Mike Ziwisky's Place to Write Stuff
Electronics. Software. Helicopters. etc.

About Mike

I’m Mike. As of 2010, I’m an Electrical and Computer Engineering Masters student at Marquette University. I plan on using this space on the interwebs as a repository for interesting things. Right now I’m working on creating a POV display using the blades of my R/C helicopter. I am also trying to learn how to use Linux. For a while, most of my posts here will probably pertain to these two things.

I hope others will find the information here useful, or at least entertaining. I also hope I remember to update this page when the information here becomes stale.


15 Responses to “About Mike”

  1. Hello,

    sorry my english. I build a RGB-Blade

    i want more colors.

    you do a good job

    best Regards

    • Hi Werner,
      Looks great β€” nice work! I’m particularly impressed with the in-blade embedding of the electronics. How did you do it? That was something I had been exploring; I also wanted to make a full RGB version like yours, but was unwilling to lay out all of those traces in copper tape. Since I never found a good way to embed the electronics, the project fell off my radar.

      Again, your result looks great!

  2. Hello Mike,

    plese write a mail to


    i will give you more information


  3. Hello Mike, and congratulations
    I am sorry about my bad english
    I am very interested whith your pov blade.
    I am a good 3d pilot,I currently fly a trex 700,but I also built my own heli , and my own blades.
    I ‘d like to equiped my heli whith this kind of pov light device.
    What do you suggest me.
    Where can i find the hardware, and the software?
    Thank you very much for answering.

    Congratulations again!

    • Hi Domi,
      Thanks for your interest! The latest version of the source files (including schematics, PCB layouts, and software/firmware) can be found at https://mziwisky.wordpress.com/helipov-source/

      To view the schematic and PCB files, you’ll need a program like EagleCAD. From there you can get a parts list. You’ll also need a way to program an Atmel AVR microcontroller. I can recommend LadyAda’s USBtinyISP programmer. It’s very affordable and is supported in both Linux and Windows (probably MacOS too, but I can’t vouch for that). With those things, hopefully there is enough content in my posts to help you get everything together. Let me know if you have any specific questions.


      • Thanks you Mike for your fast answer .
        1/Do you have any devices already done that I could buy from you?
        2/Do we need any sensor (magnet) to synchronise the led with the rpm variations?


      • 1) I’m afraid I don’t have any devices to sell. The EagleCAD files can be used to generate gerber files, which can be sent to a board house to get PCBs made. The most difficult and tedious part of the construction process was laying out the traces in copper tape to connect to the LEDs. If you know how to manufacture your own blades, perhaps you could embed a long, skinny PCB into them to make this job much easier and cleaner.

        2) A small permanent magnet is fixed to the frame of the heli. Each blade has a Hall effect sensor which detects the presence of a magnetic field. The sensor changes the state of a microcontroller pin each time it passes over the magnet.


  4. Thanks you Mike.

  5. Hello Mike, are you still here?

  6. Hello Mike
    I am happy to be on this website again.(I had to stop for a while).
    J downloaded eagle cad, and now I have the schematics, PCB layouts, and software/firmware (looks perfect).
    But I can’t get the list of the components, looks like the “ZiwiskyLib.lbr” file is empty.
    How can I get this list, and some extras informations about the components, ( the size, the distance between pins, the fabricant… ).
    I searched on radiospares pages, but I don’t find exactly the same references of the components.
    Can you help me please?

    Thank you

    • Hi Domi,
      Sorry for the delayed reply. I’m glad you like my project, and I’m happy to help you out. ZiwiskyLib.lbr seems to be OK to me — I just downloaded it and opened it in a fresh install of the free version of Eagle, and the parts are all there. Note that when you go to File->Open->Library and select ZiwiskyLib, it will load up a blank drawing area. However, from there, when you click Library->Device, you’ll see the five custom parts I made.

      As for getting the bill of materials, I’ll point you to http://www.cs.uml.edu/teams-academy/index.php/AT/Bom

      Note that the BOM will list a bunch of pads which are, of course, not actually parts you buy. I purchased all of my electronic parts from Mouser. All parts include package information, so their size and pin spacing are “built in” to the CAD file. I’m not sure what you mean when by the fabricant. Perhaps you’re referring to the specs of the PCBs? I got mine made with the most standard (and therefore least expensive) options available. You may need to play with the “design rule checker” features of Eagle to make sure the board matches the tolerances of whatever fabrication house you select. I used http://www.olimex.com for my prototypes, so unless they’ve changed their standards, the board should be within spec for them.

      Hope this helps!


  7. Hi Mike!

    Cool blog and fun writing style. Great playing ultimate with you the past couple years.

    • Thanks Dave! We’ll all miss you on Sundays, but nobody more than I. If I ever find myself near Boulder, I’ll find you, and you can introduce me to whatever group you’re playing with there. And I’m keeping my eye on your website too, so quit slacking with the updates! Take care, my friend πŸ™‚

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