Author Topic: Sequential tail lights  (Read 5630 times)

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Offline robjodicarter

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Sequential tail lights
« on: September 24, 2018, 03:36:53 am »
I have a noob question, on the cheapest and easy way to make sequential tail lights that have 10 steps. I have searched the net and have found 3 step ones for 30+ and any of the 10 step ones are 130 each. If I could find one that is 12 volt and has 10 steps that is not 130 that would be great. I'm not the best at electronics, so easy on the terminology. There are 9 volts ones all over the net but I don't know if they will take 12-14.4 volts from a vehicle. If anyone can help please let me know.
Thank you all
Rob

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Online james_s

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2018, 03:45:48 am »
It's very easy to use a counter to sequence any number of lights you want. The voltage is just a matter of using appropriately rated transistors to control the lamps and use a regulator to supply power to the logic.
 

Offline robjodicarter

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2018, 04:25:15 am »
Sorry James that is way above my head, if you could point me in the right direction of if they sell them at a electronics web site or a video on how to build one with what I would need?
Thank you
Rob

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Offline Zero999

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2018, 04:32:52 am »
If you have a 9V light, then run it off a 12V to 9V converter module, which can be purchased fairly cheaply off eBay.
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/12V-9v-2A-Car-Power-Supply-Regulator-Adapter-Converter-Step-Down-Buck-Module-/273193306579
 

Offline robjodicarter

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2018, 05:11:52 am »
But I also want the LED's to be bright. Will that dim them?

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Online Benta

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2018, 05:20:12 am »
robjodicarter, I think you're on the wrong forum here. This is for the inner workings of electronics.
You'll be much better off on a car-mod forum.
Good Luck.

 

Offline robjodicarter

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2018, 05:23:19 am »
Oh ok, sorry I thought this was for beginner electronics. Car mod forums don't have really have electronics people that can explain this to me.
Rob

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Offline drussell

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2018, 05:27:41 am »
Sorry James that is way above my head, if you could point me in the right direction of if they sell them at a electronics web site or a video on how to build one with what I would need?

Try searching for "LED chaser" and you should find all sorts of info, schematics and probably some beginner-level tutorials.

Many people's first electronics projects involve simple blinking lights.  :)

Edit:  This isn't what you want.  See below.  :)
« Last Edit: September 24, 2018, 07:19:35 am by drussell »
 

Offline Zero999

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2018, 05:33:46 am »
But I also want the LED's to be bright. Will that dim them?

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Not if they're designed to work off 9V, in which case powering them directly off 12V could blow them up.
 

Offline tpowell1830

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2018, 05:35:31 am »
Hi Rob, do a search for LM3914 - LM3915 - LM3916 on YT, which might suit your use. This is the first one I found in search.



Hope this helps...
PEACE===>T
 

Offline drussell

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2018, 06:05:01 am »
Hi Rob, do a search for LM3914 - LM3915 - LM3916 on YT, which might suit your use. This is the first one I found in search.

A bargraph isn't really what the OP is looking for.  I believe the OP is looking for a simple sequential blinky light, like a counter and a 138 or 154 decoder.

Try looking up projects with 74LS161, 163, 138, 154, etc. 

(or HC, or whatever rather than LS)

Edit:  This isn't what you want.  See below.  :)
« Last Edit: September 24, 2018, 07:20:43 am by drussell »
 

Offline tpowell1830

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2018, 06:23:53 am »
Hi Rob, do a search for LM3914 - LM3915 - LM3916 on YT, which might suit your use. This is the first one I found in search.

A bargraph isn't really what the OP is looking for.  I believe the OP is looking for a simple sequential blinky light, like a counter and a 138 or 154 decoder.

Try looking up projects with 74LS161, 163, 138, 154, etc. 

(or HC, or whatever rather than LS)

No, the OP is looking  for sequential tail lights with a later reference to the fact that he is not learned in electronics and wants to know more. IMO, it is very unclear as to what the OP wants. My solution might be what is desired and your solution may work as well.
PEACE===>T
 

Offline drussell

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2018, 07:08:40 am »
No, the OP is looking  for sequential tail lights with a later reference to the fact that he is not learned in electronics and wants to know more. IMO, it is very unclear as to what the OP wants. My solution might be what is desired and your solution may work as well.

Ah, you're right since the OP wants the lower "bits" to stay on, I'm sure...  that makes it a trickier counting job and a 138/154 isn't the output arrangement we want... would actually need to see the bits or use shift registers or whatever.  I wasn't thinking that through.

An LM3914 with a simple ramped-up voltage is just what the doctor ordered.  A string of compartors would work in a pinch also, of course, since we don't need the dot mode or any fancy features but a LM3914 is a much easier to wire, simpler solution.

Good call!
 

Online james_s

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2018, 07:24:38 am »
Beginners are more than welcome here, however this forum is aimed toward people who want to learn about the inner workings, it's probably not the best place to look for an off the shelf ready to go solution. If you're looking for ideas and willing to take some time to learn then you'll find lots of help here. Otherwise you might be better off looking for suggestions for a ready to go product from a car forum.
 

Offline tpowell1830

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2018, 08:39:08 am »
Beginners are more than welcome here, however this forum is aimed toward people who want to learn about the inner workings, it's probably not the best place to look for an off the shelf ready to go solution. If you're looking for ideas and willing to take some time to learn then you'll find lots of help here. Otherwise you might be better off looking for suggestions for a ready to go product from a car forum.

For someone who is an absolute newbie to electronics, the solutions that drussell and I suggested probably can't be done by a complete newbie, nor would a newbie even understand what we are implying. As seasoned hobbyists or EEs we know at a glance how these suggestions would work.

I am waiting for the right response from the OP to see if there is interest in the art or interest in only making LEDs blink.  :popcorn:

EDIT: And BINGO! We have winner, a newbie who just wants to blink some LEDs. Below...
« Last Edit: September 24, 2018, 09:00:27 am by tpowell1830 »
PEACE===>T
 

Offline robjodicarter

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #15 on: September 24, 2018, 08:53:34 am »
I'm thinking of one of these but I don't know if I can put 12 volts to them, and how bright the LED's will be
Rob

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Online james_s

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #16 on: September 24, 2018, 09:51:11 am »
I built one of those a few years ago when I was curious what sort of kit building experience I could get for $1.50. A 4017 only lights one LED at a time though, is that what you want? The 4017 itself will tolerate 12V though and the LED brightness can be changed by changing the value of resistors used to limit the current. An automotive electrical system is notoriously dirty from an electrical standpoint though so I wouldn't expect that to last long without some modifications to bulletproof it.
 

Offline robjodicarter

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #17 on: September 24, 2018, 10:01:35 am »
Do they light one at a time until they are all lit and start again or one at a time until it gets to the end?
And what would u have to do to make it bullet proof? And thank you !!!!!
I built one of those a few years ago when I was curious what sort of kit building experience I could get for $1.50. A 4017 only lights one LED at a time though, is that what you want? The 4017 itself will tolerate 12V though and the LED brightness can be changed by changing the value of resistors used to limit the current. An automotive electrical system is notoriously dirty from an electrical standpoint though so I wouldn't expect that to last long without some modifications to bulletproof it.

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Online Brumby

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #18 on: September 24, 2018, 10:29:57 am »
Hi robjodicarter.  Welcome to the forum.

First a little warning...  We have a lot of expertise on this forum and we are very willing to share it with someone who is genuinely interested - but we don't always get it right matching the information we can share with your abilities at this time.  Bear with us and let us know if we've gone "rocket scientist" on you.  Also, don't get too scared if two members start having a "discussion" about something you don't understand.  We can get caught up in some of the details on occasion.  Usually, someone will come along, bring some sanity and get back to helping you out.


As for your project, you are quite correct to be thinking about brightness if you are looking to fit something like this to a motor vehicle - but for high brightness, you will need higher current than you can get out of those small single board units.  This is going to be one of the reasons why the real deal units are not cheap.  They will take something like the board you have shown as a starting point, then add a couple of components and a high power LED to each of those 10 channels.  This is something that many people here could help you build, if you feel you want to take on the challenge.

It is also possible that there may be a higher powered module already available.  If so, someone here might know where to look.


Anyway ... bear with us and help us to help you.  If things get confusing, please ask questions.  Most of us here get our kicks out of seeing someone learn and understand.
 
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Online Brumby

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #19 on: September 24, 2018, 10:58:01 am »
Do they light one at a time until they are all lit and start again or one at a time until it gets to the end?
And what would u have to do to make it bullet proof? And thank you !!!!!

Have a look at this page: https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circuit_int%C3%A9gr%C3%A9_4017   It's in French - but you can translate it.
It has details about how the 4017 integrated circuit works and an animation (about 3/4 down the page).  (Don't get worried about all the charts and diagrams for the moment - but if you are of a mind to, we will be able to step you through the basics so that they make enough sense for you to understand.  Maybe not today, though.  :) )

From this, I would guess this is not how you would want the lights to operate - but rather something like the centre strip of this:
 

Offline robjodicarter

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #20 on: September 24, 2018, 11:23:39 am »
That is perfect the center is exactly what I want to make!!!! And I will read that page!!!

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Offline robjodicarter

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #21 on: September 24, 2018, 11:30:16 am »
So the 4017 only blinks once and does not continue to stay lit. And has a total of 10 spots for an led. What chip would let you keep them lit until they reset?

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Offline robjodicarter

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #22 on: September 24, 2018, 11:31:41 am »
If I know what to buy I can start ordering what I need and maybe get a class/rundown on how to put it together. I thank you for taking the time to help me!!!
Rob

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Offline drussell

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #23 on: September 24, 2018, 11:44:39 am »
I am assuming that when power is applied, you want to have each LED light in sequence but leave every preceding one on, (so you have 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, then all 10 LEDs lit) then stop and stay with all 10 lit once it gets to the end until power is removed, correct?

What country are you in?

Do you have access to any electronics supplies like a breadboard?  Do you know what that is?  Are you in school?

With a little more basic information, perhaps we can point you to some basic tutorials.
 

Offline robjodicarter

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #24 on: September 24, 2018, 12:20:06 pm »
What country are you in? The US

Do you have access to any electronics supplies like a breadboard? I don't have one available but I can order from amazon

 Do you know what that is? Yes I do

  Are you in school? And no I'm 41, I'm a mechanic by trade and am in the army since 1996. I know roughly what some components are but not at all savy still a super beginner but willing to learn.

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Offline rjp

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #25 on: September 24, 2018, 01:17:31 pm »
In australia tail lights are a licensed and regulated component and you will probably get your car ruled unworthy for not using the approved gear from the car shops.
 

Online Brumby

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #26 on: September 24, 2018, 01:24:59 pm »
He's not in Australia.  He's in the USA - and their regulations about lights are different.
 

Offline robjodicarter

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #27 on: September 24, 2018, 01:35:52 pm »
Yeah, our regulations are allot different. This is going on an off road vehicle only anyway, not a big fan of giving any cop a reason to give me a ticket at all

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Online Brumby

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #28 on: September 24, 2018, 01:43:20 pm »
The LM3914, LM3915 and LM3916 ICs each do the sort of job you want - but their sensitivity scale differs (see the video in reply #9).  All three have a "mode" option - where you can have a single dot lit (not what you want) or the bar style (which IS what you want).  A simple switch can change from one to the other

You could use any of these three for playing around but, as mentioned above, the LM3914 is probably going to be the best choice since it will be easier to get a steady progression.

There is also another alternative which a lot of people would try - and that is a microcontroller board - such as an Arduino Uno.  This will require a bit of programming - but don't be at all scared by that ... it is really simple to do something like this light project and there is a lot of expertise available here.


Whether using an LM3814 or an Adruino, the output from these devices will only be enough to light up small LEDs on your breadboard.  You will need higher current drivers to run the serious LEDs you will need for bright lights.  We can deal with that a little further down the track.
 

Offline tpowell1830

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #29 on: September 24, 2018, 01:46:54 pm »
In australia tail lights are a licensed and regulated component and you will probably get your car ruled unworthy for not using the approved gear from the car shops.

Wow, really, your government forces you to buy parts from exclusive shops? I thought Australia had a small government. First your guns, now telling you what you can put on your cars? I am surprised that Crocodile Dundee would let that happen.  :palm:  :)
PEACE===>T
 

Offline robjodicarter

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #30 on: September 24, 2018, 01:57:29 pm »
So what should I order from either amazon or an electronic shop that will give me what I need. I know I need at least 2 bread boards( I'll buy a pack of 10) and. A 4017, a555 and I don't know what else? Sorry to be a pain but I really don't know what I'm doing. Should I try and buy one of those cheap diy kits to get ahold of what I'm trying to do and do some more research? Do you know where I could go to learn more about those chips or others? Thank you all.
I'll get back to you in the morning, it's 9. Pm here.
Rob

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Offline Richard Crowley

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #31 on: September 24, 2018, 02:20:47 pm »
A 4017 only lights one LED at a time though,
No. The LM3915, 3916, and 3917 are all easily configurable for either "dot-mode" or "bar-mode" by simply connecting one of the pins.

And it is easy enough to use a single transistor on each output of the circuit (whichever circuit) to drive ("buffer") a very bright LED (or cluster of LEDs)

Quote
The 4017 itself will tolerate 12V though and the LED brightness can be changed by changing the value of resistors used to limit the current. An automotive electrical system is notoriously dirty from an electrical standpoint though so I wouldn't expect that to last long without some modifications to bulletproof it.
Indeed. Most LED flasher circuits are not "ruggedized" for use in vehicle power systems.  It is easy enough to protect them, but the raw circuits you see online may have limited life expectancy in a vehicle.  And failure of a tail-light could get you killed.

IMHO those LM3915-16-17 chips aren't very appropriate for this design.  They depend on the rise-time of an analog signal and the method of generating that analog signal could be very vulnerable to things like supply voltage, temperature, etc. Perfectly fine for fooling around on the bench, but not nearly reliable enough for vehicular use. 

It would be far more reliable/bulletproof to use a series of the ubiquitous 555 (or the dual version, the 556) timer chips. There are many 3-step sequential tail light circuits using 555/556, but EXACTLY THE SAME scheme can be extended to 10 or ANY arbitrary number of steps.  And FAR MORE RELIABLE than an LM3915-16-17
 

Offline BradC

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #32 on: September 24, 2018, 02:32:29 pm »
Wow, really, your government forces you to buy parts from exclusive shops?

No. Like most other countries in the world there are regulations surrounding modifications on vehicles that must be complied with. Things like your average motoring dickhead replacing their halogen headlamps with LED or Xenon "replacements" and blinding any oncoming traffic are dealt with in the appropriate manner, by defecting the vehicle and forcing they go through a re-inspection process to ensure compliance. All other vehicle lights are similarly regulated. Not to say you can't modify, but you need to understand and comply with the rules.

There is a reason every single LED or Xenon drop-in replacement on the market is marked "for offroad use only" or "not ADR compliant".

There are no regulations about where you must buy your components, simply that they comply with the relevant regulations. Flashy LED tail-lights would fall under that category (non-compliant and likely to attract unwanted attention, or in the worst case at night triggering an epileptic".

Sorry, one of my big bugbears.

Actually the epilepsy factor is an interesting one. Years ago the Dubai Govt decided to cheap out on some solar powered illuminated cats eyes. Turns out they were flashing at just the right rate to trigger epileptics and resulted in several severe traffic accidents before they figured out what was going on and removed them.

 

Offline tpowell1830

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #33 on: September 24, 2018, 03:01:18 pm »
Wow, really, your government forces you to buy parts from exclusive shops?

No. Like most other countries in the world there are regulations surrounding modifications on vehicles that must be complied with. Things like your average motoring dickhead replacing their halogen headlamps with LED or Xenon "replacements" and blinding any oncoming traffic are dealt with in the appropriate manner, by defecting the vehicle and forcing they go through a re-inspection process to ensure compliance. All other vehicle lights are similarly regulated. Not to say you can't modify, but you need to understand and comply with the rules.

There is a reason every single LED or Xenon drop-in replacement on the market is marked "for offroad use only" or "not ADR compliant".

There are no regulations about where you must buy your components, simply that they comply with the relevant regulations. Flashy LED tail-lights would fall under that category (non-compliant and likely to attract unwanted attention, or in the worst case at night triggering an epileptic".

Sorry, one of my big bugbears.

Actually the epilepsy factor is an interesting one. Years ago the Dubai Govt decided to cheap out on some solar powered illuminated cats eyes. Turns out they were flashing at just the right rate to trigger epileptics and resulted in several severe traffic accidents before they figured out what was going on and removed them.

There are cars that come from the factory with Xenon and LED headlights, as well as flashy blinky sequential tail light turn signals. If you decided that you wanted them on your car, this wouldn't be allowed?
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Offline rjp

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #34 on: September 24, 2018, 06:52:52 pm »
Wow, really, your government forces you to buy parts from exclusive shops?

No. Like most other countries in the world there are regulations surrounding modifications on vehicles that must be complied with. Things like your average motoring dickhead replacing their halogen headlamps with LED or Xenon "replacements" and blinding any oncoming traffic are dealt with in the appropriate manner, by defecting the vehicle and forcing they go through a re-inspection process to ensure compliance. All other vehicle lights are similarly regulated. Not to say you can't modify, but you need to understand and comply with the rules.

There is a reason every single LED or Xenon drop-in replacement on the market is marked "for offroad use only" or "not ADR compliant".

There are no regulations about where you must buy your components, simply that they comply with the relevant regulations. Flashy LED tail-lights would fall under that category (non-compliant and likely to attract unwanted attention, or in the worst case at night triggering an epileptic".

Sorry, one of my big bugbears.

Actually the epilepsy factor is an interesting one. Years ago the Dubai Govt decided to cheap out on some solar powered illuminated cats eyes. Turns out they were flashing at just the right rate to trigger epileptics and resulted in several severe traffic accidents before they figured out what was going on and removed them.

There are cars that come from the factory with Xenon and LED headlights, as well as flashy blinky sequential tail light turn signals. If you decided that you wanted them on your car, this wouldn't be allowed?

if they have the ADR acreditation you can, otherwise its the tedious game of getting them tested and approved.

i was perhaps a bit flippant in my previous post but the nutshell was wacking some led's and a flashing circuit on your taillights would get  police attention here and then its your job to prove your way out of it  - after your car has been taken off the road.

hence, going to a car shop and getting licensed gear and avoiding the tedium.

« Last Edit: September 24, 2018, 07:26:41 pm by rjp »
 

Offline LukeB

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #35 on: September 24, 2018, 07:25:00 pm »
Dunno if you are into arduino at all but an arduino would make this project very very electronically simple. You can just wire one led to each pin of a small cheap arduino and learn the super basics of code to program the lights the way you want. I am also a beginner but can do a bit of arduino coding and find it much simpler.
 

Offline drussell

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #36 on: September 24, 2018, 09:10:56 pm »
So what should I order from either amazon or an electronic shop that will give me what I need. I know I need at least 2 bread boards( I'll buy a pack of 10)

I was meaning one of the solderless breadboards that you can experiment with.  You'll need one of those.  If you intend to get into electronics, invest in one like this with three or four lengths, rather than just a single strip (I have about 10 of this size... LOL):



Yes, you will also need a couple, what I call "proto boards", but they are often called "solderable breadboards" the same basic layout as a breadboard but meant for soldering up a permanent copy of something:



...which is what I think you meant buying a 10 pack of.

Quote
and. A 4017, a555 and I don't know what else?

No, that won't do what you want.  I think the LM3914 is the way to go.

Try to hold off the itch to order any ICs and components yet, If I have time later today I will try to whack up an example circuit that does what you want, maybe even make a little video.

Quote
Sorry to be a pain but I really don't know what I'm doing. Should I try and buy one of those cheap diy kits to get ahold of what I'm trying to do and do some more research? Do you know where I could go to learn more about those chips or others?

Just don't get ahead of yourself.  :)  You don't need a kit for this, you're perfectly capable of doing it yourself from scratch, plus you'll probably learn more, faster, this way than just soldering up a kit that you don't know how it works.  That will make it easier to do things like fit circuitry for brighter LEDs, etc.
 
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Offline robjodicarter

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #37 on: September 24, 2018, 09:14:49 pm »
Elegoo EL-KIT-004 UNO Project Basic Starter Kit with Tutorial and UNO R3 for Arduino https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DGD2GAO/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_ABmQBbVQ0D6V7
Like this? Would that work?
Rob

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Offline drussell

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #38 on: September 24, 2018, 09:15:36 pm »
In australia tail lights are a licensed and regulated component and you will probably get your car ruled unworthy for not using the approved gear from the car shops.

The OP is a mechanic by trade, i think he understands parts replacement and his local laws regarding automobile servicing.  He also stated that this is for an off-road vehicle anyway.

Even if he intended road use, most jurisdictions in the USA will not hassle you if you have proper, functioning lights of the correct color and brightness, even the areas that have vehicle inspections.  (As long as you're not strobing them or something...)
 

Offline drussell

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #39 on: September 24, 2018, 09:18:11 pm »
Like this? Would that work?

Using arduinos for this is total overkill.

You can use one simple, robust analog chip to get the job done.  No programming, no crashing microcontrollers or potentially flakey digital stuff mounted in your taillight.  :)
 

Offline Zero999

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #40 on: September 24, 2018, 09:21:54 pm »
So the 4017 only blinks once and does not continue to stay lit. And has a total of 10 spots for an led. What chip would let you keep them lit until they reset?

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Then what you need is to switch the LEDs with transistors, connected to diode OR gates.

See attached. O1 to O9 represent the outputs from the CD4017. O0 is not connected, because all the LEDs are off, when it's high. D1 to D16 are not critical: the 1N4148 will do. Q1 to Q9 can be any low power transistor, such as the BC548, BC338, 2N2222, etc.

 
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Online Brumby

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #41 on: September 24, 2018, 09:26:38 pm »
Like this? Would that work?
Yes, that would be able to get everything working - on the bench.  You would still need some extra components in order to drive the bright LEDs you would need for a vehicle.


Using arduinos for this is total overkill.
If you are looking at cost or "overengineering" then maybe - but for someone just getting their feet wet, it's actually simpler to do and understand.

The LM3914 is the most direct single chip solution to drive the LEDs - but remember you still have to feed it a rising voltage.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2018, 09:30:33 pm by Brumby »
 

Offline drussell

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #42 on: September 24, 2018, 09:35:18 pm »
Using arduinos for this is total overkill.
If you are looking at cost or "overengineering" then maybe - but for someone just getting their feet wet, it's actually simpler to do and understand.

If he were coming from a computer background, I would agree.

Personally, I think it is much easier to just use the LM3914 with 10 transistors.  No computer required, no programming, etc.  I'm not saying that's not pretty simple stuff also, but implementing an LM3914 isn't exactly rocket science in the analog domain.  :)

The OP can probably even splurge and buy both an arduino starter kit AND a few LM3914s and try both methods.  Analog world and digital world.  It is not expensive and neither are difficult.  The unused parts can be used for other future projects.  (This electronics thing is highly addictive, by the way, Rob...  :) )

Will also need some LEDs (including some nice super-bright varieties for testing to see if they're what he wants for the finished units,) etc.
 

Offline robjodicarter

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #43 on: September 24, 2018, 11:08:36 pm »
So I am looking for the cheapest smallest option that I myself can replicate. Looking to spend about 20-30 total on parts to build the module. I don't mind learning how to build it myself I just want to make sure that what I build won't die in 6 months. I just don't know how to go about it. So many ideas and you guys are the experts. I'm a mechanic by trade and can rebuild most any motor there is but that is completely different than electronics. That is why I have come to a forum that specializes in that aspect. Just want to build a sequential module the has 10 outputs for LED's or group of LED's that are bright enough for tail lights. They need to have 1 input that would allow them to all stay lit, then one input that tells them to run in sequence. The first one lights up, stays lit while the others follow until they are all lit. They all shut off and then start all over with the first one again. I can encase the module in a waterproof sealant after testing and completion. Then inside a box to ensure it won't be bumped around. If anyone can help me with the best way to do this that would be great. Thank you all for all of your input I have so many choices and don't know which way to go.
Rob

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Online Mr. Scram

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #44 on: September 24, 2018, 11:39:38 pm »
I guess you could use a shift register to create the "motion. You'd simply clock in lit LEDs and reset the register using the last pin to restart the motion. You could even have a few empty pins to build in a delay. To have enough pins for all the LEDs you desire, you can always link shift registers together create a longer shift register. Luckily that's easy to do. Of course you'd also need a clock circuit, which could maybe be a 555 timer circuit. That's a nice simple way of creating a more or less stable square wave to control the shift register with.

Maybe some transistors are needed to properly power your LEDs as a shift register can only drive so much current and you'd need some regulation to power your circuits with without blowing them up with a voltage that's too high. Most common integrated circuits work with 5V and more modern circuits can require 3,3V or even less. As someone has said some filtering may be needed to prevent the noisy environment from messing up your electronics, but getting the basic

Looking at it it seems you can connect a few popular and basic beginner circuits together to create what you want. It's actually a reasonably beginner friendly project!
 

Offline robjodicarter

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #45 on: September 25, 2018, 12:52:32 am »
I think I have found my answer.

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Offline tpowell1830

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #46 on: September 25, 2018, 01:12:04 am »
Like this? Would that work?

Using arduinos for this is total overkill.

You can use one simple, robust analog chip to get the job done.  No programming, no crashing microcontrollers or potentially flakey digital stuff mounted in your taillight.  :)

Agreed, the 3914 is fine, an adjustable RC circuit and done. The LEDs are a matter of choice. The vehicle already supplies the timed pulse.
PEACE===>T
 

Offline Richard Crowley

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #47 on: September 25, 2018, 04:58:26 am »
This is what I would use.  They are dirt-cheap (BrEnglish: "cheap as chips"), automobile power-safe, and with a relay output, you can use practically ANY arrangement of LED, incandescent, laser, plasma, nuclear explosion, or whatever kind of light you wish.  And you can string any number of them in series, whatever you wish.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/DC-12V-Relay-Module-Adjustable-Delay-Time-Switch-0-10-Second-NE555-Timer-Board/172460306953



I would be sure to connect the FIRST light DIRECTLY to the brake-switch circuit (with no delay) so that if all the fancy, frivolous animated lighting lash-up fails, you at least have minimal safety brake lights.
 

Online james_s

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #48 on: September 25, 2018, 10:49:01 am »
Don't get ahead of yourself, let's get a design nailed down before you start ordering parts. It's simple enough to be designed on paper with reasonable confidence that you can build it and it will work.

Do you have the lights themselves figured out? Are you using off the shelf parts or planning to fabricate them yourself?
 

Offline robjodicarter

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #49 on: September 25, 2018, 11:14:08 am »
I actually decided I will use these, they will do all I need and allow me to use cob led bulbs that should be really bright. Please let me know if I would need anything else.
Thank you
Rob

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Online Brumby

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #50 on: September 25, 2018, 12:11:23 pm »
The CorsoMotion module is a pre-built unit that will do what you want.  Makes sense to go with that, especially at the price.

A car mod forum would have likely got you there more quickly - but, hey, we live and learn.



Wiring will be fun - but that was going to be the case anyhow.  Have fun - and if there is anything down the road that you might want to ask of us ... you are welcome to bring it here.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2018, 12:14:22 pm by Brumby »
 

Offline robjodicarter

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #51 on: September 25, 2018, 12:13:59 pm »
Now I have to find a good choice in led bulbs ughhhhhhhh nice bright ones that come in clear, amber and red.

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Offline Teledog

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #52 on: September 25, 2018, 02:33:49 pm »
Had a '67 390 Mercury Cougar with sequential tail lights.
They were mechanical..a motor physically driving a cam/contact switches.
They were slower in the winter (-30), and eventually got slower as the motor ( not to mention the bad contacts) died.
They do sell replacements but not cheap!
Thanks for reminding me of my old beast! ;-)
 

Offline tpowell1830

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #53 on: September 25, 2018, 03:34:39 pm »
Had a '67 390 Mercury Cougar with sequential tail lights.
They were mechanical..a motor physically driving a cam/contact switches.
They were slower in the winter (-30), and eventually got slower as the motor ( not to mention the bad contacts) died.
They do sell replacements but not cheap!
Thanks for reminding me of my old beast! ;-)

Had a girlfriend who had a '67 Cougar. Loved those sequential tail lights and that body style.
PEACE===>T
 

Online max_torque

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #54 on: September 26, 2018, 01:15:07 am »
Compared to the mechanical / environmental challenges of building a tail light assy that is suitably water,dust and vibration resistant, and has suitable brightness (esp in bright sunlight, but not be dazzling at night) and viewing angle the actual business of sorting out the flashing order, pattern and timing is trivial!!!

(you'd be mad (imo) to do not go digital with a suitable small micro, a suitable driver IC etc)


(and as it's on a car, you need to account for things like load dump etc too)
 

Offline Zero999

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #55 on: September 26, 2018, 01:29:47 am »
I'd probably dust of some old microcontrollers I have lying around: the 16F505. I'd power it off a shunt regulator, as it will be resistant to high voltage spikes. If the LEDs need to be really bright I'd use strings of four in series, for each light and BJT constant current sources to drive them.
 

Online james_s

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #56 on: September 26, 2018, 09:38:23 am »
I would actually advocate toward the discrete logic approach for a beginner. There's less to go wrong, less chance of a software bug and a hardware problem compounding things. The coding is not difficult, but for a beginner with no programming experience it can be pretty daunting.

Either way, the mechanical/optical portion is going to be much more difficult to get right than the electronics.
 

Online Brumby

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #57 on: September 26, 2018, 11:51:43 am »
robjodicarter - You may have noticed the engineer brains have been suitably stimulated.  There are several ways of achieving your desired result - and I have a feeling there will be more than one idea finding its way onto a breadboard.

Don't worry.  This is normal.  Even though you have found a way to achieve your goal with a pre-built module, engineering brains like to solve problems ... and when there are flashy lights involved, it's like moths to a flame..........


Now I'm thinking about where my spare Arduino boards are hiding...  Ah, found a UNO board! ... Now where are those LEDs?....................................
 

Offline robjodicarter

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #58 on: September 26, 2018, 11:54:58 am »
I'm just looking for an inexpensive way to do it with the coolest results. I have time and patience just the knowledge is what I need. Any ideas on where to look and gain some?

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Online Brumby

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #59 on: September 26, 2018, 12:51:09 pm »
I find the best way to learn something is to tackle a project - just like the one you brought here.  While you have found a practical and inexpensive solution for your real-world need, you could try building some of the other solutions suggested.

These won't necessarily need to provide the high current you would need for a vehicle (but you could go that extra step if you wanted to) or have the reliability and compactness requirements, but you could do so on a breadboard with a fistful of components.

3 alternatives I can list at the moment:
 1. Discrete transistor design.  This is the one that your module uses - but we can build it from parts.
 2. LM3914.  We can add a rising voltage source to give the look you were after - or we can give it a signal from a different source and use it as an indicator.  Indicator of what, you ask?  There are a lot of answers to that.
 3. Arduino based.  Here you can make the LEDs do practically whatever you want them to do - and you can have them respond to different inputs if you want.  This is a good starting point if you want to get into microcontrollers - and it's still a useful exercise even if you don't.  It's relatively pain free.  It does involve learning a bit of programming - but there are REALLY easy ways to slip into this and you will probably have your first LED blinking within an hour.
 

Offline robjodicarter

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #60 on: September 26, 2018, 02:06:04 pm »
Brumby the Arduino sounds good, what would I need to buy to start out? A starter kit of some sort. And a computer I imagine. Anything special? Programs or? Sounds like allot of fun!!!!

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Offline Richard Crowley

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #61 on: September 26, 2018, 02:35:17 pm »
There are literally thousands of videos on YouTube about Arduino and likely several just on getting started.
What computer are you using to post here on EEVblog?  Don't you already have some kind of computer?
 

Online Brumby

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #62 on: September 26, 2018, 02:50:31 pm »
Posting here is being done on a smartphone - as indicated by the tag line:
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As per the Arduino site, the IDE (integrated development environment) can run as follows:
Windows XP and up
Windows app (Requires Win 8.1 or 10)
Mac OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion or newer
Linux 32 bits
Linux 64 bits
Linux ARM

An ordinary Windows desktop (or laptop) is a typical platform.
 

Online Brumby

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #63 on: September 26, 2018, 03:09:19 pm »
As for Arduino starter kits - there are literally hundreds of variations on eBay alone.  This is one I just picked at random: https://www.ebay.com/itm/231677302331

It's a basic one with enough to get you hooked, including a couple of displays and a 555 timer - plus they offer some instructions - for under $25.  It has enough components to do the LED project (using more than one colour of LED) - plus a whole lot more.

I haven't researched the seller, so I can't vouch for them - but this type of kit is available from hundreds of sources.

There are other kits that have a range of sensors and other modules that you can spend more on and if you have the cash, then you can go for something like that if you have a mind.  Personally, I'd save that sort of expenditure for later - once you know you want to go that far down the rabbit hole.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2018, 03:13:34 pm by Brumby »
 

Offline Towger

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #64 on: September 26, 2018, 05:01:17 pm »


In australia tail lights are a licensed and regulated component

They are available from the dealer here (high end Audi or BMW?), as an optional extra.

From memory they cost an extra 500~600 euro!  A perfect extra for the poser.


 

Online Mr. Scram

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #65 on: September 27, 2018, 09:20:59 am »
People here have mentioned filtering the car's power to prevent mishaps. What would be suitable ways of doing that? Voltage clamping using diodes to prevent spikes from blowing up your circuit? Inline inductors to smooth high frequency noise? An RC circuit to smooth out lower frequency pollution?
 

Online james_s

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #66 on: September 27, 2018, 10:03:53 am »
A reasonable starting point would be to look at some other automotive electronics to see how it's done. Often it's nothing more than a regulator intended for automotive use and some suitably high voltage capacitors. You can go fancier if you want, but I've found that even in my oldest car (1984) the electrical system is not too horrendously nasty. Something from the mid 70s or older with an electromechanical regulator back when the only electronics in a typical car was an AM radio would probably be a lot worse.
 

Online Mr. Scram

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #67 on: September 27, 2018, 10:37:56 am »
A reasonable starting point would be to look at some other automotive electronics to see how it's done. Often it's nothing more than a regulator intended for automotive use and some suitably high voltage capacitors. You can go fancier if you want, but I've found that even in my oldest car (1984) the electrical system is not too horrendously nasty. Something from the mid 70s or older with an electromechanical regulator back when the only electronics in a typical car was an AM radio would probably be a lot worse.
Fair point. It's cheaper to properly regulate the circuit than to protect every one of the hundreds circuits that are now inside a car individually.

Now I want to drive around with an oscilloscope hooked up to the power system.
 

Online james_s

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #68 on: September 27, 2018, 11:02:54 am »
I actually meant a regulator inside the device, I've worked on ECUs that had relatively ordinary 3 terminal regulators to supply the 5V. Usually 35V rated capacitors and some ceramic bypass caps, nothing too fancy. Something like a 7805 can tolerate around 35V on the input for short periods, limited by the heat produced dropping that much voltage.
 

Offline robjodicarter

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #69 on: September 27, 2018, 11:04:32 pm »
So how can I write the code for this style I will be using a sheet of LED's that are 20 high x100 long. Is there some sort of cheat or pre written code for this? I don't mind taking my time and learning just want it to be cool.

Thank you
Rob

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Offline tpowell1830

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #70 on: September 28, 2018, 09:40:52 am »
So how can I write the code for this style I will be using a sheet of LED's that are 20 high x100 long. Is there some sort of cheat or pre written code for this? I don't mind taking my time and learning just want it to be cool.

Thank you
Rob

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Hi Rob, this is completely doable, although for a beginner, it is a learning curve. Those who were talking about using an Arduino for your solution have suddenly gone silent. This is a far cry from your original idea of 10 LEDs in a sequential row, but this can be done. If you look to the right of the lights in this video, you will partially see a breadboard with the electronics doing this for the narrator. This will all need to put on a protoboard after testing, and finally after the protoboard is tested live on your vehicle where you will simply rig it up somehow to test it, you will then need to get all of the components onto a proper PCB for the final product. This system will need to convert 12 volts to 5 volts, which is not a daunting task, but as you can see from the breadboard, there are a lot of components needed in order to create the system in the video.

I don't think this is too far for a beginner to do, along with the help from the forum, however it is a far cry from your original idea of a single row of LEDs being sequenced out. Those who were encouraging you to go the Arduino or digital route seem to have stopped posting on this thread. However, if you feel you want to tackle this much more complex project, I suggest that you get the parts list from this YT video and then get your lab/work area setup with the essential tools you will need in order to be able to do this. There are multiple threads on this forum that lists all of the basic tools needed in order to setup an electronics lab.

However, of you were to revert your idea back to a simple row of sequenced LEDs, the LM3914 is a much simpler solution that does not require that you have a 5 volt regulator and only requires a few simple parts. It will be interesting to see if this thread is revived with the multitude of different approaches again or one of the digital arbitters will come forward with a workable design and offer the assistance and tutillage that you will need in order to accomplish this.
PEACE===>T
 

Online Mr. Scram

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #71 on: September 28, 2018, 09:50:14 am »
So how can I write the code for this style I will be using a sheet of LED's that are 20 high x100 long. Is there some sort of cheat or pre written code for this? I don't mind taking my time and learning just want it to be cool.

Thank you
Rob

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That should honestly be completely illegal. The various signals can easily be confused with each other. With some more care it could be better, though.

It's perfectly doable, although a different kettle of fish than the initial idea. You'll need to start programming and multiplexing and probably protect your IC properly. Luckily AVRs are electrically fairly robust.
 

Online Brumby

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #72 on: September 28, 2018, 12:06:23 pm »
My thoughts.....

1. You can certainly do a multi-animation project - but forget about the LM3914.  It's going to be a microcontroller or an insane amount of discrete electronics (that nobody here would even contemplate).

2. I would never suggest implementing such a diverse range of animations for a real vehicle used on public roads.  These lights are for communication to other drivers and several of those animations serve no real purpose - unless, perhaps, it's advertising how geeky you are.  If you want to do this for concourse displays or on the back of a monster truck inside an arena, then fine - but on the roads, it is very likely to cause confusion and will, without any doubt, cause distraction.  Distractions cause accidents.

3. In implementing the 20x100 LED sheet we will need to know the connections it has in order to design the circuitry around it and define a programming approach.

4. We are all interested in seeing the OP achieve success, but this latest project is far more involved than the original single strip.  With the single strip, building the circuit with 10 discrete LEDs and writing a short program would be easy, but the LED sheet is going to require more resources in designing, building and programming.  I, personally, have not done much in the way of matrix display programming, so I'm sure that anything I put together would be clumsy ... and my time demands mean any assistance would stretch out.  As a result, I'm not immediately putting my hand up - but that doesn't mean I don't want to help.  It just means I don't want to make things worse.

My thought was that the original 10 LED sequencer would be an excellent entry level project, introducing the OP to, say, Arduino - and then assisting him along the way as he explores more and more of the capabilities of today's exceptionally affordable electronics.

I still think this is a good idea.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2018, 12:16:00 pm by Brumby »
 

Online Brumby

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #73 on: September 28, 2018, 12:21:22 pm »
I feel that there are going to be many members here who aren't going to be comfortable jumping in on a whole project - but once the OP has started on something and comes up against specific challenges, then someone with experience in that area will likely chime in.  It's going to be a community effort.
 

Offline robjodicarter

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #74 on: September 30, 2018, 12:44:59 am »
So I figured what I'm using, now I just need to figure out the easiest way to project what I want on to the LED's sheets. I'm using 2 8x32 pixel sheets(like the neo pixel sheets) now I just need to find the easiest and best way to control them. I was looking for different types of controllers for the automotive use but I think my best bet is to go with an Arduino uno board. I just don't know the first thing about writing code for this at all. I really thank all of you for help and input. Now I'm at a stand still. I know for all of you it's probably a daunting task but for me it's so exciting. From what I have searched it has not been done on a automotive vehicle. It may be an off road vehicle but it will be so awesome!!!! So if anyone could help me on how to control these with what I would need to drive the boards and how to write the code. I know it may take a bit being the biggest noob but it will pay off in the end. I will attach pics of what I want to use along with links incase that needs to be looked at. Again thank you all so much!!!!!
Rob


WS2812b Pixel Matrix´╝îCHINLY 8x32 256 Pixels WS2812B Digital Flexible LED Panel Programmed Individually addressable Full Dream color lighting DC5V https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07418XNJ2/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_L84RBbQ5EJ255

Elegoo EL-KIT-004 UNO Project Basic Starter Kit with Tutorial and UNO R3 for Arduino https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DGD2GAO/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_U-4RBb5G2D3Y7

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Online Mr. Scram

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #75 on: September 30, 2018, 10:49:04 am »
I've tried to model a version of the initial concept in the Falstad simulator, but unfortunately the shift registers don't come with a reset or power. Resetting them in one go isn't really possible like it is in real life.
 

Offline robjodicarter

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #76 on: September 30, 2018, 10:54:43 am »
I don't understand?
I've tried to model a version of the initial concept in the Falstad simulator, but unfortunately the shift registers don't come with a reset or power. Resetting them in one go isn't really possible like it is in real life.

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Online Mr. Scram

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #77 on: September 30, 2018, 11:16:37 am »
I don't understand?
I've tried to model a version of the initial concept in the Falstad simulator, but unfortunately the shift registers don't come with a reset or power. Resetting them in one go isn't really possible like it is in real life.

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It's just a generic remark not directly related to your more recent posts. I've tried to model what you initially requested in a simulator, but unfortunately that wasn't quite possible.

If you're looking at programmable LEDs, you'll need a library to have your Arduino communicate with them. Luckily these are readily available. I'd advise you to look at something like the Adafruit Neopixel guide. They'll walk you through the steps needed to get things going. FYI Adafruit branded programmable LEDs are called Neopixels, but they're generally the same as unbranded ones. Make sure you're using the same type though, but that is also touched upon in the guide.

https://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-neopixel-uberguide/the-magic-of-neopixels
 

Offline robjodicarter

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #78 on: September 30, 2018, 11:18:49 am »
That is what gave me the idea!!!! Neopixels are great!!! But super expensive. I just have no idea how to code and if I should get a book on it or take classes or?
I don't understand?
I've tried to model a version of the initial concept in the Falstad simulator, but unfortunately the shift registers don't come with a reset or power. Resetting them in one go isn't really possible like it is in real life.

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It's just a generic remark not directly related to your more recent posts. I've tried to model what you initially requested in a simulator, but unfortunately that wasn't quite possible.

If you're looking at programmable LEDs, you'll need a library to have your Arduino communicate with them. Luckily these are readily available. I'd advise you to look at something like the Adafruit Neopixel guide. They'll walk you through the steps needed to get things going. FYI Adafruit branded programmable LEDs are called Neopixels, but they're generally the same as unbranded ones. Make sure you're using the same type though, but that is also touched upon in the guide.

https://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-neopixel-uberguide/the-magic-of-neopixels

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Online Mr. Scram

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #79 on: September 30, 2018, 11:29:05 am »
That is what gave me the idea!!!! Neopixels are great!!! But super expensive. I just have no idea how to code and if I should get a book on it or take classes or?
Luckily for you, Neopixels and the cheaper no name pixels that do exactly the same are very popular and a lot of guides exist online. Have you already read the guide I linked? It shouldn't be too hard to get things working or learn more by following a few guides. We can always help to fill in the gaps.

I don't think you need classes, but learning to program and learn more about Arduinos is a rather rewarding endeavour. Here too many, many resources exist on the internet so it shouldn't be too hard to get going. When you get the hang of it, you'll probably think of a few other things you can do!
 

Online Brumby

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #80 on: September 30, 2018, 12:30:51 pm »
... now I just need to find the easiest and best way to control them. I was looking for different types of controllers for the automotive use but I think my best bet is to go with an Arduino uno board. I just don't know the first thing about writing code for this at all.

Baby steps.

The Arduino kit you've nominated has a Tutorial.  I have no idea whether it will be good or bad - but I would suggest you start off by running through that tutorial on your own.  Having been a mechanic, you will have learned how to be logical and methodical - so just step through the tutorial, making sure you understand each step before moving on.  If you get stuck, you can always bring your questions here.

The LED panel you have chosen is not a bad choice.  It has the control electronics for each pixel built in and all you have to provide is power and a signal. 

The power requirements for the LED panel are 5V at up to 4A (when every pixel is at maximum brightness) per panel, so you will need a 12V to 5V power unit capable of 8A or two capable of 4A.  The two unit option would be my preferred solution.  You could keep one close to each panel (reducing the distance 5V has to travel is a good thing).  Also, it might be wise to consider a unit designed for vehicular use, because automotive power isn't renowned for being well behaved.

The signal is a something you won't need to know too much about, since there are routines already written by others that take care of that.  The FastLED library for Arduino seems to be a popular choice.  You only have to worry about passing on the information as to how you want your LEDs to be lit

BUT don't worry about that just yet.  Get your Arduino and run through the tutorial.  Try a couple of programs (the Arduino crowd calls them 'sketches') and then try something simple of your own design.

Don't be tempted to get stuck into the LED panels too soon.  Programming is like learning to drive.  You haven't got your 'L's yet and programming the LED panel is like rally car driving.  Don't try getting ahead of yourself or you might crash and burn.  On the other hand, you might find yourself with a natural talent, in which case all we will need to do is point you in the right direction and you'll take to it like a duck to water.

One thing that you will find is that there are many examples of Arduino programming to be found on the internet.  Developing your Google-fu can prove very useful here.  Some of them are not wonderful and others are truly brilliant.  I'm sure you've encountered similar things in other areas of life, so you will know what I mean.  With programming, though, you can have a progeam that is not written to the best standards - but it will work well enough for the purpose ... and because the ugliness is hidden inside a silicon chip, it can live a full and productive life, devoid of criticism.  Often these shaky lives are in a commercial environment, yet they hang on well enough for their creators to be kept in employment.

The bottom line is - if you find something that works well enough for your needs, you don't really need to rewrite it or polish it up or change it in any way.  It's like a kludge in the engine bay of a car - if it works safely and reliably, just don't look under the bonnet and nobody will be the wiser.


Anyway - for now, just get your Arduino kit, run through the tutorial and see how you go.
 

Online Brumby

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #81 on: September 30, 2018, 12:39:06 pm »
Yes, the Neopixels are a bit pricey - but Adafruit provide a one-stop-shop solution by providing panels of consistent quality and support of those panels.  It's a great option for people who have the passion and the cash but are not as proficient in the technical side as others.   That's what you are paying for.

With a little effort on your part, you can get the same result by swapping cash for time.  This also provides you with a more detailed education - which means you will be able to do more on your own.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2018, 12:40:40 pm by Brumby »
 

Online james_s

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #82 on: October 01, 2018, 02:33:18 am »
Just keep in mind that programming can be a very deep rabbit hole. You might get something working to some extent in a few weeks starting from zero, but it normally takes a couple years of steady practice to really get proficient. There's a reason software developers make good money, it's not easy to do well. Properly testing your code is another discipline in itself.
 

Online Mr. Scram

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #83 on: October 01, 2018, 03:12:16 am »
Just keep in mind that programming can be a very deep rabbit hole. You might get something working to some extent in a few weeks starting from zero, but it normally takes a couple years of steady practice to really get proficient. There's a reason software developers make good money, it's not easy to do well. Properly testing your code is another discipline in itself.
There are very few people who do it well, so don't be too daunted. There are plenty of not very competent programmers making good money.
 

Online james_s

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #84 on: October 01, 2018, 04:16:25 am »
Yes I'm just a little concerned about a total beginner trying to grasp the electronics side and the firmware side all at once while building something that may be a critical safety feature on a road going car. It's certainly possible to do, but it's easy to bite off more than one can chew.
 
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Offline robjodicarter

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #85 on: October 01, 2018, 04:46:37 am »
The vehicle is an off road vehicle only, it's registered that way. And yes maybe I'm shooting for the moon but I catch on quick, and have a little experience with electronics (DC) side anyway. I think I'll be good I have allot of support here, and I think I'll be good.
Yes I'm just a little concerned about a total beginner trying to grasp the electronics side and the firmware side all at once while building something that may be a critical safety feature on a road going car. It's certainly possible to do, but it's easy to bite off more than one can chew.

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Online Brumby

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #86 on: October 01, 2018, 12:11:51 pm »
Yes I'm just a little concerned about a total beginner trying to grasp the electronics side and the firmware side all at once while building something that may be a critical safety feature on a road going car. It's certainly possible to do, but it's easy to bite off more than one can chew.

Agreed - but if it was a road-going vehicle, I would not be advocating this project, let alone assisting.

Also - the programming rabbit hole can, indeed, be deep, but I am guiding things along a learning path that the OP will, hopefully, be able to traverse.  If he's been a half-decent mechanic, then he will have a logical mind - which is the biggest requirement.  I don't see bringing him up to speed on the basics of programming to be a worry.  Where I see the challenge will be in the best way to store the information about the animations ... but I think we will get there.  Baby steps.


And - yes - there are some very ordinary programmers out in the world making good money.  The stories I could tell......................................................
 

Offline robjodicarter

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #87 on: October 01, 2018, 12:52:53 pm »
If I begin with a mega 2560 that should have enough space for now or I can store code on my phone I have a Arduino program on my phone so I can transfer code for it also. Or is that a bad idea?
Yes I'm just a little concerned about a total beginner trying to grasp the electronics side and the firmware side all at once while building something that may be a critical safety feature on a road going car. It's certainly possible to do, but it's easy to bite off more than one can chew.

Agreed - but if it was a road-going vehicle, I would not be advocating this project, let alone assisting.

Also - the programming rabbit hole can, indeed, be deep, but I am guiding things along a learning path that the OP will, hopefully, be able to traverse.  If he's been a half-decent mechanic, then he will have a logical mind - which is the biggest requirement.  I don't see bringing him up to speed on the basics of programming to be a worry.  Where I see the challenge will be in the best way to store the information about the animations ... but I think we will get there.  Baby steps.


And - yes - there are some very ordinary programmers out in the world making good money.  The stories I could tell......................................................

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Online Brumby

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #88 on: October 01, 2018, 03:14:30 pm »
Starting with a Mega 2560 is not a bad idea.  It has 256K of flash memory for storing your program - and since the animations will (for one approach) require storing data for each frame, you might need a bit of storage.

Having such a big (well, for an Arduino) playground will allow you to be less worried about optimisation and allow you to focus on getting something working.  Once you get it working, you can see what resources are being used and you can then look at optimisation if you want.

I use a Mega 2560 ADK board (it has USB host) for my base development platform.  Once I get something new working, I then look at fitting the program into a cheaper/smaller board for implementation.

As for working on an App, that might be OK for you, but I'm too comfortable with a PC, keyboard and mouse - and two 27" screens to consider working that way.  I have no feedback on whether the App is good or not.
 

Offline robjodicarter

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #89 on: October 01, 2018, 09:12:27 pm »
What about this? As a kit?
Starting with a Mega 2560 is not a bad idea.  It has 256K of flash memory for storing your program - and since the animations will (for one approach) require storing data for each frame, you might need a bit of storage.

Having such a big (well, for an Arduino) playground will allow you to be less worried about optimisation and allow you to focus on getting something working.  Once you get it working, you can see what resources are being used and you can then look at optimisation if you want.

I use a Mega 2560 ADK board (it has USB host) for my base development platform.  Once I get something new working, I then look at fitting the program into a cheaper/smaller board for implementation.

As for working on an App, that might be OK for you, but I'm too comfortable with a PC, keyboard and mouse - and two 27" screens to consider working that way.  I have no feedback on whether the App is good or not.


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Online Mr. Scram

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #90 on: October 01, 2018, 09:43:45 pm »
If I begin with a mega 2560 that should have enough space for now or I can store code on my phone I have a Arduino program on my phone so I can transfer code for it also. Or is that a bad idea?
I don't think I've ever seen anyone developing using an app, but that doesn't mean it's impossible.
 

Offline robjodicarter

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #91 on: October 01, 2018, 09:58:45 pm »
It's an app called Arduino Droid. I won't really use it to write the code but it will be easier to upload the code via phone thru the app.

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Online Brumby

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #92 on: October 02, 2018, 02:42:16 am »
... but it will be easier to upload the code via phone thru the app.
Really?

What would you be using to write the code on?
 

Online Brumby

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #93 on: October 02, 2018, 02:49:30 am »
What about this? As a kit?


That will be more than enough to get you started.  Of course if you get bitten by the Arduino bug, you might find yourself yearning for lots of other extras ... but I'm sticking with the LED exercises you've mentioned.

It should also be more than adequate to drive your two 32x8 panels, but you will still need a couple of buck converters to get the 5V 4A power required by those panels.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2018, 02:51:26 am by Brumby »
 

Online Brumby

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #94 on: October 02, 2018, 03:02:27 am »
Here is one example of the sort of power modules I'm talking about that I found on Amazon:
[2-PACK] 5A DC 36V 24V 12V to 5V Regulator Module Buck Converter Voltage Regulator Adjustable Step Down Converter with Heat Sink
by D-PLANET




Adjustable to 5V output with 5A capacity - which is a nice bit of headroom - and $8.99 for the two (plus shipping)

This is not an endorsement of these modules - just the first suitable ones I found on Amazon.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2018, 03:04:50 am by Brumby »
 

Offline robjodicarter

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #95 on: October 02, 2018, 04:01:52 am »
I will be using a Toshiba laptop top Windows XP, I know it's old but it's my garage computer. And what should I get to power the boards on the bench?


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Online Mr. Scram

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #96 on: October 02, 2018, 04:20:08 am »
I will be using a Toshiba laptop top Windows XP, I know it's old but it's my garage computer. And what should I get to power the boards on the bench?


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A proper power supply is definitely a good tool to have, but any old wall wart should do.
 

Offline robjodicarter

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #97 on: October 02, 2018, 01:16:06 pm »
So any 5 volt how many amp? I'll look it up. I'm a big boy. I should be getting all this stuff soon. I will let you know when I get it all. I'll be asking tons of questions I imagine.
Rob

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Online Brumby

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #98 on: October 02, 2018, 02:13:29 pm »
For the very first projects, the Arduino board can run off the 5V it gets from USB.  With this, you will be able to learn how to use the Arduino and get some low power projects running.  I would suggest that once you have run through a few tutorials, you try getting the Arduino to do the original sequential tail light effect you wanted - just using low power LEDs on the breadboard.  This would not be producing bright LEDs that you could use on a vehicle - it would just be a programming exercise in getting the LEDs to do what you want.

The specifications for your 32x8 LED panels put them at just under 20W (at full brightness) each - which at 5V means 4A.  The modules I mentioned can do up to 5A, so they should be able to handle 4A quite comfortably.  However, this is waaaaaaayyyyyyyy more than you can get out of USB, so you will need a separate supply.

For experimentation and bench testing, the normal recommendation is to get a lab-style bench supply that can deliver the volts and amps you will need.  There are a lot of options here, but it will require you to fork out a few dollars.  The up side is that such an acquisition will be an investment in the future and is the equivalent of getting yourself a decent set of combination spanners instead of trying get by with a couple of shifters.  For your needs, a dual output 0-20V 5A adjustable power supply would be my suggestion - but you might also find 0-30V 5A units at a competitive price.  Some of these have a third output, fixed at 5V at an amp or more, which can be useful.  Here is one example On eBay (used) and another On Amazon (new)
These are just the first units I found on eBay and Amazon - but this type of unit is available in many flavours.

Plug packs are another option - but for two lots of 4A, I think you might be challenged to find suitable ones.

However, for your situation and looking at the 32x8 panels, a simple 12V car battery sitting on your workbench would do nicely.  Connect the buck power modules to the battery and the LED panels to the buck modules.  The Arduino can be powered from the USB while being developed, but can then be powered from the battery using the DC barrel jack connection.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2018, 02:30:33 pm by Brumby »
 

Online Mr. Scram

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #99 on: October 02, 2018, 10:11:11 pm »
So any 5 volt how many amp? I'll look it up. I'm a big boy. I should be getting all this stuff soon. I will let you know when I get it all. I'll be asking tons of questions I imagine.
Rob

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5V might be too little for the Arduino. This is because it has its own regulator on board which will eat up a bit of the 5V you supply it. You may want to look up what voltage regulator drop out voltage is.
 

Offline CJay

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #100 on: October 03, 2018, 12:50:32 am »
So any 5 volt how many amp? I'll look it up. I'm a big boy. I should be getting all this stuff soon. I will let you know when I get it all. I'll be asking tons of questions I imagine.
Rob

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5V might be too little for the Arduino. This is because it has its own regulator on board which will eat up a bit of the 5V you supply it. You may want to look up what voltage regulator drop out voltage is.

You can bypass the regulator and feed the Arduino 5V directly.
M0UAW
 
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Online Mr. Scram

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #101 on: October 03, 2018, 12:57:02 am »
You can bypass the regulator and feed the Arduino 5V directly.
Obviously, but either way it's something to be aware of.
 

Online Brumby

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #102 on: October 03, 2018, 01:31:42 am »
I don't think the Arduino will have any problem running from 5V.  My Mega 2560 ADK board works perfectly off 5V USB power - and it's hosting a scanning laser barcode scanner.

He will be able to do a 10 LED sequential tail light with just the Arduino, 10 LEDs and 10 resistors - which will be well within the 500mA current capacity of basic USB.
 

Online Mr. Scram

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #103 on: October 03, 2018, 01:34:54 am »
I don't think the Arduino will have any problem running from 5V.  My Mega 2560 ADK board works perfectly off 5V USB power - and it's hosting a scanning laser barcode scanner.

He will be able to do a 10 LED sequential tail light with just the Arduino, 10 LEDs and 10 resistors - which will be well within the 500mA current capacity of basic USB.
I've had problems with it in the past when using an Arduino Uno Rev3, which is why I mentioned it. Using a 12V adapter instead fixed the problem.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2018, 01:47:15 am by Mr. Scram »
 

Online Brumby

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #104 on: October 03, 2018, 01:43:38 am »
Interesting - I haven't.

Looks like something to be aware of if strange things start happening to the OP...
 

Offline Old Printer

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #105 on: October 04, 2018, 01:00:49 am »
I have been learning about Arduino's for a couple years, but still a rank noob. You will find many Sketches posted online that you can use outright of with a little tweeking. You will find projects by others that are similar to yours in some respects, but it is important to learn the basics of coding so you can recognize what is going on. You really have to want to learn this stuff to go this route, but it seems like you do and forum members are always willing to help someone help themselves.
 

Offline robjodicarter

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #106 on: October 16, 2018, 03:31:58 am »
Now I have a question, looking for a set of addressable LED strip lights that:
1. Can be cut to length
2. Have to be fairly close ( as close as poss).
3. Have to be at least rgb if not rgbw.
4. Have to be bright.
Anyone have any ideas? I will be connecting them all together to make a pixel matrix of sorts. Found the Arduino kit I want. Not I need the led kit and then I can shrink the size of the Arduino or just get a microcontroller I can program to do that task.
Thank you all
Rob

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Offline robjodicarter

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #107 on: October 16, 2018, 03:38:05 am »
This is the kit I will get if you guys think it will give me the basics to start?
Rob

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Offline Richard Crowley

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #108 on: October 16, 2018, 06:38:17 am »
That kit looks OK.  It may be a bit overkill for your specific task, but it has enough gadgets to do other things as you expand your horizons.

I don't see anything for power except that 9V battery clip.  You might want to get some better power source like a 9V wall-wart, etc. Especially if you want to drive a larger array of bright LEDS, you might want to have something to simulate the vehicle 13.6V source.

If you live in Gresham 97030, I am in Hillsboro 97123 across town.  If you need any local hands-on help or moral support or just kibitzing, IM me.  :-)
 
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Offline robjodicarter

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #109 on: October 25, 2018, 12:45:18 pm »
Any ideas ?

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Online cdev

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #110 on: October 25, 2018, 12:55:54 pm »
They may not be legal...
"What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away."
 

Offline robjodicarter

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #111 on: October 25, 2018, 12:58:29 pm »
This is a show only vehicle. Not road legal at all.

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Online Brumby

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #112 on: October 25, 2018, 01:59:30 pm »
Things you will need to address:
 1. How to handle your inputs
 2. Do you have enough outputs to achieve what you want?
 3. Do you need a driver for the outputs to be able to deliver enough current to your LEDs?
 4. How to wire up the LEDs

The microcontroller (eg Arduino) approach will allow you to put this together, once you have a bit of programming experience.  Items 2, 3 & 4 are the physical/electronic considerations and we've mentioned these before.

Item 1 is the front end of the programming exercise.  You have 4 independent inputs: brake, running, indicator and reverse.  Each of these is either active or not - which means you can have 16 individual conditions.  Your programming will need to define exactly what happens in all 16 of those conditions.  This does not mean you need to program 16 different routines - just that when you test the result, it should respond exactly as expected in each of those 16 conditions.

All of this is quite possible - but try not to get head of yourself.  I strongly suggest you get your Arduino kit (the one mentioned looks good - and will have extra bits you can expand your skills with) and start off doing the sequential indicator light project you originally wanted to do.
 

Online Mr. Scram

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #113 on: October 25, 2018, 02:03:53 pm »
They may not be legal...
I wonder how many times we'll see this remark. ;D
 

Offline robjodicarter

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #114 on: October 25, 2018, 02:13:27 pm »
Ok brumby, I bought the Arduino that is show. Above now I just need to watch some videos in order to figure out how to begin to code the sequential lights. Any good suggestions?
Things you will need to address:
 1. How to handle your inputs
 2. Do you have enough outputs to achieve what you want?
 3. Do you need a driver for the outputs to be able to deliver enough current to your LEDs?
 4. How to wire up the LEDs

The microcontroller (eg Arduino) approach will allow you to put this together, once you have a bit of programming experience.  Items 2, 3 & 4 are the physical/electronic considerations and we've mentioned these before.

Item 1 is the front end of the programming exercise.  You have 4 independent inputs: brake, running, indicator and reverse.  Each of these is either active or not - which means you can have 16 individual conditions.  Your programming will need to define exactly what happens in all 16 of those conditions.  This does not mean you need to program 16 different routines - just that when you test the result, it should respond exactly as expected in each of those 16 conditions.

All of this is quite possible - but try not to get head of yourself.  I strongly suggest you get your Arduino kit (the one mentioned looks good - and will have extra bits you can expand your skills with) and start off doing the sequential indicator light project you originally wanted to do.

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Offline Richard Crowley

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #115 on: October 25, 2018, 03:07:15 pm »
Ok brumby, I bought the Arduino that is show. Above now I just need to watch some videos in order to figure out how to begin to code the sequential lights. Any good suggestions?
Most Arduinos (genuine and clone) come pre-programmed with the basic "Blink" program already loaded.  There is typically an LED right on the Arduino board connected to one of the pins (typically Pin 13).  So you should be able to simply apply power to the Arduino board (by one of several methods) see the on-board LED blink around once per second.

That will show that your Arduino is good and your power supply is good, etc.  Then you can connect an external LED (with the required current-limiting resistor!) and see how the Arduino will control an external LED.  Note that the outputs from the Arduino (and essentially EVERY kind of microcontroller) has VERY limited drive capability and you should never plan on driving more than one LED per output pin.

There is a series of tutorials on the Arduino website:  https://www.arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/HomePage
And here is the tutorial specifically for the "Blink" program:  http://www.eevblog.com/forum/index.php?action=post;quote=1915997;topic=140954.100

Next, you need to get your Arduino board connected to a computer and load the Arduino "Integrated Development Environment" (IDE).  There are versions for PC, Mac, and Linux depending on which computer you are using.  It looks like there is also an online version, but I have no idea how it works.  I will go and research it. There are probably some YT videos on the subject.

The typical starter steps are to take the "Blink" program (Arduino calls it a "sketch"), make some slight change (like changing the blink sequence and/or timing) and try loading your new code into the Arduino to confirm that the development system is working and you are able to load your new code into the Arduino.

When you have that sorted out, you can start experimenting with the code to blink multiple LEDs which is a simplified subset of your ultimate goal, to blink many LEDs.

But then, along with gearing up to write and upload code into the Arduino, you need to also think about the issue of driving more and/or brighter LEDs from the Arduino output pins.  This is typically done with some external transistors which will take the weak, limited signal out of the Arduino, and boosts it to switch perhaps several amps as you would need for a large array of LEDs, etc.  Your kit probably includes some transistors that will allow you to demonstrate this circuit.

So you can try out your Arduino by simply applying power to see the LED blink.  But then you need to work on your programming setup (whether downloaded or the online-version.)  Did your kit come with any kind of instructions or lessons/experiments, etc?
 

Offline robjodicarter

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #116 on: October 25, 2018, 03:12:29 pm »
No it was just a basic kit, I will break int it this weekend and see what havoc I can create!!!! Pretty excited about this. My mom was an engineer at Hp from 80-95 so I was around computers allot. I'm a mechanic by trade but now I have the itch to tinker. Also want to try and maybe do some cool Christmas lights with Arduino this year?
Rob
Ok brumby, I bought the Arduino that is show. Above now I just need to watch some videos in order to figure out how to begin to code the sequential lights. Any good suggestions?
Most Arduinos (genuine and clone) come pre-programmed with the basic "Blink" program already loaded.  There is typically an LED right on the Arduino board connected to one of the pins (typically Pin 13).  So you should be able to simply apply power to the Arduino board (by one of several methods) see the on-board LED blink around once per second.

That will show that your Arduino is good and your power supply is good, etc.  Then you can connect an external LED (with the required current-limiting resistor!) and see how the Arduino will control an external LED.  Note that the outputs from the Arduino (and essentially EVERY kind of microcontroller) has VERY limited drive capability and you should never plan on driving more than one LED per output pin.

There is a series of tutorials on the Arduino website:  https://www.arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/HomePage
And here is the tutorial specifically for the "Blink" program:  http://www.eevblog.com/forum/index.php?action=post;quote=1915997;topic=140954.100

Next, you need to get your Arduino board connected to a computer and load the Arduino "Integrated Development Environment" (IDE).  There are versions for PC, Mac, and Linux depending on which computer you are using.  It looks like there is also an online version, but I have no idea how it works.  I will go and research it. There are probably some YT videos on the subject.

The typical starter steps are to take the "Blink" program (Arduino calls it a "sketch"), make some slight change (like changing the blink sequence and/or timing) and try loading your new code into the Arduino to confirm that the development system is working and you are able to load your new code into the Arduino.

When you have that sorted out, you can start experimenting with the code to blink multiple LEDs which is a simplified subset of your ultimate goal, to blink many LEDs.

But then, along with gearing up to write and upload code into the Arduino, you need to also think about the issue of driving more and/or brighter LEDs from the Arduino output pins.  This is typically done with some external transistors which will take the weak, limited signal out of the Arduino, and boosts it to switch perhaps several amps as you would need for a large array of LEDs, etc.  Your kit probably includes some transistors that will allow you to demonstrate this circuit.

So you can try out your Arduino by simply applying power to see the LED blink.  But then you need to work on your programming setup (whether downloaded or the online-version.)  Did your kit come with any kind of instructions or lessons/experiments, etc?

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Offline Richard Crowley

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #117 on: October 25, 2018, 03:41:04 pm »
No it was just a basic kit,
On the Amazon page where you bought it, there is a link to download the code and the basic instructions (or at least images that show what to do).  The URL is:

http://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.image.smart/download/101-50-300/101-50-300.zip

So you should also install "Fritzing" on your computer so that you can view the Fritzing images included in that download.  http://fritzing.org/home/

Do you have a computer to run this on?  You will need something. It doesn't have to be very new or big or fast.  Coding for Arduino is a pretty basic task for any computer.
 

Offline MudAndSnow

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #118 on: October 25, 2018, 05:38:03 pm »
I just skimmed this thread and I gotta say good on you for sticking with it through all the different options. Reminds me of the first time I replaced a starter. Lordco gave me the wrong one and when I said it didnt fit they taught me how to check my flywheel for cracks instead of checking the part number.

In my local tech meetup group one of the most successful entrepeneurs is a mechanic who learned arduino to make his job easier.

Sometimes the hardest part is just getting the pc to talk to the arduino. Focus on that first with really simple code, make 1 led blink. That might go smoothly, might not but you'll get it and it becomes much more fun after that.
 

Offline MudAndSnow

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #119 on: October 25, 2018, 05:52:52 pm »
A nice thing to add about arduinos is after you get your prototype working, it is fairly easy to cut costs and size down for the next version by making your own boards using the main components from the arduino.
 

Online Brumby

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #120 on: October 25, 2018, 06:18:48 pm »
Any good suggestions?

I can't say I've watched any.  Once I downloaded the IDE, I just dived straight in.  Having been programming for a decade or three, I didn't need much help getting going.  Edit: (I did need help later on, though - but Google search usually found me some helpful resources.)

Richard Crowley has given a good outline.  See how you go with that.


A nice thing to add about arduinos is after you get your prototype working, it is fairly easy to cut costs and size down for the next version by making your own boards using the main components from the arduino.
I wouldn't worry too much about this.  Making your own boards is an investment in time that will be hard to justify in the beginning.  You can do a lot with existing boards - so have fun with those.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2018, 06:21:41 pm by Brumby »
 

Offline odessa

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #121 on: October 25, 2018, 06:53:09 pm »
Jeremy Blums you tube channel has some brilliant tutorials for Arduino including xmas lights. It covers addressable leds, gps and other cool stuff



« Last Edit: October 25, 2018, 06:55:01 pm by odessa »
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Offline robjodicarter

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #122 on: October 28, 2018, 03:34:43 am »
Just got it so addicted!!!!!!! Trying to upload code via Arduino droid but not taking? I know it's not the best way but my son is using the computer to do his school work. Any one use this way?
Thank you rob

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Online Brumby

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #123 on: October 28, 2018, 11:58:42 am »
Just got it so addicted!!!!!!!

From what you've posted to date, I would have put money on that and once you get through the initial '"getting started" phase, I can imagine you sliding in deeper and deeper....

As for the upload failing (assuming the compile was successful) if it was on a computer, I would get you to check the port being used - but I have no idea bout using Arduino droid.
 

Offline MudAndSnow

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #124 on: October 28, 2018, 07:32:09 pm »
I'm not familiar with android but a common problem is not selecting the right board or downloading and installing the drivers for your specific board.  If you haven't told it what board you are using, that'd be a good thing to look in to.

It's also a good idea to keep electronics away from things that generate static electricity, like blankets. Look up 'ESD' for more info.
 

Offline robjodicarter

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #125 on: November 02, 2018, 06:47:19 am »
Please help, I received this error?

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Online Brumby

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #126 on: November 02, 2018, 08:53:20 pm »
Have you selected the right port?  Here's the easiest way to find it:

With the Arduino board not connected, go to Tools > Ports and see what ports are listed.  Then plug the Arduino in and repeat the exercise.  The port which now appears that wasn't there before is the one you should select.

« Last Edit: November 02, 2018, 09:11:30 pm by Brumby »
 

Online Brumby

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #127 on: November 06, 2018, 10:29:03 pm »
One other point...

If the list of ports before you plug in the Arduino is the same as the list after you plug it in, then the Arduino isn't being recognised and you may have a driver problem.

If there is a chip labelled CH340 on the board, then this is a distinct possibility and you will probably have to find a driver.  If so, I would try here: http://www.wch.cn/download/CH341SER_EXE.html 
« Last Edit: November 06, 2018, 10:30:48 pm by Brumby »
 

Offline robjodicarter

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #128 on: November 06, 2018, 11:05:07 pm »
Got it, just wrong port sorry for the late response. Been super busy with work. Just been trying little things like blink a light and I want to try and learn how to use the matrix but looks like I need another connection. I only have one board.

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Online Brumby

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Re: Sequential tail lights
« Reply #129 on: November 07, 2018, 02:08:02 pm »
No worries.  I was hoping it was just the port.   :)


Using the LED matrix is a bit of a jump in complexity - for both the wiring and the programming.  Whether this will be a bit much for you at this point in your learning is something I cannot judge.  You may struggle with it a bit or you may take to it like a duck to water.  This is just a heads up.  Either way, I am confident you will "get it".

I found this tutorial which seems to cover the basics pretty well - and asks the same question as you have found:


This is the second video which goes through a couple of ways you could drive the LED matrix - and then focuses on the one that makes the most sense.  Note that the preferred solution will require the use of the 74HC595 ICs, the breadboard, some resistors and the hook up wires that came with your kit.



Edit:  All this is probably covered in your tutorial material, but I thought I'd offer some alternative material in case that might be useful in your understanding.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2018, 02:12:46 pm by Brumby »
 


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