|Cost :||£147 (£72 if you don't include the failed electronics project)|
|Time Taken :||Months and months and months|
|This was a really difficult costume to make, more of a stress, to be honest - it was mainly the sleeves that were the bane because of having to do a flared shoulder at the top - it required reshaping and refitting the sleeves so many times to get the flared bit at the top and a pencil-slim fit midway with another flare at the end. I think the rest of it didn't really take that long at all, I made the skirt in about two days and the body of the jacket sewed in a single afternoon. Just the sleeves! Doing all the wig and the visor and things was good fun though, and even though the electronics side of things was a failure I still learnt a lot from that too. Maybe sometime in the future I'll have a go at doing the lights again but I think I need more in the way of outside assistance for that.|
On the bright side, I now know how to make a blazer jacket which can be applied to so many different costumes! And I do love the colour scheme :D
A rather expensive failure (Posted 19th July 2009)
I couldn't get the light circuit to work in the end. I initially hooked it all up like I had planned, but when the power was running none of the lights ever actually switched off; they dimmed but didn't actually go out. So I went scouting around some electronics forums and somebody told me that the 4017 counter couldn't route enough power to work the LEDs properly and I needed some extra chips. These were a ULN2804A chip and some transistors to switch the power up and down depending on which way the current was travelling - higher if it was heading towards an LED and lower if it was heading back towards the timer and counter chips. They even gave me a new circuit diagram!
But this was where I came unstuck - in the interim period I had forgotten which leads were power and earth on my battery connector. So my lovingly constructed circuit was shorted in a moment. Now there's a big melted spot on my breadboard where one of the timer chips completely burned itself out. Not to be deterred, I bought some more components... but despite replacing everything and confirming which wires were which on the battery connector, I could no longer seem to get anything to work, not even a really basic 555 circuit with a single LED like I started off with originally. And despite following the basic circuit diagram, there was now an odious burning smell whenever I connected the power.
I'm not entirely sure what I've done wrong, which is a pretty good indication that I don't know enough electronics to be able to troubleshoot and fix things, which means that
So with reluctance I've had to abandon the whole shebang and have no lights on the costume. I'm really gutted because I spent a lot of money on components, about £65 all up, and if only I knew what I was doing I could probably pull it off. But it looks like I can't construct a safe circuit, so until I can find someone who can help me in person and show me what I'm doing wrong, I shall just have to leave it.
It would've looked really awesome though... *sigh*
A working circuit! (Posted 16th February 2009)
This is a 555 timer circuit which has an additional diode connected in parallel with the second resistor. This diode allows the off time for the LED to be greater than the on time. The buttons on Lisa's costume flash on briefly in a sequence, then stay off for about five or six seconds.
Resistors: R1 = 110K
See that one LED in the corner that flashes on and off? I had to hook up so many bits just to make that one thing happen. But damn, am I proud of that little LED XD The next step is to take the pulse that switches the LED on and off and hook it up to a counter chip, to convert it into a cascade of pulses. That chip will then be hooked up to a bunch of LEDs to make them come on and off in a wave like Lisa Basil's buttons.
Electronics Again (Posted 7th January 2009)
I bought all the bits. It was a bit more expensive than I anticipated... £20 for all those little chips! All the big bags of resistors and capacitators were out of stock so I had to go for the 'lucky' ones where they're chosen at random. I hope I get the right values I need...
More electronics (Posted 17th December 2008)
Who would've thought making a simple set of flashing lights would be so complicated?
I'm using this tutorial:
555 timer - this chip emits a series of electronic pulses, the rate of which is controlled by two resistors. I've downloaded a program that tells me what strength resistors I need to produce a particular frequency of pulse so at least I don't have to do any maths!
4017 counter - this converts the pulses emitted by the 555 timer into a series of electrical outputs. By hooking up LEDs to the pins of this counter I can make them flash in succession.
The difficult thing is that Lisa Basil's lights don't operate continuously. They go one after the other, then there's a period of about three or four seconds where they don't light up at all. It looks like to achieve that I'm going to have to use a capacitator to delay the start of the 555 timer's pulse. I think. I should buy two or three of each thing I'm using because I'm 99% sure I'm going to fry several of them in the process of constructing this...!
Electronics (Posted 1st December 2008)
Well, I'm thinking about how to do Lisa's buttons. I was getting some information from a friend who has studied electronics, and apparently I will probably need to buy some individual chips and wire them up myself, rather than buying a microchip and programming it using a special circuit board. Getting individual chips will cost less but it looks like I'm going to need a lot of tuition to be able to figure out how to pull it off. But costing less is good, right? And it would be really great to learn a skill like this - think how many other cosplays I could apply it to once I learnt how to do it!
My friend is going to get out his old electronics books and see what he can teach me. I shall look forward to it :D
I've also finally bought a printer so I can print out the pattern for Lisa's jacket. Now I need to filch some paper from somewhere...