LED cube is a little bit of kit, a lot of point-to-point soldering

[Craig Lindley] recently finished building his own RGB LED cube project. It’s made up of four layers of 4×4 LED grids, but you may notice that the framework that supports the structure is not the usual ratsnet of wires we’ve come to expect. They’re actually long, thin circuit boards. [Craig] grabbed the Rainbow Cube kit sold by Seeed Studio for this project. But instead of pairing it with their Rainbowduino driver, he built his own to give him more options on how to control the blinky lights.

He’s using an Arduino Uno to control the display, choosing TLC5940 driver chips to safely provide the juice necessary to light up the grid. These drivers also offer 12-bit pulse-width modulation for easy color mixing. Driving the LEDs directly would have taken a large number of these expensive chips (over $4 a piece), but if multiplexed the design only calls for two of them.

Check out a video of the finished cube reacting to music thanks to the microphone and amplifier circuit [Craig] build into the driver board.

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Anthropomorphizing an Ikea lamp (like Pixar but in real life)

ArduinoArts is animating an inexpensive Ikea lamp as a contest entry. Seeed Studio’s Toy Hacking Contest calls for the competitors to work their magic using the Grove Toy Kit, which is an extensible sensor connection system for the Arduino. Most of the items in the kit were used to add interactivity to the lamp. Check out the video after the break to see the motion that two servos provide. The lamp can move its shade back and forth as if shaking its head, and the whole arm assembly can rotate in relation to the base. The sensors detect when you’ve repositioned the lamp head and the device will yell at you if it doesn’t appreciate its new pose. It also reacts to noise and motion, switching on the LED that replaces the original bulb in both cases, and asking: “Are you Sarah Connor”  when motion is detected. These basic modifications really make for some fun animatronic behavior.

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DSO nano oscilloscope reviewed

dsonano

We’ve been eyeing Seeed Studio’s DSO nano digital storage oscilloscope with a mix of intrigue and skepticism. A pocket-sized $89 storage ’scope? This is a joke, right? Hack a Day reader [Blair Thomson] has written a thorough review based on his experience with one of the beta test units, and it might be a winner after all.

[Blair] feels the unit compares favorably to buying a similarly-priced secondhand analog oscilloscope. The DSO nano wins major points for ease of use, a good range of functionality, and of course the whole portability thing (the enclosure is a repurposed portable media player). Can’t say we’re entirely convinced though. As a single-trace ’scope with 1 MHz bandwidth, the DSO nano may be extremely limiting for anything but basic hobbyist use…which, to be fair, is exactly how they’re marketing it. We can see a place for this the same way there’s a place for $10 multimeters — an inexpensive, toss-in-the-toolbag second ’scope to quickly test for vital signs, something that might complement but not replace a good bench unit.

Bus Pirate preorder 1 ships

panelized-470.iijpg

A few weeks ago we held a pre-order for the Bus Pirate V2go, the first official Hack a Day hardware. We had initially hoped for a group purchase of 20 or 40 Bus Pirates, maybe 200 if it was extremely popular. In total, nearly a thousand Bus Pirates will be made.

The first 350 Bus Pirates (pre-order 1) have already been manufactured and tested. Seeed Studio has done a great job handling the orders, pre-order 1 should start shipping more than a week early. How long will it take to get to your mail box? It will vary for everyone, but our packages usually arrive from Seeed in 7 days.

Seeed sent us pictures of the Bus Pirate depaneling, programming, and quality control process. Check them out after the break.

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Bus Pirate preorders open

buspirate

Update, Saturday July 4th, 2009: All preorders are closed.

We’re excited to announce our partnership with the folks at Seeed Studio (home of the excellent Seeeduino) to put the Bus Pirate v2go into production! The preorder period ends July 3rd. The price is $30 including worldwide shipping. The board pictured above is a hand soldered prototype, but the ones sold by Seeed are completely factory assembled.

This is the first officially produced piece of Hack a Day hardware. Depending on its success, we’ll be able to put many future designs into production. Read more about the Bus Pirate in our latest How-to. Thank you for your support!

***Update, Monday June 29, 2009: Wow, your support has been overwhelming! Thank you! There have been more orders for the Bus Pirate than we ever imagined. As of this update, there’s a few (12) Bus Pirates left in the Seeed preorder. After that, we’ve exhausted the supply of PIC24FJ64GA002s available in Shenzhen. If you’ve already placed your order nothing changes, the manufacturing process has already begun and your Bus Pirate will ship ASAP.

After the first preorder is filled, Seeed will start a new preorder. The second preorder will be delayed until more PIC24FJ64GA002s are delivered, about 4 to 6 weeks. This order should ship about 6 to 8 weeks after July 3, 2009, but we’ll try our best to get it out sooner. Thank you again for your support!

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