12V RGB LED Strip

My team wants to be able to control a 12v rgb led strip on the robot this year. What would be the easiest way to do so?

Check out the CANLight from Mindsensors. Doesn’t get much easier than that.

If you’ve got them around, some extra speed controllers do a nice job. We used three spare old talon sr’s last year with one hooked to each of the different color to allow mixing st any value we wanted. Was it overkill, yes. But they would have just sat in a box otherwise.

Is there any way to use a PWM signal to control the lights?

That’s how we ran ours on talons. The SR is the old non CAN version. You could use brand new stuff, but it’s pricey. But it is fun to play with colors using joysticks as mixers.

So you did something like this?

Something like that, I remember there being some kind of issue that our electrical team had to deal with to make it work. Unfortunately I don’t remember exactly what the issue was. I feel like we only ran one wire out of each speed controller to make the ground signal work.

I would think you’d want the 12v supply to the light strip to come from your voltage source, not from the output of the motor controllers.

Whether you tap the positive or negative output of the motor controller should only affect whether whether or not you’re sending positive or negative values into the motor controller in your code. But double check your expected results with a multimeter before plugging controllers into your lights.

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What he said.

That seems overly expensive. If you’re willing to put in a bit of Arduino code, Adafruit Neopixel strips controlled by a Teensy LC work fine

They don’t have neopixels though…

I would recommend getting an Arduino and three MOSFETS: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10213

We’ve used these on several projects. They work well, though they take a bit to ship sometime. This site has a bunch of stuff at pretty reasonable prices.

You can sling an RGBW strip right off the DIO and run the 12v to a 5/10A breaker on your PDB. Write a nice little wrapper and you can do all sorts of nifty trickswith it.

Use these http://www.andymark.com/product-p/am-3010.htm

Again, you can spend over $100 on those 150 LEDs, or spend $30 (neopixel strip) + $20 (teensy LC) for 240 LEDs

Yeah, that’s fair. Especially during build season, we tend to appreciate simplicity over complication. This just works, and a few dollars won’t break us.

If you’re wanting them controllable, you’ll have to write your own communication scheme with an Arduino/Teensy, and deal with manually wiring I2C/SPI/DIO/etc. For us, this time could be spent doing something more important.

The problem with using an arduino is we wanted to be able to fade the lights on the fly. If we use an arduino we would have to pass an analog output from the roborio to the arduino. The roborio only had two analog outputs on the mxp expansion port. We could pass a pwm signal and use that I supposed but it might not work as well. We were planning on having a pot on our driver station with a color wheel.

You can also connect the Arduino to the RoboRIO via I2C, SPI or USB.

Or you could use a FadeCandy and communicate over USB:

The controller program runs on linux and uses a TCP API.