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William Waters III - N7IPY


The Brain, and Finger Lights need to flash, and to make the project more modern, the ability to control the pattern is needed.  Below details how my design works:

With the current plan to make this robot project come alive when finished I decided to use a central embedded controller that is both processing powerful and yet simple enough to fit inside the Robot to allow both autonomous operation and remote control.  To do this I decided to use smaller cheaper sub-processors at a number of locations that could benefit from this plan.  One of these functions is the brain lights.

The brain light sub-processor can control up to 32 individual lights, be it 12 volt incandescent or 5 volt LED.  The processor can run independent of control from the main processor or in a normal operational mode, take commands from the main processor to control the light sequences.

The outputs are driven by Darlington pairs, 24 bits of which are high side switched as will be used for the LEDs and SS Lasers in the brain. The final 8 bits are low side switched as needed for the 7 finger lights as they have a common ground which is the Brain Base.  I use 2 5-volt, 1-Amp regulators to power the brain and the finger lights.  At first I used 2.47 volt bulbs but found that the normal light sequence needed over 1-Amp which was too much for the regulator, so I decided to mont High Intensity Red LEDs into the bulbs. A little skill, a lot of luck and a Dremmel tool and I was able to cut open the back side of the bulbs and insert the LED.  I am impressed on how well they work and how little power thay take.

I have added a number of Light Sequences that will be used for different phases of the robot operation.  There are currently 5 sequences; Wake-UP, Normal, Power Down, Sleeping and Anger.  Ohter sequence tables are easy to add but I could not think of any others that I want right now.

The microcontroller for the light sequencer is a Zilog Z86E08, 8-Bit processor running at 12Mhz.  It has 14 bits of programmable IO, 6 programmable hardware interrupts and 2 counter/timers.  I implemented a simple output mux to give 4 ports of 8 bits each. 

I have decided upon a simple 5 byte Serial control sequence that allows for addressing and full duplex communications with the main controller. 

The firmware is now working and the controller fully supports the 5 different light patterns:

1.  Power-Up = Short power up sequence followed by normal operating pattern

2.  Normal Mode

3.  Power Down = Sequences from normal sequence to powering down to off

4.  Sleep = Fewer lights used and shorter on times

5.  Angry = A Scanning sequence to make the robot look angry


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This is the development prototype attached to the In-Circuit-Emulator.  Notice the test LED placement to get a feel for where the final LED positions will be in the brain.
Finished Light Controller built on a custom made PCB, top view.
(Click Picture for Full Size)
Finished Light Controller, bottom view. 
(Click Picture for Full Size)
Light Controller inside the brain.

(C) 2007 - 2017  William Waters   Last Updated July, 2017