Light Flasher Circuit (CPU board and Display Test board)

Shown both connected only 8 wires needed for 16 LEDs (Plus a ground). For the Lamps I will need some driver transistors and a separate power to the board, but for this little test setup we can get away with only a ground.

 

 

 

Close up of CPU board.

Most of the stuff on this board is for development needs. The actual cpu board will be much smaller. The dip switches are for telling the cpu to do 'display tricks' such as the power down/up effect. I'll probably combine the CPU and the Lamp driver transistors on one board. Right now, if I flip switch 1, the unit goes into power down display and holds with all lamps off, then when flipped again, it plays the power up sequence and then runs like normal.

 

 

 

 

Close up of the LED matrix test board. 

I was grabbing any LED I had, so I ended up using different types from my scrap pile... Its cool to see in operation.

  

Process

Many people have chosen to use flasher bulbs in their robot, its what the original robot had, and its easy to do. But as I thought about it, I really didn't like the look....

Since my goal is to automate the robot, and IF the robot was real, those lights would be important to the operational condition of the robot, plus I just didn't feel the normal flashers 'blinked' like a computer. So with that said, I designed a circuit to flash bulbs or high intensity LED's. I used a PIC chip that I custom programmed and wired to a  4 x 4 matrix of leds. This matrix gives me control of 16 bulbs with only 8 wires. When I use normal bulbs (I'll probably use #47's) and this chip I can even control the brightness of each bulb. The effect is much more realistic since a computer is controlling the action (the chip IS a computer) and the sequence is random (Random enough not to tell when it repeats 8bit LSBS) , and instant (no waiting for bulbs to heat up).

I built into the programming a startup and shutdown light sequence for when the power pack is pulled (controlled separately from initial power up). Picture the lights flashing, and when you pull the power pack the lights start to blink off over 2 seconds or so. Then when you put the pack back in, 'as the robots system come up again' the light start to blink on over 2 seconds, until they are all flashing again. I think it will add a realistic feel to the robot as a 'device' now that they have more interaction to the effect rather than just turning off.

I'll post some AVI's of the proto unit. I've got a few extra data lines left so if you have any ideas on lighting effects let me know, I might be able to put them in the code. 

This circuit can also be used for the brain lights, plus can I put a different shut down sequence in it. Imagine, when the power pack is pulled the flashers in the brain slowly blink off, as the robots system crash, leaving only the eye lenses lit till last, where they slowly dim out..... Then Bang, when the power pack is replaced, the Eyes come to life first, and then the brain comes up to speed...

Time

5 hrs coding. I had to relearn RISC assembly, it had been awhile.

Est. Cost

$2 for the CPU, the rest is untotaled. Excluding the Lights, your probably looking at around $40 in parts.

Total $2 not final.