Monday, December 30, 2013

Turn Signal Jacket: Added a Switch

The Lilypad Arduino main board for some reason doesn't seem to have a switch on it (just a reset button). And so, there is a need for me to remove the battery every time I'm done playing with using the jacket, which I find troubling (because, honestly, I'm lazy).

Thus, taking a little switch I found from an old child's starter kit to engineering, I added it to my jacket! A ton of those sets were for some terrible reason thrown out by a neighbor of mine... Needless to say, I took all of them home.
The switch looks kinda dorky. Haha, but it's absolutely perfect for its purpose!
I had to shorten the wire of the switch to conveniently place it where it is, and strip it to reveal the conductive wire. First time stripping wire (not too hard, but I accidentally nicked the wire once. Haha)! Then I cut away the conductive thread I had previously used to attach the positive of the battery to the positive of the Lilypad. There after, I used non-conductive thread to attach the ends of the switch to the positives of the battery and Lilypad. However, I did use conductive thread for attaching the wire and Lilypad together just in case.

No extra programming or anything was needed when attaching the switch. As when it's switched to the left (in respect to the photo), the circuit is disconnected as the little stubby piece of the switch connects to nothing. When switched to the right, it reconnects the positives and turns the jacket on.

The switch is like... the cherry on top, I suppose :-)

Further Advice:
If I could do this project a second time (which my dad is thinking about making me do...), something I would do different is possibly use speaker wire instead of regular conductive thread.

As the conductive thread is exposed, it very easily comes in contact with the other threads since clothing wrinkles and jumbles up together. It's very annoying since the LEDs will light up randomly. Speaker wire has the protective plastic over it, and won't have that problem. Non-conductive thread can be used to sew the speaker wire down. Using the non-conductive thread may be better as well since you can find a color thread that matches your clothing, whereas the conductive thread is dark gray and looks just ugly against my pink jacket.

If I redo the jacket, I may make a video instead of writing, so stay tuned for that! :-D

PS. Ms. Chipps, my mentor, says next time we meet, we'll probably start working on my Intel project. Yay!

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