Saturday, January 22, 2011

Arduino Lilypad - 5x8 LED Jacket (Conclusion and thoughs)

This is the third post in a 3 post set:
Arduino Lilypad - 5x8 LED Jacket (Design and Construction)
Arduino Lilypad - 5x8 LED Jacket (Software)
Arduino Lilypad - 5x8 LED Jacket (Conclusion and thoughts)

As you can probably see from the pictures, the final jacket isn't quiet what I had drawn out. In the process working on this project I learned several things:
  1. Don't mix LED colors if you want readable text. While it isn't too bad in the video, the text would have been MUCH easier to read if it wasn't swapping between blue and white a lot.
  2. 5 Bits high isn't quite enough for a nice readable font. I would try at least 6 next time, maybe 7.
  3. Conductive thread is hard to work with, or, at least the 4-ply stuff that I have is. I didn't leave enough spacing between some of the wires, and I didn't think about whether I wanted the thread on the top or the bottom of the fabric when I started. By keeping my rows on the bottom, and my columns on the top I could have gotten a better layout.
  4. Don't over commit on the first project. I decided to drop the tri-color LED and switches after I saw how difficult it is to read the text. I'd rather have the parts for the next project then attach them to this project.
  5. Finding the right needle size is hard. The larger needled, which were easy to thread kept breaking when put though the holes on the Arduino board (the eye of the needle would snap off). 
  6. The display driver code should be moved off to a interrupt handler linked to a timer, rather then being run from a super-loop in the main code.
  • Build Time: about 3 weeks (2 weekends, and several 1 to 2 hour stints on week nights).
  • Cost: about $90 total.
    • $10.00 jacket
    • $21.95 for Controller
    • $14.95 for power supply
    • $15.00 20 White LED ($0.75 * 20 = $15.00)
    • $19.80 20 Blue LED ($19.80)
    • $4 Conductive Thread ( about 30 ft from a 225 ft spool. Spool cost $30)
    • $2 Misc (needles, puff paint, etc).

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