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Thread: Novus Animus

  1. #1

    Default Novus Animus

    Novus Animus

    Features:
    Ramp-up/Ramp-down
    Flash-on-Clash
    136 Color settings
    4 blade flicker settings
    Sound (Hasbro, Ultimate FX)


    Background:
    I wanted a lightsaber that was capable of changing colors to suit my mood. I'd seen many 7-color sabers out there, and those are cool, but I didn't want to have extra switches on my hilt and you are limited to 7 colors. Then I saw a YouTube video of a guy who installed some potentiometers so he could fade each color of an RGB LED individually. That was really neat, but had the same problem with extra controls. Some time later, I saw a video of someone who put a PIC controller in his saber and was able to adjust the colors with a single slide or dial. "Now we're getting somewhere!" I thought to myself.


    I was already familiar with the Arduino platform. I'd toyed around with it in the past, but never really did anything complex with it. This was my chance to dig a little deeper. I had an Arduino Nano lying around and I knew I could fit it in a 1.5" sink tube, so I used that. I have a background in software development, so the coding part of the project was a cake walk for me. It was a little more involved then I thought it would be, but not bad. I just had to figure out how to wire everything up. So, I got out my breadboard and got to work.


    I selected a Rebel Tri-star RGB LED for this project for their (relative to some others) easy wiring. Solder pads were still pretty tiny for my fat iron, but I managed it without too many issues. A word of advice: You want very "bendy" wire for these. The first wire I tried was too thick and didn't bend well, so I couldn't get the star mounted on the heatsink properly because the wire kept flexing and pushing the star off the copper. The wire I bought from TCSS worked wonderfully.


    Now I needed to power each LED (Red, Green, and Blue) individually. This is what I came up with: Three MOSFETs wired like so: Gate goes to Arduino Nano output. Source goes to ground. Drain goes to LED negative with current limiting resistor for each LED.


    I test fired all of the LEDs by driving them with direct power and resistors. They worked great! That's a TCSS battle blade, BTW. I was surprised by how well the colors blended to give me a white color.


    I plugged the MOSFETs into the Arduino Nano and ran a small test program to play with color tuning. Some colors looked great, some were kind of meh, but the power of possibilities made for a sweet moment.

    I got all of the LED control and color-mixing algorithms coded and tested over the course of a week or so in my spare time. Now I needed to add sound. I didn't want to spend too much, so I harvested a cheapie sound board from an Ultimate FX Anakin. I read some advice from this forum and some others, watched a YouTube video, and finally did some probing with my multimeter. It was pretty straight forward to figure out. Sorry, I forgot to take any pictures of it. I will say this: All of the inputs are the "pull-low" kind of inputs. By this, I mean the input is triggered if they are pulled to ground. Knowing this, I was able to integrate the sound board with the Arduino by using a switching transistor. After a little testing, I was able to wire up a TCSS premium speaker to the board and have my micro-controller activate/deactivate sound whenever I wanted! In short, I integrated the LED control and sound control subsystems.


    Great, so now I had a full featured set of internals. Time to build a hilt! I wanted a fairly long hilt. Something brutish and almost primitive, but still high-tech-looking. I wanted a two-handed bashing weapon. Something you could wield like an ax! Think Scottish claymore, but not as long. I was inspired by the final moments of Luke's fight with Vader in ROTJ where he's hacking and bashing away at Vader before finally ending it. Anyway, this is what I came up with.



    After a little paint on the PVC overlays, add some O-rings and electrical tape, and we're ready for the beauty shots!




    I programmed the software to allow for 136 different color settings. That ought to be enough to suit any mood. To photograph them all would take a really long time, but here is a sample.




    I may upload a YouTube video a little later showing how it works. Basically, I added a "color select" mode where you can change the color by pressing the activation switch. You get there by holding the activation switch in for 10 seconds, then back out of it the same way. I also added flash-on-clash (white), and 4 blade flicker settings. The advantage of this setup over some others is that it's easy to change the color without the usual annoyances that typically go along with doing so (pulling chips, plugging in USB, multiple switches, etc.). I like the idea of a hilt being basically one big gripping surface as much as possible.

    I've built a simple sink tube saber a few years back (Lux III Amber, resistor set-up), but this is my first serious build. I hope you enjoy the pics/story as much as I enjoyed this challenging and rewarding project. Thanks to everyone here on these TCSS boards. I've read your advice and viewed your work with respect and admiration for years. All the while I was dreaming of the day I could jump in to this hobby again. I don't know when I'll bulid another, but I'm looking forward to it... maybe something a little easier next time... maybe not!

    UPDATE 02-14-2013: Adding video showing how it works. Project was WIP in the video, but demonstrates functionality.

    Last edited by JakeSoft; 02-15-2013 at 10:03 PM.

  2. #2

    Default

    This is very impressive work. With that said, there are advanced soundboards which can basically allow you to dial in any color you want, and even have different colors for different sound fonts. No tons of switches, or pots necessary.
    TCSS MODERATOR
    All n00bs READ these first (PLEASE)!!!:
    1. Forum Guidelines
    2. FJK’s “Down and Dirty” guide to Ohm’s Law

    "Yeah, yeah, I've heard it all before... you want blindingly bright, super loud, running 1138 blinkies off of the cheapest sound card you can find AND you want all of it to run on a battery the size of a dime, and run for a very, VERY long time. That one cracks me up every time..."
    My email: fjk_tcss@yahoo.com

  3. #3

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    Yeah, I've seen those boards. Very cool stuff. A little pricey, though. I kinda wanted to see how far I could get with my own design anyway and I already had the Nano.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by JakeSoft View Post
    Yeah, I've seen those boards. Very cool stuff. A little pricey, though. I kinda wanted to see how far I could get with my own design anyway and I already had the Nano.
    No one EVER said that this would be a "cheap" hobby.
    TCSS MODERATOR
    All n00bs READ these first (PLEASE)!!!:
    1. Forum Guidelines
    2. FJK’s “Down and Dirty” guide to Ohm’s Law

    "Yeah, yeah, I've heard it all before... you want blindingly bright, super loud, running 1138 blinkies off of the cheapest sound card you can find AND you want all of it to run on a battery the size of a dime, and run for a very, VERY long time. That one cracks me up every time..."
    My email: fjk_tcss@yahoo.com

  5. #5

    Default

    No one EVER said that this would be a "cheap" hobby.
    You got that right! LOL

    As I gain more confidence, I may try a later build with one of those high-end sound boards. They do look sweet.
    Last edited by JakeSoft; 02-13-2013 at 07:10 AM.

  6. #6

    Default

    Congrats! That's a very cool project you put together. I'm always happy to see people in this hobby that invent their own solutions to their problems (and then share how they did it) because that's what makes our hobby grow. Keep it up!
    We all have to start somewhere. The journey is all the more impressive by our humble beginnings.

    http://led.linear1.org/1led.wiz for the lazy man's resistor calculator!
    http://forums.thecustomsabershop.com...e-to-Ohm-s-Law for getting resistor values the right way!

  7. #7

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by forgetful jedi knight View Post
    No one EVER said that this would be a "cheap" hobby.
    NOW they tell me....
    The lightsaber hilt is capable of producing a blade of pure energy. The lightsaber hilt has proven to be completely safe. The saber blade however has not. Do not touch the operational end of the saber blade. Do not look directly at the operational end of the saber blade. Do not immerse the saber blade into your flesh, not even partially.

  8. #8

    Default

    Brilliant work! I love that you created your own solution for color-changing... really brings in that feel of a Jedi/Sith creating your own weapon. "Your skills are complete"!

    As a student in a software dev degree track, I'm intrigued by your board and programming. I will have to start playing around with this kind of stuff!

  9. #9

    Default

    Dude, this is so cool. That is one beautiful saber (yes, I said beautiful), and the tech is amazing.
    Nice work, through and through.
    ~ The Yin ~

    “Yeah I’m pack’n heat! It’s to prevent anyone from making me cold.”

    For the saber building Younglings and Padawans: Basic Saber Building and The Saber Building Dictionary!

  10. #10
    Jedi Padawan Starwinder's Avatar
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    Coruscant (aka Washington, D.C.)
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    Default

    Such a cool project idea! And that hilt definitely has a practical-yet-techy look to it; very well done. I can definitely relate to the color mood swings, so i appreciate you taking on this endeavor!
    --------------------------Cadence--------------------------

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