Hacking a Disco Laser

hacked laser disco

[Mark] was looking for a cheap disco laser projector for parties, and he found one. Unfortunately for him, the advertised features were a bit lacking. The “sound activation mode” was merely an on off circuit, as opposed to it actually being controlled by the music — he set out to fix this.

Taking the unit apart revealed a very convenient design for hacking. All of the components were connected to the main PCB by connectors, meaning the laser driver board was completely separate! He replaced the PCB completely using a prototyping board, an Arduino pro mini, a microphone with a simple preamp, a rotary encoder, and a MSGEQ7 chip to analyse the levels. Oh, and a MOSFET to control the motor via PWM output. It even ended up being close to the same size as the original!

If you happen to have one of these projectors and want to fix it too, he’s posted the source code and circuit diagram on github.

After the break, check out the before and after video. It’s still a cheap disco laser projector, but at least it works as advertised now!

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Disco isn’t dead: diy dance floor spotted at student parties

Your party is lame if it doesn’t include interactive blinking lights on the dance floor. [Mario] and [Lukas] didn’t want to have lame parties, so they enlisted some fellow students to build an interactive dance floor (translated). The finished party-piece is 4 meters by 2.5 meters (that’s about 13′x8′ for us yanks) and includes 160 lighted squares. But it’s the electronics that really make this a heavy project.

Milled into the underside of the pressboard base are a series of pockets and channels to hold various components. If you look hard enough, you’re going to find eight AVR microcontrollers which control the LEDs, 8 CPLDs to manage the weight sensors which make the floor interactive, and an FPGA and embedded computer to tie everything together. It’s movable, a hit at parties, and so far it seems to hold up to the occasional spilled beverage.

You can’t share a project like this without some video. See it after the break.

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LED floor lamp really ties the room together

led_floor_lamp

Instructables user [lincomatic] was doing some home decorating and was trying to find something that would really tie the room together. He decided against adding a nice rug, a light fixture is what he was after. Rather than settle on a simple lamp for the corner of the room, he constructed an 8×8 RGB LED fixture he calls the Lampduino.

He constructed the 8×8 grid using some leftover cardboard packaging, then got to work wiring up the LED strands. In a rather unorthodox move, he decided to wire wrap the LED leads instead of soldering them. Once the LEDs were in place, he wired everything up to his Colorduino, an Arduino derivative specially made for driving large quantities of LEDs. A thin sheet of drafting film was placed on both sides of the board, then it was mounted on a stand for display.

His Daft Punk-esque lamp can be programmed to display just about anything from color patterns to video game sprites, and it can also be timed to music if desired. We think it looks great, and could make for a nice wall hanging if he ever got sick of the stand. While the wire wrap technique sounds like it sped up the development of this project significantly, we would be interested in hearing how it holds up after a few months of use.

Check out the trio of videos embedded below to see the Lampduino in action.

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Disco Bar completed

David Worden let us know that he has completed work on his Disco Bar which we covered earlier. To save his bandwidth, I suggest you watch the video on YouTube.