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Komblinkin assembly instructions

The Kömblinkin provides the light-show master with a way to have numerous strobe lights firing at random intervals with a minimal number of wires.

The Kömblinkin is a combination of an nRF24l01 radio that receives Komby transmissions along with a transistor array and a shift register in order to drive 16 different LEDs. When the Kömblinkin gets a signal on a channel specified in the sketch via the radio, it randomly lights up the 16 LEDs; when the signal stops, so does the blinking.

The Kömblinkin is designed to fit into a TA-200 enclosure, which are sold by the hobbyist sites DIYLEDExpress and Radiant Holidays. It requires 5v DC current, well regulated (if installed out-of-doors, do not use a wall wart).

1 — Kömblinkin printed circuit board
1 — ATMega328p-PU
2 — ULN2803
2 — 74HC595N
1 — MCP1700 3.3v regulator
1 — 10K resistor
2 — 10uf 50v electrolytic capacitor
3 — 100nf ceramic capacitor
1 — 470uf 50v electrolytic capacitor
1 — 16mHz resonator
1 — 2x4 female header (nRF)
1 — 1x5 male header
1 — Power connector
1 — 2x14 IC socket
2 — 2x9 IC socket
2 — 2x8 IC socket
1 — nRF28l01
4 — RJ45 PCB mount

Step 1:
Gather your materials and double-check the BOM to make sure everything is there. (Note: The components in your BOM may not look exactly like those shown in the photos below.)

Step 2:
Install the R1 resistor and the C1 capacitor (neither have polarity).
Note: The C1 capacitor shown here is optional. Additionally, the capacitor used in the C1 position should look like those in the C6 and C7 positions (i.e.: 100nf), not like the one in these photos.

Step 3:
Solder the C6 and C7 capacitors (these are the same component; no polarity) and the Q2 resonator (no polarity).

Steps 4-5:
Install in the C2 capacitor (note the longer wire goes in the + hole) and IC3, the voltage regulator MCP1700; the flat side of the regulator should match the flat side on the silk screen. Solder the 1x5 male header (programming) and the 2x4 female header (radio).

Step 6:
Install in the two 2x8 DIP sockets for the 595 chips; match the notches on the sockets to the silk screens.

Step 7:
Solder the two 2x9 DIP sockets for the 2803 chips; match the notches on the sockets to the silk screens.

Step 8:
Install the 2x14 DIP socket for the ATMega chip; match the notch on the socket to the silk screen.

Step 9:
Solder the four RJ45 connectors and the power connector (either terminal block or DC barrel jack).

Step 10:
Install in the C3 and C8 capacitors (note the longer wire goes in the + hole).

Step 11:
Do an initial test of the Kömblinkin; apply 5-volts, well-regulated DC to the power connector. With a volt-ohm meter, check the radio header, the 595s, the 2803 and the ATMega pins for power:

  • To check the radio header, orient the board with the power connector and the radio header on the right-hand side. Insert ground into Pin 1 (top right) and the positive into Pin 2 (lower right). Should produce 3.3 volts.

  • To check the 595 chips (the 2x8 DIP sockets), put the ground into Pin 8 and the positive into Pin 16. Should produce 3.3 volts.

  • To check the 2803 chips (the 2x9 DIP sockets), put the ground into Pin 9 and the positive into Pin 10. Should produce 5 volts.

  • To check the ATMega, put the ground into Pin 8 and the positive into Pin 7. Should produce 5 volts.

  • Disconnect power.

(In the event you do not get the correct voltage, touch up the soldering on those specific pins and generally inspect your overall work for bad solder joints.)

Step 12:
Install the two 595 chips, the two 2803 chips and the ATMega chip.

Step 13:
Reconnect power. Using the programming header and an FTDI programmer, upload the sketch RF_IN_Strobe_Out into the ATMega. (Optionally, program the chip with in an Arduino UNO or similar and then swap the chips out of the UNO and into the Kömblinkin.)

Step 14:
Install the nRF24l01 ... the board hangs over the last pin of the programming header.

Step 15:
Create LED strobes (beyond the scope of this set of instructions — see these) and wire them to Cat5 cables (positive 5v is common on RJ45 pins 1, 3, 5 and 7, while pins 2, 4, 6 and 8 are negative and switched). Then plug the Cat5 cables into the RJ45 connectors. Send a signal to the Kömblinkin. Watch blinkin' lights.