Putting strobes together

budude

Way behind schedule - again...
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May 13, 2010
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I'm getting the same results with 2-wire. I have all four tied to the same supply (a switching type wall-wart for now) and when I plug it in, all four strobes are different and stay different. Like I said though - 3-wire is way too much trouble for me and I'm perfectly happy with 2-wire now with the different hex files.
 

rkhanso

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Joined
Jun 25, 2010
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28
Brian,
Is this where you changed the values?
Code:
unsigned char random_byte = 95;	//seed value
If so is that the only thing you changed?

Another question...I'm not a programmer nor that familiar with MPLAB.
If I want to change that .c file to a .hex so I can quickly program in PicKit software, how do I do that? I think PicKit2 software is faster to flash the PICs due to it's speed and just pushing the button on the programmer.

Since I can't burn the PICs with all the components on the board, I want to make sure it's done right the first time and won't have to be reprogrammed after removing those tiny SMT components.
 

rkhanso

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Jun 25, 2010
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I found an answer to one of my questions. I downloaded Hi-Tec C Compiler. I'll give that a shot.
 

budude

Way behind schedule - again...
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May 13, 2010
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127
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San Jose, CA
rkhanso said:
Brian,
Is this where you changed the values?
Code:
unsigned char random_byte = 95;   //seed value
If so is that the only thing you changed?

Another question...I'm not a programmer nor that familiar with MPLAB.
If I want to change that .c file to a .hex so I can quickly program in PicKit software, how do I do that? I think PicKit2 software is faster to flash the PICs due to it's speed and just pushing the button on the programmer.

Since I can't burn the PICs with all the components on the board, I want to make sure it's done right the first time and won't have to be reprogrammed after removing those tiny SMT components.
Yep - that's the one - used 105/115/125/135 - why those values - heck if I know! But the end result is fine. I used the MPLAB project wizard to start a new project and included Tabor's *.mcw (workspace) file and that pulled all the files in. In the wizard you want to point to the Hi-Tech C Compiler instead of the Assembler. Once I did that, I built the file which creates a hex file. I renamed that to "Strobe-1.hex", changed the seed and hit Build again and so on until I had all four files. It goes really quick. If you can't get it going, I'd be happy to send you my four files.

I used the PICkit2 SW to write the files instead of MPLAB (to be honest, I've never used MPLAB to flash the PICs...). I've now got a pile of 48 PIC based strobes to run off my Ren48LSD now - or I might use the pre-cursor to this which was a Ren24DC that I had made. They sit perfectly inside an old access point enclosure that is made for being outside. It uses ULN2803 outputs so it's much like Franks Ren24LV really. I was thinking of getting one of those hefty laptop/tabletop power supplies (like 5v @4A) if it would fit inside the enclosure to save me running additional power cables.
 

cenote

Suburbs of Philadelphia
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May 16, 2010
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Pottstown, PA USA
rkhanso said:
Since I can't burn the PICs with all the components on the board, I want to make sure it's done right the first time and won't have to be reprogrammed after removing those tiny SMT components.
Just wanted to chime in, I have completely built three of them, than programmed them, and have had no big issues doing so. Not sure if it matters, but I am using a pickit3. Even gone back a few times, and re-flashed with a different program, and still works.
 

kool-lites

Full Time elf
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Jun 26, 2010
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Baulkham Hills
I have created 4 files with seed values as mentioned by Bedude, 105/115/125/135.
To program, I have open each project and then turn ON the programmer and program.

Is there a way to program the PICs with a .hex file without opening the individual projects?
 

Tabor

Full Time elf
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May 16, 2010
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Perth, WA
Once each Hex file is created if you just open MPLAB, file, import, select your hex.

Choose your programmer and device.

Then Burn.
 

budude

Way behind schedule - again...
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May 13, 2010
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San Jose, CA
Personally I use the PICkit2 programming SW and not MPLAB (not saying one is better - just personal preference) - it keeps a history of the last 4 files used so I just select which of the four and boom - done.

I had some leftover Red, Blue and Green LEDs from my abandoned MightyMini floods so I made some with those LEDs - pretty neat!
 

toodle_pipsky

Minister of Silly Walks
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May 9, 2010
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Toowoomba, Australia
Mmmmm I'm confused, I have put together 2 strings of strobes, 5 strobes on each. 1 string is random and 1 is syncronised. They all have the same pic code (only ever downloaded 1 version). They're both wired the same way - I don't know! ???
 

rkhanso

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Jun 25, 2010
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Finally hooked up 8 of the strobes on a 24LV board - have a question about the results.

Previously, I connected a row of 8 strobes with the same firmware (same random seed number) just to a power supply, and it took around 1 to 1.5 minutes or so for the strobes to get really random.

I just tried controlling the strobes using Vixen/Ren24LV and they kept in sync up to about 4 minutes before they would get random. Is there some reason that the 24LV board throws in the equation that would keep the strobes in sequence for so much longer? I was wondering if the PWM was messing with them.

I ran the sequence this way.....just turned on the channel that controlled the 8 strobes. The channel ran at 100% output for 10 minutes straight and it took nearly 4 minutes for the strobes to get random. I know that I'll have to program them using different seeds, but wonder how many seeds I need to use to get it to look nice. If I use 25 strobes per channel, I wonder if I'll need 25 different seed/firmware versions to get a nice random pattern from power up on the Vixen channel.

BTW. I am using a LED PortaFlood on channels 1-3 and the strobes (just 8 so far) on channel 4 at the same time, with the Ren24LV running on 24v with an external power supply - running the strobes for 10 minutes and ramping up the 3 LED channels over the 10 minutes to see if the ULN or anything else overheats...all is well. It appears the board will run this way. Doing the same thing times 6 to fully use the Ren24LV may be another story, but I'm hopeful.
 

aurbo99

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Oct 10, 2010
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Nova Scotia
Hey Folks,

Now that the Season is coming to an end, its time to get these strobes built for next year.

I've read several different threads and would like some clarification.

1. I'm using 1/2 watt leds.
2. I intend to use DCSSRs to trigger (supply power as well?), Vixen and a Ren64 to run the DCSSR's
3. PIC controlled version.
4. several strobes strung together in a chain on each trigger channel.

Anyone with pics showing how this all goes together?
 

rkhanso

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Jun 25, 2010
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Sorry for bringing up this old thread....but it shows you how far behind the times I really am.
I never did build all 160 of these I bought parts for, and am now thinking about re-purposing some of the LEDs for something different.
I searched for the group buy thread or data on what LEDs I actually ended up buying but I couldn't find the specs on the LEDs themselves. And now I'm thinking about using the 8mm LEDs for additional lighting in my son's work van. I'm trying to calculate the resistor I need to use if I'm supplying 12v DC from the van itself. Maybe use some of them in his shelves to give light on each shelf.
Does anyone remember what the specs on the 8mm LEDs were for this group buy? Or, can I just use some "standards" I find online (those some of those say 50ma and others say 150ma for forward current. Most say 3.2v forward voltage).

Reading back at the beginning of the thread, I did find this:Connector on the LEFT is for Power and control signals
1: Vin, this MUST be 5v regulated when a PIC is used.
2: Ground.
3: Used only when no PIC installed... 5V will turn LED on
4: Used with PIC, connect to Ground to trigger PIC program

I don't really need (or want) to use the PIC in my new re-purposed project. With the parts I originally received, there was a bag of the 8mm LEDs with a sticker on it mentioning other parts:
SMD 1/4w 33 Ohm
SMD 1/4w 7.15 Ohm
SMD 1/4w 2.2 ohm
SMD 1/4w 1k Ohm
SMD 1/8w 100k Ohm
and diodes and PIC.

But, maybe I can still use the boards and solder the LED and the limiting resistor on it to get it to work with the simple lighting project in this van?
 
Last edited:

AAH

I love blinky lights :)
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Eaglehawk
Sorry for bringing up this old thread....but it shows you how far behind the times I really am.
I never did build all 160 of these I bought parts for, and am now thinking about re-purposing some of the LEDs for something different.
I searched for the group buy thread or data on what LEDs I actually ended up buying but I couldn't find the specs on the LEDs themselves. And now I'm thinking about using the 8mm LEDs for additional lighting in my son's work van. I'm trying to calculate the resistor I need to use if I'm supplying 12v DC from the van itself. Maybe use some of them in his shelves to give light on each shelf.
Does anyone remember what the specs on the 8mm LEDs were for this group buy? Or, can I just use some "standards" I find online (those some of those say 50ma and others say 150ma for forward current. Most say 3.2v forward voltage).

Reading back at the beginning of the thread, I did find this:Connector on the LEFT is for Power and control signals
1: Vin, this MUST be 5v regulated when a PIC is used.
2: Ground.
3: Used only when no PIC installed... 5V will turn LED on
4: Used with PIC, connect to Ground to trigger PIC program

I don't really need (or want) to use the PIC in my new re-purposed project. With the parts I originally received, there was a bag of the 8mm LEDs with a sticker on it mentioning other parts:
SMD 1/4w 33 Ohm
SMD 1/4w 7.15 Ohm
SMD 1/4w 2.2 ohm
SMD 1/4w 1k Ohm
SMD 1/8w 100k Ohm
and diodes and PIC.

But, maybe I can still use the boards and solder the LED and the limiting resistor on it to get it to work with the simple lighting project in this van?
The leds are more than likely 1W ones but for the sake of longevity it's probably safer working on the assumption that they are 0.5W. The voltage varies a bit depending on batches and current but a rough guesstimate of 3.6V should be good enough to work with. As it's more energy efficient to run 3 in series as that's closer to 12V I'd go with a resistor value based on the following. V=IR. V=(13-10.8)=2.2V. This is assuming 13V for the van battery voltage. For when it's running it's likely to be about 13.8V and when it's not about 12.7V. 3.6V/0.5W works out to 0.5=3.6xI. I (current)=138mA. The resistor value for 138mA and a 2.2V drop is 15.9Ohms. An 18Ohm resistor will give a current of 122mA, Led power of 0.44W (at 13V) and the resistor wattage of 0.27W so a 0.5W metal film resistor would do the job.
The currents and powers will change reasonably significantly with the battery voltage. It's for the reason that the strobe boards had the NUD4001 constant current source on them.
 

rkhanso

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Jun 25, 2010
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Thanks for that great info AAH.
I did find this link to the NUD4001 data sheet. On it there is an example using two of the NUD4001 for a dome light application. But that dome light application is using a single LED and thus, a high watt resistor, which I don't really want to do - it doesn't apply to my LEDs.
So could I just use figure 6 for the dome light situation, putting 3 LEDs in series and a lower wattage resistor like you mention above? For each of the small boards I received from the group buy from years ago, I could make one of these (with 3 LEDS wired in per board) for each of his shelves and run 12v to each one to give lighting useful for him to find his tools in the dark.
 
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