T1 Corruption: Lights, Lights and More Lights

September 7th, 2010 Posted in T1 Corruption

With the audio portion of the T1 Corruption pretty much done, I decided I wanted get some LEDs in this thing and make it “sparkle”. The first, and easy thing to do was put a bunch of spare 3mm LEDs I had onto the sound board, with the intent of using these to backlight the logo in a area on the panel where the old 7-segment LED readout used to be.  This was fairly simple, as I tossed 6 LEDs on with accompanying resistors and it lit up the panel, without a problem.  I’ve got a logo done, I just need to figure out a way for the panel to stay there and not flop out, but I figure I’ll tackle that issue later.

Next step in lighting this thing up is to fit some LEDs in where the old indicator LEDs used to be.  However, I didn’t want them to be just static.  After talking with a buddy about his electronics projects, I decided I would appropriate his project for use in my WSG.  Conveniently, his project was a K.I.T.T. styled LED tracer.  I’m not sure where he found the schematic, or if he designed something on his own, but I found a schematic that worked for me, and began breadboarding it.

The biggest obstacle for me was going to be figuring out how to step the power down from 9V to 6V, as I wanted to run everything (the lights and the sound) off of the same battery.  I dug around on-line, and found a schematic to regulate the voltage down to 6V (I can’t find the original source I was looking for, but it’s similar to the one found on this page), and luckily I had the IC needed to make it happen.

It worked just as I had hoped!

However, there was a dilemma.  The two LED banks on the existing box were a set of 8 LEDs and a set of 7 LEDs.  The K.I.T.T. schematic I found was only 6 LEDs.  I figured I could try and double one or two of the LEDs and see if that would work (and not kill the circuit).  I tried one, and it worked fine.  I would have used a center one, but since there are two center LEDs, I opted to double the first LED and the last LED, to minimize the obviousness of my duplication.  It worked swimingly!

However, there was still the matter of what I was going to do with the second bank of LEDs.  After some hemming and hawing, I decided to wire up seven more LEDs, meaning half of the 6 original LED spots would be driving 3 LEDs and half would be driving 2 LEDs.  I would take the additional 7 LEDs and arrange them in a random order, with two of them firing simultaneously (much like the K.I.T.T. layout).  I figured this would emulate the futuristic computers from 60s and 70s TV & Film, which would have been about when this T1 Test Unit was originally made.

I wired everything up (using Euro-style screw terminals, to allow me to easily randomize the order of the LEDs, without having to plug and unplug them from the breadboard) and it worked just as expected.  For a short while I toyed with the idea of hooking in a second set of controlling components to allow for the futuristic lights to be driven at a different speed (the speed can be adjusted by adding an additional resistor (up to 47k total resistance) on the 22k resistor (that is not hooked to the 1N4148)), but decided against that as it would mean I would probably need a third PCB in the enclosure, and I was already running low on space.  I will say though, it did look cool at a super fast speed!

With these steps done I will be adding 21 LEDs to this box.  My Weird Sound Generator is not only going to sound awesome, it’s going to LOOK awesome.  Now I just need to get it soldered up, and this project will be pretty much done!

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