Rethinking V2 electronics

A project log for Upright Laser Harp

New spin on the laser blocking musical instrument

Jonathan BumsteadJonathan Bumstead 09/19/2019 at 05:300 Comments

I completely changed my mind for the electronics layout for V2 of the upright laser harp. Initially, I was a little disappointed, because I put a lot of time into brainstorming and designing PCBs for each layer of the laser harp. It was only when I reached the end that I realized something was fundamentally wrong with the design. 

I started counting up all the connectors and PCBs and realized that my new "improvement" for version 2 was actually inefficient! I would need a PCB for each laser and photodetector, totally 12 PCBs. I would also need a connector cable between each PCB. In the electronics box, I would still have to connect the front panel components to the Arduino. It turns out that my first laser harp prototype was not so bad: one prototype board connecting all the photoresistor outputs, laser control signals, and front panel components. So the initial plan for V2 electronics is officially axed. 

The new plan is to optimize the original format with a single PCB in the form of an Arduino mega shield. The upright laser harp shield will connect directly to an Arduino Mega and on top of this shield will be the Music Maker Shield. 

Although this change back to the original electronics design scheme feels like a setback, I know it is a better plan that will make the second version easier to build. This is the goal anyway! There is always something to gain from being open to starting over or reverting back to an original idea. You just never know at what stage of a design (or in this case redesign) you will realize that you are going down the wrong direction! 

Here is the current state of the new schematic: the Upright Laser Harp Arduino Shield:

An explanation and full schematic will be coming soon!