LED Thingie, Done


(The toggle switch above the handle is for silencing the speaker.)

Troubleshooting the LED matrix was fairly simple and the problem was probably just a very small solder bridge across two pins on the main shield board. Everything else was just a matter of gluing the LEDs in place in the tube so they wouldn’t get pushed out of the holes by accident, and then using vinyl tape to try to make it look a little better. The result is a clumsy-looking candy cane. As mentioned last time, if all you have is a cutter knife and a cardboard roll, you can’t expect much.

(Muzzle, with the yellow LED string and piezoelectric speaker.)

The size of the Japanino plus shield caused the handle to become much larger than I would have liked. If I was doing this as a commercial product, I’d want all the LEDs on a flexible sheet that I could roll up into a tube, and have the circuitry minimized to fit on a corner of the sheet, then run a small connector to the switches and battery pack. The handle would only contain 3 AA or AAA batteries. If I ever get a 3D printer, I’ll try this again.

(Inside view of the handle, with Japanino and battery pack.)

On the other hand, though, this was a proof-of-concept project, and on that count it was a success. The “blaster” functions look pretty cool, although the speaker is too quiet. I’d want a stronger speaker and a transistor amp driver. The trigger switch is the simple leaf switch from the original Japanino POV kit. I wrote code so that if the battery is turned on while the trigger is held down, the blaster goes into flashlight mode. The little yellow LEDs at the muzzle put out a lot of light.

(Trigger switch.)

Now that it’s built, I have it propped up against the wall and I use it like a flashier version of a lava lamp.

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