Friday, May 29, 2009

We're in Business

So about 4 hours ago I finally got the Arduino in the mail. So I decided to just do a little testing and get something working. Ignore the yellow LEDs, I haven't programmed them yet.

I'm still waiting on the 8x8 matrixes but this is a great place to start. Just learning some of the code and how the hardware interacts with the computer will help immensely. I'm not naive and know that a project like this will start with small steps and build to the final piece. It's those steps that get me excited.

Background music by Drive by Truckers. From NPR's Mountain Stage. Love it...need more.

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Rethinking the project

So this is one of our trail maps, what I would like to embed the RGB leds into.

Standing back and looking at it, I worry about visibility for the LEDs. Cool is only cool if it's actually useful. I don't have the luxury of just doing something to be artistic.

So retinking this, at least to start (I won't give up on the grandeous dream I have), around the resort there are many grooming signs. They have little sliders that every morning the ambassadors/lift ops have to slide to indicate what's open/closed/groomed. I think the perfect place to start would be to automate these. Here is an image of the first sign I want to tackle.
It's 4 sided, 3 with this infomation on it. I can replace each of the sliders with 8x8 LED matrixes and drive them witht he arduino Mega. Save the map for later, maybe that could be an indoor display that was more artisticly driven.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

2nd Package

This one is exciting as I can start learning techniques I will need for this project, it's less about this project in particular more about background knowledge. The package is from MakerShed.
It includes:

The Learn to Solder Bundle
Getting started with Arduino

More details when the next package comes in.

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First Package Arrives!

Wow, look at that. Speak a ye shall receive. My first package has arrived. From Digi-Key. Included is:
32-220 Ohm resistors (Unit Price .42)
4-SN74HC595N 8-bit shift Registers 16-Dip (Unit Price .66)
2-STP16C596XTTR IC Driver Led Sink 16Bit 24TSSOP (Unit Price $3.53)

I know the resistors and 8-bit Shift registers are what I need, at least for phase one of the project, the 16-bit Led Driver was kind of a shot in the dark. I'll snap a picture when everything from my first round of orders comes in. I'll start a running list of supplies on the right side of this blog with links to purchase online, so when I need more it will be really easy to find and order.

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In the Beginning

Here it is, May 20th. I discovered Arduino this Sunday after purchasing Make: magazine issue #18. After doing a fair amount of research (there is quite a community online) I purchased a bunch of parts and I'm now impatiently waiting for them to arrive. I figured while I wait I should get this blog up and running and detail out the specifics of the project.

The Project:
Create an Interactive Trail Map using LEDs and one of our existing 6 foot signs.

The Specs:
Read trail data from XML feed available online.
Wireless data transfer
Must display Open, Closed, and Groomed status for each trail
Has to be legible from a distance
No daily human interaction, must update itself on it's own.

With that, welcome to the project, this will be the place for updates and for me to keep notes. Up next packages in the mail?

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