Alfa LEDs

Alfa Romeo RGB Grill LEDs with Bluetooth

Update (9-12-2022)

I am now selling this for $99 + $4.99 Shipping
-Comes 12V to 5V adapter and 3 feet of wire for wiring to Car’s 12V supply
-Comes with iOS and Android Apps. 
They will ship starting: 9-30-2022
Order from the PayPal buttons below and let me know if you have any questions.

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The Look

I wanted to make my new Alfa stand out from the couple others I’ve seen round rarely. As if the front end of the Giulia isn’t beautiful enough. It seemed like it was a necessary and obvious mod.

The Guts & Brains

I made this 49 LED strip out of SK6812 addressable RGB LED strips. Similar to the common WS2812b strips but brighter and with a true white. Check them out here on amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07FVRR4KL/. I also used an Arduino Nano clone that has its own USB to serial chip built-in. Another new key component is the HC-05 serial Bluetooth module. It’s an older V2.0+EDR version of Bluetooth but it has great range. The only downside is that iOS/Apple devices don’t support 3rd party Bluetooth unless it’s made for iPhone/iPad or its the newer Bluetooth 3.0/4.0+LE

The Interface

I wanted to create a menu system and be able to hit buttons to ascii characters to change the light show modes. So far I have the default/power on mode of pure white. Then by Bluetooth you can choose “Demo” to change to an animated demo reel that comes with the LED library FastLED on the Arduino. Then I have added a Knight Rider mode. Even a special Alfa Knight Rider mode that doubles up the “V” in the grill. And finally, I have a “Fire” mode that looks like flames.

There is a menu display when you first connect with a Bluetooth terminal app on Android. I use, “Bluetooth Terminal HC-05”. It lets you assign rows of buttons to macros of strings of text to send to the device. It also allows to to see the available options in the device and you can enter, “H” to see the menu at any time.

The Code

The code is still in progress, feel free to check it out on GitHub. I hope to be updating and completing code so I can add this to my car permanently.

The Bugs & Improvements

I hope to add a few more modes and brightness control very soon. Currently the only bug in the system is the Bluetooth communication is talking to the Arduino over software serial. There are a lot of timer interupts between the FastLED library to control the lights that sometimes (30% of the time) the Bluetooth message to change a mode is missed and a different ascii character comes through. This means you have to enter the command or hit the button a couple, few times. This is easily fixed by changing over to the hardware serial UART. I have not yet done this but feel free to make a pull request for an alternative sketch.

I also have plans to design and print a circuit board to easily house the Arduino, Bluetooth module, connectors for lights and power. I have already 3D printed a couple cases to protect the guts on the road.

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Lip-Sync Singing Skeleton for Halloween with A.I.

I’ve been getting more and more into programming with A.I. to let a computer find solutions to problems I give it with reinforcement training or a neural network and a bunch of data. It’s not as simple as it sounds. I recently found a couple music projects that use A.I. to separate vocals, drums, bass, piano and other sounds from each other into their own audio tracks. One is called Spleeter and the other is Facebook Research’s Demucs. They both use Python and TensorFlow (a popular machine learning programming library).

I wrote an application with Node.js that will take advantage of Spleeter and use Youtube to download songs from a playlist and automatically separate them and save the music tracks. Then play the original and silently watches the RMS volume of the vocals and drums to determine when to open his mouth or turn his neck.

When Halloween comes I hope to tie these to lights out front with relays and add a couple more singers to the stage.
I’m working on changing the high voltage servo for the mouth to a stepper motor with a bike brake cable for remote jaw actuation.
Take a look below to see behind the scenes of how the skeleton is controlled.

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Siri Toilet Flusher

Siri Enabled Toilet Flusher

This was a fun project just because. My friend gave me a challenge a while back to see if I could flush my toilet with Siri. So I did. Here’s How.

Above is a video demonstration. Basically I used and Arduino Yún. Can check them out here: https://store.arduino.cc/usa/arduino-yun
They have since retired this product. It was a $75 microprocessor with a Linux SoC or System on a Chip. It included wifi and bridge software to link the Arduino Microprocessor with the Linux computer. Using that I wrote a virtual home automation device that was called, Toilet Flusher. Then you just ask Siri to, “Turn on the Toilet Flusher”, and voila.

Check out the ConsultingJoe YouTube Channel for More!
https://www.youtube.com/c/ConsultingjoeOnline

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Siri Apple Watch to Indigo Home Automation

Home Automation Bridge for iOS & Indigo Home Automation

Here’s a cool example of some of my software engineering experience and problem solving. I wanted to control my Christmas Tree lights with my Apple Watch and Siri. The problem was my home automation software didn’t support HomeKit, yet. So I did some research and found a piece of software that allowed you to create virtual home automation devices.

My home automation platform and software is a Mac and Indigo Home Automation, the best home automation software on the Mac hands down. So at the time, Indigo didn’t support my Siri commands through HomeKit. I was able to create a fairly simple script that would create a dynamic passthrough of home automation commands on Siri with home automation devices on Indigo. It would map the device and action so when you say, “Turn on the Christmas Tree Lights”, my script would receive the commands then ask Indigo using AppleScript to turn on the Christmas Tree Lights’ device. AppleScript is Apple’s plain english like programming language.

Below is a video demonstration and the open-source code to try it for yourself.

Open Source: https://github.com/jsammarco/IndigoHomekitBridge

Check out The ConsultingJoe YouTube Channel for More.
http://www.youtube.com/c/ConsultingjoeOnline

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My First Gas Plane Flight

I have probably over a thousand hours of electric RC flight time. But this was my first gasser flight. It’s a great plane but unfortunately the engine cutout on takeoff. I luckily saved her. This was my buddy and his dad’s plane but they’ve always had bad luck with it so they trusted me to take her up. We suspect that the line got clogged from some particulate in the tank. The gas dried up once before and it must have loosen up some flakes.

Well watch what happens. Fullscreen the video because my friend Ken is a jerk and doesn’t know how to turn the phone sideways to make a decent video, lol. Also listen to when the engine cuts out on me.
Don’t forget to LIKE & SUBSCRIBE too.

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3D Printing Star Wars Characters

Lately with the new Star Wars trailer coming out I thought it would be a great idea to 3D print some Star Wars items. I started with a couple Yoda heads and tried to print them as large as possible while saving plastic. I printed one with only 3 layers thick and no bottom or infill layers. Then the larger with 4 layers thick on the vertical walls setting in Slic3r. Much better but not perfect. It’s hard to print in mid-air in some spots.

I plan to put LEDs in side them with an Arduino and a mic module to make them light up to music. I can even add a seven channel equalizer to add to the quality of the light effects.

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Flying FPV with a Boom Cam on a Servo

I whipped this up in an hour or two. It lets me fly FPV (first persion vision) while recording what I’m seeing live in the goggles. I added the boom camera which forced me to move the battery way back to balance it. I added the servo to look around what the HD Mobius 1080p camera that was recording video and audio. Was thinking to add a video switcher on my next newer 600mw 5.8Ghz video transmitter and 800 line camera to switch to the mobius HD camera mid-flight.

Enjoy the video,
Joe

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