RGB LED strip stair project with sensors

Hi all,

I've installed bamboo flooring on floors 1 and 2 of my house. I was going to install the flooring on the stairs, but recently came across videos of LEDs lighting up the stairway. I'm very interested in installing LED strips below the nose of the 16 steps with motion sensors at the top/bottom of the stairs.

I just learned about Arduino and would like to use this product to bring life to my stairway using RGB LEDs.

I'm looking for guidance on what materials to purchase and guidance on installation.

Any help in routing me in the right direction is greatly appreciated.

Welcome to Arduino!

From a purely "flooring" perspective - When/if you do install the bamboo on your stairs...use LOTS of glue (subfloor adhesive, polyurethane based wood-floor glue, or the like - something that [u]won't[/u] get brittle with age). Stairs flex quite a bit, and any nails/staple [u]will[/u] work loose over time, causing squeaks. Oh, and (if just installing over existing wooden steps) leave a bit of space (1/16-1/8 inch) between the flooring boards and the stringers & risers (any vertical pieces) of the staircase; that's a huge cause of squeaky stairs as well!

As for what LEDs to use, I'm in love with these things - http://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-neopixel-uberguide

Super easy to use. Cut to any length you need. And the strip should fit nicely under a wooden stair nose. Ummm...can you solder?

Floors and LEDs - Depending how the stairnose is milled (they can vary quite a bit), you may be able to hide the LED strips completely out of view without hindering performance. Do you already have stair nose? Or link or photo of cross-sectional view (profile) to see how it's dimensioned?

Maybe a link to the video you referenced would be helpful as well. Ya know, just so we know what kind of effect/look you're going for?

Thanks!

Hi! Thank you for the quick response and suggestions.

Here is the stair nose that I will be using.

I would like to screw these casings under the stair nose right behind the vertical lip with the light pointed downwards to light up the white risers.

Here is a sample of what I would like to implement using the RGB LED strips. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZ1uJWRdWzo

These would be awesome effects that I would like to apply! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6cYmr3RBnI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bm_qnElA_0

The NeoPixels look awesome! This may be the choice of LED strips to use.

Yeah…you should be able to do all that with Arduino & NeoPixel strips.

And stair nose should work well. You may want to measure things FIRST. Just adding a wood stair nose to steps can really make them feel ‘steeper’ (with the large nose part sticking out about 3/4 inch). Add the meter channel and you’re getting close to an inch. Just check it now while planning. Things can always be done to correct the issue, but you want to figure it out BEFORE starting install…trust me. :frowning:

I think I noticed on another thread that you have 16 treads to light, correct? I think you can get away with the 30 pixel-per-metre strips (these things are BRIGHT!).
Calculate how much strip you need - how wide are your steps?

It’ll probably be somewhere between 10-15 meters of LED strip.
That’s about 300-450 NeoPixels.

Power supply-
So, 450 x 60mA (maximum, full on bright white) = 27000 mA = 27 Amps! :astonished:
You’ll likely never come close to using that much power, but usually better safe than sorry.
Do you possibly have an old ATX computer power supply laying around??
You could probably get away with using one or two of these -
http://www.adafruit.com/products/658 10A each.

Anyway. With that many pixels, and you want some pretty elaborate effects… I suggest getting an Arduino Mega just to make sure you have plenty of memory available for programming & running these things.

We can start working on code and stuff after you have at least an Arduino and some NeoPixels to play with.

Sorry for the delay. I just returned from an east coast trip for a wedding.

There are 2 Arduino Megas; 2560 and ADK. Which is best for the project?

I’ll measure twice and cut once :slight_smile: Thanks for the heads up!

Yes. I have 16 treads to light. The steps are 41 inches wide. That’s 656 inches or 55 feet or about 18 meters. The 60/meter looks nice. Cost would be about $540. Holy cow!

That would be about 1080 NeoPixels.

For the power supply-
1080 x 60mA = 64800 mA = 64.8 Amps. What power supply would you recommend? I do not want to supply voltage via the pins which will bypass the regulator and may damage the board.

I’ll order 1 meter of the 60/meter and either the 2560 or ADK so I can get started. I see that these are sold on amazon.com. Do you recommend other places to purchase the board?

Will I have enough room on the board to include the sensors at the top/bottom of the stairs to trigger the LEDs?

Also, will I need to purchase a bread board and wiring? If so, what type do you recommend?

I really appreciate your feedback. Can’t wait to get started.

There are 2 Arduino Megas; 2560 and ADK. Which is best for the project?

The ADK is the Android Development Kit. Do you have an Android? Is it going to be part of the project? If the answer to either of these questions is no. don't get the ADK.

1080 x 60mA = 64800 mA = 64.8 Amps.

Only if they are all lit at once.

What power supply would you recommend?

I'd recommend that you rethink this project. 65Amps is not for beginners or less that adequate wiring. My arc welder barely deals with that much current.

I do not want to supply voltage via the pins which will bypass the regulator and may damage the board.

Only if it hurt itself when it fell over laughing. There is no way in hell the Arduino is going to deliver 65 amps.

Do you recommend other places to purchase the board?

The Arduino store.

PaulS: The ADK is the Android Development Kit. Do you have an Android? Is it going to be part of the project? If the answer to either of these questions is no. don't get the ADK.

I think we can forget the ADK.

PaulS: Only if it hurt itself when it fell over laughing. There is no way in hell the Arduino is going to deliver 65 amps.

65 amps at 5V equates to over 300 watts. We are talking of lighting your stairs with three 100W LED floodlamps - pretty much equivalent to three 300W halogen floodlamps. You could probably do with much sparser LEDs, certainly 30 per metre or less.

Note with the connectors for these LED strips, they almost always have two active (red) and two ground wires (often blue) coming out of the connector, including the connector that is actually attached to the strip, though only some strips come with the connector attached. When wiring the strips which have a data direction, you would be connecting the data and ground connection from one to the next back and forth from one step to the next (but you would not chain them all, probably break them up into four or eight chains from separate I/O on the Arduino) but not the +5V which together with the ground, you would have fed from a much heavier feed running up one (or possibly both) side of the stairs. So the power lines for all steps are in parallel while the data lines are in series.

I ordered the Arduino Mego 2560. It's on it's way as I type.

Here is my shopping cart for the project:

Qty 17 - Adafruit NeoPixel Digital RGB LED Weatherproof Strip 30 LED -1m - BLACK (PID: 1460) Qty 2 - Female DC Power adapter - 2.1mm jack to screw terminal block (PID: 368) Qty 2 - 5V 10A switching power supply (PID: 658) In-line power wire connector (male) (PID: 319) In-line power wire connector (female) (PID: 318)

I understand that one 5V 10A power supply will be used to power the up to 10 meters of LED strips, and another to power the rest of the strips.

What power supply do I purchase to power up the Arduino Mega 2560?

Please bare with me. I'm new to this. :blush:

Don't forget some wires. Rule of thumb applies - if the wire is thinner than your thumb, it's too thin. :grin:

snake_eyes: What power supply do I purchase to power up the Arduino Mega 2560?

Seems you (will) have two of them.

Shpaget: Don't forget some wires. Rule of thumb applies - if the wire is thinner than your thumb, it's too thin. :grin:

Perhaps not that thick, but note my previous comments paralleling those on the Adafruit documentation, regarding providing power to each one metre segment independently - with a heavier "bus" to distribute it. I don't like the idea of using those connectors for ten amps - or even the 2.1mm connector on the power supply - I would prefer screw-down terminals.

And

The specifications on these NeoPixel RGB Strips are that they take two amps per metre at full brightness, so for seventeen meters, you would arguably need 34 amps or four such power supplies.

I am testing 3.5 metesr of the Neopixels strip for the first 3 steps.

Current set up:

One 5V/10A to power the Arduino Mega. One 5V/10A to power the strips which positive and ground connected to the strip. Ground from power supply is connected to ground on the breadboard. Ground is then fed to the ground on the first strip. Positive is fed to the first strip. I did not run power to the strip like I did the ground. Is this the right thought process?

Data on the pin 6 is connected directly to the data line on the strip.

The positive, ground and data are then connected to the second strip and so on.

It was working fine until I change a parameter on the strand test code for the number of LEDs. I power off the power strip to power off the 2 5A/10A power supplies, connected the USB to the board, uploaded the code, disconnected the USB, powered on the power strip, and nothing. Tried the same process a few times and some lights flickered.

The only time the lights work correctly is when the USB is connected while the power supply to the board is disconnected and the power supply for the strips is connected.

I'm in dire need of support. Any wizards out there to provide assistance?

I checked my soldering work and it looks good. Can't figure out why it now only runs the code and turns in the LEDs when only connected to USB.

Side note. I tried to run the positive and ground parallel on one side of the stairs but it didn't work. It would only work if I daisy chain all 3 wires.

UPDATE: I changed the KHz from 800 to 400 and the LEDs turn on independently off of the power supplies without being connected to USB. This is weird and beyond me. Whenever I change it back to 800, the issue repeats itself.

I did purchase NeoPixels (runs at 800 KHz), but why do I have to change it to 400 KHz (for Flora pixels)...

Hi there. I'm totally a noob in arduino and electronics, but I have the exact same (first) project as you and did some research on the subject.

What I see is you are trying to power up the arduino with the 5V/10A power supply. You can't do that with the DC barrel or VIN/5V pins, you need at least 7V of power regulated to 5V by the built-in regulator of the arduino (need 5V and +2V for the regulator). But, what you can do is take an USB cable, cut the connector, find the power and ground strand and connect them to your power supply. You can power the arduino with 5V via the USB but no the DC barrel or VIN/5V.

I suggest you to read that guide with a lot of explanations and tips : https://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-neopixel-uberguide/ They explain it's better to add a capacitor and resistors to eliminate some problems.