Neopixel Ring Compass Takes Things In A New Direction

A couple of years ago, [philo mech] came across [David Ratliff]’s NeoPixel compass project. Ever since then, he’s wanted to make his own. To his delight, [philo mech] was able to find time to do just that.

An Arduino Pro Mini drives an LSM303DLHC compass/accelerometer breakout board and a 12-LED NeoPixel ring. The heading is indicated with a red ‘Pixel between two yellow ones.  In the video after the break, [philo mech] gives several demonstrations of the ring’s red indicator in relation to a standard compass arrow.

This colorful compass currently boasts two very useful modes: one to track the whereabouts of North, and the other for determining the user’s current heading. Mk. II  will compensate for tilt and will employ a 16-Pixel ring to display finer degrees of directional change. Want to make your own? The code is pasted in the video’s comments.

Thanks for the tip, [Chris].

11 thoughts on “Neopixel Ring Compass Takes Things In A New Direction

  1. I always wanted to do that. I have already a compass sensor and a 16 LED ring here, but for other projects.
    But you know, too many nice projects to try out.
    And I don’t even have a use for it, my smartphone already has a compass.
    So it goes to the pile of so many cool things that I always wanted to try, but probably will never do.

  2. Couldn’t the difficulty with a limited number of pixels be accommodated by color shifting the neopixels that indicate heading to create a bit of interpolation?

  3. Not to rain on the accomplishment…but if you’ve ever used a compass, the need to be accurate within a degree or so is
    pretty important – this project is only indicative within 30 degrees. Also a compass is always recommended over relying on something like a phone GPS because it does not require batteries…

    1. He says he wants to double the amount of LED, and I agree he should. But if you for instance put this on a car of bicycle or motorbike/quad you at least know what direction the road or path is going, and that’s something that can be useful.
      And there’s the general ‘cuteness’ of it, and the possible educational use.

  4. Um,

    Yes, a 16 (or even 24) LED ring would be nicer, but you could do a bit of extra coding so to make the NORTH LED melt from one to the other….

    So, saying with the 12 LEDs, it is a 30 degree step:
    If you are at 15 degrees, the two adjacent LEDs glow and a lesser brightness.
    As is goes closer to one of the 30 degree steps, that LED glows brighter until it is the only RED one.

    Also a thought/suggestion:
    Ditch the other “background” LEDs.

    Just have the three (or 4) LEDs. The RED one and one either side of it. 4 LEDS when between the steps.

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