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Interactive Christmas Tree – DipCortex + WS2812B

It being almost Christmas I decided to decorate the family tree with some RGB LEDs but I wanted a bit more fun for myself and my two-year old daughter. So I used addressable RGB LED strip driven with a DipCortex. Which lets us set any LED on the strip to any colour.

To provide some interactivity I added a set of Red,Green and Blue arcade buttons. I set them up so my daughter can walk up to the tree and set off a colour, or mix of colours, spinning up the tree. Which as well as entertaining has been fun watching her mix the colours and shout out their names.

DipCortex-ArcadeButton-Tree-Controller

Huge box for the huge buttons and the tiny DipCortex

Normally controlling a large number of LEDs requires a number of LED driver chips and lots of control lines, The strips I am using on the tree have 360 LEDs and this is all controlled via one port pin. The LEDs themselves are also very tightly packed on to the strip and this is possible because the LED driver has been embedded in to the silicon of the LED. So you end up with a small four pin device that uses two pins for power, one for communication in and the last for communication out.

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WiFi DipCortex Sold Out

As most of you have realised the Wifi DipCortex has sold out! We are busy organising the next production run, components are on order hopefully production will begin just before Christmas. With the aim of them being available for sale in January. If you want to make sure you get your hands on one please let us know via the out of stock form. As soon as they go on sale you will be notified first.

Also from the 23rd of December to the 3rd of Jan orders may be delayed while we enjoy Christmas with our families. We will endeavor to ship any orders received during this period as soon as we can.

Thank you again for your support.

Getting Started With The DipCortex

DipCortex’s have begun to arrive around the world over the last week we have fulfilled orders going to every continent. So the first question is how do you use it! which means getting your own compiled code on to it. The DipCortex uses a mass storage boot loader (acts like a memory stick) that is built in to the processor. To activate it you hold the boot button while plugging in a USB cable connected to a PC or hold the boot button while resetting it. The DipCortex then appears as a new drive on your PC, to change the firmware delete the firmware.bin, replace it with your own and reset it. Once reset it will then start executing your new code.

DipCortex Mass Storage Boot Loader

Writing code for the first time for a new device has a learning curve, starting off small is a good first step and one of the simplest things you can do with any micro controller is use it’s GPIO. For that we have a guide and a video which will get you up to speed with controlling the GPIO using LPCxpresso. Using mbed is even easier as they add a HAL (hardware abstraction layer) that makes controling any mbed supported platforms GPIO the same, this example shows you how to toggle the LEDs.

Moving on from there we have a growing list of examples on our mbed page which include using the USB connection as a serial port and streaming ADC data to the PC. For those of you with a WiFi DipCortex we have a large demo that shows you how to connect the CC3000 module to a network and implement UDP, TCP, NTP, HTTP Get, HTTP Put and Websocket. I hope to create a few more specific demo’s next to show you how you might create your next internet connected device.

Our forum also has more info, FAQ’s and links to other examples. Also drop us a message and let us know what your making, we will try to help where we can and show off your project on the blog as well.

At the end of the week we hope to release the remaining stock to people who have pre-ordered after the release of the first batch and those that filled in the stock request form. It does look like we will need to order another batch which is very good news!

The wait is almost over

DipCortex

Today was a good day, our long-awaited DipCortex’s have arrived! We are busy testing the batch and running each one through our test rig to check every function works as required. To make them a bit easier to tell apart each has a different PCB colour. Red for the WiFi DipCortex, blue for the DipCortex M3 and green for the DipCortex M0. For those of you that have pre-ordered you will be getting an email inviting you to complete your purchase very soon.

Update : All pre-orders received before the 26th Oct should have an email inviting them to complete their order