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davr

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Registered: July 28, 2013
Posts: 43
Reply with quote  #1 
I wired up a 5m (16.4ft) strip with 300 RGB LEDs on it to an arduino, and it works in game with Artemis.

picture of testing / development:
[9464124966_e4577db18e_z]
[9464381714_d953aa6315_z]
It's hard to take good pictures of LEDs. These are underexposed so you could actually see them, it's not really dark, there are bright overhead lights on, it just seems dark compared to how bright the LEDs are. They really put off a lot of light and are almost too bright to look directly at

parts:
$11.99 1x Arduino Duemilanove 
$11.98 1x 5M 5050 RGB 300Led 
$7.31 12V 3A power supply
* $1.29 1x perf board
* free 3x TIP120 transistors
* $0.99 3x 1k ohm resistors
* $1.02 1x strip of pin headers 
* $0.99 1x 2-pin screw terminal

* = I already had these on hand, so didn't need to buy them, but I linked some equivilent ones you could buy online

Total cost: $35.57 for an artemis-compatible "DMX" setup with 16 feet of 24W total (at full brightness) of LEDs

Code: http://www.mathertel.de/Arduino/DMXSerial.aspx
I just used the "DmxSerialRecv" example, literally all I had to change was the line that said which color is connected to which pin. 

If people are interested I'll make up an actual schematic of the wiring, but it's super simple. Basically just this times three (one for each of the three RGB colors)
http://ctheds.files.wordpress.com/2007/10/transistor_light.jpg
http://ctheds.files.wordpress.com/2007/10/tip120.jpg

NOTE: I haven't tested, but I believe this will not work with a new arduino uno, you need the old "Duemilanove" one since it has the USB chip that artemis looks for.

One cool thing about this setup is that with an Arduino, if you don't mind getting your hands dirty with code, is super expandable. Hook up a fog machine or a siren or flashing lights or any kind of device, and just listen for the specific DMX command and then trigger your devices. You're not limited to existing "DMX ready" devices.
vfrdirk

Registered: July 28, 2013
Posts: 120
Reply with quote  #2 
This is awesome. I know there was a lot of discussion of DMX-specific devices on the old forum, but I've not worked with Arduino and have been looking for an excuse to get smarter about it, and electronics in general. If it's not too much to ask, I'd love to see a project plan and documentation for the whole thing. I wish I was more conversant in the parlance of electronics, and I could PROBABLY pull this off with what you've provided, but I think end to end documentation would be a huge resource for community members who haven't worked on projects like this and wouldn't undertake it without clear instructions. I love that the RGB strip lights (which a friend is using to light his home theater) are so bendy and flexible. It seems like a perfect thing to make a circle around the captain's chair or the helm and weapons stations so that permanent installations aren't necessary, but the lighting is still very visible.

Thanks!

Dirk
MarkBell

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Registered: July 30, 2013
Posts: 382
Reply with quote  #3 
Hey, nice!  I've been hoping someone would microcontroller it up soon.  I mostly PIC, so I'm glad someone else did an Arduino.  Especially with the big list of new DMX triggers available, this will allow for really interesting displays.  No need to keep it just RGB, use DMX as instructions for... I dunno, anything!  How many output channels does the Deumilanove have?  like 13 or something?  That's a lot of blinking, beeping, and whirring.
 
Nice info, and thanks for the links.
davr

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Registered: July 28, 2013
Posts: 43
Reply with quote  #4 
I made a real schematic of the wiring I did for the RGB strip:



Here's a picture of the top and bottom of the above circuit soldered together:






I'm not good with documentation, please let me know if there's any questions you have or what specific points you want more information / detail about. Can't wait for improved DMX commands so we can do fancier effects!
MarkBell

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Registered: July 30, 2013
Posts: 382
Reply with quote  #5 
Nice schematic - Eagle?  

Do you find the NPN's running warm after a bit?  That's a fair amount of juice to run through them for extended periods.

Also, I find it to be easier for me to put components on the not-copper side and solder the pins below - I'm not fighting the iron around the parts...  Ah, but there are those Arduino header pins.  That'd do it.  That's a nice, neat solder job - very nice!
davr

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Registered: July 28, 2013
Posts: 43
Reply with quote  #6 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkBell
Nice schematic - Eagle?  

Yeah, eagle

Quote:
Do you find the NPN's running warm after a bit?  That's a fair amount of juice to run through them for extended periods.

I didn't notice them getting warm, but I didn't run all that long. The amount of current is actually not that much, it's 0.66 A @ 12V per channel max with the LED strip I'm using, and I think the transistors are rated for up to 5A. If I needed more power, I'd use a MOSFET, there's some that are rated for like 50A and don't even get warm. But they cost like $2.50 instead of $0.25, and I already had the transistors on hand, so whatever.

Quote:
Also, I find it to be easier for me to put components on the not-copper side and solder the pins below - I'm not fighting the iron around the parts...  Ah, but there are those Arduino header pins.  That'd do it.  That's a nice, neat solder job - very nice!


Yeah...I soldered the header pins first the normal way, then I realized oops I can't fit the components on the other side because they'd run into the arduino. There was definitely a bit of fighting to solder the transistors on, if I had to redo it, I wouldn't put them so close together, and use extra wire to connect them instead of connecting them directly to the resistors.
vfrdirk

Registered: July 28, 2013
Posts: 120
Reply with quote  #7 
OK. I just ordered everything, as described, from the eBay sources you listed. The TIP120 transistors I'll get from Radio Shack since Fairchild seems to ask that everything be shipped 2nd Day. So, despite the fact that the devices are only 65 cents each, it'll cost $20 or more to ship them. (and they don't tell you ahead of time what the charges will be) So, $1.99 each at the Shack and I'm set. The power supply was $7.69 (today) but even with the higher price on the transistor, it's only $42. 

Once I get all the stuff, I'll try and put something together documenting the torture...I mean "build process".
davr

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Registered: July 28, 2013
Posts: 43
Reply with quote  #8 
You can ask for free samples of the TIP120 from fairchild (that's why i put 'free' on my prices). If you can't get the free samples, better places to order them would digikey.com or mouser.com:
http://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/STMicroelectronics/TIP120/?qs=sGAEpiMZZMutXGli8Ay4kAuOt55Alb1HfBmmaSaISy0%3d
http://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/TIP120G/TIP120GOS-ND/920325
The shipping should be more reasonable there.
vfrdirk

Registered: July 28, 2013
Posts: 120
Reply with quote  #9 
Oh, you said you had them on hand, so I thought they were from another project. The price at Mouser, with shipping, comes out to almost the exact same price at Radio Shack, after sales tax. So, everything is ordered. Now the waiting...
the.joeba

Registered: Aug 18, 2013
Posts: 4
Reply with quote  #10 

The only piece I can't get at a reasonable price/time is the terminal block. I can technically skip that and wire the power right in, correct?

EDIT:

I kept looking and found all the parts with shipping that is under a week (ebay was over a month). The cost was raised by about $13 but I can live with that. The first 3 items are from Amazon, the board is from Radioshack, and the last 4 are from Jameco. I had to triple my order from Jameco to avoid an "under $10 processing fee". Basically it's a buck extra and I get triple the parts. I'd happily mail a set of extra parts to someone for a few bucks + shipping.

Arduino Duemilanove
5M 5050 RGB 300Led
12V 3A power supply
perf board
3x TIP120 transistors
3x 1k ohm resistors
strip of pin headers
2-pin screw terminal

This is my first Arduino project, so I'm very excited. I'll document what I can.

MarkBell

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Registered: July 30, 2013
Posts: 382
Reply with quote  #11 
You can solder the power leads directly in, although it loses a bit of portability/modularity.  If you've got a RadioShack somewhere nearby, they're only like $1.32
http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=18253576
the.joeba

Registered: Aug 18, 2013
Posts: 4
Reply with quote  #12 
Oh man, I read that wrong. Every time I checked the Radio Shack site I thought it said "Web Exclusive". DOH!
MarkBell

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Registered: July 30, 2013
Posts: 382
Reply with quote  #13 
Oh. Well... maybe it does, at that.



Sorry, looks like it should get tacked on to a Newark, Mouser, Jameco, SparkFun, or DigiKey order then. (Did I miss any big ones?)
vfrdirk

Registered: July 28, 2013
Posts: 120
Reply with quote  #14 
I'm at the point where my eBay stuff is trickling in. I've received the TIP120s, the LEDs and the Arduino just arrived today. Every day something new! It's like Hanukkah in August! I can't wait to start wrecking everything with my soldering iron...
davr

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Registered: July 28, 2013
Posts: 43
Reply with quote  #15 
I think my next thing is going to be to cut the strip into multiple segments, perhaps 2 or 4, and then wire them separately with the transistors. This will allow me to control the color of the different segments independently, eg so I can indicate front and rear shield status separately.
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