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[Build Log] Christmas Light LED Matrix

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 
[Background]
Initial Inspiration, watched in highschool:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=szLmAPW39uE

Sometime around Nov 2011 I decided that a LED matrix suited for Christmas would be awesome to put on my roof! I could do all kinds of cool effects like a fireplace, scrolling text "Merry Christmas", or a bar graph based off of a playing MP3.

Realistic Inspiration, found in 2012
http://hackaday.com/2010/02/26/10x10-led-matrix/

I graduated in May 2011 (Bachelor of Software Engineering, minor in Embedded Systems), began working full time, and had my first kid. This is going to be a challenge to find the time, but I will finish this, eventually.
The aim is for a fully documented rigorous design project that doubles as a portfolio for any upcoming jobs.

Feel free to offer suggestions, comments, etc.. Subscribe for updates.

[Master Plan]
  • 128 pixels, each with 9 LEDs (3 of each colour wired in series to 12V).
  • Sub pixel layout, a thin plastic diffuser plate on top of the matrix will blend these well
    RGB
    GBR
    BRG
  • Isolate each pixel in a wood frame to minimize light bleeding.
  • TLC5940: Texas Instruments 16 channel, full dimming LED controllers. 128 pixels * 3 colours / 16 channels = 24 chips
  • Beagleboard (single board ARM computer, like your smartphone): top level logic, music control, wireless re-programability.
    Scrolling text could read custom generated ASCII bitmap images.
  • Atmega AVR (microcontroller used in Arduino): protocol translator from Beagleboard (serial) to TLCs (SPI).
    Beagleboard doesn't have the correct voltages for easy communication to peripherals / isn't real-time.
  • Solid state: best performance, highest frame rate, no flickering, less SMD parts, and maximum brightness, I will not use any multiplexing or charlieplexing
  • Scalable: distributed system with many nodes (multiple power supplies, multiple AVR microcontrollers)



[Build Log 2011]
[Build Log 2012] Prototype 2012 (Click to show)
  • Since my first child ate up the year, I am revising the plan a bit.
  • Launchpad MSP340 to control the ENABLE line on 4 TLC5940 LED drivers (R, G, B, Y channels)
  • 144 RGBY LEDs lining the edge of my roof, 48 channels x 3 LEDs, 48 = RGB x 4 x 4, perfect for next year matrix prototype... even though I can only control 4 channels with this years design.
  • Program basic chase / twinkle light animations
  • Failed: voltage translator board blew up at 4am working too late...
  • ---
  • Design a TLC5940 carrier board (with 4 dip sockets) with header for LEDs
  • Solder components to TLC5940 carrier board
  • Design a Launchpad carrier board with headers for RGBY control lines and 5V
  • Solder components to Launchpad carrier board
  • Design a 74F14 inverter carrier board with headers for GSCLK / ENABLE x 4
  • Solder components to 74F14 inverter carrier board
  • Cut up 4 LED strands and extend the cables, solder and heatstrink
  • Wire 48 telephone lines to control groups of 3 LEDs. Solder, heatshrink, ziptie
  • Engineer some software for the Launchpad to twinkle / chase / toggle lights
  • Mount carrier boards in a weatherproof project box
  • Mount LED strands on roof ledge and box under the overhang
Parts List 2012 (Click to show)
  • Texas Instruments Launchpad MSP340 $FREE SAMPLES
  • Texas Instruments TLC5940NT LED driver x 4 (using 12 channels each), $FREE SAMPLES
  • NOMA C6 RGBY LED x 35 lights x 4, $20
  • Sayal 2.75x3.75" Protoboard $4.5
  • Lacie brick PSU, 12V*2.2A + 5V*2A $FREE SALVAGED
  • DIP28x0.3" sockets x 4, $1
  • project box, $10
  • heatshrink, $10
  • Fuses and holder, $5
  • 200 ft of 4wire telephone cable, $6 (100ft salvaged)
  • 200 LED clips for gutters $15
  • 74f14 hex inverter $1
  • Level converter (3.5 to 5V) x2 $4
  • Generic 432 pad protoboard x 2, $1

[Build Log 2013] Prototype 2013 (Click to show)
  • Proper 48 channel SPI control with MSP340..
  • Failed: MSP didn't have enough program space, too slow bit-banging without hardware SPI as well (flickered on dimming)

[Build Log 2014] Prototype 2014 (Click to show)
  • Proper 48 channel SPI control with AVR 324. Perfect prototype for final matrix
  • UART (serial) fully functional (to implement Beagleboard <-> AVR API, stdin and stdout)
  • i2c 4-character display for real-time value debug
  • Success: dimming is super smooth. only using 7/32K program space. Ported all the animations from 2013
Parts List 2014 (Click to show)


[Build Log 2015] TODO 2015 (Click to show)
  • Build TLC5940 carrier boards with headers for LEDs
  • Design and build Atmega carrier board with headers for SPI and serial
  • Create a power distribution board with 12V input and 2 x 5V output based on 2 x UA7805CKCT, one for beagleboard, one for ICs
  • Design and build a wood frame for holding 128 pixels
  • Find the best thickness for diffusing the LEDs
  • Cut up all the LED strands and extend the cables, solder and heatstrink
  • Mount 1152 LEDs to wood
  • Find a clever and cheap way of connecting 384 control lines to PCBs while still being removable.
  • Design a protocol for communicating over serial to Atmega
    [*]Design a protocol for communication over SPI to TLCs
  • Engineer some software for the beagleboard to do cool light animations, scrolling text, music processing, etc.
  • Figure out how to mount on wall / roof / inside in window frame
Parts List 2015 (Click to show)
Prototype 2015 (Click to show)
  • Ran out of time, again frown.gif
  • Custom PCBs from itead studio fully designed, printed, 1 assembled
  • Completed software change-over to AVR <-> beagleboard serial comm
  • Success: was able to show off the new controller at Christmas "Keeping up with the Joneses"

[Build Log 2016]

[Build Log 2017]
Edited by kevinf - 4/10/17 at 5:17pm
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post #2 of 50
I absolutely love lights and Christmas decorations. I will be following this.
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post #3 of 50
Thread Starter 
Lots of lights! 36 box pyramid smile.gif I had to visit over 6 Canadian tire locations to get these.. (Dec 2011)


They are perfect for this project, closest thing to pure RGB colours, non-defused plastic housings, removable LEDs (rare find), and they came with an extra red and yellow LED in each box.
Edited by kevinf - 12/21/15 at 11:13am
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post #4 of 50
Sub'd! Cant wait to see the finish!
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post #5 of 50
Subbed to this bad boy.
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post #6 of 50
Thread Starter 
Calculated the minimum forward voltages using a 1K resistor (safety value, maximum current would be 12ma if Vf = 0) and 1 LED, then took average of 3 LEDs.
red 2.07 2.03 2.05
green 2.78 2.85 2.85
blue 2.97 2.91 2.94
yellow 1.9 1.92 1.91

Calculate the remaining voltage drop over resistor X.
red 12-3*2.05 = 5.85v
green 12-3*2.8 = 3.6v
blue 12-3*2.94 = 3.18v
yellow 12-3*1.91= 6.27v

Maximum current through LEDs given nominal resistors... Yellow was very dim so I jacked it up a bit, blue was super bright.
red 470ohm = 12.4ma
green 330ohm = 10.9ma
blue 470ohm = 6.8ma
yellow 330ohm = 19ma

Vf varies with current, but any increase of Vf will actually lower the current and LEDs are rated for 20ma.

Connected 3 LEDs of each colour in series to a 12V supply w/ resistors, excuse the picture quality, no flash with no lights on.


Taking a closer look at the NOMA strands, there are 33 useable sockets for this years design. Im going to chop off LED1 and LED35 as well as the inline resistor. There are 11 groups of 3 being controlled by 1 TLC5940. I also add a 5V line between modules... don't want to use a linear regulator on each carrier board.
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post #7 of 50
Well, mine doesn't go to music but it does have several presets.

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post #8 of 50
Thread Starter 
Update:
Found an amazing Ontario electronics seller on Ebay, great prices, $1.50 shipping (and free combined shipping)

40x28pin dip sockets for only $7, local store (Sayal) would charge me $40, and Digikey would be $10+$20shipping...
http://www.ebay.ca/itm/20x-28-Contacts-DIP-0-3-Socket-DE1613-NEXT-ITEM-FREE-SHIP-/221137536231?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_2&hash=item337cd304e7

Also these SMT to DIP adapters are very competitively priced, I was going to hack-a-solder 4 SMT inverters, but now I can properly through hole solder.
http://www.ebay.ca/itm/4x-Universal-Dual-SOIC-SSOP-PCB-SMT-Adapter-DE2694-/370669321822?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_2&hash=item564d9cfe5e
Edited by kevinf - 1/10/16 at 6:15pm
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post #9 of 50
Thread Starter 
Had a 10hr power session yesterday.
-Created a PCB layout in TinyCAD. Had to create a library item for TLC5940 and Sayal prototype board.
-Only need 1 carrier board for 4 TLCs instead sending signal wires far, makes the design a lot easier and i can interleave the colour groups
-Reduced the number of strands to 4, but adding 2 extra sockets to the usable 34 on each strand. 36 * 4 = 144. Of which there is 12 groups of each colour which each group having 3 LEDs.
-I started cutting and soldering the cables together, calculated total cable length for 48 LED gnd wires = 180M, as each group of 3 is 30CM. Going to use phone cable for the return paths, as they are only 10-20ma, and (24) 18awg wires is super thick and heavy to hang on the roof. Bonus, phone cable is grouped in 4s and colour coded smile.gif
-Roof is 11M long, 4 cables are roughly 14M, so i may put on the corner of the roof, with 7M in each direction.


Edited by kevinf - 12/13/12 at 7:18am
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Antec Tri-Cool 120mm Scythe Ultra Kaze DFS123812-3000 Windows 7 Pro 64bit ASUS PA248Q 24.1" IPS 
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Coolermaster Storm QuickFire Stealth Cherry MX ... Antec Earthwatts EA-750 Antec 300 Logitech G5 
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post #10 of 50
Thread Starter 
Finally finished the carrier board layout, red is below board and blue is above board wiring... created in TinyCad.. Everything 'just' fits. The L* headers are connected to the Launchpad, the RGBY headers connect to LEDs, S 5V, S Gnd, and S 12V are connected to the Lacie brick PSU

If you want to take a look in TC, I posted it on dropbox, https://www.dropbox.com/s/9muxpbx1r1i2gpc/TLC5940_4_carrier_board.dsn


Edited by kevinf - 11/30/12 at 6:08am
OC'in beast
(21 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
AMD FX-8350 (Vishera) Gigabyte GA-990XA AMD 285X (unreleased) AMD 285X (unreleased) 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 8GB (996679) Western Digital WD10EALS 1TB Blue Corsair Force Series GT CSSD-F180GBGT-BK 180GB Intel 530 Series SSDSC2BW240A401 240GB 
Optical DriveCoolingCoolingCooling
Sony 20X Sata DVD-RW Scythe Mugen 2 rev B (3) Scythe Slip Stream SY1225SL12H-P Antec Tri-Cool 140mm 
CoolingCoolingOSMonitor
Antec Tri-Cool 120mm Scythe Ultra Kaze DFS123812-3000 Windows 7 Pro 64bit ASUS PA248Q 24.1" IPS 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Coolermaster Storm QuickFire Stealth Cherry MX ... Antec Earthwatts EA-750 Antec 300 Logitech G5 
Mouse Pad
Steel Series Starcraft 2 Marine 
  hide details  
Reply
OC'in beast
(21 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
AMD FX-8350 (Vishera) Gigabyte GA-990XA AMD 285X (unreleased) AMD 285X (unreleased) 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
Mushkin Enhanced Blackline 8GB (996679) Western Digital WD10EALS 1TB Blue Corsair Force Series GT CSSD-F180GBGT-BK 180GB Intel 530 Series SSDSC2BW240A401 240GB 
Optical DriveCoolingCoolingCooling
Sony 20X Sata DVD-RW Scythe Mugen 2 rev B (3) Scythe Slip Stream SY1225SL12H-P Antec Tri-Cool 140mm 
CoolingCoolingOSMonitor
Antec Tri-Cool 120mm Scythe Ultra Kaze DFS123812-3000 Windows 7 Pro 64bit ASUS PA248Q 24.1" IPS 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Coolermaster Storm QuickFire Stealth Cherry MX ... Antec Earthwatts EA-750 Antec 300 Logitech G5 
Mouse Pad
Steel Series Starcraft 2 Marine 
  hide details  
Reply
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