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NeoPixel Ring and Crazyflie

February 12, 2014 Benjamin Gray

This was performed a wee while ago but I didn't get around to writing it up, having intending to revisit the "project".

We had two new products in stock the 16 LED NeoPixel Ring and the CrazyFlie Nano Copter and decided that combining them would make them exponentially better, just like people once did with Coke-a-cola and aspirin.

The CrazyFlie can reportedly carry a payload of 5-10g so we knew that we'd have to be careful, the NeoPixel ring is a good 3.03g already and I'm not sure the trinket or gemma had even hit the scene yet. Good thing we carry a stock of SMD ATTiny85s

We programmed them via the Arduino IDE using a prototype version of our AVRISP Shield and this great instructable and went about "dead bugging" them to the back of the NeoPixel Ring

We wired up the ground, Vcc and Data wires to the pixel ring and were able to get it running ok on about 5V, but this is where we hit a brick wall. We wanted to run it on the the internal battery of the CrazyFlie. A tiny lipo that runs at 4,2V. We just couldn't get it to switch on below 5V. Stumped we opted for a tethered test flight.

Sorry these were filmed as Vines and are therefore 6 second long vertical videos!

It did fly, but like a total dog. Already quite bummed out by the failure with the batteries I didn't spend much time balancing the quadcopter and ring combo which no doubt would have helped. I uploaded the vine and pinged it over to Adafruit, they tweeted and blogged it so I was happy and the project was shelved. I was curious about the battery though and asked about it on the first wearables show, Becky said that there was no problem with NeoPixels and Lipos so again I was stumped and more serious tasks took over the frontal lobe!

However since I've had a play with the Gemma, Lipos and NeoPixels it turns out that you nerf them down to a lower brightness, they therefore need less to get started and you can run them from a battery! When we get the CrazyFlie back in stock I'll recreate the "experiment".




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