Finished up RGB LED turn signals (For now!)

Well I posted a video of my finished turn signals, everything seems to be working well and have over 6000 miles driven with them through about 10 states, not one problem.  I would ultimately love to control them from my iPhone, and I am looking into ways of doing this use WiFi or even the cell network (I would incorporate more in to the system if I did this with cell connectivity)  I tend to lean  to the WiFi system it’s cheaper and draws less power.  I might end up switching the system to a keyed power source so it is inactive when the car is off but for now this works.

Here is a video:

Thanks for watching and reading!


custom rgb led turn signals for my car (Part 2)

Ok so I have one rigged up in my car just to test it, not to much to add but here is a video of it.  I will be using 3 atmega’s to run them, since I need hardware spi and there is only one per atmega, so 2 to run the lights and one more to receive commands to change modes.

Also I am using one resonator to run both megas that are running the lights so when in ‘car show’ mode they will stay in sync with each other.


Custom RGB LED Turn Signals for My Car

Just wanted to throw this up here.  Been working on some RGB LED turn signals for my car (2008 Mustang GT/CS)

I’m using the Adafruit pixels http://www.adafruit.com/products/307 for them, there are 35 in each light.

Why you may ask?  First off why not!  Second I take my car to car shows and just like to have somethingunique that I made myself.  Third I had bought some LED bulbs that were advertised to match the stock headlights in color but they are far from it, they ended up very blue like a typical white LED, I was guessing they used warm whites but I was wrong so after making some tail lights for my dads car I figured why not do the same to mine.

Anyways here is a video that give info and how they look, I’ll post more as they come along. (Picture of car at end of video!)

Here are the ones in my dads car, they use two 8×8 matrices run by one atmega and two MAX7219’s in each lite, so that 128 leds a light and individually controllable. Also a remote to turn them on into ‘Car Show’ mode.


Some ‘things’ I built over the winter so far.

So I love DIY music equipment, I don’t really have much room to properly setup and use the eq but I still love to mess with it and build things.

I’ve built a few projects over the winter so far, starting off with a x0xb0x, actually I started on it last winter got about half way done and then I got busy with summer activities so it sat, amazingly enough I didn’t lose many parts and none of the rare parts.  I did have some issues with the EEPROM and swapped out chips from my Shruthi-1 (Another project) but still no luck even though the chip worked in the Shruthi.  I ended up buy some extras which came in handy when building my Midibox SID (Yet another project) and the new chip worked fine, I still can’t understand why I had an issue but it’s solved now, chalk that one up to the mystery of electronics.

Here is a pic of my x0x along with some other DIY projects (A ‘Where’s the Party at’, and the Shruthi)

The x0x is cool and I love the 303 sound but it’s kind of a one trick pony, not sure if’ I’ll keep it or not.


Since it’s in the picture there I’ll move on to the Shurthi-1.  The Shruthi is a DIY digital synthesizer with a analog filter, it’s designed by Mutable Instruments and really has a nice sound for being Digital, also there are a ton of options for modulations, waveforms, oscillators and even a built in sequencer, it’s very impressive for it’s size and cost!  Dare I say it but I’m almost a bigger fan of the digital sound over analog, but combining the digital sound with a nice analog filter really works out well.  Here is video of just me messing aound with some of the paramters on the Shurthi.

Pretty impressive for a tiny box that’s a DIY kit.  Assembly wise I self sourced this project so I didn’t have a nice manual for putting everything together, which for me wasn’t bad but could be somewhat overwhelming for a newbie, especially the part of programming the chip, since this requires a special programer, but I’m sure the actually kit that is sold would be much easier (They do seem to sell out quick so if you want one keep an eye open!)  Here are a few pics of assembly…

The only problem I really had was the interface between the boards (Top board is digital, lower board is analog filter)  it uses a 8-pin jumper and finding the correct length was problematic for me, but again this was all self sourced I’m sure the kit has one the correct length.  Since I mentioned about how I actually like the digital sound that leads directly to my next project the MidiboxSID!

What is a MidiboxSID?  If you lived in the 80’s then you know exactly what makes this DIY synth sound like it does.  The SID in MidiboxSID refers to the Sound Interface Device found in Commodore 64 computers, remember that heavy digitized sound that mesmerized you for hours when playing arkanoid?  Well that’s exactly what the MidiboxSID sounds like, but with a WHOLE lot more!  If you really want to get in depth about it head on over to Midibox.org and check out the wiki but here is a general overview.

Each SID chip has 3 oscillators capible of sine, triangle, pulse and any combo of those, also each oscillators has it’s own filter control and pulse width, now add on the Midibox core circuit and you get full Midi control over all of that plus some amazing digitally controlled effects including 6 LFOs, a arpeggiator, 3 envelops, a huge mod matrix that can be effected on by any 2 of the LFOs and envelopes with if I remember correct up to 8 mod matrixes.  Also add in full filter control for each of the 3 OSCs which of course can be modulated in the matrixes and even some unique modes like a bassline mode and more and more!  Really there are so many possibilities it’s boggling!  This thing can do far, FAR more then what a C64 could.  Then on top of all that you can add a second SID chip and have full stereo effects for some amazing mind bending sounds!

There is one caveat though SID chips are hard to find, plus there are 2 different types!  There is the 8580R5 and the 6581 (There is also a 6582, but it’s the same as a 8580R5 just the latest replacement version)  It seems the most sought after is the 8580R5, it sounds more digital and the combo waveforms work well, it’s the later version and can be found in Commodore 64Cs but not in the old version with the black keyboard those have the 6581.  The 6581 has a more analogish sound the filter is also different and the combo waveforms don’t really work well on it, but that doesn’t mean it’s garbage.  I think it’s rougher and bassy sounding compared to the 8580.  Also the take a different supply voltage, the 8580 uses 9VDC and the 6580 uses 12VDC.

I prefer the 8580 so bought one off the forum on MidiboxSID, and my other for stereo sound came from an old C64C on ebay, the chip was socketed so very easy to remove, but care needs to be taken as they are very sensitive to static.  If you want to tell the sound go on youtube a listed to samples played by the real chip not an emulator of each chip.

Once having the chips the rest is common parts that can be sourced from Mouser or Digi-Key.  There are also boards and parts available from here http://avishowtech.com/mbhp/buy.html I’m not going to go into what you need but at least a core8 module and SID module.

So enough talk here is some sample sound from mine.

Awesome right?!?!  That’s running in the bassline mode, god I love that sound!

As for construction I decided to take the ‘hard’ way since I was building over Christmas break.  First I put everything on a breaboard and it pretty much worked right of the bat (I was a bit supprised).  Then I decided to veroboard it, wow what a pain I never veroboard something this complex but again to my amazement it worked first try (after hours and hours of soldering over a few days!)  Things were kind of a mess though so I did some refining and then that’s when I decided to add the second SID chip for stereo, so here are a couple pics.

Now I knew about this before I started building but I didn’t know if I’d like the sound, but there is a an ultimate, super-mega version that uses 8, yes eight SID chips, called the MB-6582, there are PCBs sold but you have to find 8 SID chips but I’m game so my order is in for the boards but imagine that’s 24 oscillators, yes two four, 8×3 per chip, awesome.

So I haven’t been lax over the winter so far, next will be the MB-6580 and I’m going to try my best to document the build of it here on the blog.

Sorry about the long post, but if you made it this far, thanks for reading and leave a comment!!






It’s been awhile.

So it’s been awhile since I made a post but now that summer/fall is coming to an end I’ll be spending more time on my electronics hobby.  Summer is dedicated to photography (which I also neglected) and my car.  I spent a lot of time going to car shows and just having a nice summer without much hassle.

I’ve been looking for a new job, when your company shrinks from 15 people to 3 plus your boss it really puts a thought in your head that hmm, wonder what’ll happen next, so it’s time to move on but finding a job in graphic design has been quite an undertaking.  If you happen to know of a graphic design position please contact me!

Anyhow for the winter I’d really like to work on a cool midi sequencer using the arduino, keeping it all open source but using a mega to really try and make something cool.  I know there are a few out there but I find very little documentation and to me that’s an important step about working with the arduino.  I still wish there was an easier way to make custom PCBs, but I haven’t found it, it’s such a hassle and I believe it really puts a damper on some of the cool ideas people have.

So I’ll try and post more regularly since I’ll be inside a lot more and keep things updated on what’s going down.


First CNC step success!

Well got my stepper motors running!  Had to get it working on an old laptop, since the driver board need a parrallel port, yup remember those?  But it works, running Kcam, here is a video:

On to the next step!


Minduino update!

I had a batch of board that were mediocre quality and only got half of them to work, so I placed another other with a different PCB manufacture, and ordered a bunch since it’s cheaper.

So the new ones will be white with black solder mask, this makes them easy to read and just look cooler!  Also I updated the mask a bit, adding RX and TX labels and also a dot next to each digital input that are PWM capable.  Here are some pics and they will be going up on ebay as I make them.

Again these are hand soldered, cleaned and tested by me so if a resistor isn’t in perfect alignment, it’s OK, there all tested anyhow, also that means without a doubt that when I put them in the box to ship, they are working!  I load up my version of the blink program which blinks the pin 13 LED but it oscillates faster and slower over time, so when you get it and plug it in that’s what it should do right off the bat!

Here are some pics, and this unit used in the pics is now on ebay at: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=280456920665

Just search for minduino to find them also!

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