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bxl4662

BML Creations
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1Instructables89,799Views27CommentsBoston, MA
I'm a mech engineer who likes to start tons of crazy projects and occasionally finish a few. I love to travel, but when I'm stuck at home I like working on various DIY improvements to our house, going out and taking photos, and cooking new and interesting things. I don't really consider myself an expert in anything that I play with, but if you have any questions I'll be more than happy to try and help!

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  • Arduino Based Stranger Things Lights

    Hi Grace! I hope you're making it through the how to on this. In terms of learning about the arduino, arduino.cc has a ton of helpful instructions. I also purchased a starter kit (similar to: https://store.arduino.cc/usa/arduino-starter-kit) which gave a bunch of examples and starter programs. Good luck!

    Hi Chrissy, I'm sorry, but has been a while since I've had a chance to play with the arduino, and even longer since looking at this code. I would suggest looking through the other comments as many people made improvements and suggestions to my code. If you're still having problems, I would suggest trying to make one light turn on and ignoring the rest of the code, then you can add bits of the code in one at a time until you find your issue. I vaguely remember that the glowing red was one of the functions that the code cycled through. Maybe try removing that one to see what it does next?

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  • First you'll need to download Arduino's software. That's how you edit the code as well as how you push the program to the Arduino itself. You can find more info here: https://www.arduino.cc/en/Guide/MacOSXIf you've never done anything like this before, you might want to buy a starter kit to play with a bit before you go to this project. These have much better step by step instructions for beginners, and the code is easier to understand.https://store.arduino.cc/usa/arduino-starter-kitIf you decide to give my project a shot, good luck! You can post back on here if you have issues and I'll do what I can to help.

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  • These should work too:https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01AG923GI/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_awdb_t1_HbUHBb5X3ZS9A

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  • It sounds like the lights might be wired in reverse. Look at the little circuit board attached to each led. It has an arrow on it pointing in the direction it should be set up. For a quick test flip them around and re plug it all in and see what happens.

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  • Great work! It is nice seeing other people tweaking the project to make it their own. Thanks for sharing!

    I got the male/female so I could connect the two strings together. Since you are only getting one string you would just need a way to connect it to the power supply. I think that means you would only need a female connector for that end. I'm not exactly sure the best place to buy just one or two. I bought the pack so I could have extras for future projects.

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  • Unfortunately, the link that you provided are not addressable. Essentially you would only be able to do the same thing to all of the LEDs at the same time (no spelling letters or Christmas lights). Just so you know, I only used 100 due to the size of my wall. If you want to use smaller letters or have a smaller display, 50 lights would be plenty (you only truly need 26 or 36 if you want to have numbers too). The interesting thing is that in my purchase list, it shows that I bought the 100 LED option, but it looks like the company doesn't offer them any more. If you need all 100, I would just order two of the 50 LED strings that I posted on my instructions list. They literally snap together and then you combine the ground and power with the adapters I linked.

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  • Which LED's did you buy? Do you have a link to them? It looks like your LEDs only have two wires? There should be a power, ground, and data. Your code looks fine and if it is uploading and verifying, I don't think that's the problem. It looks like a hardware/wiring issue to me.

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  • The two images below should show you what you would have to do to add a new case/phrase. BTW, if you want to add a bunch of new phrases and cases, all you have to do is increase the random number at the bottom of the void loop code. Right now it goes from 0 to 9, but you can pick any number for that top number. The more numbers that don't match cases (in the example that I've attached, every number above 6), the more often default will be randomly selected and the more often you'll see the Christmas lights.

    I'm not sure I did anything for you, haha. But I'm glad you figured it out!!

    It looks like it is trying to send it to the wrong port. Go to tools>port, and then select the port that your arduino is plugged into (mine usually says arduino. If it doesn't say, you can try the available ports until it writes). While you are at it, go to tools>board and make sure it has the right board selected as well.If that doesn't do it, then we'll have to do a little more digging.

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  • You should have no issues adding cases exactly as you described. The reason the Christmas lights worked for case 6, 7, and 8 is that I set that to the default. What that means is that any time my random number generator doesn't equal a case condition it will revert to the default. In my code the only time that happens is when z equals 6, 7, or 8.To add more words you will have to write a new subroutine having the program spell out a new word for you. Call out that new subroutine in case 6 and you should be up and running. To test it quickly, set z equal to 6 at the very top of the code and it should start with that subroutine.I'm on my phone, so I can't post any code or anything. If you need more help, let me know.

    Power isn't my best area, but let's work this out. You know the 9v is working fine powering your board, so for now I would just power it with your computer to save the battery.Now you should have uploaded a program like the one in the image below (change the number of LEDs to match your string and the data pin to match whichever pin you are using). Once you have uploaded that to your arduino, the first LED should start blinking. If nothing happens, try switching the LED number in the code from LED 0 to the LED closest to your 4x AA battery pack and re-uploading (probably LED 49 or 99). If that LED starts blinking, but you can't get LED 0 to blink, it sounds like there might be a voltage drop and there just isn't enough power/amperage from the battery pack? (electrical engineers, if I'…

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    Power isn't my best area, but let's work this out. You know the 9v is working fine powering your board, so for now I would just power it with your computer to save the battery.Now you should have uploaded a program like the one in the image below (change the number of LEDs to match your string and the data pin to match whichever pin you are using). Once you have uploaded that to your arduino, the first LED should start blinking. If nothing happens, try switching the LED number in the code from LED 0 to the LED closest to your 4x AA battery pack and re-uploading (probably LED 49 or 99). If that LED starts blinking, but you can't get LED 0 to blink, it sounds like there might be a voltage drop and there just isn't enough power/amperage from the battery pack? (electrical engineers, if I'm wrong, don't crucify me!)

    I don't think those are individually addressable LEDs :/ They should have (at a minimum) 3 wires: 1 for power, 1 for ground, and 1 for data (if it has a 4th it is for clock). These look like standard LEDs which would just all turn on or turn off when power was provided to them.Take a look at these, which I used in my example:https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01DLVK3CE/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    No, they shouldn't light up at all until told to do so from the data line. You might want to check your wiring/orientation of everything.

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  • No worries! There are a few things I think you are missing. First, you have to make sure you download the FastLED library. You can download it from the website in my instructable. Once you download it you need to go into arudino and then to Sketch>Include Library>Manage Libraries and pick the folder that you just downloaded. At that point you have the necessary library to run the program that I wrote. Next, you didn't mention power. Do you have a power supply for the LEDs? (Sorry if these are dumb things you've already done) If you aren't powering the LEDs from a separate supply, you can maybe power a few at a time from the arduino itself. However, if you try to power more than 6 or 7 at once, you are going to max out the arduino.There might be a few other things that need…

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    No worries! There are a few things I think you are missing. First, you have to make sure you download the FastLED library. You can download it from the website in my instructable. Once you download it you need to go into arudino and then to Sketch>Include Library>Manage Libraries and pick the folder that you just downloaded. At that point you have the necessary library to run the program that I wrote. Next, you didn't mention power. Do you have a power supply for the LEDs? (Sorry if these are dumb things you've already done) If you aren't powering the LEDs from a separate supply, you can maybe power a few at a time from the arduino itself. However, if you try to power more than 6 or 7 at once, you are going to max out the arduino.There might be a few other things that need worked through as well. Feel free to post additional questions here or send me a message!

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  • bxl4662's entry Arduino Based Stranger Things Lights is a winner in the LED Contest contest
    • Arduino Based Stranger Things Lights
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      35 comments
  • What program are you trying to run? I am not familiar with the fastled_delay.h. In the program I ran, it is FastLED.h . Could you add your code so I can take a look?

    Thanks go out to Tonybeatle from Reddit with the suggestion on how to improve my christmas lights subroutine. Using this type of for loop makes it take a lot less space. You can add as many for lines for however many different lights you want, then change the i+ portion accordingly, and change the colors to the LED values you are interested in.void CHRISTMAS() { FastLED.clear(); for (int i=0; i < 100; i+=5){leds[i] = CRGB (RED);} for (int i=1; i < 100; i+=5){leds[i] = CRGB (YELLOW);} for (int i=2; i < 100; i+=5){leds[i] = CRGB (GREEN);} for (int i=3; i < 100; i+=5){leds[i] = CRGB (BLUE);} for (int i=4; i < 100; i+=5){leds[i] = CRGB (ORANGE);} FastLED.show(); t = random(20, 30) * 1000; delay(t); FastLED.clear(); }

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  • bxl4662's entry Arduino Based Stranger Things Lights is a finalist in the LED Contest contest
  • There are a few things that catch my eye, but unfortunately I'm not an expert so these might all be a waste of your time.First, in my code I have #include <FastLED.h> instead of #include "FastLED.h". I'm not entirely sure about the difference between the two though.Second, the wiring diagram from the place I bought my LEDs totally didn't match the actual colors on the ones that were delivered. Maybe it is possible that there is a mix up there?And lastly, maybe you have the LED strip plugged in backwards. I believe the WS2811's only run in one direction. If you look in the image I attached, the little circuit board in the LED has an arrow on one side telling you the direction things should be wired.If it is none of those, I'm not sure what it might be.

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  • You should just be able to download the file and double click it. If you have the arduino software installed, it will say that it needs to be saved in a folder under the same name, you click yes, and it should open right up.

    If you want to power all of the LEDs at once you're going to have issues pulling your power from the Uno. These LEDs run at 60ma if you want full white, so 100 of them require 6A if powered at the same time. The Uno will get you around 500ma max if you are using the USB to power, or maybe 1A if you are using a wall supply.(That is, assuming I understand everything that the internet tells me)

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  • bxl4662 followed bxl4662
      • Arduino Based Stranger Things Lights
  • Ouch. Yeah I have no soldering skills, so this had to be 100% plug and play.

    My wife is a little freaked out by the whole thing, so I plan on adding a timer so I can have it turn on in the middle of the night to scare her.

    I think it was around 500. In the daylight it needs two or three LEDs per letter to light up, but at night one does the job. If I had a longer string of LEDs I would have tried to print bigger though, for better viewing.

    You have to add the FastLED library. If you open arduino, click on sketch, import library, add library... Once you add the library you might have to close and reopen arduino. at that point you should see FastLED at the bottom of the sketch, import library list, as well as from file, examples.I would open one of their examples first. Start with the FastLED blink program and once you get that up and running you should be ready to try playing with the program I put together. If you have questions, feel free to message. The program I came up with is a bit funky, so I might be able to help simplify it to start, and then you can build it back up to whatever you are looking for.

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  • Thanks! I'm thinking of adding some sneaky messages to people in case they stop to read it.

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