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Conway's Game of Life
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Blue Hell
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 15, 2020 2:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Ah - had not noticed that 'part of the pattern' LED on the breadboard yet - although you did point it out I now see.

Time for party! then, and

banana banana

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also .. could someone please turn down the thermostat a bit.
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PHOBoS



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PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2020 5:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I have some soldering to do Cool
25 PCBs weigh quite a bit and EPROMS have some weight to them too,
so I am curious how heavy the whole thing is going to be and if it will hold up without any reinforcements


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2020 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

almost there surprise


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2020 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I made some jigs to keep the connectors in place while soldering

jig1 is for the 4 1x3 male pin headers on top of the PCBs
jig2 is for the connectors between the PCBs of one side of the cube
jig3 is for the connectors between the sides (haven't used that one yet)


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2020 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

You madman... Smile Very Happy
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

it's starting to take shape Cool

The cube is pretty sturdy when put together and weighs just over 1200 grams (without EPROMs).


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Blue Hell
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2020 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Futuristic Cool
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also .. could someone please turn down the thermostat a bit.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 21, 2020 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I have been testing the PCBs and it is still looking good.

I did have some unsoldered IC pins and a solder pad that was shorting (removed it with an x-acto knife).
Also some bad contact with a couple of EPROMs but I was already afraid that might happen as they feel
a bit loose in the sockets I used. Can get a bit more friction by bending the pins outwards.

Anyway, I managed to fix what didn't work and at the moment every side of 4 PCBs seems to be functioning properly.
Don't know yet what happens when I start connecting sides together which will be a bit trickier to test.



if you're really bored you can still check out the PCB testing stream on twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/775569105

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dk



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PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2020 8:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Way beyond me, but I'm enjoying watching this come together Smile

A bit OT, but what's that thing with all the lights making patterns in your 2 Oscillators, 1 Clouds video? One of your creations as well?

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 22, 2020 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The thing creating the patterns is a Novation Launchpad MK2. I didn't want to use it with ableton or other software on my PC
so I hooked it up to an arduino to control it. The launchpad itself sends out a midi signal when you press/release a button
and all the LEDs are also controlled with midi so it wasn't that hard to do with an arduino. I mainly use it as a trigger sequencer
for drums (trigger signals are send out by the arduino) but I did add a midi output aswell.

The patterns you see are created by mapping the 8 trigger outputs to a location on the button grid.
Code:
//  ---------------------------------
//  | 8 | 7 | 6 | 4 | 4 | 6 | 7 | 8 |
//  ---------------------------------
//  | 7 | 1 | 5 | 3 | 3 | 5 | 1 | 7 |
//  ---------------------------------
//  | 6 | 5 | 8 | 2 | 2 | 8 | 5 | 6 |
//  ---------------------------------
//  | 4 | 3 | 2 | 1 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
//  ---------------------------------
//  | 4 | 3 | 2 | 1 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |
//  ---------------------------------
//  | 6 | 5 | 8 | 2 | 2 | 8 | 5 | 6 |
//  ---------------------------------
//  | 7 | 1 | 5 | 3 | 3 | 5 | 1 | 7 |
//  ---------------------------------
//  | 8 | 7 | 6 | 4 | 4 | 6 | 7 | 8 |
//  ---------------------------------

and depending on the current step they will light up in a specific color. In the 2 Oscillators 1 Clouds video I was using an oscillator
output as the CLK source so there was some relation between the sounds and visuals.
Here's a better view: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x7hwfPhInNE


btw I do want to try Conway's Game of Life on the launchpad aswell but I don't think there is enough memory left to add it to my current code.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 25, 2020 7:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yesterday I tested connecting the sides together. I went through them in pairs, so connecting 2 sides together, test it,
rotate each side 90 degrees and test again, which means that after 3 rotations all side connections have been tested.
I did that for 3 pairs of sides to get them all tested. Found a couple more unsoldered pins Embarassed , had to replace
a connector and reseat some EPROMS but got them all to work. I am not really happy about the bad connections
with the EPROMs but I only see 2 options for that:
1. solder the EPROMs to the sockets. Apart from it probably being tricky to do that also doesn't seem very practical.
2. replace all the sockets with better ones. I used IC socket strips right now but some low-cost sockets would work better.
The reason that I didn't use those is that it is hard to remove large ICs from them and that can put some strain on the PCBs.
Aslo getting them out straight without a proper extraction tool can be difficult resulting in bend pins. Replacing would mean
desoldering 672 pins from double sided PCBs which I am not going to try without a proper desoldering tool.

Anyway after testing all the sides I put the whole cube together and,... I think it is actually working Razz
On powerup it seems to start pretty random so that is a way to create start conditions but turning it on/off all the time
might not be the best idea. I haven't found a pattern yet that keeps going apart from the standard blinker but some take
quite a couple of iterations to finish and it looks great!

I'm not done yet though. It needs a clock oscillator (might aswell add an external input too), a powersupply and some sort of stand.
Oh and buffered CV output. I am not sure what the current consumption is but I estimate around 500mA max. The poor 5V regulator
on my test supply can't keep up and gets sizzling hot while the voltage drops down to about 3.5V. I think a standard USB supply/charger
would be ideal for this. I also thought about putting a powerbank (and clk osc) inside the cube to make it wireless.

Now that I have all the EPROMS in let me put it on the scale, one moment,..
1450 grams Cool

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dk



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PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2020 4:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
1450 grams


Weighs as much as a newborn, and it was probably a similar amount of work to get to term Very Happy

I look forward to seeing the whole thing in action! (and thanks re:Novation Launchpad)

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2020 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I want to make some nice photos and record a video when it's completely done but here is a sneak peak.

I am not sure yet about the stand but I do want to position it with the corners facing down/up.
Something that supports it along 3 of the edges might work, like an upside down tripod but it has to be
pretty sturdy to support the weight. Maybe I can do something with acrylic. Speaking of tripods, placing
it on top of one would also be nice. I could also hang it from a corner which might be easier to do and
that would result in something similar to a banana stand or globe.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2020 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

now that I know it actually works I might aswell upload the schematic, not that it is of much use without the EPROM data
but maybe there is still something useful in there.

The main functionality is done with U1 (EPROM) and U2 (latches), most of the rest is just to change the state of the cells manually.
The way this works is as follows: no matter what the actual state of a cell is (outputs of U2) it can be toggled with an XOR gate.
The toggling itself is done with a 555 configured as a flip-flop. I've mentioned that the timing is a bit critical and I wasn't sure if
it would work which has to do with the 555's. When there is a low-to-high clk transition the latches (U2) set the next state of the
cells which has been decoded by the EPROM. At the same time the 555's are reset. But this reset has to happen after the latches
have latched. I could have used the high-to-low clk transition for this but that would cause the leds to flash or blink, depending
on the dutycycle. I am pretty sure C7 adds just enough of a delay now or maybe the 555's themselves are bit slow.
Also the state of the cells ripple through the whole cube so all the latches do have to work synchronous and fast enough.

Q5 buffers the clk signal for every PCB while Q6 buffers and inverts it. A high signal on the clear input followed by a clk pulse
clears the whole cube. The resistor network RN1 creates a voltage depending on the state of the cells (CV out) and also puls down
the inputs of the XOR gates when the clear input is high. JP1..JP4 are used to set the functionality of the corner cells (there is some
info about that in this post) and JP5..JP8 make it possible to set the cells remotely although it's not very practical.
edit: silly idea, maybe something with reed switches and magnets (how do they work ?)

note that the somewhat random order of the inputs of U1 and the connections between U1 and U2 is a result of adjusting the schematic
while designing the PCB to make sure I could get it all routed.


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Blue Hell
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 26, 2020 1:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Cool

That thing looks great! As if it was supposed to be in space at some time Shocked

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also .. could someone please turn down the thermostat a bit.
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2020 2:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Very impressive satellite build... when will it be launched into space? Smile .
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2020 11:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

thanks guys Very Happy
it did remind me of a Borg cube.


Last night I made a cardboard mockup for a stand idea to see if that could work. The angle was a bit trickier to calculate
than I expected but I think I got it correct.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2020 3:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Thats just AWESOME! Shocked
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2020 10:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

It's like a Borg version of the puzzle cube from Hellraiser!

Does playing music from it make Pinhead appear?
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 25, 2021 5:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I put the cube aside for a bit since I kept getting bad connections to the point that it would work fine for hours and then suddenly
go wrong which I could trace back to a bad EPROM connection and even just rotating it would sometimes cause an error.

I did another search for a desoldering gun and found one that is a bit more affordable. Did a quick test with it yesterday on some old
PCBs and it works great! Let's hope the cube behaves better after I've replaced all the sockets.


Blue Hell mentioned that I made a Systolic array https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Systolic_array Very Happy
Hadn't heard of it before so nice to see it is an existing concept. It's also mentioned in this PDF that I haven't actually read yet.
http://studentnet.cs.manchester.ac.uk/resources/library/3rd-year-projects/2016/adam.saeid.pdf


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2021 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

After desoldering all the socket strips and soldering in the new sockets I placed the EPROMS back in and tested all the connections
measuring directly on the EPROM pins. There aren't any faulty connections anymore so that was definitely an improvement. I put the
cube back together, powered it up, set a very simple pattern that I know loops aaaand,... it didn't work as it should Mad

I set the cube aside for a couple of days as I just didn't have the energy to look into it, while contemplating what might be the problem
this time and evaluating my life choices.

Well today I felt like I should try to figure it out so I set the pattern and checked at which step a certain output didn't behave. I then reset
the pattern and manually clocked it untill the step just before it went wrong and measured all the logic levels that would be responsible for
setting the output. The EPROM behaved as it should and the input on the flipflop was ok but it didn't flip or flop. Hmm, which one is the flip
and which one the flop ? I guess in this case it flopped because it didn't flip.

Anyway, while measuring the logic levels I noticed something that I thought I had mentioned here before but maybe that was in the chat;
the voltages were a bit low. I am using a different supply which can supply plenty of power, so not the one I initially tested with which dropped
down to about 3.5V with a toasty regulator. So the problem isn't the supply but the crappy alligator leads I am using which btw are fine for low
current use. I doubled them up and that increased the voltage a bit and the cube behaved better but still not correct. That's when I remembered
something from an earlier test. The control circuit, which is just an oscillator and a debounced switch for manual stepping, should not be connected
to the supply directly but get its power from the cube, at least untill I use proper wires. After doing that it finally behaved again so now I have it
flashing away to see if it will keep running without any errors. I will have to test the pattern in different directions but I am not expecting any
problems with that,... we'll see. Once I know it works 100% I can start trying to figure out some other patterns. I have a hunch there are some
interesting patterns that will loop around the whole cube but it might be hard to discover them.


I also thought about using different rule sets, which I can do by reprogramming the EPROMS. But I think it would be far more practical to either
do that entirely in software first, though I am not sure how to visualize that, or make a mini arduino controlled cube for testing.

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Blue Hell
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2021 4:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hmm .. a software emulation of the cube?
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also .. could someone please turn down the thermostat a bit.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2021 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

heh, you could probably code that up before breakfast. Wink

I personally don't know how to code anything visually apart from using javascript and css.
Let alone a 3D cube unless it's just a projection but something like this would be much nicer https://rubikscu.be/

sofar tests have been succesfull and I did find 2 more looping patterns. Not yet what I'm looking for but still interesting.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2021 6:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

here's a simple 12-step looping pattern. It's symmetrical so does the same thing on the backside but nothing on the bottom.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2021 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I've made a model for it ..that is just the calculation engine ... nothing fancy, it can output text strings.

How again did you handle the case for the corner LEDs (having one neighbour less)?

What is the ruleset you are currently using? .. as in with what neighbour count life->death, etc.

And then .. the rule you used for the LED color .. I see off, green, yellow and orange? I currently just have dead and alive ... so presumably there will be some state involved ... like .. just became alive .. just died? Will have to change the model for that ...

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