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We want this LED ball

[Nikolai] has a friend who is into fire and light shows. Her birthday was coming up, so [Nikolai] decided to build something to compliment her performances. He came up with a 10 cm LED ball (Russian, Google translation) that has a matrix of 256 LEDs wrapped around its surface.

The ball’s structural support is its own PCBs. The bottom of the ball is a simple bus – no components needed. The processor module fits into the bus along with the side arcs with LEDs on the edge. The top holds two AA batteries and a MAX1674 step up converter. The view from the inside looks like some sort of bizarre alien device. Very cool.

The central processor module is based around an ATmega88. The microprocessor controls two ‘595 for each of the 16 side panels. So far, four modes of operation have been programmed – a sine graph wrapped around a sphere, a random function, two oscillating circles, and plain old lines. The code for the LED ball is available (offsite link), and thankfully the variables are in English. An impressive piece of engineering and board layout skills.

Check out the video of the LED ball after the break.

Comments

  1. Jan says:

    WANT so bad

  2. sneakypoo says:

    I’ve been thinking about creating something very similar for years. I’m glad I never attempted because I would’ve never come close to this. Very very nice. I especially love how the PCBs provide the structure for the whole thing.

  3. Zee says:

    Those PCBs look professionally fabricated

  4. DanJ says:

    Spectacular. Beautiful design and build. It encourages me to take the RGB strip I have with individually controllable LEDs, cut it up and wrap it on a ball.

  5. jc says:

    Very awesome. I totally want 10.

    I just wish people would indicate what CAD package they’ve used for layout, and provide a PDF of schematics and Gerber files, since not all of us have Orcad, Altium, Eagle or whatever available on a given platform.

    • Jorge says:

      The EAGLE freeware version works as a viewer, so even if you don’t want to use EAGLE, you can always open and view EAGLE files no matter how big in the EAGLE freeware.

      hth,
      Jorge Garcia
      Cadsoft Support

  6. TomF says:

    Stunning! It’s like a pov globe without the spinning. Really great.

  7. Xeracy says:

    So, i have had several ideas for similar products. anyone wanna go into business making these kinds things?

  8. nes says:

    Superb work!

    Obviously a good amount of thought and effort has been put into the design of that to get it looking so good. I wonder if he’s planning on making more.

  9. Tuckie says:

    I want them and I want them now!

    (+dmx controlled +as xmas tree ornaments)

  10. PJ Allen says:

    I like that swirl mode.
    How about having them all pulsate together (slowly at first, increasing in speed, and then it “bursts” into the random mode)?
    {Nikolai will probably never see this.]

  11. Hirudinea says:

    Coolest castus ever!

  12. chris says:

    i wanna go into business making these, email me

  13. Frank Cohen says:

    Awesome design.

  14. jomegat says:

    The next step should be to add accelerometers and change the pattern based on how the device moves.

  15. AWESOME!!!

    I literally wanted to build this exact thing but have it controlled by a 3 axis gyro. I got around to building a 2D prototype which totally worked. I just never could figure a good way to fabricate the structure to support all the LEDs, now that I see this, its obvious. WELL DONE! I know lots of people who would by these mass produced for an Animated Christmas Show.

  16. Delmar says:

    I tried to import the pcb’s into pads and it didn’t work, some of the route weren’t routed and would not route. Does anyone have Pcad that they can transfer the board to another format? This project is so cool, I want to make several.

  17. sqkybeaver says:

    i want one, but about 30cm diameter.

  18. Delmar says:

    The version needed is as follows:

    P-CAD 2002 PCB V17.00.50
    P-CAD 2002 PCB Binary (Rev 6)

    I took this from the header of one of the pcb files.

  19. Matrixis says:

    WOW, that is all i can say

  20. KnightFire says:

    Totally impressive!

    I’d like to see cube and … triangular … versions too.

    FYI, never heard that song before, so looked it up:
    “Still Alive” by GLaDOS & Jonathan Coulton
    Album: Still Alive

  21. jimmythecow says:

    portal, score. I want one. Someone make this better and encase it in a 2 part epoxy.

  22. N0LKK says:

    That’s far out. No doubt he created something that’s very marketable. B e great to see how the girl friend makes use of the ball in her art.

    So far the free readers that I can find for windows require extra steps to get them. The only open source option I can find require Linux. I guess I’ll have to do a backup, and make this a dual boot machine.

    • rallen71366 says:

      You don’t have to make it dual-boot just for that. If you have a semi-decent machine just get vmware player (free) or virtualbox (GPL), and build a virtual machine. That’s what I do to run windows XP/DOS/OSX/? software on my Linux machine.

  23. DonB says:

    They should do an animation of continents rotating around the “globe”. It looks like enough resolution to pull that off recognizably.

  24. dbear says:

    Make ‘em RGB, wireless and individually addressable and you have the ultimate Christmas tree ornament.

  25. Warlock says:

    Hi all ) Thanks for a nice comments. Im’a a creator of this magic ball.

    So, let me answer some questions about this stuff…
    The agenda isn’t correct. It was a contest on a Russian electronic forum, according the forum’s birthday. I decided to write an article about ball, I made for my friends )) (Btw, I took 2nd place and won a soldering station)

    PJ Allen> I like that swirl mode.
    How about having them all pulsate together (slowly at first, increasing in speed, and then it bursts” into the random mode)?
    {Nikolai will probably never see this.]

    Big brother is watching you )))) It’s easy to program ) Thanks for a good idea.

    Chris> i wanna go into business making these, email me

    Before making excellent business offer, try to count a money for production and profit, you can take. It costs me about 160$ (of course, in industrial area it costs less, but I don’t think you mean >10Kpieces).

    Jomegat> The next step should be to add accelerometers and change the pattern based on how the device moves.

    dbear> Make ‘em RGB, wireless and individually addressable and you have the ultimate Christmas tree ornament

    It will cost, like it’s made of gold ))))

    I think next step (if it will be…) SD card.

    If you have some other questions, you can write a comment on my LJ or email me directly.
    Thanks again.

    • Charlie says:

      Are you willing to share the PCB diagram files? or at least let my purchase a set from you along with a component list?

    • Zorink says:

      > Charlie: Are you willing to share the PCB diagram > files? or at least let my purchase a set from you > along with a component list?

      This would make an excellent kit. I would gladly purchase a few.

    • robin says:

      Warlock,
      My congratulations on your led ball. Would it be possible for you to publish in some place the Gerber files rather than the p-cad format that is not openly available to most people. I have no intention of making money from your design because as you point out the cost of the build is very high and unmarketable. Regards robin.

  26. roboman2444 says:

    anyone other than me get reminded of the antilion squeeze ball thing from hl2?
    Also, i wonder how many watts that thing pulls on an average cycle.

  27. wow man, just WOW!

  28. TheYikes says:

    This is amazing!! it looks almost fluid!

  29. Fallen says:

    In Soviet Russia, disco ball you!
    :) This is awesome!
    Throw it in a gerbil ball to protect it lol.

  30. Gragg says:

    If anybody could open the pcbs and make a gerber or eagle file I think a lot of people would appreciate it. Great job on the project!

  31. Ren says:

    The next Big Thing?
    Christmas 2012?

  32. FYI

    To seal the ball, just use thinned clear Plasti Dip. Couple coats of that and water won’t touch anything. Worked great on some RGB Leds I played with this year. Thanks RJ.

  33. Gragg says:

    Maybe I am missing something, but I am a bit confused from what I see on that site. It looks like the data-in and data-out lines are linked from board to board on the bus ring. The processor module drives the first one, and serial data is cascaded to the other shift registers over the bus ring, but I don’t see any break in the cascading carries in the copper on the bus ring. Won’t that cause a conflict if the first register is being driven by both the mcu and and the carry output from the final shift register? Maybe I am missing something Does the primary led board just ignore its data-in from the bus?

    Also, are the individual led chip enable lines just a convenience to deactivate a chip’s leds instead of having to shift in zeros, or is there a better reason those are wired in individually.

  34. Eliment says:

    I could see thes being used for those fushigi (sp?) balls.. That would be pretty cool

  35. Jason says:

    That is gorgeous. Want one so bad!

  36. Salomon says:

    I’ve never played “Portal” but if that sound comes with the ball, I dont want it!

  37. silentdreamcast says:

    JUST TAKE MY MONEY ALREADY!

  38. Radiokot. says:

    Hi folks!
    Here is a permanent link to this article:
    http://radiokot.ru/circuit/light/run/45

  39. @mpinner says:

    help them get funding to help you build your led ball. you can soon start cranking out your own visuals on this mobile disco led ball:
    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/charliex/blinky-ball

    at least share the link..

    thanks!

    matt

  40. carol says:

    this led ball is good,but it only can be used in hand,we have a large one,that can be used in large event for eye catching,www.univiewled.com,it’s a 1 meter led globe displays,total is about 75 Kgs,it’s our hot and popular led displays after it pressed.

  41. Kiki Tay says:

    I made one of these using the “LED Magician”…
    http://www.ledmagician.com

  42. Kix says:

    I made one with an acrylic ball, LED strips and an “LED Magician”… Check it out at my blog! http://www.kikitayblog.com/2013/06/introducing-led-magician-v20.html

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