20-channel DMX controller

[Joshua] shares his details on building this 20-channel DMX controller. He’s sourced some extension cords to cut up for the complicated wiring project. He plans to drive 120V lights with the system so he’s also using the extension cords to connect a bunch of outlet boxes to the main controller. Inside you’ll find a set of AVR chips ready for your commands. Instead of using jumpers or DIP switches to set their addresses he set them in the firmware and burned a different version to each chip. The key here is writing the address right on the chips to prevent any confusion.

This will be used of Halloween and Christmas displays. We love Halloween hacks just about as much as we love Christmas hacks, so hit the basement and don’t forget to share the result of your labors with us.

DMX keyboard display

This keyboard display has an RGB LED for each key that is addressable through the common stage lighting protocol, DMX. The project video, seen after the break, does a good job of walking us through the concept. By using a MIDI to DMX converter box [John] can show MIDI signals coming from a keyboard on the appropriate key of the display. By further monkeying with the firmware in the converter box he shows a plasma effect on the whole keyboard, making the corresponding light for each pressed key pop out in bright white. Jump to about 3:45 to hear and see “Sweet Child o’ Mine”.

This isn’t the first time [John's] been caught with a slew of blinking lights. He helped create the giant LED Christmas tree that brightened up our holiday.

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Strobe array for dance parties

Check out this slick strobe array for dance parties. Controlled by a DMX512 interface, only a small modification was necessary to get the strobes working. If you’ve played with a small commercial strobe light, you’ll know there’s a potentiometer to control the strobe speed. He simply soldered a relay after the pot. This allows him to tune them to be charged and ready for when the relay is closed.

[via HackedGadgets]

Guerilla theater hits two wheels

[Tom] wanted to take the show on the road so he added lights to his bike using theater grade control hardware. The picture above shows three tail lights comprised of 195 LEDs. Built on perf-board, a DMX512 controller can display several patterns on each module. The lighting technician (bike pilot) controls the patterns through a series of switches on the handlebars. There’s several pages of details posted including schematics and firmware. This would bring a little extra fun the next time you ride in a Critical Mass event.

You’re not seeing double: RGB Christmas trees

[mrpackethead], created this monster of a tree.  As shown in the video, it’s capable of showing animations, patterns, and potentially video. The 6m tall creation is studded with 2000 waterproof RGB LED modules. Software for the tree was written in Apple’s own Quartz Composer and integrated into Madrix, a piece of software designed with the purpose of controlling LEDs. The 600W system is 100% Arduino-free and costs less than the equivalent of 0.04USD per hour to run in New Zealand.

[Geoist] opted for the Arduino way to rig up his own smaller RGB Christmas tree. Finding a slightly kitschy fiber-optic model in his local department store, [Geoist] was eager to harness its colour-changing powers. Upon opening it up, it was discovered that it was controlled by nothing more than a light bulb and a spinning disk of coloured light filters. [Geoist] gutted the setup in favour of a breadboard with 3 RGB lights hooked up to an Arduino. The sketch for it is available on his site.

Arduino DMX controller

Arduino_DMX

This Arduino powered DMX controller came along at just the right time. We had shown you a project earlier that involved the DMX system and several commenters remarked on the price to get into DMX hardware. If you happen to have an Arduino around, you can build a DMX controller. He found a schematic for a DMX driver, and built some custom code to control it all. You can download his code on the project site.

Halloween props: DMX controlled skeleton

[scarylady] has posted this video about her setup. The skeleton was rigged up to a rotating base with a single pneumatic solenoid to jostle it. She then goes on to show how she has it all connected to her computer with an explanation of the software setup. Though some of us might feel she could have accomplished very similar results with a simple oscillating fan, this is a decent intro to DMX.

We also had several people submit this fantastic list of Halloween projects, The Halloween monster list. There is enough information there to keep you busy for quite a while. We were going to list our favorites, but there are so many fantastic ones, we think you should just go look at them all. Remember to send us more of your projects.