Step 5: Solder together your board

These instructions assume you are using the suggested radio shack Multipurpose PC Board. The first image shows a completed board that can be used for reference.

  • Step 1 (Image 2)
Take the PC Board, and if you have the red, blue and green sharpies, use the second image on this page as a guide to color in some of the white areas on the top of the board. Given that I have staggered the 3 different colors on the board to make color mixing easier, the reference of having in colored pads on the board is useful, but not strictly necessary.

  • Step 2 (Image 3)
Using the colors as a guide, attach the 9 LEDs. The center leads are going to be ground, so be sure to solder the flat side of the LED to the long narrow leads. LEDs can only accept electricity in one direction, so if this part is messed up, you will have a bunch of wasted parts.

  • Step 3 (Image 4)
Connect 4 longer wires (about 5-7 inches long). 3 red ones, and one black one to the base of the board. the black one will attach to one of the 2 long, central leads. Solder on a short black wire to jump across from one of the long central leads to the other, turning both into the ground.

The other 3 wires should be soldered in the central holes of the colored leads at the base of the board. One to red (right side), one to green (left side) and one to blue (right side). Use the picture for reference.

  • Step 4 (Image 5)
This step will be about completing the blue connections. Fist, solder a red wire that connects the 2 blue pads at the base of the board. on the right side, solder a wire from the blue pad to the 1 blue resistor. On the left side, connect 2 red wires fom the blue pad at the base to the 2 blue resistors

  • Step 5 (Image 6)
Same as step 4, but with green, and the sides reversed

  • Step 6 (Image 7)
Same as step 4, but with red

  • Step 7 ((Image 1)
Take the 4 wires hanging from the base of the board. Use the green and blue sharpies to mark the ends of the wire, so that you know which wire goes in which pin on the Arduino. Finally, if you have the shrink tubing, put the wires in the shrink tubing, and hit it with a heat gun, or lighter.
Very nicely done. It served as inspiration for my own orb.<br>http://www.instructables.com/id/Arduino-Orb-controlled-via-serial-port/
Hi there, I'd just like to point out that the 3rd soldering image has a misprint - the leads should be soldered on red, green and blue: not red, red, blue. Just wanted to be helpful for anyone who's using the images as a soldering guide.<br />
Hey, great Instructable! I used it to build an orb to monitor the health of various processes at work as well. I made a few changes that others might find interesting:<br/><br/>Rather than use 9 LEDs, I picked up 2 'full color' RGB LEDs from Radio Shack:<br/><a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3020765">http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3020765</a> They combine red, green, and blue LEDs in a single package, they're very bright, and have a great viewing angle, so you don't need a diffuser. They have a common anode, so you run that pin (the long one) to the Arduino's 5V pin rather than ground. I used 100 ohm resistors to hook up each of the other three pins to the PWM pins. You then have to invert the value that the PWM pins are set to: analogWrite(redPin,0) now turns the red to full brightness, and analogWrite(redPin,255) turns it off. (I changed the code to do this automatically.) A lot less wiring, and the three colors are pretty well balanced: mine produces a pretty good white.<br/><br/>Since each color of the 3-color LED can draw 30-50mA, and the Arduino PWM pins can only source 40mA, to hook up the second LED (for extra brightness), I used the 3 other PWM pins (3,5,6) to drive it (and modified the software to handle this).<br/><br/>I'm working on other mods as well - right now I've got a toggle switch hooked up, and may try a rotary switch. The idea is to have the app on the PC side fetch data from multiple sources (eg. load, # of errors, commits/hour, etc.), and use the switch to select which one to &quot;view&quot; on the orb.<br/><br/>A great project, with a lot of room for customization!<br/>
Also, as a note, I have it working from multiple sources via a udp server that holds the serial connection, and can take packets from any number of programs to change the color. The code is posted at <a rel="nofollow" href="http://svn.evilsoft.org/arduino/trunk/ambient_build/src/">http://svn.evilsoft.org/arduino/trunk/ambient_build/src/</a><br/><br/>ambientsvr requires python, twisted and python-serial<br/>ambientctl is a command line program that can send commands to the server. It requires python.<br/>
Actually, I completely agree. My latest version uses RGB leds. I use 6 really high power ones and at this point, the orb is easy to see even in direct sunlight.<br/><br/>I built a custom PCB that I detailed here: <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.evilsoft.org/?p=83">http://www.evilsoft.org/?p=83</a><br/>
Hey I figured out the light mixing LED diffusion solution. (well that's bold. I've figured out <em><strong>A</strong></em> solution.)<br/><br/>I picked up some cheap emery boards and spent about a minute each on the LEDs. When done, the whole LED lens looks &quot;frosted.&quot; I put the glass orb right over these without anything else and the mix is really delightful.<br/><br/>Another note:<br/><br/>I used 2 each of the high-intensity Red Green and Blue LEDs from SparkFun.<br/><br/>I have yet to do the final assembly (it's all on a mini prototype board with prototype jumper wires going to the Arduino board) but I'm very very happy with the results.<br/><br/>
Hi, I was wondering if you can offer an alternative for the parts you have. The parts below I can't find on the jameco website. Is there another place you can get them or another part that will work the same? # 3 x Red LED, (33481) $0.27 ea # 220 ohm, 1/8W resistors (100), (107941) $0.69 Great article I'm really wanting to make one of these for my build projects at work. Thanks! :P
# 3 x Red LED, (333526), $0.22 ea with the resistors, looks liek Jameco doesn't sell 220 ohm on their own anymore, so that switches to radioshack: # 2x 220 ohm, 1/8W resistors (5), (271-011) $0.99 ea -or- # 500 assorted 1/8W resistors (271-003) $12,99 (yes, it has 10 220 ohm ones)
Wow, just before I saw this step, I was thinking about using just 3 r,g&b LEDs, Cool.
Does your software allow it to do things that the ambient orb can do??? (ie. Check for email/see if "person x" is online/tell you if there is a new instructable via RSS) Cause if it does I'm DEFINETLY gonna build this. PS:Instructables thinks that the word instructables is miss spelled
So the Orb and the software on the Orb just takes commands sent to it over the USB. If you are using linux/mac os, you can just use cron to check the thing you want to check, and then send the right color command to the orb. For example, I have a small ruby script that is run once a minute that looks at our builds and then sets the orb to roaming or red blinking. Under windows, you can use something like the windows task scheduler or cronw. So far the only PC based software for this is script based stuff for specific applications, but the things you want to do are all really easy to accomplish with some small scripts.
cool! i truly got inspired and wanna do it too. but isn't it possible to let the arduino work on its own and change the leds without being fed by the pc?
Absolutely. The "roaming mode" is what it goes to directly when turned on, so as long as it has power, it will fade from one color to the next. You only need a PC if you want to set it to a specific color, or if you want to make it blink - the color fade is automatic, and is the default mode.
I like the simplicity of echoing RGB values out over the serial port. I also like that your orb sits next to a bottle of Marie Sharp's habanero sauce. Tasty stuff!
Well done instructable! It has been mentioned before, but I find shaving the heads off the LEDS to be a great diffuser (with a dremel cut off disc) even if you mount the LEDS in a ping pong ball..

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