DIY LED Spinning Display

Introduction

When you were born, you were given a name by your creators. It is this name that you now carry throughout life, using it as an introduction to other social groups. Your name is a reason why you exist and this is why you should do whatever it takes to keep your name alive. Wouldn’t it be amazing if there was a DIY device that allowed you to display your name to the world? Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a DIY kit that’ll light up in a spinning motion to showcase your name with bright LEDs?! It’s now possible with our DIY LED Spinning Display kit!

The DIY LED Spinning display is more than just a helicopter like contraption. It does more! It spins in a circular motion that can not only be programmed to show your name, but also be programmed to broadcast any message out there! We’ve never had a kit like this before and we’re really excited to share this with you!

Overview

The goal of this project is to intertwine LEDS across a board that can be programmed to spin in a manufactured way. The beauty about this project is it allows to write your name, someone else’s name, or a message and watch it go from nothing, to something, in a matter of seconds. Remember, the LEDs light only when you want the message to be seen. You have full control! Lastly, if you ever forget your name or want to remember something important, you can always program your message in the kit. ūüėÄ

This is not the most difficult project in terms of engineering or skill. By following the directions you should be able to get it working without an issue because there isn‚Äôt much solder connections. Everything else is going to take time. But, as I tell every builder: “yard by yard, is hard… but inch by inch, is a cinch!” Be patient on this one because it’s worth every second! Good luck! Don’t forget to write your thoughts, questions, and other fun things in the comments section below (the forum).

Materials

Here are the items you’ll need:

Tools you will need

  • Soldering Iron with Solder
  • Hot Glue
  • Wire Cutter
  • Wire Stripper

Tools that will help

  • Helping Hands

Beginner

  • 1 x Acrylic
  • 1 x Battery Holder (2 x AA)
  • 1 x Battery Holder (CR-2032)
  • 1 x CR-2032 Battery
  • 1 x 3V Micro Motor
  • 1 x 8-Pin DIP holder
  • 1 x Pre-programmed ATtiny45
  • 2 x slide switch
  • 5 x 3mm red LEDs
  • Wires

Hobbyist

  • 1 x Acrylic
  • 1 x Battery Holder (2 x AA)
  • 1 x Battery Holder (CR-2032)
  • 1 x CR-2032 Battery
  • 1 x 3V Micro Motor
  • 1 x 28-Pin DIP holder
  • 1 x Pre-programmed ATMega8
  • 2 x slide switch
  • 2 x momentary switch
  • 5 x ¬†3mm yellow LEDs
  • Wires

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Beginner Assembly Instructions

Acrylic)  Remove the film from both sides of the acrylic.

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LED)  Next, separate the leads of the LEDs as shown.  M
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povb5HOT GLUE)  Using hot glue, glue the LEDs onto one side of the acrylic.  Make sure the longer length of each LED points left.
povb6 povb78-Pin DIP Holder & Switch)  Next, bend the pins on the DIP holder and glue it and a slide switch onto the other end of the acrylic (away from the LEDs).
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povb10The DIP holder’s semi-circle should be pointing¬†towards the edge of the acrylic.
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CR-2032 Battery Holder)  Hot glue the CR-2032 battery holder onto the acrylic next to the slide switch and DIP holder.

At this point we won’t be needing the hot glue so just unplug it for now, ¬†we’ll reuse it in later steps.
povb12Grounding LEDs)  Bend the shorter leads of the LEDs and wrap it behind the acrylic.
povb13

Then solder all five of the leads together, we’ll call this the LED’s ground.
povb14While we’re at it, bend the longer leads of the LEDs and wrap it around the acrylic then use a wire cutter to cut the excess wires to prevent it from shorting with the other side.
povb15Next, solder a piece of wire from the battery’s negative to the LED’s ground.
povb16Battery to Switch) Solder the positive side of the battery holder onto the slide switch as shown.
povb17Switch to DIP Holder) ¬†Then solder a piece of wire to pin 8 of the holder to the slide switch’s center.
povb18Battery to DIP Holder)  Solder a piece of wire from the negative side of the battery to pin 4 of the DIP.
povb19LEDs to DIP Holder)  Solder a piece of wire from the outermost LED to pin 5 of the DIP holder.
povb20Solder a piece of wire from the second LED (second from the outermost LED) to pin 6 of the DIP Holder.
povb21Solder a piece of wire from the third LED to pin 7 of the DIP Holder.
povb22Solder a piece of wire from the fourth LED to pin 2 of the DIP Holder.

povb25Solder a piece of wire from the fifth LED to pin 3 of the DIP Holder.
povb26Testing) ¬†Now that we’re done with the wiring, insert the ATtiny45 and CR-2032 batteries into their holders and flip the switch.

If the lights are blinking move onto the next step, if not check your connections for shorts, opens, orientation of the ATtiny (pin 1 should be pointing outwards), and the battery’s positive side should be facing up.
povb27

Balancing)  Next, balance the acrylic by placing a pencil any narrow hard object near the center of the acrylic.  Move the acrylic left and right until you find the balance point of the acrylic.
povb28Motor)  Once you found that center point place hot-glue on the underside of the acrylic and carefully drive the motor into the glue.

Also keep in mind not to use too much glue or you’ll glue the actual motor onto it, we just want the motor shaft to be inside the glue.
povb292 x AA Battery Holder) ¬†Solder the battery’s holder red wire to the motor as shown. ¬†Also, solder a piece of wire from the other lead of the motor to a slide switch.

Then solder the black wire from the battery to that switch.
povb30Motor to Battery Holder) ¬†At this point the hot glue on the motor’s shaft should be dry. ¬†Gently pull it out of the acrylic and glue the motor onto the AA battery holder as well as the motor’s switch.

Insert two AA batteries and flip the switch. ¬†If the motor fails to start check ¬†your soldering connections at the motor’s lead as well as the slide switch. ¬†(Motor should be connected to center lead of switch and battery holder should be soldered to either remaining leads).
povb31DONE) ¬†If your motor is tested working, insert the motor’s shaft back into the glue in the acrylic.

First turn the switch on for the LEDs, then turn the switch on for the motor.
povb32

 

 

Hobbyist Assembly Instructions

Acrylic)  Remove the film from both sides of the acrylic.

povh2povh3

LED)  Next, separate the leads of the LEDs as shown.

povh4 povh5

HOT GLUE)  Using hot glue, glue the LEDs onto one side of the acrylic.  Make sure the longer length of each LED points left.povh8 povh7

Components on Acrylic) Next, flatten the pins from the 28-pin DIP holder and the momentary switches.  Then hot glue the DIP holder, the momentary switches, the slide switch and the CR-2032 battery holder onto the piece of acrylic.

After completing this step, we won’t be using the hot glue until later instructions so for safety reasons, turn off or unplug your hot glue.

povh9

 

Grounding LEDs)  Bend the shorter leads of the LEDs and wrap it behind the acrylic.
povh10

Then solder all five of the leads together, we’ll call this the LED’s ground.
While we’re at it, bend the longer leads of the LEDs and wrap it around the acrylic then use a wire cutter to cut the excess wires to prevent it from shorting with the other side.

povh11

Next, solder a piece of wire from the battery’s negative to the LED’s ground.

povh12

Grounding DIP Holder)  Solder a piece of wire from the negative end of the CR-2032 battery holder to pin 8 of the DIP Holder.

povh13

Grounding momentary buttons)  Solder a piece of wire from the negative end of the CR-2032 battery to one of the momentary switches as shown.

povh14

Next, solder a piece of wire between the two momentary switches as shown.

povh15

Power switch)  Solder a piece of wire between the positive end of the CR-2032 battery holder to the center of the slide switch as shown.

povh16

Next, solder a piece of wire from one of the other leads of the slide switch to pin 7 of the DIP holder.

povh17

Button Pins)  Solder a piece of wire from pin 12 of the DIP holder to the edge-most momentary switch as shown.

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Solder a piece of wire from pin 14 to the second momentary switch as shown.

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LED to DIP Holder)  Solder the first LED to pin 19 of the DIP holder.

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Solder the second LED to pin 17 of the DIP holder.

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Solder the third LED to pin 15 of the DIP holder.

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Solder the fourth LED to pin 6 of the DIP holder.

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Solder the last LED to pin 4 of the DIP holder.

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Testing)  Insert the Atmega8 and CR-2032 battery and turn the switch on.

If the LEDs fail to light up check the following:

No bridges, shorts, or opens.

LED shorter leads should be grounded.

Battery positive is facing upwards.

ATmega8 pin 1 should be pointing left (as shown below).

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Center Point/Motor)  It is important that our circuitry and LED is well balanced.  (Meaning wherever we glue the motor neither side should be tilting as shown below)

Once we have found the center point, add hot glue until it forms a dome-like shape. ¬†Then insert the motor’s shaft directly into it.

Also keep in mind not to use too much glue or you’ll glue the actual motor onto it, we just want the motor shaft to be inside the glue.

povh26

 

 

2 x AA Battery Holder)  Once the glue for the motor shaft dries, gently pull it out of the glue.

Next, solder the battery’s holder red wire to the motor as shown. ¬†Then solder a piece of wire from the other lead of the motor to a slide switch. ¬†Then solder a¬†wire from the battery to that switch.

povh27

Motor to Battery Holder) ¬†Glue the motor onto the AA battery holder as well as the motor’s switch.

Insert two AA batteries and flip the switch. ¬†If the motor fails to start check ¬†your soldering connections at the motor’s lead as well as the slide switch. ¬†(Motor should be connected to center lead of switch and battery holder should be soldered to either remaining leads).

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Testing) ¬†Once we have determined both motor and circuitry works, re-insert the motor’s shaft back into the harden glue.

Turn the LEDs on.

Turn the motor on.

povh29 povh30

Resources

Arduino Code:
POV Beginner
POV Hobbyist


  • Wasa

    Have my kit, but no instruction. (sad face)

  • Wasa

    Hope no one took my last post serious. That said, is there an ETA on the instructions?
    Sorry, it’s just that I’ve actually been looking at quite a few POV items of recent, so I’m
    a bit overly excited about this kit in particular.

    • Joshua Post

      When it is ready, the directions will be released. Until then, it is anyone’s guess.

      • Wasa

        Thanks Joshua.

    • Joshua Post

      The full directions are published and the kits should be on their way if you haven’t received it already

  • sajal saraswat

    hello sir
    actually i am building the laser tripwire ( hobbyist ) but having problem with connecting ldr , buzzer and power .can you please help

    • Joshua Post

      Can you post more details of your problem and pictures to the laser tripwire project page please?

      • sajal saraswat

        actually i followed the instructions but hobbyist instruction does not include how to connect LDR, power and audio. so i took help from beginner instructions but its not working. and sorry but i can’t provide photos because my camera is not that good and here is night right now so i will upload photos as soon as possible. Till then can you please help me with connections of these 3.

        • Joshua Post

          Please post on the Laser Tripwire project page, so all relevant discussion can be centralized there.
          I’m not sure what you mean by LDR, but I know there are some comments on that page about the audio connection, some provided by me, and power should be as well.

  • hiro

    The arduno code doc is an AutoCAD file. How do I get it to open?

    • Joshua Post

      .INO is also a default extension for Arduino files, so you can save it and open it with the Arduino software or any text editor if you just want to view it.
      https://www.arduino.cc/en/Main/Software

  • Gheorghe Ciobanu

    Awesome Kit! Loved building it, and it came out great! One of the best kits so far! ūüôā
    Keep up the good work, KipKay!

    Here are some images, I was also able to put my name on it, “Gheorghe”!

    http://i.imgur.com/a/SzsDF

    • David Fries

      Nicely done, and good captures of it in action, thanks for posting. Did you change the code, or did you just use the buttons to change the word?

      • Gheorghe Ciobanu

        Thanks David!

        I used the buttons to change the message, I want to change it in the chip, but I’m not sure how.

        I’ve looked online and it said that I need to connect the chip to an arduino. That’ll be for another project. ūüôā

    • Joshua Post

      Great job and the pictures look good to.

  • Eriberto Soto

    sorry if i missed it but, what does the buttons do?

    • Joshua Post

      On the hobbyist kit, it allows you to change the message displayed. Once to change the character displayed and one to change to the next character in the string.

    • Gheorghe Ciobanu

      Like Joshua has said, you can change the message that is displayed.

      With the lower button you change the letter from A to B to C to D and so on..

      And with the top button you change the character, from the first character to the second and third, and so on until the eight character.

      The default massage is “AWESOME!” to change that to “KIPKAY!!”, for example you would press the lower button until the “A” turns into “K”. Then press the top button to go to the next letter which is “W”, then press the lower button until the “W” turns into “I”. Then press the top button again to go to the third character, “E”, and press the lower button until “E” turns into “P”.
      And so on until you’ve changed all eight characters.

      I don’t know if that makes sense, but you’ll understand once you start to fiddle with it for a while.

      Or you can just change the code of the chip, (if you have the necessary resources)

  • Pyers Easton

    One of my LEDs burnt out what exact one do I need to replace it

  • David Fries

    Here’s some pictures of my working finished kit. One of the LEDs wasn’t working, so I swapped it out for a yellow, but working one I had available. The biggest modification was adding a resistor to each LED as I read 56 mA with one LED, that’s more current than a single ATmega8 port is supposed to source. With a 56 Ohm resistor per LED, now they take about 10 mA, they will be a little dimmer, but take much less power. I expected the button cell to not last very long, but the motor gets warm pretty quickly, is that what anyone else sees?

    • Gheorghe Ciobanu

      My motor got warm quickly as well.

      But the DC motor has two windows (vents, I believe) and you have positioned them towards the battery pack where they can’t ventilate. I don’t know if that’ll change anything, since I’ve done the same with mine.

  • Juan Augusto Melgar Rondon

    Great proyect, but I have a little problem, everything is well, but I think the motor is too fast, when I put my finger to put it slow, It works, does it going to change? I think is because the batteries are full

    • David Fries

      The problem is this kit doesn’t have any kind of a position sensor. There’s no way for it to know how fast the arm is going or where in the sweep it is to start the message at the same location each time around. Yes the speed will depend on the charge of the AA batteries and it will slow as they drain. The source code is available, so you could get it closer by adjusting the delay values and reprogramming the microcontroller with that.

      • Joshua Post

        What about adding a small potentiometer to slow the motor down and be able to adjust as the battery level changes?

        • David Fries

          The first time I read it I was thinking of putting the trim potentiometer on the microcontroller and using that to adjust a delay value (modifying the code as well). It’s still open loop, but you could get it closer.

          Now as far as putting it between the battery and the motor, I’m not so sure about. I found a 100 Ohm trimpot, that power rating is 0.1W, given how warm it gets I expect it is taking more power than that. I found a bigger one rated at 1/2W, which still doesn’t seem like enough, but I didn’t measure how much current it is taking. It would be the easier solution if it could handle it, and you can adjust it while it is spinning to fine tune it.

          • Juan Augusto Melgar Rondon

            I decided to reprogram to change the value of the delay, I have and arduino board, buy I don’t not what to do whit the atmega8 of the proyect, what I need to do?

      • Juan Augusto Melgar Rondon

        I’ll try to reprogram, I have an arduino board so, What I need to do in order to change the delay? I tried to put the atmega8 in the arduino board and launch the code, but It’s send me an error

        • David Fries

          Did you download the source code? Look for calls like delay, they are given a number and you can change the value. What error are you getting? If you post it maybe someone can help you, I don’t have any of the Arduino boards. You do need to specify the specific chip if it differs from the one that was in the Arduino to start with.

        • Joshua Post

          The Atmega8 isn’t the regular chip for an Arduino board. If you look in the videos section for one about programming an Arduino I believe there is a link for a custom Boards file that has the changes needed for the beginner Kipduino. I think replacing the file on your computer with that and then telling the Arduino IDE about the custom board will let you upload code.

  • David Fries

    I reworked my POV Display kit, now with 7 LEDs (still using resistors, otherwise it draws more current than a pin is rated for), Hall Effects sensor, magnet, SPI program header, and software written from scratch. Compared to the previous post my wires just multiplied, but now the message starts at the same point and it has a long line scroll effect. Here are some pictures and a video of it in action.

  • Joshua Post

    Here is a video from another Youtube channel “Smarter Every Day” that talks about Persistence of Vision like is used in this project:

  • Tanmay Ghodmare

    Can we replace AtMega 8 with AtMega328p? I can’t buy AtMega 8

    • David Fries

      Yes the ATmega328 has the same pin arrangement. You’ll need a way to program the chip and an ISP Programmer if you get one without the arduino bootloader.

    • Joshua Post

      It would require significant work to reprogram the chip and set the fuse bits, but it would be possible.

      • David Fries

        No different than buying an ATmega8 that wasn’t already flashed for this project.

        • Joshua Post

          This project runs on 3v instead of the normal 5v plus no oscillator. Doesn’t that take some additional work to configure from a standard atmega?

          • David Fries

            The Brown Out Detector is the only setting for voltage and the factory default fuse settings have it disabled. From the data sheet the required voltage is mostly a function of the system clock speed, and ATmega328P lists 2.7V for up to 10 MHz, not a problem for this project. The factory default settings don’t require an external crystal. “The device is shipped with internal RC oscillator at 8.0MHz and with the fuse CKDIV8 programmed, resulting in 1.0MHz system clock.” If he buys one fused for an external crystal he would have to attach one to change it back to the internal RC oscillator, but that would be the same case for the ATmega8 or ATmega328.

  • Matthew

    I took a look at the code for the hobbyist and bigginer kit but I don’t fully understand how to set your own word(s). It is probably easy but I am very new to arduino so I would appreciate it if some one could help me out. Thanks!ūüėÄ

    • David Fries

      Are you referring to using the two push buttons? One button will select the next letter in the word, the other will select the next letter in the alphabet.

      • Matthew

        What do you mean? Do you have to reprogram the atmega8 to change the word(s) or can you do it with the buttons?

        • Joshua Post

          You can do it right from the assembled kit without reprogramming the chip 1 Power on the kit
          2 stop the kit from spinning
          3 pressing one button will change the letter displayed in the first position. If it was A, then pressing it twice would change it to C 4 the other button changes to the next position. Then press the other button to change which letter is displayed in that position. 5 repeat, changing the position and the letter
          Let the project spin up to see what the current letters are in each position. Stop from spinning and use the buttons to adjust.
          I don’t believe this project writes the changes to the Atmega, so if you power it all the way down, you’ll have to change the message from the default again.
          You could remove the chip and reprogram it with new code, but it isn’t necessary since you can do it from the completed project.

          • Matthew

            Thanks for the help!

  • Pam Rissmann

    I have the beginner kit which doesn’t include the buttons for changing the letters. Can I augment it with the buttons or do I have to purchase the hobbyist kit in order to get the button-programming functionality?

    • Joshua Post

      I assume the code programmed into the chip is different although I don’t know they for certain. The code is on the site so you could reprogram it with an Arduino and wire up the buttons or just change the message before uploading new code.

  • Marc Espina

    What is the difference with the kit that contains the ATTiny45 and ATMEGA8?

    • David Fries

      If you look at the material list the hobbyist ATmega8 version contains two push buttons (momentary switch) used to change the message, which the beginner ATtiny45 doesn’t contain. The hobbyist microcontroller can also be programmed by putting it into some of the Arduino boards, while I expect there are less people who have the hardware to program an ATtiny45.

  • Tejas Shah

    Which Type of board is needed to reprogram the ATMega8.

  • Tejas Shah

    On which pins of the ATMega8 are the rest of the connections made