Trick Out Your Minecraft with the Silicon Labs BGM111
Originally posted in the Silicon Labs Community Board - by Administrator llooper
Minecraft. If you haven’t heard of it, it is a sandbox game. There is no objective, other than to survive. There is no linear story, no final boss, and no limits. It has been such a hit that companies like Lego are selling branded kits. Minecraft. Build what you want, where you want. You are free to do as you want, but watch out, when the night comes, you find out that you aren’t alone. You need light to survive, and one of the first things you will make are torches. Torches make light, and keep the bad things away; zombies, spiders, creepers, managers, bosses…
I’m a Minecraft fan. I love the freedom the game gives me, and I like the retro feel. I like it so much that I have some Lego Minecraft sets on my desk, and while they are awesome, they needed something more. I wanted the torches to light up, keeping managers and bosses at bay. I wanted the lights to turn on automatically when I arrived, and turn off when I leave. Yes, I could have put a switch in, but Bluetooth gives me the freedom to detect my presence, and without wires. So let’s see what a Silicon Labs Blue Gecko Wireless Starter Kit and a few boxes of Legos can do!
Let’s take a closer look at the Lego kits. It’s all there, from the small hut that will let you survive your first night, to the zombies that want to eat you, and the creeper who wants to blow you up. And, of course, a Minecraft kit wouldn’t be complete without torches. When building the kit, I noticed that the torch was hollow, and that the base was roughly 3mm in size, perfect for a small LED. Using a breadboard, a resistor, a white LED, and a little bit of putty, I noticed that the light could shine through, adding a warming glow to the kit. However, torches aren’t stable light sources, they tend to flicker, so it was time to investigate.
To simulate a flickering candle, you normally need two red LEDs and a yellow or orange LED. Three LEDs don’t fit, and besides, the transparent bricks on the top already change the color, so I had to make do with a single white LED. PWM came to mind. By modifying the frequency, I could get the LED to change brightness, and by repeating that often enough, it could look as if it flickered. The problem is, the BGM111 doesn’t have PWM output. It does, however, have an easily accessible I2C port, so I went looking for PWM expansion cards.
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