Tuesday Tinkering: Try something new

Last week we held our first, hopefully of many, hardware hacking event dubbed Tuesday Tinkering. We started with a review of electrical component basics and a few development boards. Then we jumped right in and built a RGB LED fader.

We quickly had the LED hooked up to an Arduino Uno, uploaded the fading example, and one color was fading in and out nicely. Choreographing the fade through each color proved to be much more challenging.

We started by sketching out how we wanted the colors to behave:

Brightness over time

However, with an Arduino everything occurs within a single program loop. So, to determine the next step for each color, you only have the values set during the previous loop.

After successfully coordinating the fades between each color, we couldn’t stop there. We connected a joystick, allowing us to control the transition speed in realtime by moving the joystick up and down.

It was a lot fun diving into a small project and ending up exploring a wide range of concepts. So with a couple hours worth of planning, a half hour of explanation, and a “I wonder what we can do with this” attitude, the event was a success. One person, who didn’t intend to stay long, even ended up being one of the last to leave.

I can’t wait to see what we come up with next month.

Thanks to RobotsConf for the inspiration.

The Arduino code used can be found here

Photo of David Genord II

David has been building websites since 8th grade. After working to integrate third-party automotive data with internal systems, he now brings his vast and wide knowledge to Collective Idea.