Monthly Update June 2022

glowingkitty
6 min readJun 1, 2022

Hey there! And welcome to another monthly update about my LED projects, what progress I made and what comes next!

So what happened in May?

First, I finished updating the PCB designs for GlowLight/GlowTower, and GlowTube, so I could order new prototypes.

PCBs for GlowLight/GlowTower + PCBs for GlowTube

But I also designed the PCB for another LED project that I wanted to realize — GlowSign, a follow-up version of my Glowing Laptop project. But this time as a small PCB, which (together with a 3D printed case) can be easily taped to the back of a laptop, so you can set yourself in a comfortable mood wherever you go with your laptop.

The Glowing Laptop Project (large, ugly) vs GlowSign (compact, pretty)

Once I finished the PCB designs, I ordered them again via JLCPCB. About two weeks and some unexpected customs complications later (turned out JLCPCB forgot this time to submit a description of what is being shipped, to customs) I received my PCBs and of course shortly afterward also assembled them.

The new PCBs looked great! But annoyingly, by trying to remove the need for pressing the boot button for uploading software I accidentally also created somewhat of a connection between 3.3V and GND (with around 300ohm resistance) — and therefore they won’t get recognized by my laptop. But I am confident I will fix this issue in the coming days and finalize the PCB designs.

Assembled latest prototype PCBs for GlowLight/GlowTower, GlowSign, GlowTube and GlowStripe

Together with the PCB design changes I also made changes to the cases of GlowLight and GlowTube. In fact, I recreated them from scratch, to clean up the 3D model and some issues which have been building up in Fusion360, after making a lot of changes to the existing 3D models. The result: the case of GlowLight is now slimmer and also doesn’t require any nuts inside the case (since they are instead added to the PCB) and both GlowLight and GlowTube also have buttons now, to turn the LED lamp on/off and switch between animations.

GlowLight + GlowTube

But now, it’s time to finally talk about another project which I have been working on for a few months now, in collaboration with some friends: MagiqWand. An LED wand for festivals, parties, long-time exposure photography, lighting up your home, and whatever else you want to use an LED wand for.

You can hold MagiqWand in your hand, or mount it on a tripod — or even connect it to a second MagiqWand!

Powered by a removable 18650 battery (or via USB-C) and controlled (like all my projects) by an ESP32, on which you can also upload your own software. Of course, MagiqWand also has animations that can react to music — but it also has the gyroscope integrated to make the LEDs react to the movement of the MagiqWand! And, it’s also possible to upload code to the MagiqWand without having to press any buttons (that’s why I am also confident I will fix that issue in the coming days also for the other PCBs). The current MagiqWand prototype is the 3rd prototype version — and the plan is to fix all the remaining issues with the next 1 to 2 prototype versions. And after that, we plan on starting a crowdfunding campaign — and also making the hardware open source, once the campaign ended successfully. If you want to be informed once we start the crowdfunding campaign, sign up for our MagiqWand newsletter here.

In addition to MagiqWand, I also designed and assembled the first PCB prototypes for MagiqDock (a dock to easily charge MagiqWand while it’s standing upright on some furniture at home or on a tripod) and MagiqCharge (a battery charger for an optional second 18650 battery. So you can easily swap the battery in a few seconds, instead of having a USB-C connected to an external battery hanging around). They basically only need a case — and then they are ready to go as well.

the PCBs for MagiqDock + MagiqCharge

But besides the progress on hardware, I am also happy that I was able to go to GPN (Gulaschprogrammiernacht). Finally, after multiple years of covid, a large-scale event in the hackspace scene again. With lots of familiar faces who I haven’t seen in a long while and with a lot of social time with friends, new friends, and joining workshops. GPN was also a great chance to test and show the latest MagiqWand PCB prototype. Even without the case, it was already a lot of fun and I got into multiple conversations with others because of the MagiqWand.

GPN in Karlsruhe was really nice!

But what about the new website and online shop? Well, I started to write down notes about what pages those two new websites should include, what content the pages have and how I can keep the process of updating those websites as simple as possible. And once that was finished, I also started creating the wireframes for those new websites, where I structure the website into separate parts and see how they should be connected — without worrying about the actual UI design, colors, fonts, images, and so on. I am still at the beginning of that process, but I plan to finish the design of the websites in the coming weeks and then also publish them in June.

And one more thing: I also created a Discord group! So you, as someone who seems to be interested in LEDs as well, should join our community by clicking here! To stay updated on my projects, tell others about your LED projects, and get feedback, help, and inspiration.

Join us on Discord! http://discord.gg/Gq8xmN9tnD

What comes next in June?

First, I will finish fixing the PCB designs which I already started: GlowLight/GlowTower, GlowTube, GlowSign, and MagiqWand — and finalize the PCBs and product designs. And the other big target for June is to finalize the design of my new main website and online shop — and code and launch them both, so I can then also start the sell my LED lamps as DIY kits, as well as start organizing workshops related to building LED projects. And when it comes to new PCB designs — I also want to design custom PCBs for my bike, so it can glow again with LEDs. But without falling apart quickly and with a cleaner and more beautiful look. Partially I already have the materials for that new setup, what is mostly still missing are the PCBs. And when I find the time for it, I will also update and finalize the GlowCore PCB design in June (or else, in July).

So yeah, that’s everything new from May, with the preview of what comes next in June. Hope you liked this monthly update — and stay tuned for the next one!

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glowingkitty

Hey, Marco here! Maker and LED enthusiast. Loves learning new skills and exploring the world.