Control the Bicycle Traffic Signal with a Particle Photon

Control the bicycle traffic signal over Wi-Fi using a Particle Photon.

Control the bicycle traffic signal over Wi-Fi using a Particle Photon.

In the first post in this series, we built a miniature LED bicycle traffic signal using 3D printing, laser cutting, a sticker, and an Adafruit Neopixel Jewel. In this post, we’ll look at bringing the signal to life using a Particle Photon. We’ll start with basic code to blink the traffic signal green, yellow, and red then add code to control the color over the web using the Particle Cloud or locally using an iPad and the Art-Net protocol.

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Build a Mini LED Bicycle Traffic Signal

Completed bicycle traffic signal cycling through traditional traffic light colors.

Completed bicycle traffic signal cycling through traditional traffic light colors. This is the older, narrower version of the hood.

This is the first in a series of posts describing how to build a Wi-Fi enabled bicycle traffic signal. In this first part, we’ll go over the required parts, using a 3D printing and laser cutting service to build the needed mechanical components, and assembling the traffic signal. In the second and third posts, we’ll connect the bicycle traffic signal to a Particle Photon and Adafruit Feather M0 Wi-Fi respectively to enable the traffic signal to be controlled via Wi-Fi. In the final post, we’ll build our own control electronics, add a small base to house the new electronics, and expand the signal to three lights.

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PIC16F1459 USB Stack Light Controller

    PIC16F1459-based USB industrial stack light controller. Looks pretty but will it work?

PIC16F1459-based USB industrial stack light controller. Looks pretty but will it work?

After using the PIC16F1459 to build numerous USB HID input devices including a giant keyboard, a tiny keyboard, and a big red button, it was time to see if the PIC16F1459 could be used to control outputs too. Sticking with the industrial theme, I chose to build a USB controller for a, um, stack of industrial stack lights.

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Homebrew DMX-Controlled RGB LED Light

Assembled homebrew DMX-controlled RGB LED light fixture.

This project is a small DMX-512 controlled, color-changing RGB LED light. The light can be controlled via the DMX512 protocol or it can run a number of built-in programs depending on how the software is configured. The light incorporates an advanced 16-bit PIC24 microcontroller with PWM capabilities, a 3D printed enclosure, a laser cut acrylic lid, a custom switching power supply, and a MEMS oscillator. The light measures roughly 2.25″ square by 1.25″ high. This light is the evolution of my RGB LED light designs that span back over a decade.

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Piggybacking USB onto an Industrial Push Button

The completed USB-connected big red button.

The completed USB-connected big red button.

In this project, I mount the electronics from my single-key USB keyboard project to the back of an industrial mushroom push button switch. The finished big red button now activates my screensaver with a single overly-large button press. The biggest issues in this project were where to mount the USB electronics and how to connect the USB cable between the button and my computer.

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Presenting the Single ESC Key USB Keyboard!

The single ESC key USB keyboard.

The single ESC key USB keyboard.

After building the “awesomely impractical” giant three-key keyboard, I decided it was time to build something a bit more practical—presenting the single ESC key USB keyboard! This keyboard has exactly one function which is to provide an optimal ESCing experience regardless of whatever keyboard you normally use. In exchange for giving up a USB port, you get a dedicated tactile, clicky Cherry MX blue ESC key.

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The November 2017 Opposition to Fort Collins Municipal Broadband

Below the fold are 14 images that sum up the nonsense we fought ($901,000 vs our $15,000) in Fort Collins to get muni broadband in 2017. Very disingenuous opposition hoping to spread profound misinformation.

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Building a Giant USB Three Key Mechanical Keyboard

The giant three key USB keyboard with an aluminum frame.

The completed giant USB three key mechanical keyboard.

After seeing this giant mechanical keyboard at Adafruit, I decided I had to build my own. Adafruit made theirs out of wood and used one of their Python-compatible microcontroller boards. I wanted a sloped top on my keyboard. I also wanted to check out what was new with Microchip’s USB device stack. I decided to build my keyboard out of aluminum and use a PIC18 microcontroller.

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An Arrow $29 FPGA Board and the 48-Segment RGB LED Bar Graph

The 48-segment RGB LED board connected to the Arrow/Trenz MAX1000 FPGA board.

The 48-segment RGB LED board connected to the Arrow/Trenz MAX1000 FPGA board.

The 48-segment RGB LED bar graph is back. In previous posts, I wrote about using a Teensy 3.2 board and a Digilent Arty board to drive the bar graph. This time I’m driving the bar graph with a $29 Arrow / Trenz Electronics MAX1000 FPGA board. This board has a small Intel / Altera MAX10 FPGA and a few peripherals on it and is more than capable of driving the bar graph too.

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February 6th Comments to Loveland City Council

These are the public comments I made to Loveland City Council on February 6 before the vote on the first reading of four ordinances concerning the building of a municipal broadband network in their city. Click through to read my comments.

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