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need help with LED sequence lighting

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
hey guys, im fairly new to this forum so if this is the wrong spot to post, forgive me smile.gif

im looking at wiring the leds on a case like this one, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16811345001
to light up in sequence at boot, basically, i want the bottom one to come on, stay on. then the next one up, all the way to the top. i know its possible with some kind of micro-controller, but is there maybe some kind of delay resistor or something i could use to not have to make it an expensive project?
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post #2 of 10
Thread Starter 
is this even possible or am i stuck with a microcontroller? if so im skipping the project.
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post #3 of 10
If you want to go old school, use a chip called a "decade counter", and a 555 timer set up as an oscillator circuit to shift the counter. Parts cost would be cheaper with a microcontroller chip though, and programming a sequence as simple as that is far too easy.
post #4 of 10
Plenty of options for you... Provided you can separate the circuits that power each strip of LEDs in the case, or maybe even replace the LEDs that come with the case with some "programmable" LED strips... Sequencing LEDs is easy; all you need is a bit of programming "know how" (and not even that since there are plenty of code examples out on the interwebs).

I've done LED sequencing with Arduino boards (will cost you about $30 for a UNO R3), but the same results can be achieved with much cheaper micro-controller boards... Hell; if you feel "adventurous"; you can even modify your motherboard's BIOS so that it turns each section of lights as it goes through the POST process.
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post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
i guess i was under the impression that micro controllers were more expensive. how much would it be for a micro controller and what one would i need/you recommend, it would be my first micro controller project.
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post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerboy View Post

i guess i was under the impression that micro controllers were more expensive. how much would it be for a micro controller and what one would i need/you recommend, it would be my first micro controller project.

Oh man... the possibilities are almost endless on this. I went with the Arduino UNO R3 ($30 for the board and some other components from Sparkfun) out of plain curiosity and it worked for me, but the same result could have been achieved using much cheaper "proto boards".

TI MSP430 launchpad can be had for $5 (direct from TI) and it comes with two different 430 chips you can swap and test out. I'll be picking one of these up next... For that price; it's kind of hard not grabbing one and doing some tinkering. smile.gif

There are literally hundreds of other boards/controllers that you can use... It really is up to preference/budget on the buyer...
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post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
awesome smile.gif thanks so if i go with that one, which is this i believe. http://www.ti.com/tool/msp-exp430g2 then i should be able to program led on/of and sequence stuff. so it would work for the LED squares and cubes? im going to have to see what else i can do with that then smile.gif do i need anything else besides the LEDs? i have wire solder etc, but as far as parts go i mean.
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post #8 of 10
Nah, usually you can safely wire LEDs directly to the output pins on the microcontrollers. For a microcontroller in general, you'll have analog (takes a range from a sensor) inputs, digital inputs (on or off only), and a collection of outputs. Some outputs support PWM (pulse wave modulation- basically, flipping on and off really fast). Much of that is assignable with a small bit of setup code.

For your project, You'd be hooking up 5-8 sets of LEDs to a series of outputs. You would then program these outputs to light up in the sequence you want. You can also program in the delays between each. The coding is super easy, and there's a ton of online references for that. The actual syntax may vary slightly between families and manufacturers of microcontrollers. Once you get more comfortable with it, you can wire parts of your computer into the inputs of the microcontroller and have it react to different things. Like once it's booted up, you can have the lights twinkle when the hard drive is accessed. Or when you push the eject button on the CD drive, it'll blink the lights a couple times. Or you can have the lights fade on or off instead of just coming on instantly.

There's a lot more you can do with a microcontroller than with a discrete circuit.

Bare micro's in a DIP package can be had for under $5. Bare surf mount varieties I have seen on the order of 50 cents occasionally. To start, I'd definitely recommend picking up the full-blown Arduino UNO. It has all the little extra bits you'll need for plugging it in and getting it programmed. It also comes with the software to do so. Arduino has been set up to be really simple to get going with. I have one. Haven't done a lot with it, but was able to hand program some very interesting light strobe patterns in a few minutes after getting things set up. I've also had it out with 7 old floppy drives, using the steppers in the drives to make music.
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
thats really cool smile.gif id love to have that kind of lighting customization, ive done some programming before in Java so im sure its simpler than that. mostly i need to know how to access it for programming via the computer etc. ive seen alot of people use serial cables for projects online that ive looked at, i however dont have a serial port on my desktop, i have an old tower i could use if needed.
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post #10 of 10
You could wire an Arduino into a spare USB port, or set up a cable and leave it plugged into an internal USB header.

If you've done Java programming, or any programming at all, you should be able to get up and running with some pretty advanced stuff on Arduino easily. For me, it's a bit more of a headache. Here's a link you may be interested in: Adafruit Learning System- Arduino Programming
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