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Kitronik Christmas Fair - ZIP LED Helter Skelter

This is the second model from our Christmas fair, this time showing off our ZIP LEDs and how the Halo can be used to drive a whole RGB LED chain.

Kitronik Christmas Fair ZIP LED Helter Skelter Main Image

This project is a great chance to test your soldering skills, with a simple but fun card model to mount it on (Crazy paint schemes are highly encouraged!). When activated, the lights spiral down the helter-skelter, giving lots of fun lighting options for your diorama.

 

You will need:

You may also need:

 

Kitronik Christmas Fair - ZIP LED Helter Skelter:

Kitronik Christmas Fair ZIP LED Helter Skelter ZIP Components

First, unbox and lay out the ZIP LED components. You will also need to cut three wires. We chose red, green and black to fit with the christmas fair look.

 

Kitronik Christmas Fair ZIP LED Helter Skelter Wire Stripping

Cut and strip the wires into roughly 2cm length jumper wires. Don’t worry if they aren’t all exactly the same length.

 

Kitronik Christmas Fair ZIP LED Helter Skelter Soldering

Take a red jumper wire and solder it to one of the 5VDC pads on the first ZIP arc. Take a mental note of which end you’re soldering to, as all of them have to go the same way in order to make the spiral!

NOTE: A set of our Helping Hands makes this step a lot easier

 

Kitronik Christmas Fair ZIP LED Helter Skelter Connections

Solder a green jumper to the signal pin next to the red wire (DIN or DOUT). Finally the board will need a black jumper wire on the GND connection.

NOTE: the two GND pads are the same, we soldered to the inside edge for neatness

 

Kitronik Christmas Fair ZIP LED Helter Skelter Spiral Construction

Take the next ZIP arc and solder the same connections to continue the arc from the first. This should mean DIN of one is soldered to DOUT of the other. Continue this until you have all of the arcs in a clockwise spiral with the first DIN at the top, and solder the two ZIP strips to the bottom.

 

Kitronik Christmas Fair ZIP LED Helter Skelter Halo Pin Sockets

Take the ZIP Halo and pin socket strip. You will need to snap off three pins from the strip as a single block. Insert these three into the three holes marked “ZIP EXT” on the Halo, then solder them into place from the other side.

NOTE: A pair of pliers can help to give a clean break in the socket strip.

 

Kitronik Christmas Fair ZIP LED Helter Skelter Top Connections

Take the ZIP ARC at the top of the spiral and solder three longer, roughly 8 or 9 cm, wires to the connections. It is also worth tinning the bare ends of these wires since they need to be pushed into a socket. To do this simply coat the ends with a thin layer of solder to prevent the wire cores from fraying.

 

Kitronik Christmas Fair ZIP LED Helter Skelter Connected Halo

Insert the three tinned ends of these wires into their respective sockets on the Halo. The only difference here is that the 5VDC wire goes to the VSW socket.

Attach the microbit to the back of the Halo. Once the rest of the model is together you can mount this assembly on the tower with the battery pack connected inside. If you want to control the entire Christmas fair diorama from a single microbit, you can use the pin outs at the back of the robotics board to connect to the Halo's P1 in.

 

Kitronik Christmas Fair ZIP LED Helter Skelter Card Cutout

Take a sheet of corrugated card, a thin flute (thickness) is ideal for neat folds. Download the PDF file if you want to cut the parts by hand, or these DXF files for laser cutting.  It’s worth having both even if you are laser cutting to see where all the score lines for folding need to be.

Cut along the solid lines and score along the dotted ones. The entrance is a simple three fold construction, while the turret is a little more complex.

 

Kitronik Christmas Fair ZIP LED Helter Skelter Turret Folding

First, foldold the sides of the turret around to form a hexagon, and glue the tab in place. The triangular roof pieces can then all fold inwards, place a small amount of hot glue on the tip of one piece and hold all six roof panels together in their final position while the glue dries. This piece should fit snugly on top of the ZIP Halo so make sure the glue is dry before you put it on!

 

Kitronik Christmas Fair ZIP LED Helter Skelter Model Assembly

Measure and lightly mark on the tube where the coil will go. Our tube measures 29cm tall so neatly fits seven ZIP Arcs with two revolutions. Take the curved cardboard supports, fold their mounting tabs down and glue them along the markings with a roughly 1cm gap between each support to tuck the excess wire into. You can also glue the baseplate and entrance in place at this stage. Alternatively, if you are making the whole Christmas fair diorama you can glue straight to the baseplate.

NOTE: It's also very useful to mock up the spiral by sticking the supports in place with blue tack before glueing them permanently.

Kitronik Christmas Fair ZIP LED Helter Skelter ZIP Strip

Also, for a simpler model, you can use a flexible ZIP strip to wind around the tube. This may be handy if you can't find a tube of the dimensions we have here.

You can find a guide on using ZIP LEDs here. Remember that you will need to enter the number of all ZIP LEDs in your chain for them to work. Then, once you have an LED scrolling down the helter-skelter, you can get really creative with trails and multiple LEDs to really put on a show at the Christmas fair.

 

Example Code:

 

 

The Christmas Fair Resources:

Ferris Wheel. Helter Skelter. Bandstand & Stalls.
A Perspex Ferris Wheel, driven by a stepper motor connected to an All-in-one Robotics Board. A Helter Skelter featuring a moving ZIP LED slide, driven by a ZIP Halo. A Bandstand and stalls, animated with a servo that is connected to an All-in-one Robotics Board.

 

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