Game of Life project completed

by stephanie on Sun May 01, 2011 12:25 pm

Although I know better than to call any project really 'finished', I've got my Game of Life array all set up, in a nice frame / enclosure, and with a silly complicated over-engineered way to turn it on and off by remote control.

Not the TV remote control that I had done before... that worked ok was imprecise, didn't allow for finite control, and was succeptible to interference (spuriously turning on all the time actually.)

What I've got is 20 Game of Life kits assembled into a 5 x 4 array. This is roughly 20" x 16" in size. It's mounted inside a wooden enclosure / frame, with a dark green acrylic front panel. The entire display is mounted on a wall in my livingroom.

In addition to the boards all being connected together normally, I've tied all their control buttons together so a single signal can turn them all on or off at once. This switching is handled by a PN2222 transistor. The transistor is driven by an Arduino Pro Mini, which in turn receives its commands through an XBee.

The commands originate from my DIY Thermostat across the room, which is now also XBee-equipped, and has some additional code that tells it when to turn the Game of Life on and off. The timing is based on the day of week and time of day, essentially meaning that while I'm home the GoL will be running, and while I'm at work or asleep it will be off.

There's some code as well which lets me send the on/off commands through the network, which the thermostat relays to the Game of Life. And finally, a push-button on the thermostat can control the Game of Life, should I need/want to manually operate it.

I've done a more detailed write-up of the whole thing on my blog.

Image

Thanks to Adafruit / Lady Ada -- without your store, forums, and tutorials, it would never have come to be.

Cheers!

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Re: Game of Life project completed

by badufamily on Sat May 14, 2011 1:51 pm

that looks great!
how did you power it? we've built a 3x grid and have found the note on the power regulator IC but aren't sure how much 'juice' to put into it, or where.
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Re: Game of Life project completed

by stephanie on Sat May 14, 2011 6:58 pm

I'm using the 5v 2A switching supply from Adafruit:
http://www.adafruit.com/products/276

I had tried a 5v 1A switcher that was leftover from another project, but it didn't quite have the oomph. It was ok with 16 boards, but 20 would draw more than an Amp now and then.

Cheers!
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Re: Game of Life project completed

by badufamily on Sun May 15, 2011 11:01 am

Ah thank you very much. We had zoomed in on your photo and didn't see the little ICs referred to on the project pages, and so were wondering.
Your project is mad and inspiring.
We're thinking of doing another one mounted in an "infinite mirror" setup, which should also look neat.
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