I finally got around to updating the BlinkMuino guide for turning your BlinkM, BlinkM MinM, or BlinkM MaxM into a tiny ATtiny85 or ATtiny84 Arduino system. BlinkM boards make great tiny development boards, especially if you’re interested in driving LEDs. BlinkM MaxMs are particularly great because they have more inputs and those three beefy MOSFET power transistors. And MinMs are good because they’re super tiny, but still contain a fully-programmable computer.
Thankfully, the ArduinoISP sketch has also been updated for Arduino-1.0, meaning you can use your Arduino as an AVR-ISP programmer, like this:
Did you know you can power BlinkMs or BlinkM MinMs off two 3V coin cells? Here is a tiny 3d-printable coin cell and header socket holder for BlinkMs and BlinkM MinMs. It snaps together and has mounting holes to turn it into a pendant or mounting additional diffusors for the LEDs.
And you don’t need many parts to build it:
- one each of plastic pieces here (see the STL files on Thingiverse)
- two CR2032 3V coin cells
- one 4-pos female header socket (Digikey S7037-ND or equivalent)
- two short pieces of solid wire (old resistor leads, 26 gauge wire stripped, etc.)
1. Push the 4-pin socket into the hole until it stops. It should friction-fit in without any need for glue.
2. On the bottom, feed the two wire pieces in as shown in the photos, and solder them to the two pins on the header socket. These wires become the battery terminals.
3. Bend the wire battery terminals so they make good contact with the cells.
4. Insert coin cells, snap together top piece.
5. Insert BlinkM and watch it play its light sequence.
6. To protect the back, put a small piece of gaffers tape or similar over the terminals.
Sometimes you just want a little extra light in a room. With RGB LED tape, you can put light anywhere. But controlling its brightness and making it the color you want is a bit harder. A BlinkM MaxM can easily control LED tape, either as a stand-alone device, with an Arduino, or your computer via a LinkM. Stand-alone mode is great if you want a specific color or color pattern (the BlinkMSequencer makes this really easy) For this installation, I added a FreeM to the MaxM to let you control the light with a standard infrared TV remote control.
Another nice thing about the LED tape is that when it’s off, you can’t see where it’s installed.
Here’s a video showing how it all works.
First up is to wire up the RGB LED tape with extension wires to go from the tape to the MaxM. This is so you can hide the MaxM where ever you feel like. Cut the wires to the length you need and solder them to the LED tape and a 4-pin male header like in the photo below. Note because the LED tape switches the Red and Green lines you’ll need to switch them because MaxM’s lines go V+,R,G,B.
With that done, you should be able to hook everything up and have the MaxM drive the LED tape. The LED tape takes +12VDC. The amount of current it needs depends on the length of tape your driving. Chances are you have a 12VDC @ 1000 mA wall wart power supply from an old piece of computer gear. That should work fine.
If you want your accent light to play a constant color or color pattern, you’re now done and can place the LED tape where ever you like, like on top of a window sill. Peel off the sticker backing and stick the LED tape where it should go.
If you want to go the step further and add a FreeM to give your light a remote control, then follow the steps on the Using FreeM with BlinkM MaxM page.
But it’s really not much more than plugging the FreeM into the bottom of the MaxM.
For Maker Faire this year I made a second version of my BlinkM Cylon: BlinkM Cylon mkII. This is not a very cost-effective way of getting a Cylon effect. It however is a good way of showing how to wire up multiple BlinkMs with a long cable, using our new WireM cabling kit for BlinkM. And unlike normal Cylon circuits, this has full RGB color effects and gradual fading.
Here’s a quick video showing it in action.
BlinkM Cylon mkII consists of:
- 13 BlinkMs (one for each of the tribes of Kobol)
- one WireM cabling kit for BlinkM, consisting of IDC connectors and ribbon cable
- an Arduino
- two 4.7k resistors
- a single push-button
- 9VDC wall wart to power it all.
- laser cut acrylic enclosure
Below are all the files needed to recreate your own BlinkM Cylon. Click any of the images for larger versions.
Did you know you can run Arduino programs on tiny BlinkM Smart LEDs? It might make BlinkM the smallest Arduino so far. To use a BlinkM as an Arduino, all you need is the free Arduino software, a low-cost AVR programmer, some wire, and a BlinkM.
While FreeM is mostly designed to work with BlinkMs and MinMs, it can be made to work with MaxMs. FreeM cannot supply the power that MaxMs need (250mA and FreeM can only supply up to 100mA), but there are other ways. One way to do it is to power the FreeM from the MaxM’s built-in 5V power supply.
To do this, get a MaxM, a FreeM, a small scrap of wire, and a 12VDC power supply.
Remove the “pwrsel” jumper and wrap the small piece of wire around all three pins of the “pwrsel” jumper. Then plug the FreeM into the bottom of the MaxM and plug in the 12VDC power supply to the MaxM.
The MaxM will power the FreeM and the FreeM will control the MaxM.
You can also now control other LED clusters like flexible RGB LED tape.