Lightsaber lets you pick just about any ‘blade’ color

If you’re staging some epic Star Wars battles you could go original with Red or Blue lightsabers. But what if you decide you’re more of a fan of Jedi and want to go green? Or perhaps the prequels have inspired you to take on purple? Why choose at build time when you can adjust the color to match your mood.

[Phik] built himself a color-selectable lightsaber using RGB LEDs. He sourced a 5M strip of them from eBay for around $20. The pixels are not individually addressable, but each color channel can be driven with a pulse-width modulation signal to mix and match the final color. Now he could have gone with a microcontroller solution, but [Phik] decided to give himself a bit more of a challenge. He built three PWM circuits based on a 555 timer which can be adjusted with a potentiometer. It’s not going to kill any insects, but the keep-it-simple-stupid aspect of the project makes it something we could actually build ourselves. The same cannot be said for most of the replica builds we see.

Time and date clock does it with RGB LED strips

[Craig's] color clock really came together quite nicely. The majority of the body is acrylic, with two large clear squares and a pair of colored discs. All are held in place by a ring of hardware with spacers in them, and the RGB LED strip that is used to display time and date wraps around those spacers. This hides the components in the center, with a USB cord connecting to the Arduino compatible board to power the device.

Hours are displayed in red, with minutes shown in green, and blue used as a background color. In the center you can see one of two red LEDs which alternate like a pendulum to mark the passing seconds. There are timed events every ten , fifteen, and thirty minute. At the fifteen minute mark the clock switches to display the date. The other two events are animations to keep things interesting. All of the settings for the clock are accessed using just two momentary push buttons mounted on the back of the clock.

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StripInvaders puts colored lights everywhere

There’s not much to be gained by living in a discotheque but colored lights are awesome, especially when they’re as well implemented as [michu]‘s StripInvaders.

The StripInvaders project takes a gigantic 5 meter LED strip with WS2801 controllers and turns it into an Ethernet-enabled 24 bit display with the new Arduino Ethernet. While the Ethernet-enabled may seem a little superflous, [michu] implements it quite nicely. The entire 5 meter LED strip can be controlled from a tablet or smartphone.

Apart from a tablet/smartphone interface with OSC, there’s also mDNS support so we’re sure the StripInvaders could make for an interesting LAN party with the appropriate scripts. While the cost of the LED strip itself is fairly high, we’re sure some Hack a Day commenter will come up with a cheaper solution.

The firmware for StripInvaders has been posted on Github, but for a real treat, check out the demo after the break.

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Making a simple addressable array from LED strips

led_array_from_led_strips

[Patrick] was prepping for some future projects he had in mind, for which he will need a simple 2D array of addressable LEDs. While it is certainly possible for him to build his own LED array and control hardware, he thought he would try out some off the shelf products to see if something might fit his needs.

He picked up a strip of addressable RGB LEDs from Adafruit, and while they worked very well, they were a bit too pricey for the amount of LEDs he knew he would need. He picked up a strip of similar LEDs without PWM capabilities built-in, and gave those a spin – they worked well enough, so he got to work building his LED array.

While LED strips might not jump right out as the best way to make an LED array, they can be easily cut and rearranged without any issue, provided you solder in a couple of wires to connect the disjointed strips. [Patrick] did just that, and wrote a small Arduino library that allows for easy control of the grid.

We’re not sure if he plans on scaling these arrays any larger than 8×8, but we are definitely interested to see what he has in store for them.

Check out a quick video of his LED array in action below.

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