Three days of rain during harvest season has given some farmers reason to return to the model railway layout. With the RGBLED OFC's constructed, I took someone up on the offer to build the display and knit the strands through the holes.


{gallery} My Gallery Title


start of display2.jpg: Keep the beer fridge stocked for the help that volunteered to build the display.


start of display.jpg: drilling holes and knitting strands, life of the extra help


start of display3.jpg: nothing but blue sky, with hole poking through.


The display will have three fireworks burst circles. The bursts are number 1,2 & 3 from right to left. The bursts hole pattern templates or hole placement are shown. Each burst has three rings, each ring has holes to accommodate the strands from one RGBLED OFC with the exception of the outer ring having two RGBLED OFC's in parallel to provide coverage.  To the right of the picture you can see the start of RGBLED OFC's being knitted through holes in the display pane. The two LED strips in the center of the panel are the off the shelf sequential LED light strips that were kicking around the shop. When triggered they will create what is suppose to look like a fireworks launch.  Flipping the display board around you can see the LED light strip pattern holes poking through the blue sky background.


I confess the RGBLED OFC knitting is tedious work. First drill the holes according to the pattern and then individually push a OFC strand through the hole. With the aid of Elmers and heat shrink tubing a holding (yellow tube) can be seen attached to the panel for the RGBLED OFC to mount in. The heat shrink tubing secures the RGBLED OFC to the panel. The position of the holders is decided by the knitter as he completes a ring. I have been following the progress of the help and decided to make a beer run to keep the fridge stocked to show my appreciation. Model railroaders have all the patience in the world for this scenery stuff. I have watched them build fences that are meters long with one toothpick at a time.


I spent the evening of day 4 working on Python code for the fireworks pattern. After some code resurrection (reuse, recycle and pilferage) I have a working draft. The code consumes 27 GPIO's for all lights, inputs and outputs. I get a call from my knitter later in the evening. What is that "You want to add some additional lighting?" It appears word of the project is getting to other model railroader who are in the fields. Augh crap, I do have a task assigned for scope creep. The LED strip was the first addition, I added that. Burst 3 has three rings supported with 3 RGBLED OFC's and not four like the other two. The request is to create a falling light pattern from burst 3 using some additional RGBLED OFG's, to create more variety. Oh yeah, "Can you incorporate sound, that would be cool also." We would also like to make it portable, so it can be taken on the road for demonstration at train shows."


I'm licking my wounds after Python coding. To even consider the additional scope creep using the Pi as the controller is not an option. It doesn't have sufficient GPIO's. That would mean starting over with coding and using the Arduino. The Geekcreit Mega has over 50 GPIO's. I'm just not skilled with Arduino's programming language. None of the electronics constructed so far limits the change of controllers. I need a some time to review the requests and figure out if these latest changes can be accommodated. I should never have provided beer!