Hackaday reader [Michael] wrote in to share the build details of an impressive lighting console he has been working on for some time. He says that the 36+ channel console is on par with lighting rigs costing upwards of $5,000, but his was constructed for just around $1,000 – quite the substantial savings.
The console was constructed around an old IBM desktop computer, which handles all of the DMX output as well as preset management. An array of 20 ATMega 328Ps running the Arduino bootloader are scattered throughout the device, 18 of which are used to manage the six fader panels, while the remaining two handle management tasks. Aside from the fader banks, the console features a main control board featuring several LCD screens along with 17 capacitive touch buttons used for menu navigation and console control.
While [Michael] is finished building the board, he has just begun the documentation of the construction process. His blog should be updated regularly with more details, so be sure to check back often. Code, as well as hopefully tons of pictures and videos are all forthcoming.
[Edit: Cost comparison update]
[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.
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.
Continue reading “DMX keyboard display”
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.
[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.
[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.
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.