Today I will show you a really easy way to create basic driver for your saber.
In eBay there are a lot of cheap flashlight current drivers, with various current ratings and functionality. But most of them have too much stuff which are not needed for a lightsaber.
The key to those features ( blinking, brightness level and strobe effects) is a small micro-controller. Typically most of the saber-smiths who use those drivers remove the microcontroller and use it only as constant current regulator. But I intend to show you a different approach, and re-purpose this controller.
There are two kind of boards i stumbled upon in eBay. One was based on Atmel chip and the other was Microchips pic12.
But nower days you can find quite cheap variants for less then 10$.
In order to reprogram the chip the best way to connect is to use those SOIC8 clamps (around 1-2$ in eBay) or just solder wires directly to the chip
( if you are not experienced enough with soldering i do not suggest it. For more read this)
Usually the configuration for those flashlight drivers is a small star pad that is soldered to ground in order to choose the configuration.
Those star pads are GPIO ( Input/Outputs of the micro-controller) and can be used as point for button, shock sensor. Or additional output ( color extender for FoC for example)
The boards are quite different from each other. But they all share common setup. The disadvantages of the mod is the fact that those chips dont have much of a program memory, which will not allow a lot of features to be done for it.
The one I will test in this article is a 3A regulator with Attiny13. It will be plenty enough to drive a tri-cree led in parallel setup.
One of the star will be used for a non-latching button and the other will be for a shock sensor. The push button will fade-up the led and on 2s push and hold will do a fade-down. Simple as that.
I do not intend to use additional color channel – the clashing effect of the saber will just flicker the blade with more noticeable amplitude.
My estimation is that the chip will be at the limit of its program memory. So I will not do some fancy functionality ( brightness selection and etc).