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Dorkbot DC November Meeting

Next Meeting:
25 November 2008
7 PM – 9 PM (ET)

Smith Hall of Art, Room 114
(Map of Block)
George Washington University
801 22nd St NW
Washington, DC 20037

Schedule for next meeting Alden Hart : Practical Microcontroller LED Designs – lessons and gotchas from prototype to production

LED projects are a popular topic these days. This talk covers some microcontroller LED projects Alden has done ranging from at-home projects to manufactured units. Alden will have a variety of projects that should perhaps not have been attempted – such as Balls on Sticks and The Low Rider Christmas, Silent Music Box, and 10mi2 Lucites.

The talk will cover practical lessons that resulted, including:

  • Color theory, transformation and perception as related to LEDs
  • LED driving and dimming techniques, multiplexing – and some workarounds to common problems
  • PIC16F917 assembly programming, optimization, and tricks. Open sourcing the control stack from these projects.
  • How can this all be done as cheaply as possible?

Time permitting we may also get into some of the more arcane details about circuit board design, manufacture, and assembly; surface mount at home, mechanical considerations, and other topics.

Alden is a hardware and software engineer who started doing gate-level design in the late ’70s and has been working his way up the stack ever since…Only to fall down again a few years ago with a renewed interest in microcontrollers and electronics. His company Ten Mile Square is a small group of technology practitioners who specialize in the disciplines surrounding media and web systems.


Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn