Posted on 20 Comments

More is better, right? 12 LED Cylon scanner Prototype

While waiting for my 12V Dimmer Kit PCBs to arrive, I spent a little time building yet another Cylon-style LED scanner. This time it has 12 LEDs! That’s more than 5! Quick, someone do the math!
Here’s a short video showing how it’s coming along so far. It’s still on a solderless breadboard at this stage. I’m thinking about a PCB that’s about 4 inches long and maybe one inch across, or perhaps slimmer. It should run on two AA batteries.

Let me know what you think in the comments!

20 thoughts on “More is better, right? 12 LED Cylon scanner Prototype

  1. Fantastic! Just bought the TinyCylon, probably gonna buy this one when it comes out

  2. Thanks! Now I have to make it!

  3. Nice can’t wait to see the finished product or atleast the the schematic and source code

  4. Thanks, Mike!

    Here is the source code:

    The schematic is just a hand-drawn sketch at the moment. I’ll try to scan it in and post it soon. You might be able to figure it out from the source code 😀

  5. Thanks Dale this is actualy for my son who wants to build it and he would rather try building it from the schematic but thank and keep up the good work

  6. Nice prototype Dale! Are you Charlieplexing? I look forward to seeing your schematic.

  7. Brian,

    Thanks for the kind words! Yes, I’m “charlie-plexing” the LEDs using four of the outputs of the ATtiny13. The magic happens in the software to make the “trail” fade away. 😀

    The schematic is still just in the “hand drawn sketch” stage at this point. I suppose I could scan it in and post it, but it’s *really*really* not pretty.

    You may or may not be able to get the info you need to build your own from the source code. Have a look at the link in the earlier comment reply.

  8. Ah yes, I see it now. The code is pretty clear. I should have looked at that earlier.

    It’s fun to see others use it.

    Hope your studies are going well!

  9. Hi Dale, I am in receipt of your replacement Mini USB board connector. I trust that you received the return one. I sent it by 1 st class mail on Monday

    Unfortunately, this “fix” does not seem to cure the problem. I still get the snyc and protocol errors. I tried this on two different computers to no avail. The hardware install wizard acknowledges the connectors presence but that is all. I am going to get the Arduino mini connector board by Sparkfun and see if that helps. I’ll let you know how it turns out.



  10. DUDE!!! That is GREAT!!! I have been searching (and searching, and searching) for a scanner just like that. I want to take a set of single lens cycling glasses ( and build the scanner into the back side of the glasses. Probably going to take a whole lot of trial and error, mods and rebuilds, to get them installed so you can just throw on the glasses and walk, but it would be cool.

    Any chance there will be a version with “more” LED’s?

    Might/could this ever make it to a point where someone (like myself) could purchase the “kit”? Or at least the schematics/code to make my own?

    With respect…


  11. Can you send me the link to view the skeched schematic.
    Thanks, David

  12. How many “more” LEDs would you like? 😀

  13. It doesn’t exist in cyberspace yet, so there is no link at the moment. I hope to finish a similar project soon and then I can publish proper schematics, source code and theory of operation.

  14. Please let me know if you get the time (and inclination!) to finish kitting it…

    Fun stuff!

  15. It is fun stuff! I have a new prototype of a round version with 12 LEDs. They were quite popular at Maker Faire this year. As soon as “things settle down” around here, I’ll see about putting together a kit. Stay tuned!

  16. The round 12 LED Cylon scanner sounds fun.
    I’d like to build one for my grand kids.

    When my kids were young I built 16 LEDs in a circle into a shallow metal candy can.
    They would hold it in two hands, arms outstretched, run with it and get dizzy! 🙂

    Did the 12 LED schematic get posted to a URL or the kit become available?

    Congrats on the book!!!

  17. Still no schematic or kit for this one yet.

  18. Hi Dale,

    This 12 light Cylon is very fascinating and I am really curious how you made those lights behave like that. I’d like to add it to my project. Will you be able to share via e-mail the schematic?


  19. The magic is in the programming of the microcontroller. Here is the source code and here is a schematic. It’s really a different circuit but it does the same thing.

  20. Thanks! I still find it fascinating how you come up with this. (Also inspired, I want to make my Senior Design open source as well)

Comments are closed.