effin Rainbowduino

ready to throw my seeed products out the window,

having followed 19 different instructionals on getting the rainbowduino alive this is now my least favourite product currently.

I have;
osx <- working in here currently

seeeduino atmega168
rainbowduino atmega3xx
as per the loosely worded guidanceo n the rainbowduino reference manual link from the depot purchase page.

So I can work with the seeduino fine, but nothing so far has worked re communicaiton with the the rainbowduino. Whats probably more making this a real pain-in-the-butt is my 8x8rbg matrix from seeed on the rainbowduino is only lighting up the two corners with REd, whats going on with the blue and green, are they on holidays? they light up a bit when attaching the RGB. using the 5v power from the seeeduino.

So anyone have any simple explanation how to communicate with the rainbowduino, trying to upload firmware first. IDE is giving the sync error.

I’ve tried RX/TX and i2c and all the boards in IDE and the 40000 timer thingy in wire/ whatever. Not sure if i uploaded the change to the bootloader on the board cos thats about when the board nearly got the hammer treatment.

My weddings in 4 month and i’ve got 300 piranha rgb’s ready to be soldered together for dancefloor awesomeness.

Hoping someone has a simple suggestion before I need to start using shift-number keys at the seeeduino staff.

Thanks in advance…

also, i may have played with the pots on the rainbowduino board in an attempt to get the blue and green to light up… noted the reference guide above notes they control current from 20ma to {unspecified value} so no idea what they’re set to now, i would have thought this affected voltage re the comment about using any led without resistors.

Hi, the LEDs only lighting up red is a known problem, it needs a higher supply voltage than 5V to get the other LEDs going. Attach at least 6.5V to the external DC (I use a 7.2V rechargeable battery).

Use “Arduino NG or older w/ATMega168” in the Arduino IDE. Did you try this hookup method: seeedstudio.com/blog/2009/06 … -a-uartsb/


I picked up a 9v battery later that day so no issue, I was mainly frustrated at having read everything in detail and followed the seeed instructions closely I had a dead product.

I’ll try that hookup again, rainbowduino is a newer atmega328 version though. I have a uartsbee on the way ordered to save some sanity.

Any experts available to help confirm my basic calculations for my project, i’m hoping to run multiple 8x8x3 piranha led arrays from the rainbowduino, I currently have 9v power. Each piranha draws 20mA and ~3v. So I assume with rainbows’ 125mA max I can have up to 5 arrays in parallel off one duino (i’m only after 4 actually). On the 3v side of things i’m guessing resistors to drop down from … what voltage does the duino put out… 9?

Anyway, these are dumb questions but between initial connection frustration and imminent deadline date (12 weeks) and hope for some basic coding time (oh and then the construction phase) i haven’t had time to finalise these basics, plus any answer may avoid blowing up the little duino.

Thanks again!

I’m such a sucker, went through the whole process again just to be faced with the whole array of avr_dude errors

so its ArduinoIDE->MAC->USB->SeeeduinoATmega168->RX-RX;TX-TX;GND;5v:DTR connected;auto rst off on the seeduino.

void script to seeeduino, works

then depending on my usage of reset button on rainbowduino I get three different avr_dude’s

not in sync
programmer not responding
protocol blah blah

SeeedStudio I followed your instructions, was your next instruction getting my money back? :slight_smile:


okay s.o.b plasma worked

Plasma successfully uploaded, i think its the street-fighter-esque exact press of the reset button. oh well I guess I wont need at USartBee thats on its way.

Anyone care to still lend expertise to my build :slight_smile: the plan is a 8x8 (foot that is) plexiglass dancefloor with simple progressive colors (or maybe a downloaded sketch)

Next step, wire up the LEDs

actually next step, get the multimeter out of my car

Glad you got it working! The Uartsb will make it a lot easier as you don’t have to manually reset.

You don’t need any resistors as the Rainbowduino drivers are a constant current source, so you can just wire the LEDs up directly. The LEDs are multiplexed by row so they aren’t going to be as bright as they would be if they were full on.

The current output specs are maximums for the chips but I seem to recall reading that the heatsinking on the board couldn’t really cope with that much, so you may want to add LED modules in stages and see how toasty it gets. Also note the comment in the manual about keeping the supply voltage around 6-6.5V, as otherwise the output chips have to dissipate more heat to drop the voltage to LED level.