PCB newcast

This week, as well as the previous ones for most of us, was devoted to PCB design. During this work, several changes were made to our design. Here is a summary and some details. The overall structure remains the same as what Marc described in this post. Let’s go through the modifications for the 5 PCBs.

Main board

We have made many modifications to this PCB.

  • First concerning the Wifi module : we wanted to use the AMW006 module because the OS seemed convenient and it is supposed to have less bugs than the ESP32. But we discovered that the compilation chain has to be used in windows, so we decided to use the ESP32 instead (the DevkitC so as to flash easily).
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IRoning out the Phyllo detection

Back to school after the holidays, we ran tests to validate our idea for detecting other Phyllos with IR radiations. Quick reminder, we had ordered two powerful IR transmitters (LTE-R38381S-ZF-U and SFH 4441) and several receivers, some in AGC2 (TSOP2256 and TSOP4856) and others in AGC4 (TSOP4456). Signal management is a little different depending on the type of gain control (AGC): some receivers are more suitable for noise reduction and other lower detection times.

Protocol

We will briefly go through the IR detection protocol once again. 

First of all, Phyllos give themselves a unique identifier by communicating via Wifi.… Read more

Update on Phyllos detection

Magnetic deception

Last week, we thoroughly tested the MPU9250 that Alexis lent us. At first glance, it looked a lot more promising than the TLV493D-A1B6 MS2GO () we tried before : the range is way better ! Unfortunately, magnetic detection is more complicated than we first thought and it looks like it’s not going to cut it.

You can take a look at this post to remind you of the detection scheme we had in mind.

Essentially, the idea is to use electromagnet in every Phyllo that can be turned on and off, so as to detect the Phyllos one after another, and use Wifi or Bluetooth to coordinate.… Read more

The PCB puzzle

We made a few major modifications in our design : it turns out flex PCBs aren’t possible. Even though everything isn’t quite decided yet, here is a summary to clarify the situation. I will keep you updated of any major modification 🙂

General design

A Phyllo is composed of three parts:

  • a fixed base,
  • a rotating half sphere placed on this fixed base serving as support for the lighting of the sculpture,
  • a hull made of petals that covers this sphere.

A Phyllo has 78 petals that can be illuminated individually (8 spirals with 6 petals lit by spiral arms, or 13 spirals in the other direction).… Read more

Working anatomy of a Phyllo

Architecture

Here is a diagram summarizing the architecture of a Phyllo, to allow you to have a global vision : 

Some details

This week, we spend a lot of time trying to choose the components. Here are the solutions we explored and the decisions we took.

Motor and ESC

All the animations we will display are based on two or three basic animations : aging petals, de-aging petals and possibly fixed images. Here are simulations to visualize those animations :

Aging and de-aging petals

In order to display those animations without skipping any petal (have a look at this instructable to remember the “skipping petals” part) while flashing the LEDs at 30Hz (ie 30 frames per seconds), the Phyllo has to rotate at : 

AnimationSpeed (RPS)
Aging petals11.46
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About LEDs

First ideas

Our original idea was to place LEDs on the inner sphere of the sculpture, either with flex PCB, or by drilling the sphere, placing the LED in the holes and connecting them with wires to a rotating PCB contained into the sphere. To facilitate the positioning of the LEDs, we could have modified the design so that we can pin the petals one by one on the inner sphere rather than print everything in one block.

But these designs are not easily achievable. First, Alexis does not know how to design flex PCBs. Second, to have a satisfactory visual impression, we would like to have at least 100 petals.… Read more