Hacking a Tree Dazzler

Hey there, everyone!

I have an idea for a hack to do on Christmas. I am planning on hacking one of those Tree Dazzler things that you might find at some stores during the season. I am using an Arduino Uno board. I haven't written any code yet, but when I find out about how to hook the Arduino board up (if I can), I will figure out the code. So, if possible, I would appreciate any help you could give me.

P.S. I am not new here. I used to be signed in under the name Chip_McCallahan, but the forums wouldn't let me log back in.


  • 6 Comments sorted by Date Added Votes
  • Curious why you come to the Parallax Forums for Arduino code. Would not the Arduino Forums have much more information?
    Infernal Machine
  • Publison wrote: »
    Curious why you come to the Parallax Forums for Arduino code. Would not the Arduino Forums have much more information?

    I thought that Parallax sold Arduino products. If not, I apologize for any inconvenience.
  • Just one question: Is the Arduino Uno similar to the Propeller ASC++?
  • No.
    Completely dissimilar.
    The Propeller ASC++ is a board containing a Prop part plus support hardware, in the format described by that board. In fact the Prop processor is completely open source as is the source code available to program it.

    Oddly enough only the programming tools for the Ard** are open source, the hardware has yet to be. if you have a Propeller ASC++ where you are, you could indeed do everything much better then with the Uno.

    Say Publison, if I grabbed your chance to explain the obvious, then sorry, I felt I should provide both, the incredibly obvious, the differences, and the merely obvious, that the Propeller is better at it then the Uno.
  • sonic0021,

    Parallax sells the Shield Bot which is an Arduino-based version of the BS2-based BOE-Bot.
    Some of the sensors and other items have Arduino code on the Parallax website.

    The Propeller ASC+ is a Propeller microcontroller board that can be used with Arduino shields, but it doesn't use Arduino code or the IDE.

    Since the Arduino uses C some of the C experts may be able to help you with the code.
    There are others who may not know the Arduino but can assist with "hacking" the hardware.

    There may be a few Arduino users on here so just be patient.

    It would help if you explained what you already and what you would like to do.

    I just recently purchased some Arduino parts but I am more familiar with the BS2 and Propeller as are most people on here.
  • JonnyMacJonnyMac Posts: 6,112
    edited December 7 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Just one question: Is the Arduino Uno similar to the Propeller ASC++?
    Only mechanically. ASC standards for "Arduino Shield Compatible" which is to say that it will mechanically attach to Arduino shields. That's were it ends. The Propeller has eight, 32-bit cores. It's native language is Spin, though you can program it in C, BASIC, and even Forth. I'm biased because of my long relationship with Parallax (I was even employed there for a time), but I would take the Propeller any day. It's easier to program (if you're a programmer, not just a copy-paste warrior), and far more flexible.

    Recent case in point: I was asked to monitor the output from a commercial RFID reader that uses Wiegand protocol. A colleague suggested some code for the Arduino which I ran, but found it complete garbage for actual use. I spent less time writing a custom driver in Propeller Assembly than I did trying to get the silly Arduino code to be functionally useful. On the positive side for the Arduino, there's a lot of code floating around the Internet that you can use. The question is -- as I learned the hard way -- can you trust it to be useful?

    Try the Propeller. You'll get great help in these forums. On your project, there is a good chance that the device uses the WS28xx or APA102C protocols. Both are easily handled by the Propeller (I sometimes consult in the movie business and have written drivers for both). If you can crack open the controller it should be pretty easy to determine. If there are three wires (power, ground, signal) then it's probably a WS28xx string; with four wires it's probably an APA102C string. After determining the protocol and mapping the strings (each bulb will have a unique address) you'll have complete control.

    I'm presently working on a custom light controller for these: http://www.holidaycoro.com/Brilliant-Bulb-p/709.htm. I'm using the Propeller-powered HC-8+ from EFX-TEK (I co-designed) with a BLE radio module so that the lights can be controlled from a phone. The program listens fro a string from the BLE and acts accordingly. The program understands a bunch of colors, and a few effects. After looking up the device you mention I'm going to add SHIMMER to my command list.

    Jon McPhalen
    Hollywood, CA
    It's Jon or JonnyMac -- please do not call me Jonny.
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