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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3D Design and Printing – Child Invented Board Game

3D modeling and printing is just another way for me to be able to create. It’s a growing field for me. Below are photos from a fun project I did back in 2018 for a grade school student looking to make a permanent version of their prototyped board game for a school project and completion. The prize was the chance to get your game made for real! The winners game would be considered in the creation, marketing and retail with a board game company. How fun?!

I was excited to help with the project. The student and her father already had the game created. It was made from Styrofoam and it was not easily cleanable as it required goo that would go on the board game and needed to be cleaned off and all the goo to be reused. The Styrofoam did not make that easy. So they found Consulting Joe on Google and called. I was able to get a bit more creative and product a foldable plastic donut, which was the game board. I also created different colored game pieces and a more professional looking game top that was secured with packing tape. This was still a prototype of a product and a grade schoolers project along with a limited budget. We were happy all around with results of the project.

If you have ideas about a prototype product or something you would like 3D printed, please contact Consulting Joe.

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Magic Time-Lapse Video of Mask

Yesterday I started this print last night and it took about 15 hours to complete. It was very large and I experimented with a different pattern for the top and bottom infill, the. It also has a 5% infill on the base with a 3D honeycomb design for strength while saving plastic and print time.

FileFinalMask5.gcode
Filament (Tool 0): 48.91m / 117.65cm³
Approx. Total Print Time15 hours


Print Time14:58:55

My Make on Thingiverse: https://www.thingiverse.com/make:487301
Please watch the video below. It turned out great. LIKE & SUBSCRIBE

 

 

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3D Printing – 2 Tone Star Wars Logo

It’s pretty amazing what you can do with a 3D printer. Just the other day I printed a couple of these Star Wars logos with black PLA then paused and switched to what little yellow PLA I had left.

The first “Star” half turned out all black. I forgot to check back on it to change the color. Darn, I could have prevented this by finding the layer and adding a pause command in the Gcode. If I were to do that I would want to move the nozzle off of the print so you don’t ruin it. Then when you change the filament and purge in the next color it should move back. This gives me an idea for a web app to help automate just that! Back to that idea later. Check out my print on Thingiverse.com.

Here is a link to the original 3D print where you can download and print this for yourself.

I recommend getting more into 3D printing. There is a learning curve but you learn a lot!
Check out some of my other Star Wars 3D Prints.

Thanks for stopping by,
Joe

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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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