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Help with decorating uni for night time light parade

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Juni View Post
    I know this isn't what you are going for, but when I see people mention lights on a unicycle I instantly think of EL WIRE!

    Not sure if you've seen it before, but it might be worth checking out
    Thanks, Juni. I haven't seen it in person, but I'm familiar with it and seriously considering using it somehow. It seems very cool!
    I'm not short, I'm just really far away.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by janvanhulzen View Post
      This guide is well worth the read:

      https://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-...berguide/power

      I have made some wearables and did some led projects and found that neopixels are much easier to use because you can string them together and do not have to power them individually.

      El wire is also well worth the try. I have found this site which looks promissing http://www.elwirepros.com/customer-photos.html

      And here is an aritcle of a guy using paint.

      http://www.fietsverlichtingwinkel.co...the-dark-bike/
      Yes, I'm looking at both Neopixels and el-wire. I may use a combination of both. Good idea!

      Originally posted by LargeEddie View Post
      Have you tried the DotStars? They're supposed to be even easier to interface and also refresh faster. I've never used either.
      I'm looking into those as well. Probably don't need the faster refresh rate for what I'm doing, and they are more expensive than Neopixels (but not much). However, I am considering putting the DoStars on my bike for those cool POV effects! We'll see where it heads, and I'll be sure to post pictures!

      Originally posted by Juni View Post
      I know this isn't what you are going for, but when I see people mention lights on a unicycle I instantly think of EL WIRE!

      Not sure if you've seen it before, but it might be worth checking out
      No, that's totally cool. Definitely considering el-wire as part of it.
      Originally posted by LargeEddie View Post
      That's a really good point. I don't know much about the Trinket but I had thought of the "Pro Mini" form factor boards, with the same cpu as the UNO and they're tiny. The UNO would be great for experimenting and prototyping, but for a few extra dollars, a board could be dedicated to the wheel installation. Directly soldered connections are also likely to be more reliable than plugging wires into the female headers on a standard Arduino.

      You still need to put a battery somewhere though.
      Yeah, the Uno is too big to put in the spokes, but it might fit under the seat for controlling LEDs on the frame. Currently, I'm considering Adafruit's Trinket Pro, the Pro Mini, or something comparable. That seems to be a good fit.
      Originally posted by janvanhulzen View Post
      I recommend using neopixel LEDs if you go for the led route, see

      https://www.adafruit.com/category/168

      these are very easy to program using for example a triket. The uno is a bit bulky for integration in a wheel.

      I have tried using monkeylectric which is not too expensive

      https://www.adafruit.com/category/168

      it turns out however that the wheel turns too slow for the effect to be visible. The elwire is also a nice option but the light may be a bit dim so you will probably want a lot of it. Spokelights are also nice and easy to install. I have a few and the effect is really nice.

      i would love to see the result... have fun!
      Cool!

      Great ideas from everyone. This is turning out to be a lot of fun. I like to tinker and learn how to do things like this, and it's branched out into other projects that have nothing to do with my original project. I've already had a lot of fun with the Uno controlling servos, LEDs, sounds, 7 segment LED and LCD displays, temp sensors, etc. This is super-cool stuff! My coding skills are a bit rusty as well (I was never that great at it to begin with), and it's been good to dust off some of those neurons and put them back to work.
      I'm not short, I'm just really far away.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Bradford View Post
        I'm looking into those as well. Probably don't need the faster refresh rate for what I'm doing, and they are more expensive than Neopixels (but not much). However, I am considering putting the DoStars on my bike for those cool POV effects! We'll see where it heads, and I'll be sure to post pictures!
        Yes, I knew you knew about them because I found out about them from you! I meant that as a question to janvanhulzen, who recommended NeoPixels after we'd had our exchange on DotStars. Sorry, I should have been more clear about where that was directed.

        and it's branched out into other projects that have nothing to do with my original project. I've already had a lot of fun with the Uno controlling servos, LEDs, sounds, 7 segment LED and LCD displays, temp sensors, etc. This is super-cool stuff!
        Indeed it is! It seems a lot different from my attempts at hobby electronics way back when. The knowledge you can find online changes everything, and new things are popping up every day, mostly priced lower than a mediocre meal out. I'm starting to try my luck with some of the 32-bit cpu stuff, where it seems that a lot more is "left as an exercise for the reader." But that's building on (false?) confidence from successes with the AVR family. Arduino is a heck of a gateway drug.

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        • #19
          Check out what some of the night time rc heli people use, they have many of the same problems as we do. Also, if they say a certain product is too bright when run at a certain voltage, when they fly hundreds of feet in the air, you can bet it's bright enough for unicycling in a parade. Link to a forum here

          Also, if you haven't thought about batteries, I would recommend LiFePO4 cells. You could also run a LiPo, like my brother did on his led unicycle, but you run the risk of creating a ridiculously hard to put out fire, with black, carcinogenic smoke.
          ... and nipples, never forget the nipples.
          Saskatchewanian

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Superbant View Post
            Check out what some of the night time rc heli people use, they have many of the same problems as we do. Also, if they say a certain product is too bright when run at a certain voltage, when they fly hundreds of feet in the air, you can bet it's bright enough for unicycling in a parade. Link to a forum here

            Also, if you haven't thought about batteries, I would recommend LiFePO4 cells. You could also run a LiPo, like my brother did on his led unicycle, but you run the risk of creating a ridiculously hard to put out fire, with black, carcinogenic smoke.
            Thanks for the info, Superbant. I'll keep all that in mind.
            I'm not short, I'm just really far away.

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            • #21
              I got my first strip of LED lights to try out. They're exactly the same hardware as Adafruit's Neopixels, but a different brand. Just to test them out I hooked them up to my bench power supply and an Arduino Uno and loaded an example sketch. Here's a video of the test. Please excuse my messy workbench!

              [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNw2dwCpusM"]Test[/ame]

              I've also purchased an Adafruit Trinket Pro, which has pretty much the same basic specs as the Arduino Uno, but it's just a lot smaller, so that should make it easier to mount somewhere on the uni.

              Still need to figure out a battery and how I'll attach the strips, the battery, and the controller to the frame, but it's looking promising. In this test, the amp draw never went above 0.71, and the average was around 0.3, so I'm thinking a 3500mAh battery would be more than enough to last through the parade. Of course, this will depend on whether or not I use more strips, and how much juice the light sequence I program will use, but I'm optimistic that I'm headed in the right direction so far.
              I'm not short, I'm just really far away.

              Comment


              • #22
                Hello theaterChase() my old friend. Funny, I was just reading through the NeoPixels demo last night, no relation to unicycles but definitely inspired by this thread. That looks fantastic!

                Seeing it now, it would be impressive even without being synced to the turning wheel. That might melt some brains if the lights just chased around the rim opposite to the direction the wheel was turning. And if you randomly sped up and slowed down the rate of the chase, there could be times where the lights were going forward, backward, or just about stopped.

                It's always nice to get to the point where you can see it working, and it looks like you're on you way now. Good job! The sky's the limit from here.

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                • #23
                  The Parade of lights is coming up on the 20th of this month, so I figured I better finish up my project. Had a lot of fun figuring out how to program the NeoPixels. I wound up using a 1 meter strip of 60 NeoPixles cut in half, run in parallel, and installed on both sides of my frame controlled by an Adafruit Arduino Pro Trinket. I used simple, red LED Christmas lights in the spokes (not shown in the video). I put a water bottle on the back to hold the Adafruit Pro Trinket and a 10,500 mAh USB battery (which was total overkill, but it was cheap) to power both the Pro Trinket and the NeoPixel strips. I wired the LED lights in the spokes to two AA batteries and just strapped them to the hub inside the spokes. I've road tested it, and I can UPD pretty bad and hop fairly aggressively and not damage anything or have anything fall off, so I think I'm set. Here's some video and pics below.

                  [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8QDTaMZuN0"]Unicycle NeoPixel - YouTube[/ame]
                  Attached Files
                  I'm not short, I'm just really far away.

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                  • #24
                    Cool as fck!

                    Could you explain what's going on in the last couple of pics plz... I have a feeling it's long exposure time, but I'm not too sure
                    Last edited by Juni; 2016-11-07, 10:23 PM.
                    Quote Uni57: Unicyclists are the nicest people! Both on and off the Internet.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by Juni View Post
                      Cool as fck!

                      Could you explain what's going on in the last couple of pics plz... I have a feeling it's long exposure time, but I'm not too sure
                      Thanks! And sorry, yes, these are long exposures, anywhere from 4 to 30 seconds. Probably should have explained that. Basically, the LEDs on the side are running in patterns along the strip while I'm riding perpendicular to the camera taking the long exposures. Here's mostly what I'm doing during the long exposures:

                      [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a93W2EE9-nE"]NeoPixels on Unicycle at night - YouTube[/ame]
                      I'm not short, I'm just really far away.

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                      • #26
                        Awesome!

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                        • #27
                          Originally posted by LargeEddie View Post
                          Awesome!
                          Thanks!
                          I'm not short, I'm just really far away.

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                          • #28
                            We finally had the parade last Sunday. It's a yearly parade in downtown Ft. Worth, Texas, called the Parade of Lights. It's a winter holiday parade with Santa being the final float. It's at night and pretty spectacular. Our group, the DFW Unicycle Club, was 3rd out of about 150 groups, and were joined by WRUNT (We Ride Unicycles of North Texas), a local high school club, and a few others that just showed up at the last minute. Judging by the crowd's response, I'd say we were a big hit. Highly recommend parades. There's no other experience quite like it!
                            Attached Files
                            Last edited by Bradford; 2016-11-23, 06:41 PM.
                            I'm not short, I'm just really far away.

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