Tutorial for Guy Manuel LED Rig Using Plasmado PCBs
I should warn you that this is a long page, so please feel free to bookmark it for later reference.

The following instructions are intended to help users with an installation and wiring scheme using Plasmado PCBs. Please read the entire tutorial before starting any of these steps as doing so will give you an idea of the tools and techniques required to complete the LED rig.

BACKGROUND

Although not required, it is important to understand the concept behind the board design. There are two main components of this kit that make the entire rig possible. The first component is a pre-programmed LED chaser while the second one is the use of transistors. An example will be given in order to describe these two components and their function.

But first, let's look at a simple LED circuit as shown below:

This circuit contains a power source, a limiting resistor and an LED. There is a method of selecting each component in the circuit based on the desired brightness, LED specs, etc. However, that is not important at the moment. Just keep in mind that the power source and the LED both have a polarity. So, it is important to know the direction in which they are connected. Resistors, on the other hand, do not have polarity, so can be wired in either orientation. Resistors can also be placed on either end of the LED.


Given such example, the LED will be ON continuously with a certain level of brightness.

To expand on this example, let's assume you add more LEDs in series to the circuit. If everything else stays the same, then 3 LEDs will be dimmer than 1 LED as the same power is shared among the 3 LEDs.

Before applying our circuit example for a Daft Punk Guy Manuel helmet application, we have to overcome 2 issues. First, our LEDs do not blink, and second, the more LEDs we add, the dimmer they get. To make the LEDs blink, we will use an LED chaser. The use of an LED chaser is great for this application as most come pre-programmed with light patterns and sequences, so they provide a 'black-box' approach.




The figure below shows a typical example of an LED chaser wiring schematic.


In this case, the LED chaser has an integrated resistor which is why you can attach an LED directly to the LED chaser. By making the connections above, the LED chaser will handle the blink sequences depending on its programming. Notice that in the example above, there is one LED attached to the chaser, so this would be considered a 1-channel LED chaser.

The chaser used for the Guy Manuel Helmet is an 8-Channel LED chaser. Note that each channel has a pair of pins (+) and (-) respectively. So, an 8 Channel chaser will have 16 output pins. So far, the chaser along with its programming will handle the light pattern sequences required; however, we still have one problem. Our LED chaser can handle only one LED per output channel. As soon as we connect more than one LED per channel, each LED will be dimmer giving undesired results.

In order to fix this, we use transistors more specifically NPN transistors. In simplest terms, an NPN transistor is used as a switch. Consider your light switch in your room. The switch on the wall either connects the circuit turning the light ON or breaks the circuit turning the light OFF. The trigger is mechanical as you have to mechanically push the rocking switch one way or the other. In our case, there are no mechanical functions but rather a small signal coming from the LED chaser that will simulate this push of the switch to either ON or OFF. Looking at the diagram below, an NPN transistor has three 'legs'. The middle leg will be your 'switch' where the connection can be either complete or broken for ON / OFF results respectively.


Notice that a very important function has changed. Before, the LED chaser was used to turn the LED ON or OFF, so power to the LED came from the chaser. When using transistors, the LED chaser does NOT provide power to the LED, instead it just provides a small 'signal' that tells a transistor to be either open or closed. So where does power to the LED come from? Each LED is connected directly to the power source. That way, you can have full power to the LED (brightness) from your battery source while each LED is connected to its own switch (transistor). Each transistor will then be connected to a channel signal on the chaser which will control the patterns and sequences.

If this sounds confusing, do not worry. The great advantage of using Plasmado PCBs is to take away the pain of figuring out internal connections. All you have to do is make several connections between each of the boards and place the internal components. However, now you know that the wire harnesses and connections you will be making are carrying Power (+) and (-) as well as 'signals'.
So, let's get started.
PRINTED CIRCUIT BOARD (PCB)

First is preparation of the PCBs. Some of the boards come from the manufacturer attached to each other, so you need to break the boards given their perforated partitions and sand the edges.


It is recommended to use a Dremel with a sanding drum attachment. You do not need high speed to sand the excess material. Please follow the Dremel instructions for its use and always wear protective equipment.


ELECTRICAL COMPONENTS
  • The next step is to install all the components onto each board. The PCBs were designed as "through hole" boards which basically means you have to place the 'legs' of each component through the board holes and solder on the opposite side.

  • The next section will cover specifics on board component, general symbol identification and board orientation.

    • Each board has a printed side to help you identify where the components go, so each component should be placed through this side (front) and solder should be done on the opposite side (back).

    • LED

      Notice the designation of "D" for Diode followed by a number. The symbol also has a flat side. Your LEDs will also have this flat side. This flat side will be a marker for orientation. Finally, the holes have two different surrounding shapes. The one with a square shape (closer to the flat side) is for the negative (or cathode) pin and the circle one is for the positive (or anode) pin. In your LEDs, you should have a longer leg signifying positive (anode) and a shorter leg for negative (cathode).

      Specifications for LEDs - 5mm White LED 20000 mcd FLAT HEAD WIDE ANGLE 180 deg. I have also used 'straw hat' instead of 'Flat Head' and they work as well.
    • RESISTOR

      Notice the designation of "R" for resistor followed by a number. As stated before, resistors do not have polarity, so it can be mounted in either direction.


      Resistors (A)
      There are two types of resistors used in the light rig. These ones (which I would label type 'A') are used whenever an LED is used. So, for every LED, you should have a corresponding resistor. Given the LED specs specified before, you will need a Watt - 220 Ohm resistor.

      Resistors (B)
      These resistors (type 'B') are used one for every transistor. The ones I used are Watt - 1K Ohm resistor.

    • TRANSISTOR

      The transistor has the same shape symbol as the LED, but notice how you have 3 places for the legs of the transistor with a "Q" letter next to it. The transistor will also have a flat side for determining orientation.
      The transistors used in the project were 2N3904 NPN Transistors

    • HEADERS

      MALE FEMALE HOUSING
      To make connections to the boards, I used 0.100" Angle Male Headers. These go on the boards.
      Please note that other connectors can be used. If you are trying to save money, you can solder the wire directly onto the connection holes; however, having connectors will allow you to connect and disconnect as desired for mounting, etc.
      When creating the wire harnesses, I used female connectors on the wire side. Please note that it is recommended to use a crimping tool for this task.

      Also, please view the following video on how to crimp these connectors.
      To have more control of the female connections, I used corresponding housings. These housings come in a variety of configurations. I used 1x1, 1x2, and 1x8 combinations. These are available online or at electronic stores. I purchased mine from pololu.com


COMPONENT PLACEMENT

The following pictures and diagrams reference the placement of each component within the PCB boards.

Fan Light Board
Chin Boards
Transistor and Ear
LED CHASERS

The next item is the LED chaser. You need quantity of 3 chasers for the entire helmet. I purchased these chasers from Donnie at donniedj@anothercoilgunsite.com. You can contact him for pricing and availability. You will also need to tell him the patterns you need programmed in each chaser.

To have a reference for each of the chasers, I have arbitrarily numbered them depending on the section they control as shown in the picture below.

And these are the patterns I chose

Chaser #1:           5,6,10,13,18,24,28,29,30,32,34,36,41,42,44,46,51,54
Chaser #2 & #3:  4,5,6,7,8,10

For a complete list of patterns, see the linked videos:
1-to- 10     |      11-to- 21     |      22-to- 58
CONNECTION DIAGRAM

To tie the entire rig together, below are links to connection diagrams.

Fan Light Board Connections
Chin Boards Connections
Ear Connections
BILL OF MATERIAL

Please note that Plasmado.com and owner do not bare any responsibility to the vendors or users referenced in the Bill of Materials (BOM) page.
The list is provided for reference only.

[[BILL OF MATERIALS]]