The ISS Overhead is an ambient display that glows whenever the International Space Station is flying overhead.
It is designed to act as an occasional reminder that there are people living and working in space!
This project should take you somewhere between 2 hours to an afternoon to complete. It assumes you know how to solder, and are somewhat familiar with Electric Imp. If you haven't worked with Electric Imp before, I recommend you get a basic familiarity by working through Electric Imp's Getting Started Guide before completing this project.
Let's get started!
Step 1: Tools & Components
For this project, you are going to need the following components:
- 1x ISS Overhead Enclosure - http://www.ponoko.com/design-your-own/products/iss-overhead-v2-11701
- 1x April Breakout Board - http://www.adafruit.com/products/1130
- 1x Imp Card - http://www.adafruit.com/products/1129
- 1x DC Barrel Jack - http://www.adafruit.com/products/610
- 1x 5V 2A Power Supply - http://www.adafruit.com/products/276
- 9x NeoPixels - https://www.adafruit.com/products/1376
Total Cost: About $85 + Shipping
You are also going to need the following tools and supplies:
- Soldering Iron, Solder, Wire
- Wire Strippers / Cutters
- Hobby Knife (optional, but helpful)
- Double Sided Foam Tape - http://www.amazon.com/Scotch-Mounting-5-Inch-75-I...
- Plastic Cement - http://www.amazon.com/Cement-For-Plastic-Value-Pa...
- Vellum Paper (optional) - http://www.amazon.com/Strathmore-Translucent-Vellum-inkjet-printers/dp/B000KNHRTE/
Step 2: Inlay the Clear ISS Insert
The first thing we're going to do is inlay the clear acrylic ISS:
- Pop the ISS out of the black acrylic front piece.
- Use a hobby knife (or other fine object) so carefully push the clear ISS out of the acrylic*
- Lay the clear ISS into the black front piece, and spread some glue around the edges.
* The ISS pieces are somewhat breakable, so be gentle. If you break the first one, don't worry - that's why we printed two of them!
Step 3: Place and Solder the Electronics
The next thing we're going to do is place our electronic components and solder them! Don't worry, there isn't anything too tricky in here.
DC Barrel Jack:
- Screw the DC barrel jack on the back piece of the enblosure
- Solder two red wires to the lead connected to the back piece of the DC barrel jack
- Solder two black wires to the other two leads, then solder those two leads together.
Placing the imp:
- Add a piece of double sided foam tape to the back of the April Board.
- Use the side panel with a slot in it to guide where the April board should be placed
- Remove the other side of the double sided tape, and affix the April Board.
Connect the April to the DC Barrel Jack:
- Solder one of the red wires to the imp's VIN pin
- Solder one of the black wires to the imp's GND pin
Place the NeoPixels:
Note: The NeoPixel strips have DI on one side, and DO on the other side. Make sure you follow the image for proper placement
- Cut off three sets of 3 NeoPixels, and attach double sided tape to the back of the strips
- Remove the other side of the double sided tape, and place the three strips roughly in the center of the enclosure.
- Make sure you place the strips so that they are easy to chain (see image)
Solder the NeoPixels:
- Solder a wire from PIN7 (imp) to DI(top strip)
- Solder a wire from DO (top strip) to DI (middle strip)
- Solder a wire from DO (middle strip) to DI (bottom strip)
- Solder the extra red wire from the DC Barrel Jack to 5V (bottom strip)
- Solder the extra black wire from the DC Barrel Jack to GND (bottom strip)
- Connect the 5V and GND pins of each strip together.
See last image for what it should look like when you're done
Step 4: Code + Testing
Now that everything is wired, we need to test it:
- Insert the imp into the April board, and power on the device.
- If you wired up your power supply properly, the imp should start blinking.
- BlinkUp the device to your current WiFi network
- If you are unfamilar with BlinkUp, please follow Electric Imp's Getting Started Guide before continuing.
- Create a new model called "ISS Overhead"
- Copy and paste the Test code into the device window, then hit Build and Run.
After you hit build and run, your LEDs should start fading between random colors. If they do not, there is likely something wrong with your soldering - check all the connections and ensure you soldered it up correctly (see previous step).
Step 5: Final Assembly + Production Code
- Glue a sheet of vellum paper to the inside of the front piece to help diffuse the LEDs' light (optional)
- We're going to glue all of the pieces together except the top (in case we need/want to look inside).
- Assemble the enclosure without glue first to figure out which parts will be touching each other
- Add a bit of plastic cement to all of the places where plastic will be touching (except for the top piece)
- Assemble the enclosure (including the top piece to ensure a good fit) and let the glue dry for 30-60 minutes
- Replace the test device code with the production device code (here)
- Add the production agent code (here)
- Click Build and Run
You device is now running the production code, but needs to be configured - this is simple, so head on over the next (and final!) step.
Step 6: Device Setup
Now that everything is built, it's time to set it up:
- Click on the AgentURL to go to the agent's self hosted webpage.
- Enter your latitude, longitude, and (optionally) altitude, then click Update Settings.
Your device should now be up to date. You can use wheretheiss.at to get an idea of when the ISS might be passing overhead.
If you ever want to test your device (or show it off to your friends), you can browse to the agent URL, and click the "Test for 30 seconds" button, which will turn on the display for 30 seconds.