Room Lighting System: Is This Practical?

I am going to be making a huge room lighting system. I was going to have one solid light bar under both my desk and my bed. I am thinking about having little arrays of maybe 5 or 10 leds, and being able to control them all independently. I could do things like colors chasing colors and things like that. I know how to do this, but I don't know if it is really worth it. Please let me know what you think of this idea. Is it worth it, or should I just do one solid light bar? :-/

Edit: This is my 250th post! I am now a "senior" member! :)

First determine how much time you're planning to spend under your desk or your bed.

Maybe a new pickup line: "wanna see the solder joints under my bed?"

Somehow this reminds me of those car tuners adding fancy blue fluorescence tubes to the undersides of their 'cars'. Stuff they can't even see while driving...

Technically it shouldn't be a problem. Maybe build it in such a way that it can easily be moved from under your bed to e.g. behind a TV and mimic 'ambilight' or be used as disco lights.

Well, it is going to be completely hidden and clean (I hope! ;D). I mainly wanna be different from everyone else... I am just wondering of the chaser effect is worth it... I'm having second thoughts. It's alot more soldering, alot more code, alot more components, and therefore alot more money! I think I will just forget about it... It's way above my head as is. ;) Sorry for wasting anyone's time...

I know how to do this, but I don't know if it is really worth it.

If you have the time, money, and inclination to do this project, then go for it. When I was your age, I put up a small wind generator in my parents back yard. Was it worth it? At the time, yes. Even today, I still think so. You only get to be a kid once, so right now quit worrying about things like "worth" and start worrying more about things like "play". Also, since you still have several years left living with your parents before you're "on your own", I would say "go for it" - it can only help liven up your room, it will give your parents something to talk about around the water cooler ("you'll never believe what my son did the other day to his room!"), and it will be another learning experience with the Arduino.

Plus, it will look cool.

8-)

Well, I am doing it, but I'm just deciding how complex to make it ;)

Well, I am doing it, but I'm just deciding how complex to make it

Well do it in phases or steps. Remember the hardware once built limits the possible things you can do, but the software can be written in phases of more and more complexity as you try things out, and that adds no further costs, just your time. My first software program to drive a 5x5x5 led cube just turned all the lights on and off at the same time at a fixed (constant variable) time, boring for sure, but it allowed me to make sure all the wiring and shift register pin assignments were correct. I then added a alternate led pattern, then a random pattern and finally running led patterns from an external eeprom memory that could hold a led scripting pattern of large size. So build hardware, test, lather, rinse, repeat.

Lefty

So, in lamens terms, you are telling me to do the max hardware so I can always upgrade the software? Sounds smart to me. :D

So, in lamens terms, you are telling me to do the max hardware so I can always upgrade the software? Sounds smart to me.

Basically yes. While hardware like LEDs can certainly be added in stages, building more as you go along, however deciding later that bi-color or tri-color leds should replace single color leds would be a rework situation with sunk cost wrote off.

The best bulk buy prices I've seen for LEDs are asian sellers on E-bay. I got nice 3mm diffused blue leds for around $5 per hundred plus shipping ($4). For room lighting I recommend diffused leds over high brightness leds which have a narrow angle of coverage.

Lefty

I am using ultrabright RGB leds. I am covering them all with a sheet of frosted white plexi-glass. I think that is almost the same thing. :P

Nevermind guys... I just realised that to do a chaser, and have it actually look good, I would need to have full pwm control of every color in EVERY----SINGLE----LED!!! We are talking upwards of 500 leds in total... That means 1500 individual leds to control! That means that I would need about 63 74HC595 chips per color! That is like 190 chips in total! I am pretty sure that the lag would show there! I guess I am just doing one color per array...