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Create a Tile

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To gain an insight into the how the technology behind the tiles work, please read the section on Hardware and Software and then how to use the ScratchX extension to control the tile. Its really useful to have an example tile to play with, so before starting a large project, first build a tile to have an understanding of the possibilities and first hand experience of what is involved.

Note:- the wiring on tiles to the microcontroller can be done in a variety of different ways. Our examples below use pre-wired LEDs with resistors already included, and jelly crimps to simplify the wiring.

Tile Base

Find a suitable box to act as the base of a tile. My examples use folding cardboard mailing boxes, suitable for a book. They are cheap to purchase and have sufficient depth to store the electronics, alternatives would be cardboard shoeboxes, or other box containers. Think about what is best for the application you are creating.

Design Tile

moonDesign a simple scene, and then plan how to illustrate it with coloured LEDs. Keep it simple, don’t use too many LEDs; less than 6 to begin with. Every LED introduces 2 wires that need to be connected, and the wiring can quickly get complicated. Think about how to group LEDs together. The current version of TileNet gives control over 5 pins, three digital pins (on/off) and 2 pwm pins (dimmable). All LEDs connected to the same pin will have the same behaviour. LEDs that operate together (connected to a single pin) should all be wired in parallel. This means they will all be equally bright when switched on.

Decorate Tile

Decorate the tile lid based on your earlier design. Felt works well, as does coloured paper and pens to create the design. If you use any wet materials, its essential that you allow sufficient time for them to completely dry, also avoid using conductive materials like tin foil. Should any bare wires accidentally touch there is the possibility of creating short circuits and creating a fire hazard.

Build and test LED circuit

wiringDraw a diagram of the wiring in your circuits. The LEDs in my examples are already pre-wired with a resistor to protect the LED, and with a red (positive) and black (ground) connecting wires. A cheaper alternative would be to purchase LEDs and resistors - but the resulting circuit needs to be suitably insulated to avoid short circuits and being a fire hazard.

Wire up the test circuit. In order to test out the circuit works as expected its useful to have: a battery box (3 x AA batteries) to provide power; crocodile clips to link LEDs, and IC hooks, to link to the Feather Huzzah. Using the battery box, check that leds light up together as a circuit. The red wires from each circuit will be connected to a pin on the Feather Huzzah, the black (ground) wires can all be connected together to provide a single connection.

Test that each circuit works correctly using the batteries to power the LEDs. Once you have confirmed the wiring is correct, use the IC Hooks to clip each circuit onto the correct pin or pin hole, on the Feather Huzzah. Its recommended that these last wires to the IC Hooks are kept longer, to give flexibility in positioning the Feather Huzzah and the power pack.

When all the circuits are tested, then permanently connect the wires on the tile. Telephone jelly crimps are a useful way of making secure connections. The advantage of these are that they can be used without stripping the wire. Wires are inserted into the jelly crimps and then secured by squeezing them with the crimping tool.

Wiring up the Feather Huzzah

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If you wish to switch LEDs on or off, connect that circuit to the ground pin, and to any of the digital pins, to be able to set the light partially on, connect it to one of the dimmable pwm pins.

You are now ready to download the webserver software onto the Feather Huzzah, see the section Hardware & Software about how to do this. Once software is on the Huzzah, you are then ready to use the ScratchX extension to control the tile.