Help with circuit building, please!
June 11, 2014 7:55 PM   Subscribe

I'm interested in adapting this tutorial and this tutorial into a dress design. Basically, I want to keep the accelerometer as part of the design, but have lower profile lights and reduce the number of lines to two or three, somehow... I could solder two extra beads (right?) on but it would look better with just two or three beads/lines. What can I do? The accelerometer isn't super-required since I can just program sparkles, so losing that isn't completely off the table.

I know this is a n00b question, and I appreciate your patience. :) Feel free to educate me as to how/why this is or isn't possible. I have some basic knowledge about this stuff, though.

Let me know if you have questions. I have sketches of my design, if needed. Thanks!
posted by ancient star to Technology (6 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: It's also worth mentioning that I don't need color LEDs; I just want sparkly white lights, and that I'm pretty sure I mistakenly thought I wouldn't need anything other than those sequin lights, but now I'm realizing that I would need a board for them to do fun programming things (right?).

Sorry, and thanks again!
posted by ancient star at 8:03 PM on June 11, 2014

The sparkle effect comes from the fact that the NeoPixels are individually addressable. The three wires deliver power, ground, and data to let the Flora control board turn the pixels on and off under software control.

You could adapt to a two-wire design (only power and ground), which would be easier to construct and you could use cheaper LED elements, but then you lose the sparkle.

You could, however, change to a self-blinking LED and count on the fact that they will fall in and out of sync on their own.
posted by JoeZydeco at 8:28 PM on June 11, 2014

Best answer: Welcome to the wonderful world of etextiles!

You have a lot of options depending on how much control you want to have over the light patterns. Is a randomized twinkle going to be sufficient, or would you prefer that it actually respond to some action or environmental variable?

If you want responsive/interactive sparkle and are willing to code, Adafruit probably is your best option. You could use a Flora or Gemma, Neopixels, and the accelerometer or another sensor... the neopixels are a bit of overkill if you only want white, but like JoeZydeco says, the fact that they are individually addressable will make everything far easier than it would be with a plain sewable LED/LED sequin.

If all you need is sparkle and not the interactivity, the LilyTwinkle and some basic sewable LEDs would be a simple and effective option.

Aniomagic's Sparkle kits are also an option if you want a lower level of interactivity or programmability without actually needing to code. They are programmed optically through a web browser, so you can even adjust the programming with your cell phone.
posted by polymath at 12:37 AM on June 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Polymath: YES!! This is great, thank you so much! I think I will get those LilyTwinkle/Pads for this project. I'm confident enough to fiddle with the programming and get my twinkle on. They are way more affordable, too.
posted by ancient star at 12:11 PM on June 12, 2014

Response by poster: Also: any idea if I can use more than four LEDs with the LilyTwinkle pad, or would I need to get a second?
posted by ancient star at 2:06 PM on June 12, 2014

Best answer: I haven't done it with the twinkle specifically, but you should be able to add at least a second LED to each trace. Unless you want to get fancy, though, the LEDs attached to the same pad will go on and off together... so that may or may not work for the effect you're wanting to create. And of course it will run your battery down faster.

If you do want to get fancy: in the comments on the Lilytwinkle page I found this tutorial for reprogramming a LilyTwinkle and using Charlieplexing to independently control up to 12 LEDs.
posted by polymath at 4:31 PM on June 13, 2014

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