Programming for the Rylan Star League

I’ve been flipping through Twitter and Facebook over the last hour (The kid is in bed and the wife is otherwise occupied) and aside from the raging fanboys decrying George Lucas’ intent to direct the Rogue One sequel (Rogue Two?), I find myself put off of Social Media for the evening. Instead, I turned my attention to writing about the mysteries of an open source micro-controller: Arduino.

In the last post, I mentioned that I was working through some issues with the Anycubic 3D printer; all of which have been addressed through painstaking troubleshooting (and the help of some helpful engineers), until I hit a hardware snag that required parts to be shipped from China. As upsetting as this may be, my awesome 3D printer will be a no-printing mass of wires, metal and acrylic sitting next to my computer for the next two weeks. No matter though, the mass still runs on an Arduino board, which is something that I am trying to not be woefully ignorant about.

You might recall that I received a kit for X-mas; of which I spent the afternoon powering through the first three circuit lessons. A simple LED circuit. A parallel LED circuit. And a (holy shit! this is awesome) programmed spaceship cockpit. Up until this point in my life, my forays into programming and electronic circuits have enjoyed a wall of separation. I programmed simple games on the computer, but they always stayed planted in the digital world. I built a circuit, but the only time it leaped off of the the breadboard was to shock me. The two have never touched, that is, until tonight. Arduino runs a program, and the results are manifested in the real world. For example, take a look at the code below:


These few lines drive a series of LEDs (light emitting diodes) connected to the board to react when a physical button is pushed. To some, it may just be a few measly blinking lights that alternate with the steady glow of another green LED. To me, it is the start of something magical. On top of my already abundant enthusiasm, the Arduino kit came with a cardboard cutout that I could drape over the lights to create the illusion of cockpit interface. Complete with “system ready light” and “hyperdrive active” indicators, I was kid again, pretending to be Han Solo in the Millennium Falcon or Alex Rogan defending the Frontier. The simple addition of cardboard to the kit was all it took to get me hooked.

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I’m coding and making. Making and Coding. I have a long way to go before I understand the pages of code that drive the bricked (somewhat) 3d printer on my desk, but at least I get to have fun doing it. Jack is enjoying the lessons as well. He has no idea what the Ko-Dan Armada is, but, I’ll wager most of you don’t either =).

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