Could use some Expert Advice on Project

OK, so I just received an arduino inventors kit along with a sensor kit from sparkfun. This thing is awesome! However, i am totally new at this stuff.. I am an artist working and doing things in CT.

What i want to do is create a project that is wall mounted boards with LED's. These LED's need to become brighter and then flash as another sculpted piece is brought within closer proximity to them. Hopefully these sculpted pieces can be battery powered and hold a small sensor inside of them and not have a wire trail...

Is this a possible thing to do? It seems possible. Where is the best place to start? And if anyone can lend any type of help that would be amazing.. im trying to get this project done by december.

thanks thanks thanks and thanks!


Is this a possible thing to do?

it seems to be an easy task but depends totally on what you want to do
i can give you a simple idea have a ldr and a ultrasonic sensor the ldr will be triggered using a laser pointer mounted on the sculpture and the ping sensor used to detect proximity after the ldr is triggred and the led,s accordingly

-hope this helps :slight_smile: " im not a expert :stuck_out_tongue: "

trying to get this project done by december.

it can be finished way before that deadline :wink:

Some questions that needs answers and that will affect the complexity of this project:

*Does the other object HAVE to be another sculpture? If so, you need a way to detect not only proximity, but also identity. *How many objecs are you planning? *How's your budget?

I think infrared would be a good solution. It's very line of sight and directional (depending on the detector you get) so you could put an infrared transmitter on the sculpted art and detectors on the wall-mounted units. If you turn the power down on the transmitter enough, you can get very good localization.

-- The Gadget Shield: accelerometer, RGB LED, IR transmit/receive, light sensor, potentiometers, pushbuttons

wow.. you guys are good.. just posted this morning.. ok, well now that i know it's possible let me explain the idea a little better... and what im planning on..

so it's going to be an interactive wall piece. where i will have 3 panels of 4'x4' plywood that each have a small phrase written on them (the words will be constructed from the LED's.. the will be cursive and pretty thick so i plan on using quite a few LED's probably in the hundreds easily. this was my first concern. Dealing with power issues and getting enough power to the work. but not frying stuff.

now across from the gallery i wanted to have a pedestal with three objects..(fit in your hands size). which if taken and carried next to the wall panels will force them to get brighter and eventually flash when very close.. hoping to have these battery powered so they can be moved freely and not attached to anything.. also it would be great if they did not visible emit anything... and finally each of the three small sculptures would correspond to the lighting of each separate panel. (this seems like it might not be possible)

finally as an after thought i was thinking of somehow creating a sensor that when one of the small sculptures were taken off of the pedestal a sound would be played for a second or two.

so thats the idea... budget is not completely huge but i do have probably around $1000 - $1500 i could spend on parts and equipment.. i wasnt thinking it would be that much but thats where i stand.

Went to the shack and got some supplies to help me start to figure this all out. i will be ordering LED's in bulk soon... if anyone would feel like pointing a bit more in the right direction on where i should start to figure this all out that would be extremely awesome.. thanks again.


i guess my first and main question is what type of power should i be using to get this many LEDs fired up? And how exactly do you power the arduino up without it being hooked up to your computer?

can the wall pieces be plugged in? That would be easiest. the 3 movable pieces could be battery powered no problem. they would last for months.

yea the wall pieces would be mounted and be available to plug into a wall.. the movable parts however, i was planning on having quite small so d batteries would probably not work. is there a way around this?

and as far as the LED's are concerned is the best thing to do then to rig my panels up with LEDs first and then count them up and figure out the power?


i will have to start posting pics really soon.

just not sure how many i will end up using

I didn't realize RF was so sensitive. Over what range does RF RSSI work?

Hey... its just a small gallery in CT... on a campus i believe for this show..

just 3 small objects.. actually they will be resin caste hammerhead sharks! probably around 1' in length.. so maybe 2.5" diameter at the widest part? havent started these yet. but i will be able to hollow them out.

im guessing, even though i havent seen the gallery yet that i will probably have somewhere between 20 and 50 ft between the origin of the 3 pieces and the wall mounts. so people will be able to pick up the sharks and move them around the gallery.

no i dont know anyone who is a ham anymore... however its pretty crazy you should mention that because this piece is kind of an homage to my grandfather who served on a sub in WWII named the USS Hammerhead, and he was a HUGE ham radio guy back in the day with a crazy antennae on his roof and everything...? weird!

so now i have some ideas for this project and maybe i can post this as an RF fox hunt! and i can name the piece after his handle or whatever they call the series of letters they have. awesome!

ive also been working on a bunch of mini moonshine still casts that will be placed in GPS locations for people to find and keep moving... funny how things always seem to come around...

anyway thanks so far Rich, i will try and post some sketches of the work up on this thread soon... if you could help me out some with this i would sure be very thankful..

ok… quick questiion on the rf sensors… how much room will i need inside the sulpture so i can start to create the molds? is it possible to get the electronics set up now and put it together to see if it works and how big it will be? what parts should i purchase? also will the sensors be blocked by being housed inside a plastic sculpture?

back in the saddle agaaaiian!

ok so ive been working on this project some more.... buuuuutt

i just got married and am in the process of a buying a house (which by some strange coincidence has one of the tallest short wave radio towers on the property grandfathered in!!?)

needless to say the scope of my project has deteriorated.. for now...

so i guess i need to ask for some different advice... so the project has changed form for now into a much easier assembly and idea:

have my leds on a board that spell out a sentence and and i need to hook it up to a soft pot that senses touch to make the leds brighter..

so my first problem is.... (sorry im really noobish)

how do i hook up 2,000 + leds together and get power to them?

second how do i hook up my arduino to the sensor and the leds to change brightnes depending on touchibg the soft pot?

i will post pictures in the next few days!

thanks thanks thanks thanks!

how do i hook up 2,000 + leds together and get power to them?

well it depends do tou want each led to be addressed ( then it cant be done ) or a line of led's? i mean common some like sevendigit led displays they there is probably a solution ;)

i would like (if possible) all leds to light up and act at the same time... im hoping to power them all together. but i have a LOT! like over 2000... so im trying to figure out the best way to solder them all together or what.. right now they are individual led's because thats all that would work in the crazy shape i have made. but they should all be wired together... again, if possible...

is there a limit to how many Led's can be hooked up together?

thanks! for this project every single LED will be doing the same thing. no variation except dimming up and down all at the same time(hopefully controlled by a soft pot).. they are all the exact same LED.. same color.. same size... same company. i will send the exacts when i get home.. i will also get the exact count. they hopefully will all be powered together..

realized i should keep my first foray into electronics art at a more simpler speed and try this idea out first...

R. Crowley - thanks, youve been helping me out a lot all the time... your the man.. also i am closing on a house next week and it has an enormous short wave radio tower on the property! crazy the way things happen, after you were telling me all that stuff about proximity sensors and RF ideas! i am really interested in getting that project off the ground too, but with marriage and house buying i need to try something simple for now.

the LED's are 3.3 - 3.8 forward voltage

so does this mean at 24 volts im considering 6 led's per string?

or 12 at 48 volts?

and can i run multiple strings off of the same dc adapter? because im definitely not hooking up 20 wall warts to this thing...?


I would put 7 leds in each string just to be safe.

will this single power supply run all 334 strings?

im lucky looks like it ends up being a little under 2000 LED's

the Led specs say between 3.5 and 3.8 forward voltage... should i check this with a meter?

also i am working on an exact count for LED's