The day finally arrived! After a marathon work session on Saturday, I was able to take the staff to a party last night! The batteries held up great, the staff was a great hit, and everyone was asking about it and wanting to see what it did. Talk about inspiring!
There were naturally some ups and downs, with some wins and some losses:
- WIN: Never. Ever. Underestimate the power of HOT GLUE. I solved the ‘solder joints are not strong enough’ problem by embedding the LED strip ends in a few mm of hot glue. WIN!
- WIN: By repurposing a shipping container for my son’s new skate wheels, I was able to fashion an enclosure that would hold the Arduino Uno R3 and all the support wiring until my new Arduino Mini 05 arrived. It gave the staff a ‘navigation light’ look, but the glow of the board lights was sort of nice.
- WIN: Soldering irons can be used to make holes in plastic. Shhh, don’t tell anyone.
- OOPS: I made one major miscalculation. The battery mounts are custom formed blocks widh hand wound springs for tension. I put the tension spring on the BOTTOM of the mount, which means the batteries would push down on the spring and disconnect at the slightest bounce. I’m not looking forward to reworking that section, but this is a learning experience, no?
- OOPS: I didn’t get a chance to install a power switch, so there’s no ‘off’ state without pulling the cap and disconnecting the power leads. Oh well.
- WIN: The batteries lasted much longer than I expected. The ‘sparkle’ mode draws very little current (the algorithm has one in every 3 LED’s on, and the values it’s using are at 1/4 brightness:
uint32_t on = strip1.Color(random(64),random(64),random(64));
- WIN: the coded interrupt routine that uses the button to switch modes works perfectly. I could change patterns with a quick touch. I need some more interactive modes, but as a pure display item, total win.
- WIN? : I totally want to add more features and functions. A sound sensor so the staff can react to noise / music around it. A shock sensor (other than the batteries bouncing) so a tap on the floor will cause a ripple function or something. AN OFF SWITCH. More interesting patterns. An external USB port, etc etc. Many of these things are simple coding updates, but others will require research.
I’ll try and fix the battery tray problem by Halloween, but I think we’re in pretty good shape!
ETA Here’s a video of the staff in action.