As far as progress on this project, I’m definitely not as far along my timeline as I would like. My goal is to make up that lost time over Spring Break. I’ve purchased the LED panel and have wired it up so that I have the system working. I found an old laptop case in my house which actually diffuses the light really well, but I still need to diffuse the light outside of the panel. The panel is super bright, so I’m looking at purchasing some kind of reflective material to let the light diffuse outward, similar to the picture of the Gothic Theatre in my previous blog post. Here’s a short video showing the LED panel functioning without and with the diffusion panel (https://youtu.be/p4Nye0LdHfQ).
I’ve begun to code the system so that the LEDs will cycle through the sunset/sunrise routines and working on getting the colors right as well. The biggest challenge I’ve run into is using pre-written libraries with the LED panel. Since programming each LED individually would not only be incredibly tedious, it would also suck up most of the processing power of the Arduino, I’ve been using libraries pre-written by the manufacturer. These libraries have functions programmed to make the panel do certain things, but none of them fully suit what I want to do, so I’m trying to adapt these to light the panel the way I want to.
One of the biggest steps I still need to take is actually working with the wood to create the front panel. I was going to find some scrap wood at the Idea Forge or ITLL to experiment on before purchasing the wood I wanted to use. I’m looking at trying to acquire some Colorado Beetle Kill Pine, so if anyone knows of a good source for that, I’d love to hear about it.
The final challenge will be wiring and assembly the final product so that all (or most of) the wires are hidden and concealed while still being reliable connected to the Arduino and the board. The way the board is set-up makes it hard to not have exposed wire, so I will have to use the wooden panel and the electronics box to actually hide the wires.
Sounds like you are making pretty good progress! In my experience the real trick of computer science is using libraries creatively to make them do what you want and I can imagine that will be a huge challenge here. The LED’s shining through the diffuser you found looks incredible. I think it will definitely be able to look like the gradients you see in the sky at sunrise and sunset.
Also as an aside there is a button in the post editor to create hyperlinked text which would keep us from having to copy and paste your youtube link. 🙂
I feel like one of the problems you were concerned with at the beginning of the project was the led diffusion, but it looks like you have made great progress on that already! Even though you aren’t as far as you had wanted to be, I’m glad that you were able to already tackle that problem. I also think that Chip offers some great advice with hiding the wires. I’m looking forward to seeing how the wood will look at the end of the project. If you need some extra help you can always ask me!
Roshan, the LED panel looks amazing with the light diffusion. Although not beetle kill, there is some super cool exotic woods at pretty good prices at http://www.ocoochhardwoods.com/scroll_saw_lumber.php as I’ve mentioned to you before. I like Chips idea of simply using brown heatshrink to blend the wires rather than trying too hard to hide them.
This is so cool. Did you need a separate driver or power supply to power that many LEDs? If you’re running into limitations with the Arduino, you may be able to get a shield that give you more flexibility (if you haven’t already). Regarding hiding the wires – can you get a harness wrap or even heat shrink tubing in a brown color that might blend in to whatever wood you’re using? Maybe you don’t really have to hide the wires completely, and rather just disguise them?