In this lesson, we will show how to gradually change the luminance of an LED Module through programming. Since the pulsing light looks like breathing, we give it a magical name – breathing LED. We’ll accomplish this effect with pulse width modulation (PWM).
Pulse Width Modulation, or PWM, is a technique for getting analog results with digital means. In simple, PWM pin can generate “analog-like” current output controlled by computer program. Following words are detailed introduction about PWM, if you are not interested in such tech detail, you can skip them and directly go to HOW TO MAKE section.
Digital control is used to create a square wave, a signal switched between on and off. This on-off pattern can simulate voltages in between full on (5 Volts) and off (0 Volts) by changing the portion of the time the signal spends on versus the time that the signal spends off. The duration of “on time” is called the pulse width. To get varying analog values, you change, or modulate, that pulse width.
To get varying analog values, you change, or modulate, that pulse width. If you repeat this on-off pattern fast enough with an LED for example, the result is as if the signal is a steady voltage between 0 and 5V controlling the brightness of the LED. (See the PWM description on the official website of Arduino).
We can see from the top oscillogram that the amplitude of the DC voltage output is 5V. However, the actual voltage output is only 3.75V through PWM because the high level only takes up 75% of the total voltage within a period.
Here is an introduction to the three basic parameters of PWM:
There are 6 pins on most Arduino boards marked with ‘PWM’ next to the pin number (on some boards it is an “~” symbol) – these pins are PWM pins.We use the pin D3 to control the LED module here.
First, please plug Osoyoo Magic I/O shield into UNO board：
Then connect the LED module to the D3 port of the Magic I/O shield with a 3-pin PNP cable as below:
You cannot directly connect a LED to a battery or voltage source. Firstly, because the LED has a positive and a negative lead and will not light if they are the wrong way around; Secondly, a LED must be used with a resistor to limit or ‘choke’ the amount of current flowing through the LED – otherwise the LED may be burn out!
Connect the Arduino board to your computer using a USB cable. The green power LED (labelled PWR) should go on.
Then open Mixly, and do as following:
When 0≤a≤255, assign its value to pin 3 of LED time after time, to let the LED get brighter. The LED will keep the present brightness for 10ms in each cycle.
Set another for loop to let the LED get dimmer. The variable “a” value decreases from 255 to 0. We have assigned as value to Pin 3 in the first loop, thus we can just duplicate the combined block to get another. The LED will keep the present brightness for 10ms in each cycle.
Set a delay of 1 second for the bulk of LED getting brighter and then dimmer. Then run this LED breathing repeatedly.
A few seconds after the upload finishes, you should see the LED gets brighter and brighter, and then slowly dimmer, just like breathing.
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