Shutterthyme's Blog

March 17, 2013

Adapting a Word Clock

Filed under: Electronics and Experimental Systems — Mia @ 2:49 pm

Our class assignment was to create a project with an arduino micro-controller and LED or L-wire lights. I began with two meters of LED strips from Adafruit and an idea that originated with an $1100 word clock on Biegert & Funk’s ClockTwo website. Instead of using RGB LEDs to create words for the time of day, I used them to create dialog about art. This is a first step. I can change the text and the Arduino programming to re-purpose the project for my senior gallery installation. I’m considering using the mirrored frame for the title of my gallery exhibit.

bent wires and RGB LED strips

soldering station for building the project

rainbow display of LEDs

LEDs isolated by a plexiglas grid

completed project electronics board

Arduino micro-controller

shadow box frame, two-way mirror, vinyl-cut letters on plexiglas, foam core spacer and white acrylic panel

closer image of the two-way mirror panel

Project components:
1) 12″ shadow box frame, with glass and backing
2) two-way acrylic mirror
3) black vinyl text cut-out that was mounted onto clear acrylic
4) translucent white acrylic panel, used to diffuse the LEDs
5) laser-cut black acrylic grid pieces that were assembled to isolate individual LEDs; laser patterns are attached:
vertical_acrylic_pieces
horizontal_acrylic_pieces
6) electronics board (white dry erase board) with ten mounted RGB LED strips, soldered wire connections between the strips, and a soldered power harness
7) Arduino pin connection to individually address 110 LEDs
8) black foam core spacer
9) Arduino Mega micro-controller and project box
10) 5-volt 10 amp power supply with a barrel plug

Programming the light sequences and uploading the code to the Arduino Mega (from SparkFun Electronics) were the final steps. With more time, I could condense some of the code, but my priority was meeting a critique deadline. Here’s the code that also includes an Arduino RAM check that is viewed on the serial monitor: project_code

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