Hang the DJ!

So, I seem to be getting a bit of a name for myself with light kits. This weekend I was asked if I could do some lights for a DJ R3X. This is a droid that first started as the pilot of the Star Tours ride, but more recently has been ‘promoted’ to entertaining people at Batuu after crash landing there.

Who was I to say no! It looked like a fun little project, and potentially I can turn it into a small run for other R3X builders. Its 3 small boards to fit into his chest plate, and it should be possible to make them all identical which simplifies things and also makes it cheaper to produce.

Its just a row of small LEDs and an array of larger ones. With future updates in mind I decided to go for full RGB WS2812 LEDs so that they can put on a real disco mode. It will also make the wiring a lot easier.

The larger LEDs will have frosted white acrylic squares infront of them to diffuse the light, and the smaller ones will have 3mm acrylic rod in the holes above them to act as light pipes.

A first batch of five boards have been ordered, so they should be turning up in a few weeks, xmas and royal mail strikes permitting. Then I will be able to start experimenting with the code.

As well as the light boards, I need to make a controller board. The astropixels use an ESP32 on a custom breakout board, however I decided to take a slightly different route with this one.

After looking at various boards, I ended up going with an Arduino Nano. They can be got cheap, and are powerful enough. I also didn’t want just some output pins and a power input. Some buttons and trim pots will allow values to be tweaked without having to edit code. Things like speed, brightness, etc. as well as being able to press a button to trigger effects.

This board will be able to be used for many different projects so will be very useful in the long run. I should be able to do a nice boiler plate bit of code that will give a good starter for anything that needs running on it. It should be capable of not just lights, but also servos as the outputs are powered directly from the screw terminals.

The triggers have both the space for a button, and some pins to wire something up remotely.

These boards are also on order now, but just as bare boards. I was tempted to get them all pre soldered apart from the nano, but decided to not be lazy for once.

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