits and power supplies. What really gets to me is the cost of these kits. The lighting kits cost 2-3 times (or more) the cost of the kit! I know what LED cost, and I know of many of the components used to make these can be had for pennies in bulk. I will admit I may be a bit out of touch, as I have not worked in a lab environment for many years, or ordered components for board level repairs but I look at these kits and see the most elaborate ones I could have made for 1/4 the cost they are being sold for.

I'm saddened that this thread has died, and I will be looking into the Arduino as a method to control my lighting. I suppose I am lucky as I have access to programmers a board rework lab and once my setup is complete, I can perhaps flash the program onto a eeprom or some other device to run. Perhaps I can make a proto board with discrete components and keep it simple.

I'm not knocking those who sell this stuff, but I can't help buy feel that the pricing on many kits is inflated, due to the cult like following Star Trek has.

Who knows, I may get into this and realize that spending the money is the quickest route to go. :oops:

Ant
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Post by Ant » Thu Feb 12, 2015 4:36 am

You have to appreciate that when you buy any product from a commercial concern, you are not going to be paying just what the components cost. You also have to factor in the cost of initial design & development (could be many hours, days or weeks), the cost of obtaining the components, the cost of assembly & testing, the cost of managing orders, packing & delivery & the cost of advertising.

When you build something yourself, may of these factors are just your own time, which you probably rate as zero. Just because it only costs you the price of paint to paint your house, doen't mean someone else will do it for the price of the paint!

When you produce large quantities, many of the associated costs can be reduced by spreading fixed costs over the total production run or by seeking better deals for volume. This is the "economy of scale". Most of the people selling lighting kits (or may other aftermarket services) simply don't have this luxury.

There's still lots going on in the lighting kit arena - you just have to hunt around, and be prepared to pay someone else to do the bulk of the work. That or do it yourself if the money is more important.

texastony1946
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Arduino for model lighting

Post by texastony1946 » Sat Apr 04, 2015 12:05 pm

I would also like to see this thread resurrected. I have just finished my
Finemolds 1/72 Slave1 model and I used an Arduino pro mini to do most of the lighting. In the past I have used flickering LED's for engines. With the micro controller you can control intensity, color, and rate of change. I feel
like the micro controller could change the way we build Scifi models. I posted the build photos at scale model addicts site, and loaded a video to
YouTube. Here are the links if anyone is interested.
http://www.scalemodeladdict.com/SMF/ind ... 191.0.html
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_cRaGDNnsI
The programming has a pretty steep learning curve, but it can be learned.
I'm not a programmer, but copy and paste works well for this. It just gets
interesting trying to link all the programs together without constantly having
to correct errors. There are 1000's of codes already created out there on the web. The Arduino is open source hardware and software. The pro mini's
can be purchased from China for less than $2.50 each. The programmer
is free. I am hoping everyone interested in lighting their model will share
their knowledge with the community.

RossW
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Post by RossW » Tue Apr 07, 2015 2:02 pm

There has been a fair amount of activity over on SFMA re: Arduinos, so much so that Boyd created a new forum for it:

http://scifimodelaction.com/sfmaforum/i ... board=23.0

There's sample code to blink both running lights & strobe lights with one board.

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brt
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Post by brt » Tue Apr 07, 2015 2:56 pm

RossW wrote:There has been a fair amount of activity over on SFMA re: Arduinos, so much so that Boyd created a new forum for it:

http://scifimodelaction.com/sfmaforum/i ... board=23.0

There's sample code to blink both running lights & strobe lights with one board.
Thanks for posting this. I added the link to my favorites. I gave up arduino because I didn't have time to learn code and couldn't find the examples needed for what I wanted. :8)
"Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups."
- George Carlin

texastony1946
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Arduino's

Post by texastony1946 » Tue Apr 07, 2015 5:02 pm

Thanks for the link, I will certainly follow and subscribe.

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