Footwell NeoPixels: The Plan

This is going to be the first big project documented from start to finish on this blog.

I recently had the the idea to put some lights in the footwells of my car, a 2008 Scion tC.  There are a variety of kits available online that use standard multicolor LED strips, but I was never fond of the options available.

For one, the control interfaces are clunky and scream ‘mod’.  Most of them use thin remotes, though a few have small control boxes attached directly to the LEDs.  I wanted a control switch that integrated into the car’s switch panel and looked like it could be OEM.

I also couldn’t find any kits that used RGBW LEDs.  The ‘white’ light produced by combining Red + Green + Blue LEDs is muddy.  I wanted something that included a true white LED.

Lastly, and most intriguing to me, is that I’ve always had a vague interest in designing a shift light that interfaced via the CAN-bus available on the car’s OBD-II port.  This seemed like the perfect opportunity to combine the two ideas.

To include all of these features, I need to design my own driver system.  If I’m going to do that, I may as well use addressable LEDs and go a bit crazy with the patterns!

Currently my plan is to prototype everything with an Arduino Uno and potentially port everything over to a Teensy 3.X for the final implementation.

Basic Project Goals:
  • Drive RGBW footwell lights with switch panel control
  • Pull vehicle telemetry via CAN
Project Features:
  • Custom button panel to control modes and brightness
  • Brightness control with visual feedback
  • Audio-intensity sensor / mode
  • Vehicle telemetry integration
  • User-configurable settings, read / saved on SD card.

These are the main goals/features, though I may add more as I go along.

I’m really excited to start working on this.  I have no regular plan for posts, but I’ll be sure to update as I make progress.

LED Light for Printrbot Simple Metal

For the inaugural post on the blog, I thought I would post a small completed project that I made awhile back.  Last year I finally purchased a 3D printer of my own – a Printrbot Simple Metal #1403.  The printer itself works fairly well, but it sorely needed a light so I could see what was going on under the extruder head.

Continue reading “LED Light for Printrbot Simple Metal”