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 Post subject: LED sign board update
PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 7:12 am 
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Joined: Wed May 18, 2011 8:01 pm
Posts: 21
Hi folks; newb Jeremy here.

I joined TC Maker almost entirely so I could participate in making the Tetris wall (using the glass block windows as pixels to make our own virtual video screen).

Seems like a lot of people are interested in this one, so I thought I'd share an update (and, besides, then I'd no longer be a forum virgin ;).

Pete McKenna has been tracking under the title 'LED Sign Board', Wiki page here:
http://www.tcmaker.org/wiki/doku.php?id ... _signboard

A week ago we had a break through when we discovered that the GE lights were a) exactly the right length to fit the glass block windows, and b) they are back on sale at Costco (Didn't you know Christmas is here!?!?!)

Last night we had a break through such that I now think we can drive up to 6 strings of lights from one Arduino, which simplifies the design plan.

I think phase one is to get 17x5 worth of pixels up on the windows, on two sheets of plywood, and then fiddle around.

The plan is to work on the electrical/software side of this on Monday night.

Pete's got a sheet of plywood ready for the next physical step; not sure when that build will happen. But soon, I'm guessing, because we're all excited.

Cheers,

Jeremy


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 Post subject: LED sign board update
PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 10:51 am 
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Joined: Thu Jan 20, 2011 6:14 pm
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Location: Minnetonka, MN
This project delights me--looking forward to see it come to fruition!


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 Post subject: Re: LED sign board update
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 12:31 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2009 10:06 am
Posts: 1219
Location: NE Minneapolis
awesome, i've been hoping to see this up since we first opened.

as a side note, i'll check again and see if i can find the email for the control hardware folks on that and get a full spec sheet for those lights. the person i poked a while back didn't know anything, but before those were launched i did see a spec sheet at a manufacturers rep lunch.


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 Post subject: Re: LED sign board update
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 2:57 pm 
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Location: Minneapolis, MN
Awesome! If you guys are working at the space on Monday night I'm excited to participate and help with this project.

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 Post subject: Re: LED sign board update
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 6:03 pm 
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Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2010 11:14 am
Posts: 657
Location: downtown Saint Paul
very exciting, I can't wait to check it out.

Aric mentioned his boss was working on this, glad to finally know who you are.

Have we met in person yet?

If not, might we be on oct. 8th from 1 to 7?

Riley

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 Post subject: Re: LED sign board update
PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 6:53 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 18, 2011 8:01 pm
Posts: 21
Orkraider wrote:
Have we met in person yet?
If not, might we be on oct. 8th from 1 to 7?
Riley


Not sure; I've been coming by sporadically since about March. I've met a bunch of folks I can't remember 'em all. But I'm afraid bow making is not my thing. Programming micro processors, now *that* is fun :D

Cheers,

Jeremy


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 Post subject: Re: LED sign board update
PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2011 7:38 pm 
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Joined: Tue Apr 06, 2010 10:12 pm
Posts: 750
Jeremy's been kicking butt on this, with all the coding, and with getting me re-energized to get something done. Thanks to Luno the other week who enabled us to verify the timing of the Arduino code against the factory driver. ( The factory drivers an ugly mess in comparison :) )

There appear to be some glitches either in the boot sequence when we ran it or perhaps in the letter / font translation code, (You'll note the A and F don't look right) but it's looking very good to get a largish sign board going, and pong and tetris shouldn't be far behind, says the guy who can't code.

I'll put up a quick movie of it running and link it here. It looks better in real life, and this is just some drawer sides with holes in them leaned on against the windows. The plan is for a sheet of plywood / luan, perhaps with drawer side sides to box each window / pixel in. In the movie the diffusers are not being used either.

https://picasaweb.google.com/101045907298241359673/HackFactoryLEDWindowSignTest1#5657216410357452402
Pete


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 Post subject: Re: LED sign board update
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2011 12:31 pm 
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Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2011 11:30 am
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Location: Fridley, MN
You're welcome, and sorry I didn't show up to continue helping earlier this week. I've been out of commission with a nasty cold and didn't want to spread it around. Have you got the timing and communications nailed down yet? I'm starting to think that I should have a bunch of these on the front of my house for the holidays and "accidentally" leave them up year-round. ;)

Also, I was thinking that plywood boxes of 5x5 or 4x5 may be a good way to assemble them, with cardboard inserts to act as light shields from adjacent blocks. This would probably be easier to assemble than an all-wood construction, as well as being lighter, so easier to mount and (if needed) service.

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 Post subject: Re: LED sign board update
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2011 1:40 pm 
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Joined: Wed May 18, 2011 8:01 pm
Posts: 21
Luno wrote:
You're welcome, and sorry I didn't show up to continue helping earlier this week. I've been out of commission with a nasty cold and didn't want to spread it around. Have you got the timing and communications nailed down yet? I'm starting to think that I should have a bunch of these on the front of my house for the holidays and "accidentally" leave them up year-round. ;)


Yeah, it turns out that precisely 10 us was wrong; the IC seems to prefer a longer than 10 us start signal. So I shifted to a pattern of 14 (start), 7+21 per bit, and 28 for stop, and that seems to work perfectly (I can drive it at theoretical max speed with no glitching).

Luno wrote:
Also, I was thinking that plywood boxes of 5x5 or 4x5 may be a good way to assemble them, with cardboard inserts to act as light shields from adjacent blocks. This would probably be easier to assemble than an all-wood construction, as well as being lighter, so easier to mount and (if needed) service.


Yeah, I think Pete is scheming something along those lines. We got carried away the other night, though, and just hacked the 35 string onto scrap lumber so we could play :-).


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 Post subject: Re: LED sign board update
PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2011 8:09 pm 
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So my plans for next steps are to get some more permanent boards going. I was looking at the space today, and it would be a big PITA to haul 4x8 sheets up and over the wood shop wall to the windows behind the classroom front wall. ( this is the planned long term set of windows to put the lights up behind ).

As Jeremy has pointed out a 4x8 sheet is perfect for the strings of 50 LEDs. Given these facts, my thought is to do 2x8 panels that in pairs use 50 LEDs, they could have a plug connector between them, or just be transported together carefully.

I hope to work on this on Monday night, anyone who wants to help is more than welcome to.

Also I believe that the code correction Jeremy made and Scott implemented has made the current setup fully functional (but limited to a 5x5 grid), but I forgot to check when I was there today.

Pete


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