get on the blinkm bus with a blinkm cylon

Posted on Feb 5, 2014

BlinkMs are a lot of fun by themselves, but they`re also little network devices, each having its own address on an I2C network. Here`s where I think BlinkM can really shine since it makes controlling multiple RGB LEDs pretty easy. For Maker Faire, I wanted to show off this facet by having a single Arduino control a dozen or so BlinkMs on a single

get on the blinkm bus with a blinkm cylon
Click here to download the full size of the above Circuit.

I2C bus. The result is shown in the little video below. Controlling several RGB LEDs is no small task, BlinkM makes it easier and I wanted something for Maker Faire that demonstrated how simple controlling a dozen or so RGB LEDs could be. But I also wanted something that was eye-catching from a distance and robust enough for kids to play with. Since I`ve done some Cylon stuff before, a BlinkM version of that idea could be interesting and eye-catching. I had also been building my own rotary encoders and I figured a rotary encoder could be built that was pretty cheap and yet sturdy enough for thousands of kids to play with. A pretty simple schematic. Arduino is at the heart of things, of course. It`s a good brain for a task like this. There are two main facets to this project: dealing all these BlinkMs and making huge rotary encoder knobs. BlinkMs are I2C devices. There can be up to 127 different devices on an I2C network. 1 An I2C network  or bus  consists of two wires: SDA & SCL. SDA is a bidirectional data line and SCL is a clock driven by the bus master . In this case, Arduino is the bus master and BlinkMs are all I2C slave devices. The other two wires needed by I2C devices is power (+5V) and ground (gnd). While I2C networks were not originally designed to be more than a few inches long, most I2C devices can work on I2C buses several meters in length. In this case, the total length of the I2C cable is about 1 meter (1...

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