Simplifying the dome electronics with the ReelTwo library

Whilst doing the write up of my NeoPixelPSI boards I mentioned the ReelTwo library by Mimir a few times and thought I’d do a post about how I’ve been finding it.

So what is the ReelTwo library? At its most basic, it tries to collect all the code for the various systems in a typical astromech into one place. This makes coding lights and servos a lot easier and quicker and standardises on the interface options such as i2c or serial communications.

In my droid, I’m using it on a single Arduino Mega in the dome to control *all* the lighting. This vastly simplifies the wiring, especially the power, and gives a single i2c address to send commands to.

What does it control in the dome?

  • RSeries front and rear logics, giving nice fading light patterns and the ability to trigger effects, etc.
  • FlthyHP system, tho this is really just three adafruit neopixel arrays in the HPs but does allow for expanding to control servos when I get them installed.
  • PSI boards, originally my RGBMatrix boards, but now my new NeoPixelPSI boards

All this from a single Arduino Mega with a sensor shield on it to give it an easy pinout. Previously I would have needed at least 3 different control boards, possibly with 3 different voltages and the associated buck converters. So this removed 2 arduinos, a power bus, an i2c hub, and a buck converter from my setup (I just have a 5v and 6v for the servos). It might not sound a lot, but removing the associated wiring made things a lot clearer.

Would I recommend people use the ReelTwo library? If the hardware you have in your dome is supported, then definitely! The more people using it, the better support it will get. Its been running in my dome for a few years now with no issues.

Next steps? I want to add a Pi Zero into the dome for some more functionality, running a satellite version of my r2_control software, but this will also give me a USB port to allow remote programming of the Arduino.

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