Shedding some light on circuitry…

Hello internet! My name is Alex Jereb and my team and I are so close to having a screen ready Admin Bot! In addition to our Admin boy himself, however, it is also crucial that he be able to perform his administrative duties at his desk. This week, I took a crack at devising a method for making an LED lit button change color. In the comic, we see that most of the desk buttons are a flat blue-green color, and that the pressed button turns red when Admin Bot pushes it. To accomplish this effect, I figured a 3 position switch that was wired to light the tape cyan and then red should do the trick.

While I work in the electrics department of Texas Performing Arts, I do not have any formal electronics training. My plan for getting this thing to work was to apply what I learned in high school physics, combine it with what I know from my job and sprinkle in just a pinch of my very impressive Youtube education. I was lucky enough to find a collection of alligator clips to connect everything together for a dry run, and after some brute-force learning, I was able to get everything working! (Please ignore the fact that I have blue and yellow as my colors instead of cyan and red, and shout out to Connor for filming!)

The 3 position switch I was using is also called an On/Off/On switch, or DPDT switch. This means that you can give it one power input (such as a 9 volt battery) and hook up two separate circuits to pull from this power. The switch will only turn on one circuit at a time, but also has an off position. This can be useful for machines such as vacuum formers, where you may only want your heating element or vacuum on at one time, and I used it here to switch between the different colors in an RGB LED. The switch has 6 terminals on the bottom, and I was able to hook them up with the positions 1 and 4 leading to one circuit, positions 2 and 5 hooked up to the power input, and positions 3 and 6 connecting to the other circuit. I also found a regular on/off switch to control a separate run of tape that would only be cyan.

 

I was feeling pretty confident that this would work for our desk, so I made myself a handy wiring diagram and got to work soldering everything together. Unfortunately, this is where I ran into some issues. When I attempted to solder the wires to the small copper tabs on the tape, I either fried the tape with the soldering iron or I created a short, making that small section of tape unusable. Luckily, it was only one section of tape and I am planning on ordering some quick-connectors that don’t require soldering directly to the tape as well as some extra tape just in case!

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