Let's Make Robots!

"Jar of Firefly" part 1 - Early Summer Project

"Jar of FireFly"

Ok its a start before the summer comes - by then the jar.....or a bigger jar will be full of Anamatronic FireFlies.

The idea is that the jar just keeps them safe - then i can open it up take them out and deploy the fireflies onto a bush or tree etc-etc

They will be controlled by picaxe 08s (128byte brain) in theory 1 picaxe will control 3 Fireflies.

The FireFly above has electrodes going into her brain, she is in training  (no FireFlies where harmed during the experimentation)

They are using my Glow Polymorph and are excited by UltraViolet leds programmed to mimic the Flash of a live FireFly.

It will be powered from dusk till dawn with some nicad  or lipo batterys, charged up by solarcells during  the sunlight hours.

Goal is to attact "Real" FireFlies into my backgarden .....Yes we have them in CH

Secondary Goal is to fool the neighbours into thinking that there are "Real" FireFlies in my garden.......

1 firefly "in the jar" maybe 5 to 9 to follow

BTW1:- ideas for 10ma-200ma solar charger greatly welcome

Edit :- Here is one i made......

Basically the charge voltage to the NiMH cells is set by the 500Ω preset resistor (recomendation is 4 x 1.35V )

The BC107 transistor is not so critical any compatible NPNs should work.

BTW2:- Send me your 08 or 08M picaxe flash codes idea

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I was searching the web to find out how to hook up a phototransistor and ran across an older article from Evil Mad Scientist Labs about A Simple and Cheap Dark-Detecting LED Circuit. As I was scanning through the comments I hit one that reminded me of your fireflies and thought I would share it. A bit less than half way down a commenter suggests a slightly modified circuit.

A Simple and Cheap Dark-Detecting LED Circuit Authored by: Anonymous on Friday, May 09 2008 @ 09:02 AM PDT

I used a 5mm phototrans from radio shack. The only one avaliable... Don't know the part number. It was clear not dark. Also switched to a 100k resistor and bumped up the volts to +5. Make sure you have the polarity right on the phototrans. Mine would work reversed but was significantly less sensitive. Took me days to figure that one out. Configured that way it and correctly biased, it is SUPER sensitive. I used it in conjunction with another NP3904 transistor as sort of a Darlington pair to saturate the base voltage. It works great as a dusk to dawn LED solar charging night light thingie. I can light a candle across the room and point the photo trans at it and it emulates the candle flame... Fascinating effect.

I would have mentioned this also to ignoblegnome, but, I thought I might actually catch you online first, it is 6am here.

Ok now i will have to make a couple of these for my "late summer project edition" ..........

.... I took my fireflies on holiday down to Tessin (south Switzerland) as i had seen fire-flies there before in an attempt to lure a couple , alas they had already flown further south into italy ....shucks....

I was wishing to add something like this and this is circuit appears to do the trick.

Could this be the time for me to use one of these Mystery Hacked Transisters

I think I've read that article before. Good one.

I have a similar scenario for my QLF project. I want to solar charge some NiMH cells in the day and turn the circuit on at night. I was going to have a simple solar array set up to output C/10 at the appropriate voltage minus the protection diode Vfwd. Pair that with a nocturnal solar engine to active the circuits at night...

Nocturnal Solar Engines

Above in blog i have posted the charger circuit i have used......

..... its a float charger .... the solar cells can be placed either in series or parallel (strange i know)

uncharged batteries charge at 150-200mA until voltage is equalised and then a safe level trickle charge ensues (its recommend to include a led as a load on the output (if it is used as a stand-alone charger)

Works well and is easy to free-form - however i had to parallel some resistors to get the low Ω values.

Love the project Gareth !
I made a firefly setup a while ago but that where more to get the flies to synchronize http://letsmakerobots.com/node/17556 

Yes it would be super if i could get some kind of synchronisation - at full current they do flash quite a halo of light.....

..... first i have to make a "couple"  then i can see if its viable.

They are looking cute, Gareth.

You could use your UV LED not only to trigger the glow, you can also use it as a photodiode, monitoring the glow. If the glow is gone, the LED triggers again. Your LED and the glow polymorph building a simple oscillator.

I was thinking the same thing, Markus beat me to it. Use your UV LED as a light sensor to determine when it it dark as well as when the afterglow is gone.

Qouting the important bits here for my research :-

"Fireflies are unique; they are one of the few insects readily recognized and even admired by many people. Among the most spectacular firefly displays is "The Light Show"  This display consists of thousands of flying males which flash in discontinuous synchrony (Copeland & Moiseff 1995) with each male producing flash trains containing 4-8 flashes given at 0.5 second intervals followed by 6-9 seconds of dark, both time intervals being temperature dependent. Beginning 37-43 min after sunset (Lloyd 1966), on peak nights (Faust & Weston 2009) thousands of males flash in unison and then go dark in unison, signaling together for up to 3 h."