Arduino Basics: Digital Rain Cloud

9 November 2018

Digital Rain Cloud

 
 

Description

This is a very simple project that turns a Rainbow Cube Kit from Seeedstudio, into a digital rain cloud. It features a relaxing rain animation which is ruined by a not-so-relaxing yet somewhat realistic lightning effect. The animation has a very random pattern, and is quite satisfying to watch. The strategically placed cotton wool on the top of the cube makes all the difference to the project, and is sure to impress all of your friends. Luckily, I have done all of the hard work for you. You will find the full source code for the animation sequence below. You just have to provide the Rainbow Cube Kit and the cotton wool. Have fun !!

 
 


 

Parts Required

  1. Rainbow Cube Kit (Assembled) - 4x4x4 RGB LED cube
  2. Cotton Wool
  3. Mini USB cable - to connect Rainbow Cube Kit to Computer

More information about the Rainbow Cube Kit can be found here:
https://seeeddoc.github.io/Rainbow_Cube/


 

Arduino IDE

The Rainbow Cube Kit comes pre-configured with its own animation sequence.
We will over-write this sequence with the Digital Rain Cloud sketch below, and use the Arduino IDE to re-program the Rainbow Cube Kit. While there are many Arduino IDE alternatives out there, I would recommend that you use the official Arduino IDE for this project.
I used the official Arduino IDE app (v1.8.5) for Windows 10.
Make sure to get the most up-to-date version for your operating system here.


 

Arduino IDE Setup (Libraries)

You will need to install a couple of libraries into your Arduino IDE before you upload the sketch to the Rainbow Cube Kit.
 

Download the Rainowduino-v3 library

  The Rainowduino-v3 library by unwiredben can be found here:
  https://github.com/unwiredben/Rainbowduino-v3
 

Install the Rainbowduino-v3 library using the Arduino IDE:

  Sketch > Include Library > Add .ZIP library
  Then select the downloaded Rainowduino-v3 library ZIP file.
 

The FastLED library can also be installed via the IDE:

  Sketch > Include Library > Manage Libraries : then search for FastLED
  Select the latest version, and then select INSTALL.
  I used version 3.2.0 - but the latest version should also work.

 
 

Arduino Code

Upload the following sketch to the Rainbow Cube via the mini USB cable.

 
 
 
 

Final Touches

Once the code is uploaded, you will see a very random LED sequence. The top layer represents the clouds, and the 3 layers beneath represent the rain. Add a bit of cotton wool to cover the LEDs on the top layer and watch the light show begin.

 
 

Summary

While this may seem like a simple project, it actually took a little time to get the effect that I wanted. The cotton wool really brought the project to life, and if you don't like the lightning, you can always delete that section in the program. If you would like to try some other animations on your LED cube, then feel free to look at the example folder on my GitHub page:
https://github.com/ArduinoBasics/Rainbowduino_LEDcube
Enjoy your new digital Rain cloud - I would love to see your versions.




You can find me on the following Social Media:
  Visit my ArduinoBasics Google + page.
Follow me on Twitter by looking for ScottC @ArduinoBasics.
Have a look at my videos on my YouTube channel.


 
 
             
 
 

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