Oct 18, 2011

Pumpkin Quartet

As promised, this is a short update on the progress of my Halloween display project. So far, I have managed to get one chip programmed using Microchip’s new MPLABX IDE, the HI-TECH C compiler, and a PicKit 2. I haven’t ever actually programmed a microcontroller with C before and MPLABX is still in beta so it took some time to get familiar with setting up even a basic LED flash program (mostly due to the fact that I don’t entirely know what I am doing). At the moment I am only running simple timing loops to control the animations, but I hope to get more functionality in the next couple weeks. My plan is to hardcode an animation sequence into the micros as a backup  in case I can’t get my additional features built in before Halloween. We will see how things go.

Now for some pictures. Below are three pictures of the pumpkins as they look right now. I found four faces online (since no one gave me any suggestions) that I more or less copied for my own use. The pumpkins themselves are hollow, but the foam walls were actually about half an inch thick in certain areas so getting a decent pattern out of them takes some effort. I am pretty happy with the way they turned out though.

My color choices below aren’t final yet. I am still experimenting with colors and suggestions from friends so leave comments if you have suggestions. The colors are kind of hard to make out in the photos, but they look much better in person. From left to right they are: green, red, white, and blue.

Since these will be outside in the dark I took a night shot too. One thing I am pretty proud of is how even the light looks inside the pumpkins. I found some diffusers at our local Michaels that I think will really work well in the final project. There will be more to come on these in my final bill of materials.

That’s all that I’ve got for this update. I am going to start working out some lighting patterns and planning out their timing with an Excel spreadsheet for event scheduling. In the interest of open source, I will post all the materials I used to create the final project once I wrap things up.


Joel Ryan said...

Looks really good dude. The design is clean and the lighting looks evenly dispersed. I like the range of emotions as well.

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