MonkeyLectric Video Pro Operation




Introduction: MonkeyLectric Video Pro Operation

About: Dan Goldwater is a co-founder of Instructables. Currently he operates MonkeyLectric where he develops revolutionary bike lighting products.
This guide includes:
  • Quick-Start guide to the Video Pro (steps 1 - 3)
  • Hardware reference (steps 4-6)
  • Image downloading (steps 7+)
To start this guide you should have a bike wheel with a fully assembled Video Pro in it.  If not, check our Video Pro Mounting Instructions first.

The default Video Pro graphics sample in action:

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Attach Wheel and Turn on Video Pro

  • Attach the wheel with the mounted Video Pro to a bicycle
  • Locate the A stick which has the 7 control buttons (see photo below)
  • Press and hold the RESET button for 2 seconds
  • Press the POWER button:
    • If you see 4 green dots: a playlist is loaded and ready to start playing.  Continue to the next step
    • If no lights turn on: the battery is dead.  Charge the battery before continuing.
    • If you see a rainbow pattern: No playlist is loaded.  Download a playlist before continuing.

Step 2: Attach the Magnetic Sensor

To detect rotation, the Video Pro uses a magnet which is strapped to the frame of the bicycle.  Here is how to attach it:

  • The 4 Video Pro sticks have a mark near their tips: "Align Magnet".  The magnet should be attached to the frame to match this position.
  • The tip of the magnet must be within 2cm (3/4 inch) from the surface of the Video Pro sticks.  Each bicycle frame is different.  If the magnet is not close enough, use a piece of rubber (for example a large pencil eraser) to as a spacer so you can get the magnet closer to the Video Pro.
  • Press the B2 button to start the magnet-detection mode.  You should see flashing white.
  • Spin the wheel.  If the magnet is detected, the sticks will flash as they pass over it.
  • Take a look at each of the photos below.  Move your mouse over the yellow boxes to read the instructions.

Step 3: Setting Heads-Up

To display images right-side-up the Video Pro must know which way is up.  The "up" is set in relation to the position of the magnet.  If you move the magnet or change the bicycle, the "up" will need to be re-set.

  • Hold the bicycle in the position you plan to use it.  Lift the wheel just off the ground so it can spin.
  • Turn on the video pro (4 green dots should show).  Spin the wheel.
  • Watch the images and note which way the "up" of the images is.
  • Stop the wheel, and press the Rotate button (B5) a few times.  Spin the wheel again and note that the "up" has moved.  Repeat this process until the "up" is set as desired.

Your setup process is complete, you can now use the Video Pro.  Wait until it is dark outside and go ride the bike!

Step 4: Charging and Battery Safety

The Video Pro contains a high capacity Lithium-Polymer (LIPO) battery pack.  This type of battery can cause a dangerous fire if misused or damaged.  Please read the safety and charging notes carefully.

  • To charge the Video Pro, plug the charger into the jack on the B stick.
  • Only charge a fully assembled Video Pro.

Identify your charger in the photos below:
  • Overnight charger:
    • Plug it into the Video Pro and it charges automatically. 
    • It stops charging automatically when complete. 
    • The light on the charger will go out when charging is completed.  
    • This charger will operate from 110 - 240VAC power.
  • 2 hour charger:
    • Plug it to the Video Pro
    • Press and hold the START button to start charging.
    • This charger is a universal programmable charger.  it can charge many sizes and types of batteries.  It is pre-configured by Monkeylectric so the default setting will match the Video Pro.
    • The instructions are included in case you accidentally change the settings.  The correct settings are:  3.7V LI-PO, 4.0A charge rate, 7000mah capacity, 200 minute safety timer.  
    • This charger will operate from 110 - 240VAC power, and also from 12VDC power.

Battery run-time:
  • Run-time of the battery depends a lot on the images being shown.  The more LEDs that are lit up in your images, the more power is used.
  • Use the brightness control button (B4) to adjust overall display brightness and battery life.

Battery care and Safety:
  • Half the battery pack is on the B stick and the other half is on the D stick.
  • The  two halves of the battery are only charged and discharged correctly when the Video Pro is fully assembled.  Never charge or discharge them separately.
  • Do not mix B and D sticks from different Video Pro kits (different serial number) with each other.
  • The battery packs are covered by a rigid protective shield.  If you suspect that the battery itself has become physically damaged, DO NOT attempt to use it or charge it.  It must be replaced.
  • Do not charge the battery near flammable items.
  • Do not charge the battery in excess of the recommended charge rate (4.0A)
  • If the battery is hot to touch while charging, immediately stop charging, the battery is unsafe and must be replaced.
  • If the battery catches fire, do not use water.  Use a chemical fire extinguisher only.  Move to a safe distance.

Step 5: Buttons and Control - Reference

The A stick is the controller.  It has 7 control buttons and a connector for downloading image data.

The standard button functions are:

POWER: turn power on/off and start playlist
B2: magnet test mode
B3: show test pattern
B4: set master brightness (5 steps)
B5: rotate heads-up (32 steps)
B6: toggle display sides: BOTH -> FRONT -> REAR
RESET: hold 2 sec to reset the device in case of problem.  settings of B4/B5/B6 are remembered.

To operate (after your kit is fully assembled):

* press POWER.  4 green dots indicates the playlist will start as soon as the wheel is spinning fast enough (about 12km/h).

* If it shows a rainbow, it means no valid playlist is loaded.  once power is on the other buttons can be used.  See the following steps of this instruction.

* if no lights come on, press and hold RESET for 2 seconds and try POWER again.  if you still get nothing, most likely the batteries are dead.

* New Video Pro kits are delivered with a demo playlist loaded, get your kit up and running before you try to download something new.

* If your video pro has a custom button configuration, you should have instructions from us about how to operate it.

Step 6: Care

The Video Pro is designed to be used on a bicycle in all weather conditions.  During storage and transport it should be protected.

* The coating on the Video Pro will protect it against water, dust and abrasive road dirt (sand, salt).  Clean the surface with a soapy rag if needed.

* Take care to protect the Video Pro from direct impacts.  While riding the spokes of the bicycle provide good protection.  For storage and transport we recommend removing the wheel from the bicycle and placing it in a protective wheel bag.

* The Video Pro can be used up to 30 mph (48 km/h) riding speed.  Do not exceed this speed.

* The rubber cap and gasket around the connecting areas is designed to be permanently attached.  If you see that it has come loose and is not sealing the connecting areas, contact us for service.

Step 7: Connecting the Programming Cables

You may have received devices for downloading images and for updating firmware.  See the photos to identify these, and how to connect them.

Do not use these parts until you have installed the software in the following steps.

Check the photos below to identify the parts:
  • Video Pro Interface Board:  20mm x 40mm black board with several plugs and sockets
  • Image Download Cable:  6' (2m) cable with USB at one end, and 6x1 pin connector at the other end
  • Firmware Updating Device:  gray box with 3x2 pin cable, and USB connector.
  • Video Pro Connection Cable:  10-pin ribbon cable, 6" (150mm) long.
A different cable configuration is used for each of these tasks:
  • Downloading images and playlists
  • Updating firmware
Check the photos below to see how to connect the parts for the different tasks.

About the Video Pro Interface Board:
  • The 10-pin Video Pro Connection Cable always connects from the interface board to the video pro.
  • 3 additional connectors can be used, only use one at a time:
    • 6x1 pin USB cable for image and playlist downloading
    • 3x2 pin cable going to gray box for firmware updates
    • 2 x 10x1 pin sockets for a XBEE radio module

Step 8: Installing the Software

The Video Pro software requires basic use and understanding of the Command Terminal on a Mac or Linux computer.

Computer requirement:
  • Mac computer with OS 10.4 or higher is required.
  • Linux can be used, however installation of all packages below is up to the user to take care of (ie, not supported).
Software Installation (Mac):
  • install XCODE 2.5 or higher from Apple.
    • all xcode versions can be downloaded here.
    • find the xcode version that matches your OS version
    • Apple requires you to register for a free account to download this software.
  • install macports from
  • install FTDI VCP driver from
  • start a command terminal, we will use macports to install several packages as follows:
    • sudo port -v selfupdate
    • sudo port install libusb
    • sudo port install lrzsz
    • sudo port install kermit
    • sudo port install ffmpeg
    • sudo port install imagemagick +mpeg +wmf
    • sudo port install p5-perlmagick
  • Contact MonkeyLectric to receive a copy of our Video Pro Playlist Software.
  • you may need to add /opt/local/bin to the command terminal search path
  • the following commands need to be in the search path: perl, kermit, sx, ffmpeg, convert, dd.

Step 9: Using the Playlist Software

The Video Pro Playlist Software package includes:
  • tools for building and downloading playlists to the video pro
  • 2 example playlists with media files
  • Photoshop file with an overlay to assist in making new images.
Unzip the Playlist Software package you received from us:
  • The sample1 and sample2 folders contain media files (images and videos), plus the playlist definition files playlist1 and playlist2.
  • All the media files used in a playlist are in the same folder as the playlist. 
  • Playlist definition files can be viewed and edited with TextEdit on a Mac
  • sample2/playlist2 documents all playlist commands and features, open and read this file first.
  • sample2 is a small and simple playlist. sample1 is long playlist with wide variety of media types.
Editing, building and downloading a playlist:
  • Add your own media files into the same folder as the playlist file.
    • Any format of image and video files can be used.
    • For best quality, source media should be at least 300 x 300 pixels.
    • You can use the Photoshop file wheel_mask.psd to check and correct the positioning of your images on the Video Pro.  The mask file shows you which parts of the image will be outside the display area.
  • Edit your playlist file as needed with TextEdit.  Refer to the sample2/playlist2 file for documentation.
  • Build a playlist:
    • cd sample2
    • perl ../build-playlist sample2 . playlist2
  • This creates the sample2.wad file which has the data to be downloaded
  • Plug in your download cable from the computer to the video pro
  • Download the wad file to the video pro:
    • perl ../download-playlist sample2.wad
  • After download completes:
    • Unplug the download cable from the video pro
    • Press and hold RESET button for 2 seconds
    • Press the POWER button.  You should see 4 green lights.

Step 10: Wireless Downloading - Optional Accessory

The optional wireless radio kit allows wireless downloading of playlists, and with custom programming other features such as synchronization between multiple video pro systems is possible.

Basic setup for wireless downloading:
  • If you purchased your XBEE radios from us, they will be pre-configured.
    • The "TX" radio is the transmitter, this connects to your computer with a USB cable and socket (see photo)
    • The "RX" radio is the receiver, this plugs into the Video Pro (see photo)
  • After plugging in the radios, Use the download-playlist script to configure to TX cable.  Select the '57600' baud speed option.
  • Now you can use 'download-playlist' to download wirelessly.  It works the same as for the wired cable, but a bit slower.

Configuring XBEE radios (advanced):  this is only needed if you purchased them elsewhere, or if you need a custom radio configuration.  The configuration of the XBEE is done using the 'XCTU' tool from Digi corp (manufacturer of the XBEE radio).  You can download the tool from  The tool only runs on PC, not MAC.  When configuring your XBEE radios for use with VIDEO PRO, follow these notes:
  • The RX receiver radio must be set for 115200 baud.  also set options R6=1 and R7=1
  • The TX transmitter radio must be set for 57600 baud.  also set options R6=1 and R7=1
  • We recommend the model XBP24-ACI-001 model radio.  Other models can be used but configuration may be more difficult.

Custom wireless functions (advanced):
  • Any playlist command can be executed "on the fly" with the wireless connection.
  • The available commands are listed in the "comms_cmds_incl.c" file in our software kit
  • For an example of how to use all the commands, the "build-playlist" script always prints to the screen the exact commands it is using in the playlist file.  This starts at the output section labeled "encoding script and wad".

Be the First to Share


    • Makey Makey Contest

      Makey Makey Contest
    • Fix It Contest

      Fix It Contest
    • Warm and Fuzzy Challenge

      Warm and Fuzzy Challenge



    7 years ago on Introduction

    where does one get one, and how much do they cost? they dont show up on the webstore, or on amazon.