Magic Staff Update – First time off-laptop

LED Soldering
My first surface-soldering attempt to attach the LED strips

Well, the magic staff project has reached a pretty awesome milestone.

Last night was the first time I had the entire assembly operating off-computer.  The Arduino Uno had been running directly via USB cable from my mac.  That provided power and an easy way to upload code.  With my new bench power supply, I had enough amps in the bench supply to power the LEDs and the Uno.  A few alligator clips later, and voila, the staff had 3 led strips lit, and the Uno was running it’s program just fine.

I also detached and remounted the 2 strips that were mounted backwards (yes, these strips are directional.  See the arrow?  Yeah, missed that on the first run – Of the 6 LED strips, 2 were backwards.  Oh well).  Peeling them off wasn’t that hard – hot glue doesn’t hold up to lateral forces, and it came away easily.

These strips come with one end of the cable pre-wired with power and data, so I only had to manually solder the parts that were ‘cut’ in the middle of the strand.  That was only 3 connections, so it wasn’t so bad.  But I’ll admit, not having to do all six was a relief.

power and data hookups
“Hookup” end of the staff – Power and data connections are here.

So.  Things are reassembled now, all the ground and +5V lines are attached (and ganged together), and data lines are wired to all the strips.  I need to come up with a strain relief mechanism to avoid yanking the leads off the strips, and then work on how to install the controller, power leads, and hookups into the head of the staff.

Oh, I also ordered the 8 C cell NiMH batteries I’ll be using.  They should be in today.

Getting there!