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Topic: Custom RGB Lighting -first project (Read 725 times) previous topic - next topic

GeoffLangford

Jul 13, 2017, 02:58 pm Last Edit: Jul 13, 2017, 03:03 pm by GeoffLangford
Hi, I'm hoping to take on my first arduino project, not sure what info I put in here I'm looking for all kinds of help at this point, mostly trying to figure out what kind of components I should buy.

Backstory: my gf wanted RGB computer lighting. I looked at the costs and the only way I could see it done was for $200-240, which isn't justifiable.
but it might be a fun project to do for about a $100 arduino project that's truly customizable. Her birthday is in about 6 weeks, so I thought this could be an awesome present(even if it's late)

I saw another guys project where he used an arduino uno to control 2x4RGBs in fans a few years ago, which inspired me to investigate this.

I have personally done soldering for circuit board repairs, and am studying programming at university
(have written mostly c++ which I heard is what uno's use) so I feel I can manage this.
Additionally I do have access to an professional for help if necessary
(my father is an electrical engineer by trade, I don't want to approach him for help with a half-fledged idea for something of non-practical purposes)


I'd want to control the 12 RGBs separately (36 channels) and 2 LED strips (another 6 channels), so a 48 channel controller is the way to go right?, or perhaps 3x 16 channels? (like a TLC5940)
I'd want to control the software using a couple of buttons on the front, to keep things simple I was thinking 4 buttons on the front, 1 for power, 3 for controlling the software. Already have plenty of plans in mind for the buttons and can always change things up in the software later.

So my understanding of the parts is :
Arduino (unsure which to get, uno doesn't seem to have enough digital connections for 3x TLC5940s)
48 channel controller or 3x16 channel controllers,
12 RGB LED's and 2x 30cm rgb strips (preferably common cathode cause another guy did common cathode stuff so it's less figuring out for me) (side note: RGB strips seem annoying as they rarely state common anode or cathode, or voltage, online. But there are 5v common anode ones, but I think I'll be paying a premium for the security of getting to right one which I'm fine with)
around 50 general purpose transistors (one for each colour of the RGB's)
wiring, buttons, a couple resistors and ofc the less technical things such as something to house it in, wire wrap, solder etc...

Is it possible to control a TLC5954/TLC5955 (or similar model) with an arduino uno? I've heard of it being done with a TLC5940 (a 16 channel)
otherwise would it be better to get 3x 5940's and a bigger arduino to control it?
 
the TLC5954/TLC5955 seems hard to obtain and very hard to solder all the wires needed onto it (as it seems like it's not designed to soldered by hand. So If you know a bigger 48 channel chip that'd be helpful, or what arduino I should get for 3x TLC5940's (I assume that's a possibility)

Additionally I'd like to house everything in a drive bay (like below a dvd drive), from what I've seen all these components should be able to fit in something that size. I was thinking of getting the housing 3D printed, so all components would be able to made to fit in securely.

Anyhows I want to know if I'm on the right track, is this completely ridiculous?
If I go through with this what kind of arduino should I buy and what kind of PWM controller should I get?
any strips or LED suggestions as I know nothing about the brands, I'd just be going by it being cheap on ebay.
Really any component, the goal is to individually control 12 RGB LED's and 2 RGB Strips by a couple of buttons.

Thanks!

groundFungus

#1
Jul 13, 2017, 04:05 pm Last Edit: Jul 13, 2017, 04:08 pm by groundFungus
Have you looked at the WS2812(B) LED strips.  They have controllers built into each RGB "pixel" so you can control them individually.  You use one Arduino pin to control many many (100's) LEDS wired in a "daisy chain".  The FastLED library makes programming sequences (with fade, blink, etc) pretty easy.
You will save everyone's time if you read and follow the forum guidelines.  :)          
https://forum.arduino.cc/index.php/topic,148850.0.html
and
https://forum.arduino.cc/index.php?topic=97455.0

GeoffLangford

Have you looked at the WS2812(B) LED strips.  They have controllers built into each RGB "pixel" so you can control them individually.  You use one Arduino pin to control many many (100's) LEDS wired in a "daisy chain".  The FastLED library makes programming sequences (with fade, blink, etc) pretty easy.
Just checked those out as per suggestion, Very feasible and can potentially add another dimension to my whole project! Thanks for the suggestion!

DVDdoug

This seems feasible but I'd recommend that  you start with 1 or 2 LED strips to get the hang of how everything connects together.    Maybe you can get that  done in 6-weeks.    In fact, you should probably start  with a couple of regular-little RGB LEDs so you don't have to worry about the addressing or drivers.  You can do a lot of preliminary software development and work on the user interface without the LED strips.

Do you need dimming?    It's easier to "expand" to more channels if you don't need dimming.

Or, there are addressable LED strips with drivers built-in.   (Check the Adafruit website.)


Quote
Backstory: my gf wanted RGB computer lighting. I looked at the costs and the only way I could see it done was for $200-240, which isn't justifiable.
but it might be a fun project to do for about a $100 arduino project that's truly customizable.
I doubt you can do it for $100, especially if you're including the cost of the LED strips.    You'd be surprised how the costs add-up when you include the cost of a power supply, enclosure, connectors, etc.   And, then you start running to the store (or placing online orders) for "little things" like wire, heat shrink, nuts & bolts, etc., and that tends to add-up.    A "minimal" Arduino project with a power supply, a box, a few switches, LEDs, and connectors usually costs me around $100.


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(have written mostly c++ which I heard is what uno's use) so I feel I can manage this.
I think you can handle the software.  Take a look at the Arduino Language Reference.  It's not standard ANSI/ISO C++, as there's no built-in display, keyboard, or disk/file storage.   But as long as you understand variables, conditional execution, loops, etc., I think you'll find it easy!



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Additionally I do have access to an professional for help if necessary
(my father is an electrical engineer by trade, I don't want to approach him for help with a half-fledged idea for something of non-practical purposes)
Your dad is your BEST resource!!!!    He may not be familiar with the Arduino but he knows how to read a datasheet and he'll understand the "issues" and he knows what's quick & easy, and what requires more in-depth engineering & research, etc.    


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around 50 general purpose transistors (one for each colour of the RGB's)
Yes.  ... Well not 50, one for each channel.  (Transistors or MOSFETs.  Consult your dad.)


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Additionally I'd like to house everything in a drive bay (like below a dvd drive), from what I've seen all these components should be able to fit in something that size.
That's probably "pushing it" when you consider the connectors & driver circuits, etc.  And, is the power supply supposed to fit in there?   The smaller you try to make things, the trickier it gets, especially for a hobbyist.



GeoffLangford

#4
Jul 13, 2017, 04:55 pm Last Edit: Jul 13, 2017, 05:06 pm by GeoffLangford
Thank you for your detailed reply!

Quote
This seems feasible but I'd recommend that  you start with 1 or 2 LED strips to get the hang of how everything connects together.    Maybe you can get that  done in 6-weeks.    In fact, you should probably start  with a couple of regular-little RGB LEDs so you don't have to worry about the addressing or drivers.  You can do a lot of preliminary software development and work on the user interface without the LED strips.

Do you need dimming?    It's easier to "expand" to more channels if you don't need dimming.

Or, there are addressable LED strips with drivers built-in.   (Check the Adafruit website.)
The initial intent of the LED strips was to be a strip of 12 RGB LED's in parallel. would require to be dimmable, otherwise you don't get the full spectrum, right? But I might take the suggestion of
WS2812(B)'s, though that would require more effort into programming to achieve all the desired effects i'd want, though atm the concern is the physical feasibility, can I get this done or do I just give up before I waste money.


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I doubt you can do it for $100,
I've spreadsheeted the items and it comes down to vendors. $100 is the goal but as long as I don't break $150 I think it was, I see it as a worthwhile piece of fun. to what it sounded like I could get the LED's for $10, I could get strips for about $15 the fans won't be a concern, the arduino and chips are a concern (some pricings put that from between $20 to about $50, I hear transistors and resistors are dirt cheap. From the number of wires I would need some fair amount of heatshrink, no sure how pricey I'd need to go on the wires...I was considering maybe trying phone line as it's 4 wires, compact, cheap per meter. Might be able to find something cheaper on ebay though. 

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That's probably "pushing it" when you consider the connectors & driver circuits, etc.  And, is the power supply supposed to fit in there?   The smaller you try to make things, the trickier it gets, especially for a hobbyist.
As for the power supply, I was going to draw from the computers power supply, drawing off of the 5v rail, probably hooked up via something simple like a 4pin Molex.

GeoffLangford

#5
Jul 14, 2017, 08:00 pm Last Edit: Jul 14, 2017, 08:06 pm by GeoffLangford
Okay so i've looked at Arduinos and it looks like The Arduino Due is what I'd need, right?
from the other guys project a 5940 used 4 PWM's on the uno for a 5940, so I'd need 12 PWMs for 3x 5940's, which the due has.

Looking at more in dept diagrams of the uno some data ports have additional traits to them so I'm not completely certain the due is usable for it. also if it has enough processing power to control the 14 separate RGB setups. Additionally all the pins can only take 3.3v inputs, so I have no idea what kind of impact that will have but I think that's mostly to do with any buttons I attach to it will need to have the voltage adjusted accordingly. I think the due looks like my best shot but I don't want to buy and find out I've bought wrong.

So is an Arduino due and a TLC5940 the right way to go for circuitry?

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