Friday 13 February 2015

Leds Jacket

In my little part of Switzerland, there is a huge celebration for the carnival that can last for over a month, and one of the way to enjoy this event is to dress up, party and enjoy the night.
My project fits into the "dress up" step, where I made my own costume leds jacket that react with the sound and has different modes.

- 1x old jacket
- 1x arduino
- 1x spectrum sparkfun or MSGEQ7
- 1x microphone
- 1x Lipo battery
- 1x 9v battery
- 1x lot of meters of leds ( addressable are better )
- few step down 5v ( if you run a lower voltage leds compared to the battery )

You have to be creative, I decided a bit randomly how to place my strip of leds and based on that you have to think what kind of animation you can display.

Best way to stick your leds on the jacket is to saw them a bit every 20-40 cm then put a piece of fabric on the top to avoid people grabbing the strip or get stuck somewhere.

If you are lucky enough, you will have a jacket with more than one layer of fabric, so you can run cables inside the jacket without touching them when wearing the jacket, and remember to find one with some big pocket inside to store battery and arduino.

The microphone is the tricky one to place, it took me a while to stick in the right position but with some sewing and hot glue everything stayed in position.

Remember, try to find the best position to fit everything and close to inside pocket to avoid to pull any cables that will stop the fun.

The battery is up to you, in my case I decided to use a 5v addressable leds that will consume 3.2 A and one lipo 4S 4000 mah to power them. The battery life is about 6-8 hours but it can be extend by lowering the brightness via code.

In addiction, I had to use 3 step down 5V, be sure to use a switching converter to avoid any lose on the conversation. I bought few of them from HobbyKing and they are UBEC converter.

Dont forget to have two batteries, one for the Arduino ( can be a 9v battery ) and one to power the LEDs, this because you might want to have all the possible current to the LEDs and avoid any "power down" or "frying arduino" due to the higher current.
It might sounds silly but it's just less work to do and much more safe.

I got a fuse in my jacket between the battery and my leds strips, just in case there are any shorts, I wont burn =).

I am not a great guy in terms of design and animations, so I had to watch some youtube videos to get some inspiration. I have implemented 4 modes on my jacket and 6 mode for the brightness&control.
The 4 modes shuffle every 60 seconds and they do react with sound or when I change to manual, they read random values to replaced the microphone. 

I have implemented the green button to switch between 6 modes: Microphone, Microphone 50% brightens, Microphone 20% brightness, Manual, Manual 50% brightness and Manual 20% brightness.

To have a quick access to the operation of the arduino, I soldered a switch to turn it on and off.