Tag Archives: cylon

MiniPOV Cylon firmware

MiniPOV3 Cylon   MiniPOV3 Cylon head-on

The MiniPOVs were created by AdaFruit Industries. They Rebelled. They Evolved.
And now, they may be invading your front porch.

It’s an open secret that here at evilmadscientist we go both ways: analog and digital.

So, here is yet another way to get a Cylon pumpkin circuit– a useful component for halloween. (Yes, you can do KITT too, we won’t stop you.) We’ll spare you the carved pumpkins and dive right into the details.

There seem to be a lot of MiniPOV kits out there. If you’ve got one, this is a fast way to make a passable slowly-scanning eye.

Note that we are not using the “POV” part of the MiniPOV– you don’t need to wave your pumpkin back and forth; it really is just a slowly-moving image.

(You can get a MiniPOV direct from Adafruit or from the Make store, probably in time for the big day.)

This is a one minute project for some of you (you know who you are), but if you are really starting from scratch there isn’t any giant time advantage to going doing it this way instead of analog.

Once you have a working minipov, the first step is to download the firmware (4 kB .ZIP file) and unzip it. If you are programming the MiniPOV3 directly through its serial port,
pop open a terminal and move to the directory. Type (with a return after each line):

make all

make program

And… that’s it.

(If you have a GUI for programming AVRs and know how to use it, you can of course use that instead of programming through the terminal.)

If you are using some other AVR programmer or are programming a bare ATtiny2313 without a MiniPOV at all, you will need to edit the header of the included makefile to reflect the type of AVR programmer and the port where it is located. (And then, proceed with the instructions above.)

While this makes a pretty good looking pumpkin, there is still room for improvement in the firmware– the motion is reasonably smooth but doesn’t yet capture the incandescent fade that the analog versions do. I’ll leave it to the community to improve this firmware; if you have some better code, let me know and I’ll help roll it in.

Tim Charron sent in a greatly improved version of this program– please give it a try.

You can find more pumpkin related projects in our Halloween Project Archive.

Time to Make a Cylon?

Make: HalloweenStarburst

Yay! We finally got our copy of the Make: Halloween Edition.

This special issue is actually available in two different covers, but we particularly like thisversion because of that little starburst: “Make an LED Jack-O’-Lantern!”

On page 60, you can find the article that we wrote about how to build the Larson Scanner (named after Glen A. Larson); a scanning eye for your old-school Cylon or KITT pumpkin projects.

Red Eye

The article is actually a slightly updated version of our project from last Halloween, Make A Cylon Jack-O-Lantern. Last year’s how-to is still online— and we have recently checked to make sure that all the parts on the parts list are still available.

Either way, let’s see those Cylons! If you build one, please post your pictures in the Evil Mad Science Auxiliary.

Make A Cylon Jack-O-Lantern

It’s a pumpkin! It’s a Jack-o-lantern! It’s an electronics project! It’s… a Cylon!

Cylons are great. They’re evil, menacing, and shiny. They have glowing red lights, computer-monotone voices, and they aim as precisely as imperial stormtroopers.

For halloween this year, we made Cylon Jack-o-lanterns in both large and small versions.

The design consists of two parts, a pumpkin-carving part and an electronics part. The big idea, of course, is to make the Cylon’s red eye scan back and forth.

How well does it work? Take a look! (Youtube)

This week’s Weekend Projects Podcast at Make Magazine is about making a programmable LED pumkin.

Our Cylon is made with a very different approach. It runs on a 9V battery and uses two cheap integrated circuits (a 555 and 4017) that together control six LEDs (or six groups of LEDs).

Circuits like this are quick, easy, and cheap to build. It’s also fun merely from the standpoint of making something that people might expect to require a microcontroller. For this particular circuit, it turns out to be cheaper and faster to do it without one.

If you’re handy with a soldering iron, you can build this circuit for less than ten dollars, in less than two hours, without any programming at all.
Continue reading Make A Cylon Jack-O-Lantern