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Picture of DIY RGB-LED Glow Poi With Remote Control
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Introduction

Hello Everyone!
This is my first guide and (hopefully) the first one in a series of guides on my quest to create an open-source RGB-LED visual poi. To keep it simple first, this is going to result in a simple led-poi featuring remote control via IR and all kinds of colour-change-animations.

Keep in mind: This kind of poi (without IR-remote) can be bought for around 20$ on Amazon, so this is not worth the effort financially - DIY for the experience, not the result.

I hope people will contribute animations to the GitHub of this project resulting in a great variety of animations for you to choose from and therefore giving this version some more value compared to the over-the-counter ones.

Disclaimer

First of all a few safety warnings. Only attempt this build if you know what you are doing. I am not an electrical engineer, I am not to be held liable if something goes wrong. A few dangerous steps/materials are involved and you should be aware of them:

Lipos might be dangerous. Especially soldering, shorting and storing LiPos comes with a variety of dangers. Even if the build goes well, wires might come loose, the cells might get damaged or one of the no-name Chinese components might fail and cause a short. Don’t let them charge unattended, best use an external charger to charge them up, remove the lipo for storage & transport (best is to store them in one of those „lipo bags“ I believe).

The pois are subject to some significant forces when performing with them. If you hit someone or something with them or a print fails & parts fly around people might get hurt.

Use common sense, be aware of the dangers, read up on your own if you are unsure. You get the idea.

If I haven’t spooked you, enjoy the build & have fun with them.

Step 1: Material & Tools

Picture of Material & Tools
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Bill of Materials

First lets take a look at what we need for this build. I recommend to buy most of the stuff at AliExpress if you have the time to wait. I only found the lipos at HobbyKing though.




Components/Electronics

Qty Name Source Comment
2 TP4056 Lithium Battery Charger Module Amazon.com, AliExpress
2 Turnigy nano-tech 1000mah 1S 15C Round Cell Hobbyking
2 2-5V to 5V Boosting Step Up Power Supply AliExpress
MT3608 booster circuit fits as well
2 ArduinoPro Mini ATMEGA328P 5V 16MHz Amazon.com, AliExpress
2 1838 940nm IR-Reciver Diode Amazon.com, AliExpress
1m APA102 LED Strip (144 or 96 LED/m) Amazon.com, AliExpress You need about 2x10 Leds of length
2 220uF 10V Capacitor AliExpress
1 IR Remote AliExpress




Tools

Name Recommendation Comment
3D-Printer
Soldering Iron QUICKO T12
Hot Glue Gun
Computer with Arduino IDE
FTDI USB Chip FT232 alternative: Arduino Uno
Wirestrippers optional
Wirecutters Knipex Cutters optional
Breadboard + Jumpers optional
Arduino Uno optional


Consumables

Name Comment
Thin Wire 24-28AWG
Soldering Lead
Shrink Tube
Pin Headers (Male&Female) or small connector
Clear 3D-Printing Filament I used PLA but Nylon might give stronger results
Hot-Glue Sticks
zinc flux & solder or a metal brush/sanding paper Sanding Paper worked fine for me
Some cord for straps I used simple plastic chord but you might want to get creative
paulfecht6 days ago
I got most of it hooked up but am having trouble connecting with the Arduino Pro Min, it's the cheap version found on Alibaba...went here
https://www.ftdichip.com/Drivers/D2XX.htm
to get the correct driver... did all the "read me" doc talked about but still no device recognition.
Also tried this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=toLHGj7DxQU
I'm sure it's the device as the cables were swapped and it is recognizing my Arduino Uno. I'm assuming it is a driver issue. Getting close. Just needing some last little help. Best, Paul

p.s. It might be the drivers for the FTDI programmer....
Screen Shot 2019-07-10 at 9.39.17 PM.pngIMG_7930.jpg
MilanDer (author)  paulfecht6 days ago
Im not sure if your "cabelig" is correct. Maybe use jumper wires to connect the two - you want to connect RX to TX and TX to RX.

I've also experienced this issue a lot of times. Mostly happens when you are connected but have some little thing wrong. Things I did to resolve this:
- Make sure cabling is correct.
- Hold down reset-button when starting to upload and wait untill the programmer waits for the arduino, then let go.
- Make sure settings are correct. The Chip at Aliexpress says "328P" but double check yours is too ad try 8MHZ instead of 16Mhz
- If your on a USB-C macbook, try a different dongle.
- While this occurs, plug out the programmer after almost every try. Sometimes it gets "stuck" eve though everything else is correct.

... and then I realised what you're actually on about :D
You might want to uninstall the driver for the FTXX. The comment for OSX on the link you sent says "If using a device with standard FTDI vendor and product identifiers, install D2xxHelper to prevent OS X 10.11 (El Capitan) claiming the device as a serial port (locking out D2XX programs)." ... but thats exactly what we need.
Unfortunately I've spent the entire morning trying to get it to work.

List of drivers and sites that just won't work:
http://www.wch.cn/download/CH341SER_MAC_ZIP.html
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GeBz2o-syaI
https://www.electrodragon.com/w/File:Larduino_HSP_v3.6c.zip
https://forum.arduino.cc/index.php?topic=572510.0
https://learn.sparkfun.com/tutorials/how-to-install-ftdi-drivers/all
https://www.ftdichip.com/Support/Documents/AppNotes/AN_134_FTDI_Drivers_Installation_Guide_for_MAC_OSX.pdf

Quite discouraged at this point. I know this isn't your problem but I'm running into problems after problems with trying to communicate with the: Wavgat Pro Mini atmega328P 5V 16 MHz Arduino Nano , FTDI High Quality FT232RL FT232 FTDI USB 3.3V 5.5V to TTL Serial Adapter Module Mini Port devices that I bought from AliExpress. I've checked the wiring, the cables, there is just no connecting to it. I'll head over to the Windows side and give that a try. Also going to try the Arduino Uno as it is larger and it IS recognized as a USB serial port.

Question: I've got the Aruduino Uno setup and it seems to be working.... when bringing the "+" voltage from the voltage booster to the UNO should I go to Vin or to 3.3Volts. On the Pro Mini we connected two wires to Vcc.... what is the equivalent on the UNO? Ok I got that question answered, it goes from the boost module "+" to Vin on the UNO.

Thanks.
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paulfecht7 days ago
Great instructable, I'm curious why I get the error message on the attached image when I try an compile ( i.e. use the check mark) in the Arduino IDE. On a Mac by the way.
Thanks
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MilanDer (author)  paulfecht7 days ago
Hey, I get exactly the same, the message is just to tell you what version of fastLED your compiling. Check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Directive_(programming) to learn more - basically the developer of the fastLED library added a message to the code that gets output to the compiler output/log telling you what version you are using. Nothing to worry about & thanks for trying this build
Aluminoids1 month ago
Very impressive. I was curious how you got that time-lapsy static photograph of the POI light in "motion" making lit circles. I want to make a similar photograph for my Aluminoids project (see http://aluminoids.com/videos/discoswing.mp4) but don't know to turn the video into a static image like yours. If you can't teach me in the comment response, could you at least point me in the right direction? Thanks!
MilanDer (author)  Aluminoids1 month ago
Hey, you mean the actual static pictures?
Those are just taken with a tripod and long exposure times.
Not sure, what camera you might need. I used a DSLR but I guess most "simple" cameras nowadays support manual settings and even some apps exist for that kind of setting. Just google for "Long-Time Exposure Photograhpy"

If you're referring to the animated gifs, those were videos taken with also the slowest possible shutter-speed and then I enhanced the effect using after-effects "echo" effect, blending something like 2 or 3 frames together with about 20% feedback and I think add or add negative as mode.
jeff.verive1 month ago
Very nice! I'd recommend using a LiPo battery that already has wires or soldering tabs attached, as this reduces the likelihood of damaging the battery by overheating. And zinc fluxes are highly corrosive, so they should be washed off after using; I personally recommend not using them for electronics in general. Finally, you might want to define POI for people who do not understand what it means.
MilanDer (author)  jeff.verive1 month ago
Hey, thanks for the feedback, I'll incorporate it. For the wired LiPos: Do you know any LiPos with those or smaller dimensions that are already wired? I couldn't find any which is why I used these
No, I don't know of any in the same package shape/size that are pre-wired. Cool project nonetheless!
JackB1161 month ago
I noted you didnot say which 3D printer you used. I don't own one (yet) and would like to know what you used so I can formulate some ideas as to which I may get. Thanks!
MilanDer (author)  JackB1161 month ago
I can't give too much of a recommendation there. I'm using a Maker Select v2.1, which prints pretty well but otherwise isn't to much fun to use. Basically, it needs recalibration very often and since I don't print too much, that means having to spend almost an hour calibrating this thing if you want to print something after a month or so. Which is very annoying and keeps me from using it more, therefore I would not recommend it.

I've heard very good stuff about the Cetus 3D. Especially the Linear-Rails are supposed to make it more or less calibration-free and especially not loose calibration every time it is touched. I never owned or tried one myself though.


Best recommendations are usually through Reddit. Check their monthly recommendation-mega-thread to get an idea of what's considered good bang-for-buck and popular (popular means there are a lot of mods available & no unkown flaws) https://www.reddit.com/r/3Dprinting/comments/bvgtb1/purchase_advice_megathread_what_to_buy_who_to_buy/epp2ozt?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x
paulfecht1 month ago
The .pdf download does not seem to work for some reason. Using chrome browser on Windows.
MilanDer (author)  paulfecht1 month ago
I noticed, not sure how I can fix that
Really well made Instructable. Great amount of clear details in your photos. I look forward to giving this one a shot, though I'll probably try to adapt it to go on a dragon staff. :)
MilanDer (author)  ChaBuku AlexB1 month ago
Thanks! If you are going to use a similar 3D print hit me up, and I can provide you with the Fusion360 model. Maybe you can create a remix of one half making them kind of interchangeable. I also thought about making caps without holes just as juggles/fiddle. Would be nice to create a system of compatible parts, making the "techincal" part multifunctional.
Cool project