Soundball bumps to your tunes


Meet soundball, a hobby electronics project when replaces a disco ball with one made of LEDs (translated) going every which way. This image shows the device before being injected into an enclosure. The final offering is a white project box with a hole in the top through which the diffuser covered blinky ball is supported.

The main board hosts a collection of the usual suspects: an ATmega328, an MSGEQ7 equalizer, a couple of TLC5940 LED drivers, and a footprint for a Bluetooth Shield. The equalizer chip provides [Cornelius] the audio analysis used to generate light patterns that go along with the music.  But he can still control the lights manually with a button on the case or by connecting to it via Bluetooth.

Swap out the LED drivers for some solid state relays and you can blink your Christmas lights to the music.

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Stair accent lights made from cheap LED strips

We really like [Geert's] take on accent lighting for his stairs. He built his own LED channels which mount under the bullnose of each step. The LED strips that he used are actually quite inexpensive. They are RGB versions, but the pixels are not individually addressable. This means that instead of having drivers integrated into the strip (usually those use SPI for color data) this strip just has a power rail and three ground rails for the colors. Ten meters of the strip cost him under forty dollars.

He did want to be able to address each step separately, as well as mix and match colors, so he designed the driver board seen above to use a set of TLC5940 LED drivers. These are controlled by the Arduino which handles color changing and animations. It will eventually include sensors to affect the LEDs as you walk up the stairs. Each strip is mounted in a piece of angle bracket, and they’re connected back to the driver board using telephone extension wire.

LED cube is a little bit of kit, a lot of point-to-point soldering

[Craig Lindley] recently finished building his own RGB LED cube project. It’s made up of four layers of 4×4 LED grids, but you may notice that the framework that supports the structure is not the usual ratsnet of wires we’ve come to expect. They’re actually long, thin circuit boards. [Craig] grabbed the Rainbow Cube kit sold by Seeed Studio for this project. But instead of pairing it with their Rainbowduino driver, he built his own to give him more options on how to control the blinky lights.

He’s using an Arduino Uno to control the display, choosing TLC5940 driver chips to safely provide the juice necessary to light up the grid. These drivers also offer 12-bit pulse-width modulation for easy color mixing. Driving the LEDs directly would have taken a large number of these expensive chips (over $4 a piece), but if multiplexed the design only calls for two of them.

Check out a video of the finished cube reacting to music thanks to the microphone and amplifier circuit [Craig] build into the driver board.

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Monitoring the world’s DNS status using a display straight out of WarGames

Nothing says Cold War like a map of the work with LEDs embedded in it. Throw in some analog dials for good measure and you’ve got a piece that would be comfortable mounted next the WOPR in everyone’s favorite ’80s-computers-run-amok movie. We think [Dima] really hit the mark when building this status panel for OpenDNS datacenter monitoring.

[Dima] works for OpenDNS and wanted to make something special for its upcoming 5 year anniversary. He’d already been toying with making boxes from laser-cut wooden pieces. This was just a matter of choosing a size that would fit the dials and leave a suitable area for a laser-etched map. Each of the twelve panel meters gets a PWM signal from the Arduino Mega that he used to bring the device to life. It shows a comparative server load for each data center based on the previous day’s numbers. There is an LED in the map for each of these centers. Right now they’re all red, but he used RGB LEDs and plans to upgrade the capability soon. He should have no problem doing this as he sourced some TLC5940 drivers to extend his I/O capabilities.

Don’t forget the check out the clip embedded after the break. [Read more...]

Audio controlled party lights

[Thibault Brevet] wanted his own party lighting that pulsed and faded along with the tunes. He ended up building a system based on an Arduino and a PC running Processing. The output from a mixing board is fed into a PC and measured by the Processing script. From there, the calculated light levels are sent to the Arduino to address the LEDs via the control board seen above. [Thibault] built four LED modules that each have two 4-channel LEDs (red, green, blue, white) separated by a few feet. This means 32 PWM signals are necessary to drive the system. To get there, he utilized a pair of TLC5940 16-channel PWM chips, which function like cascading shift registers but have some fantastic current limiting and dot correction features. Take a look at the demo after the break to see what he’s accomplished.

The TLC5940 is a popular choice for driving RGB LEDs, and would be a nice part to use if you decide to make yourself a Ping Pong LED Wall.

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Dazzling coat sure to be in demand with pimps everywhere

This is the newest addition to [Arren Parker's] Burning Man wardrobe. The full-length lighted faux-fur coats is completely his creation. He started with a pattern that he acquired from Ebay, adding side pockets and changing the hood to a collar. From there he added the 256 RGB LEDs that make it shimmer so appealingly.

For this to work, he designed and ordered 300 tiny PCBs on which a connector socket and the LED are soldered. These are driven by a set of six TLC5940 pulse-width modulation chips, and ultimately by an Arduino. The effect is spectacular (see for yourself after the break), and we’re sure it’ll be a hit at burning man. [Read more...]

Equinox clock

The Equinox clock is made up of simple parts but a combination of fine design and precision make it a gem of a timepiece. The guts are made up of an Arduino, a DS1307 real time clock, twelve LED drivers, and sixty RGB LEDs. These combine with a capacitive touch interface to tell the time using three lit blocks for the hours, one for the minutes, and a fading block for the seconds. See for yourself after the break.

To our delight, [Bram Knaapen] shared the specifics of the case. The black ring that makes up the body was laser cut and spray painted. He uses small blocks of acrylic that have been sandblasted to diffuse the light. This is also a great example of clean circuitry using interconnects between the different circuit boards.

We always enjoy seeing clocks no matter what level of finish is involved, but great design is something that makes us want to hang a project on the wall rather than stow it in a parts bin.

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