Sunday, January 25, 2009

Advances in indicators

Lots to show you so let's get started.

While I'm still waiting for the rest of the parts for the new Logic Display flasher circuit, I decided to return to the Processor State Indicators (see very early postings). The originals I made work great, but after making them I realized I needed the LEDs separate from the circuit. The LEDs need to be mounted in a small box which will be attached to the inside of the skins. I will then run wires from the LEDs to a new circuit mounted somewhere inside the head. The box needs to be 1-1/2 inches in diameter (size of the light on R2-D2). I used a PVC pipe cap. To mount the LEDs, I first drilled a 5/16 hole on either side of the cap. I then screwed in two chrome LED holders I got from Radio Shack into those holes. Next I inserted a 5mm super bright LED (one blue or green and one red or yellow) into each LED holder. Connect to circuit and tada, your droid has PSI lights.

In between working on that, I was also designing the first version the LED circuit for the Logic Displays. I found this company that provides a free Printed Circuit Board (PCB) design program with the option to have them make your design for a fare price (ExpressPCB). I tried it out and the results are amazing, highly recommend them. The PCB I designed and ordered arrived recently and so I soldered on six 3mm LEDs (3 white, 3 blue). The circuit works, but I already have found a couple of things I want to change. First, the holes for the wiring are too small to fit any wiring through. Second, the shape of the PCB is not square enough for me to trim into a circle to fit into the fiber tubes (see previous post). I've already made the changes to my design, but won't order it until I can test the LED blinking pattern with the fiber optics, which I can't do until the rest of the parts arrive for the flasher circuit. In the mean time, I semi-tested the LEDs using the Flip-Flop circuit from the PSI's.

So that's all I've got for now. Soon I will try this LED arrangement with the fiber optics.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

DVD's and conventions

If you've read my older postings, you know one of the Club's members makes DVD of some of our major events like the Celebration conventions and the LA R2 Builder's yearly get together.
This morning I finaly was able to catch up on the DVD's I've missed, namely the Celebration IV and the R2LA 4 - 6 DVD's. They'll be here soon.

Also, it has been confirmed that LucasFilm will be having a Celebration V convention in 2010 or 2011. They are still deciding on which city will get to host the convention, but one of the front runners is my town Indianapolis, which happens to be where C-II and C-III were held. Oh, I hope they choose Indy.


Blog Prequel

I just finished adding all of my blog entries from my original "John's Droids" blog, so now you can read about my droid quest from the beginning...kinda like the prequel to this current blog. It goes all the way back to November 1st, 2005, the same year Celebration III came to Indy and I joined the R2-D2 Builder's club. I can't believe I've been working on R6 for almost 4 years and I'm still not close to being done. Oh well. Hobbies are never easy....or cheap.

Anyway, still waiting on the parts to arrive to try out this new LED flashing circuit. If this works, then I won't have any use for those PIC Flashers I made. Drat.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

New year, new plans.

Happy belated New Year, etc, etc.
Sorry I haven't been posting recently. My job gets real busy during the winter holidays thus only time for me to eat, sleep and work. But now I'm back, so down to business.

I recently started tinkering with the Logic Displays again, trying to come up with a more conpact and less power hungry design. I've been looking for a different light flashing circuit in hopes of decreasing the number of LEDs thus decreasing the physical size and power needed. Well after scanning the Internet for a few hours I stumbled upon a schematic on titled "LEDs and Lamps Sequencer" which is a very simple circuit that can have many or few LEDs in it. Basicly it's a one LED flashing circuit that can have copies of itself added in sequence to it up to a large number.....BINGO!!! This is what I've been wanting for a long time. With this I can use maybe only 6 LEDs arranged in a flashing circle and then just have the fiber optic strands right above them. Some of the parts I couldn't find at my local Radio Shack or other stores so I had to buy them online. Once I can make the circuit I can experiment with the LED placement related to the fiber optics and see if it will work the way I want it to. Till then, here's the schematic and drawing of how I will assemble this new design.