charlieplex AC light bulbs

Ok! so I found an array of lights from an old sign - the controller is missing. I want to get them working as part of a christmas display. its basically a 9x14 grid and all the bulbs are working. I would like to individually address them to make patterns or letters.

I figure in order to charlieplex the array using an arduino - I could treat them like leds by using a diode and an optoisolator ic... thats as far as my assumption goes. AND as i was googling TIAC came up but i dont know exactly what that is or if it is needed.

Can anyone help me get this array working.

I also have a bunch of EL wire that runs on AC using:

it would be cool to use the same process to control that as well. any help would be awesome!

You could just get 126 TRIAC's....

something does not make sense....
you have a sign with a matrix of 9 lamps x 12 what was it used for ?
did it have a controller and create patterns ?

Charlie plexing is to turn on one row and one column, quickly to flash a light, the idea is that you have persistence of vision and the light will 'appear' to be on for some time after it is turned off.
AC lights, with filaments, dim over time as they cool. may not be a bad effect.

but the concept is that only one device, at the intersection of the row and column that is lit.
total power is only that of one lamp.

try it and see how it works.

I agree with Dave. It won’t work. Not because you are Charlieplexing, but because you are multiplexing. You can’t multiplex AC filament bulbs. All you will get is a dim red glow, or nothing.

I think triacs and shift registers would be the way to go.

dave-in-nj:
something does not make sense....
you have a sign with a matrix of 9 lamps x 12 what was it used for ?
did it have a controller and create patterns ?

yes! - It was part of a marquee but it no longer has its controller.

PaulRB:
I agree with Dave. It won't work. Not because you are Charlieplexing, but because you are multiplexing. You can't multiplex AC filament bulbs. All you will get is a dim red glow, or nothing.

I think triacs and shift registers would be the way to go.

dont optoisolators have triacs in them - i can use shift registers (a 595 was always part of the plan)

My question is how do the old controllers do it then to scroll text on ac filament bulbs?

:frowning:

dont optoisolators have triacs in them - i can use shift registers (a 595 was always part of the plan)

My question is how do the old controllers do it then to scroll text on ac filament bulbs?

We would need to see a photo of the sign and inside. there is no way to tell without it.
Maybe they just used the proper number of Triacs?
Maybe it had relays ?
Maybe they had a PLC ?

post photos of the unit and guts and lamps and any labels.

if you want to restore, then it might go one way
if you want to modernize, then I would go with LED's and bring it into the current state of controls.

the other question is what is your level of ability ? what are you comfortable doing with it ?

Opto-isolators don't normally have triacs in them. Maybe some special ones do, but don't assume they all do.

Displaying/scrolling text/patterns can be done with AC filament bulbs if they are not multiplexed. I'm begining to think you don't actually know what multiplexing is... If so, please don't be embarrassed. I'll be quite happy to explain.