Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Advent Christmas Lights


I went to put our regular Christmas lights out and found that only half the LED's were lighting up so for a quick win I put up my 5m long strip of 300 neopixels instead. It instantly added colour and excitement but it rapidly turned into it's own project when I added a real time clock to turn the lights off at night.  I realised that by adding a different flash pattern each day I would have Advent Christmas lights. The system counts down to midnight and shows special animations for the occassion and it also turns the lights off permanently on the twelfth night


The setup up is very simple, an Arduino nano is connected to a Real Time clock and a string of neopixels and driven from a 5V 4A power supply. The code is included below but in brief, each animation follows a series of rules
  • Animations that are based on a single 'brightness' value so the patterns can be dimmed. 
  • Animations are intended to be 'non blocking' so the arduino can be used for other things at the same time (partial success with that). 
  • Animations are based on the number of LED's so by changing the constant a shorter or longer string can be used easily.

The software is all based upon the FastLED animation library, you will need to download this before the code will compile. (Code here)