Computer-controlled EL wire light show

starlight_parade_float_el_wire

[Paul] wrote in to share a project he recently helped assemble, a huge rolling light sculpture with a ton of computer-controlled EL wire circuits. The sculpture recently featured as a float at the Starlight Parade held in Portland, Oregon.

Working alongside the folks from Hand Eye Supply, [Paul] helped design and build all 114 of the float’s electronic circuits. Almost 1000 feet of EL wire was used to light the massive float, all of which was controlled by 15 Sparkfun sequencer boards. The boards ran custom firmware he created in order to communicate with the lighting software that was chosen to run the show.

In the end, the float came out quite nicely, but it was not without its problems during the construction phase. [Paul] ran into tons of issues when using Sparkfun’s EL wire sequencers, and has put together a detailed list of corrections he made to the boards in order to get them working properly.

If you are interested in learning more about the project, you can check out this behind-the-scenes look at the float’s construction.

Comments

  1. Paul says:

    To give credit where credit is due, the float design was all the vision and hard work of Laurence Sarrazin, of Hand-Eye Supply (who sponsored this huge project)

    http://www.handeyesupply.com/

  2. Mattster says:

    ” So there is it, a lengthy post about all the issues I’ve encountered with these Sparkfun El Sequencer boards. To be honest, I’d always assumed Sparkfun put considerable engineering work into their products. Maybe this one is an exception? ‘

    Brute force honesty is a good thing

  3. SparkFun stuff isn’t properly made? No surprise there. If you think the hardware is bad, you should take a look at the software: http://bleaklow.com/2010/08/28/sparkfun_are_less_than_electrifying.html I reported that nearly a year ago and they still haven’t fixed it.

  4. travis says:

    Great work to Paul and Hand-Eye Supply. I’ve met Paul a few times, great guy to work with. I need to make it to another Dorkbot meeting soon!

  5. Paul says:

    Sparkfun contacted emailed me… they’re planning to fix the el sequencer issues.

    @travis – thanks. :-)

  6. @Paul – yeah, sparkfun told me exactly the same thing about the firmware I complained about – still not fixed. Excuse me if I’m sceptical about them actually doing anything – their post-sales support is dire.

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