lithium polymer battery


Prop Update - Mystery Skulls “Ghost” Heart

So yeah, it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these - and this is the first for this prop! Very well, let’s dive right into it.

Explanation of the pics? Yeah, sure.

1: This little gap inside the plastic of the inner edge is gonna be host to a bunch of really, really tiny magnets - so you can actually, you know, close the locket. Kind of important.

2: The whole thing, viewed from outside. That quarter over there isn’t miniature by the way - this thing stands at an impressive 4.5 inches tall! Real easy to spot once it’s finished. Each half of the locket was 3D-printed in think[box] (that’s our university’s  undergraduate inventing station, for the curious)

3: A view of the inside circuitboards. Ooh, man, gotta love those fits. That’s what you get for using 3D printing and a CNC laser PCB router - really tight tolerances. Of course, I have to ‘pop’ the circuitboards in every time, but it’s worth it for how perfect the fit is.

4: Yeah, that’s the hinge. A little loose, and a little tiny, but I’m hoping the aforementioned magnets will solve that particular problem. If not, I can always figure something out. I initially tried 3D printing both sides of the hinge, but one of the sides was so tiny it kept snapping off, so eventually I just took a piece of insulated wire, stuck it through, and melted the ends into the other half. Bam! Functioning hinge.

5: A view of the (now defunct) driver board for this whole darn thing. It’s going to run on some really slim lithium-polymer ion batteries, and feature an Arduino Micro v4. Notable components include 3 potentiometers - these will allow you to adjust the color of the whole heart. You can have it be Lewis’ orange, blue, purple, white, any color combination you can think of (except brown, gray, or black. Those aren’t really possible, or all that aesthetically pleasing).

Additional notes on how this thing functions: Basically, the RGB LEDs are grouped into 3 distinct heart-shaped 'groups’ arranged concentrically on the underside of the circuitboards. There will be an input and output audio jack - basically, you hook up your headphones and your MP3 through this thing, and it’ll send the audio signal to both your headphones and the Arduino analog input. This input reads the frequencies of the audio signal, searching for three specific groups (if I can separate these well enough): Bass, vocals, and high-pitch. Bass goes to Group 1 (in the very center), vocals to Group 2 (in the middle), and high pitch to Group 3 (outer ring). Depending on how loud the frequencies are (aka their amplitudes), the Arduino will output a value for how bright the LEDs should be. With a drastic increase in the sampling rate for the incoming analog voltage, this makes for a pretty good light show!

Now, if someone could just let me know how to safely engulf this thing in purple fire, I’d be all set…


Borschberg’s 12-hour trip today will end 400 nautical miles away in Muscat, Oman. Piccard will take the second leg–and the first water crossing–when he flies from Muscat to Ahmedabad, India. Subsequent legs will take Solar Impulse to Myanmar, China, across the Pacific Ocean, North America, the Atlantic, Southern Europe, North Africa and finally back to Abu Dhabi. The entire voyage will be completed without a drop of liquid fuel burned. Instead, Solar Impulse will rely upon electricity generated from 17,000 solar cells that cover its dorsal surface. This electricity and battery storage will be enough to power the four electric motors day and night, and to let the plane climb to an altitude of around 30,000 feet.

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Uh oh! An Adafruit MCP73833 LiPoly charger… Apparently it was reworked a few times at the factory. the USB connector wasn’t properly aligned or even connected on two of the five leads, and the chip was a bit of a mess, but seemed to be OK….so I repaired the USB connection, and the red light came on, so that was all great until I connected the battery, and POOF! Oh well… apparently something else was going on too. Anyway, the other unit was fine, and I expect that they’ll be good sports about getting me a good one.  

UPDATE: As predicted, Adafruit was awesome and they’re getting a new one to me.