Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Tiger Lights Out Arduino Hack


Continuing with my theme of musical instruments, I've taken apart a Tiger Lights Out toy in the hopes of eventually making a 5x5 Monome. The Lights Out turns out to be ideal for such a project because it contains a matrix of LEDs and buttons, and the PCB that contains the LEDs and buttons is easily removable:


Once I cracked open the case and removed the button and LED PCB, I had to solder on a set of male pin headers to be able to connect it to a breadboard. After soldering, I thought the wire was pretty weak so I reinforced the connections with hot glue.



I began looking for the pinout to control the LEDs. This video assisted me, but I found that I had to manually test each pin to figure out which pin turned on which LED. I even made a handy diagram:


The trick is to supply the first pin with 5 volts and then set the pins of an LED you want to turn on as GND or LOW. Using this technique, I made a quick Arduino program to run through each of the LEDs and make sure that my wiring was correct. Below is a video demonstration and the associated code. My next goal is to wire up the buttons. However, considering how many digital pins were taken to just wire up the LEDs, I feel that I will need to use shift registers to be able to control both the LEDs and buttons with one Arduino.

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