Archive | FastLED

FastLED Support Q&A

I’ve made a LOT of mistakes over the past couple of years, and thought I’d pass along some of the things I’ve seen and done.

Q. Where’s the documentation?

A. FastLED Documentation is located at:

http://fastled.io/docs/3.1/modules.html

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Dusting off the Arduino Cobwebs

As you get older, it takes a bit of time to get back up to speed on things. In this case, I hadn’t been programming the Arduino with the FastLED display library for a few months and I started to get back into it. When I last left, I’d standardized and documented my wiring colours, pinouts and to use either the Arduino Nano or the Pro Micro. So far so good, as it was all nicely laid out for me.

I had a spare Nano kicking around, so I attached it to my USB port, started up the Arduino 1.6.3 IDE and loaded a basic FastLED program. The Nano was recognized as a Com port in the IDE (so I didn’t have clone FTDI issues to contend with), checked the code and started to program it. Despite several attempts, the code never did upload so I put the Nano aside.

Next, I got out a previously used Pro Micro and I immediately encountered driver issues with it. Remembering that I had to use Leonardo drivers, I fiddled around for half an hour with drivers, but never did get it recognized correctly. Let’s toss that aside as well.

Finally, I opened up a brand new Pro Micro, installed it, and saw that it was immediately recognized. At that point, I threw out the Nano and the first Pro Micro (I’m not very sentimental). I then programmed it up, and . . . nothing happened. I re-checked the wiring and the code a couple of times, and again, no LED’s. I then added some debug code for the serial monitor and saw that the Pro Micro was indeed being programmed correctly. I then triple checked the wiring and saw that I’d soldered part of the insulation to the data pin and had no connection. After the insulation was removed and the connection re-soldered, I tried again, but alas, no lights. Things weren’t going well today.

I checked the wiring thoroughly and saw (barely) that the data wire was also sliced halfway down its length, so I cut the wiring below the slice and then soldered that to the Pro Micro. At long last, the LED’s came on as expected and I’m now back (tentatively) in the FastLED environment.

Moral of the story: Check everything. Several times.

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Getting FastLED help

The FastLED community is on Google+.

Before asking the community for support, please remember that they need a reasonable amount of information in order to help. Depending on the issue, here’s some important details to include:

  • What kind of LED’s you’re using.
  • What microcontroller board you’re using.
  • What version of the FastLED library you’re using.
  • What version of Arduino IDE you’re using.
  • What OS you’re building from.
  • A circuit diagram/layout (try using Fritzing to show it).
  • A copy of your .ino file (copy it to www.pastebin.com or gist.github.com).
  • Essentially, give us EVERYTHING in excruciating detail.
  • Provide specifics on how/where it’s all being powered up.
  • That would be pins, voltages, power supply used. . . every . . single . . wire.
  • Try and remove all the superfluous code and minimize the amount of code that exhibits the issue.
  • Oh, and triple check EVERYTHING. Again!
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Costing a FastLED Display Locally

Here’s an approximate cost breakdown if I were to head into some local electronics stores to purchase components for my portable displays:

Miscellaneous items include zip tie, solder, a few sizes of heat shrink tubing.

Then there’s my labour at a minimum of $40/hr and it takes about 45 minutes to build one.

Oh, did I mention all the time I spent learning/developing the coding and techniques?

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