LED Lights for the Robot (what do you use??!?!)

Just out of curiosity, some RGB light strips come with a IR controller, would we use these or is it because it is IR, it would no be allowed during competition?

IR is fine, just no radio.

You may not want to be changing colors mid-match though :wink:


As a note on this please remember that you should ask for Brittney and let her know that Evan sent you, she will most likely give you a discount. Also all purchases have to be paid for via cash wire (chase charges a 45$ fee) or a western union money order. Also shipping is 3 day express air whether you like it or not.

please remember they prefers only big orders, for example when our team did it the order came out to over $2000 and $160 of that is was shipping. please email me if you have any questions. [email protected] (mark your email as high importance)

they are amazing to work with and I am not trying to scare you away but please acknowledge that they make money off selling in bulk and thus they will not appreciate orders of 1 role for example.

New user, telling us to buy a bulk order with expensive shipping using only Western Union or Cash Wire?.. Tread carefully guys…

What about just having three switches on the robot, just for the 3 base colors, would that work, and does anyone have an example?

We’ve been custom-making our ring lights for the past several years. In 2011, it seemed as if we were one of the only teams, and then in 2012 everyone had them. We just wire up 12 LED’s on a circular cutout of perfboard. There are 3 series sets of 4 parallel ~3.5V LED’s with appropriate resistors. We use white LED’s, but you can use any color. The only restrictions are that it doesn’t interfere with communications, other robots’ vision, and other commonsense bad things.

Our sister team 1987 had told me about controlling LEDs via solenoid breakout card. It works very easily for 7 color RGB strips according to them. I am not sure of the specifics, or even who to tell you to talk to. If I can get more information I’ll post it.

We use these

And get blue/red/white.
The white we hook up to the PDB so it’s always on, and it’s in our chassis to illuminate it. The red/blue we put into any type of mechanism we have and they’re both hooked up to spikes. We have a light switch that goes to a Digital I/O port that way programmers don’t recompile code each match, we flip the light switch one way and its red when the robot is enabled - other way blue.

As an added bonus, turn both lights on for autonomous and since they’re right next to one another, it turns it purple. :smiley:

http://i.imgur.com/z9lww3N.jpg They look pretty snazzy and gives a different effect from all the other teams that mostly light up at the bottom.

Hello. I was wondering how my team can put LED’s on our robot and wire them up to be controlled by robot code. Thanks!

So there are 2 basic ways you can control via code. You can use spike relays as on or off switches. The second way is to use a solenoid breakout to connect LEDs. To use that method is the same as programming for a festo only it runs on a single channel not 2. The neat thing about using the solenoid breakout is that it takes no extra space on the robot and you only need 3 channels to run 7 colors (if you have RGB LEDs of course). Be aware that there is a limit as to how many watts you can use, but for most scenarios you should be fine.

We have a strip of tri-color LEDs on our robot. One of our mentors constructed a small circuit with 3 MOSFETs, one for each color. We then control them through PWM, which allows us to have varying brightness for each color.

Ok thanks guys. Joe you guys did amazing today and thanks for the help today with our robot drive. My mentor wants us to do the LED thing for our robot that we use for community events. So hopefully I can get this done.

We use the NFLS-X3 series LED strip from SuperBrightLEDs, connected to the solenoid breakout. It’s about $1 a foot. It can be cut into smaller sections. You’ll also want one NFLS10-2CPTH solderless pigtail adapter per section. I can’t remember whether one comes with a strip – you’ll need to check.


Here is a very cool example of what can be done with LEDs on robots. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06c-6VXEHrg only pay attention to the first ten seconds XD in 2011, we had the first logo flash on our robot in, if i remember correctly, 40 LEDs. One shape at a time. It really fit the game, and it taught people a simple electronics at the same time. As for power, it was using power from the distributions board.

We planned to have a strip of LEDs with an Arduino Uno board, then wire it directly to the PD board. Although we weren’t able to mount it to our robot (due to weight limitations) we placed it on the robot cart. We purchased the Arduino at http://www.adafruit.com/products/50
and downloaded the library for the LPD8806 strip

Ok thanks. We might do that in case we cant wire it to the crio.

We use 8 Shift Brite’s.

While it would probably be possible to use the SPI on the cRio to control them, we used an Arduino and spare Relay Out ports with external pull downs for control. We send a 3-bit command nibble to the Arduino which sets the LED states for that state. This gives us 8 possible LED combinations controllable by the cRio with 3 digital lines, but only 1 combination when disabled (relay outputs are disabled).

I was looking at Strip LED’s from superbrightleds and saw the Red, Green, Blue and Black wires. I’m pretty sure that the Red, Green, and Blue is the positive for the LED colors and black is the ground. I know wiring enough to wire our robot’s components, but I don’t know how I would hook 1 ground up to 3 spikes. I’m sure there is a way, I just dont know it.

One spike gets Ground and one signal.

The other gets two Signals (you only need two Spikes)

The spike with Ground is used in forward-only mode for the signal.

The other spike is used in forward-reverse mode, the forward phase is for one signal and the reverse phase is for the other signal.

You could alternatively run ground back to the PD board and skip the Spikes altogether. There’s nothing saying the Spike requires the ground to return through it.

Assuming you’re correct and the black wire is the power return, you don’t need to connect it to a Spike at all. You can wire it directly to a black terminal on the Power Distribution Board. Or you can wire it to one of the V- inputs on one of the Spikes and share the Spike’s return connection. Wire the R G B wires to any three Spike outputs you like, on either two or three Spikes, leaving any leftover Spike outputs unconnected.

Or you can wire it to the M- output of one Spike, and never turn that half of the Spike on (restrict the Spike to OFF and FORWARD).

Ok thanks!

Does anyone have code for java that I can look at?