The 5 point star project is a different type of project for Protean
Logic Inc. This is not a motor controller, or temperature
controller, or even a typical lighting controller.
This project, which is based upon a project by Paul Via, is
more whimsical in nature. This project teaches and sharpens
programming skills through a fun festive activity.
This project utilizes much of the TICkit micro-controller's
capabilities to provide an exciting visual display. The display
lets the programmer see the effects of changes in code and even
suggests programming structure as the various components of the
display (lines or points) become representations of loops or
sub-routines in the code.
While having fun modifying the display and inventing new
patterns, programming skills are developed and expanded in an
enjoyable format. Young children enjoy the display and provide
rewards and encouragement for the programmer as new methods and
programming logic are learned.
I have seen beginning programmers really blossom with this
project and even observed seasoned professionals getting drawn
into the fun.
YouTube Video of Star in Action
The project consists of a circuit board that is
approximately 4.25 x 4.25 inches. The board has a black solder mask to
make the Light pattern stand out.
The components mount on the side of the PCB that has the
white component legend. There are 18 components, not counting the 60
LEDs. An unpopulated space is provided for a 16 pin jumper for the LED
matrix. Also an unpopulated space is provided to add a small speaker for
some sound effects if that is desired.
The 60 LEDs mount on the side without the component legend. Red
diffuse LEDs are shown here. 5mm LEDs look the best, but 3mm LEDs fit
best at the star points.
This star uses white LEDs, which are pretty impressive.
Almost any color LED can be used. I have blue, red diffuse, green diffuse,
red, and white. White LEDs are not technically diffused, but the phosphor
in them makes them seem more diffused.
Assembled Star Programmer's Package Contents
A fully assembled and tested Star in your choice of LED
color. The Star is programmed with a nice demo program so it
can be used, "out of the box".
A wall plug power supply.
A CD with the complete compiler, debugger, and
documentation for the TICkit controller in the Star. The
source code for several samples programs and the demo
program are included so that the user can learn by modifying
A serial download cable to connect a 9 pin serial
connector on a PC to the Star. Used to download and debug
Purchase Options for the 5 point LED Star
Assembled and Tested Star Programmers Package (as pictured
above) Price: $49.00