Driving NeoPixels with a Z80 #VintageComputing @shieladixon
Wouldn’t it be cool to have RGB LEDs? At Liverpool MakeFest, Shirley Knott saw a wall-sized ping-pong ball NeoPixel display and picked up some NeoPixels with the intention of making one. Possibly driven by a Z80-based RC2014.
I enjoy learning about protocols and have had some SPI devices working with the RC2014 – bit-banging SPI works really well because it doesn’t care about timing.
NeoPixels really do care about timing though.
If there’s one thing I want to get across in this blog post, it’s don’t just accept what you’re told. Question everything. Learn about what’s going on and find out why you’re being told something isn’t possible. Get creative with workarounds.
So for this solution (actually the one that worked after a few that didn’t) there’s not much required. Besides the ‘138 for decoding the port address (Using port 3 – which seems not to clash with anything else on the RC2014, Spectrum or Minstrel 4th), there are just a couple of logic chips and passives.
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Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
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