Controlling RGB Leds

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aireq
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Controlling RGB Leds

Post by aireq » Tue Apr 10, 2018 10:28 pm

I'm going to be working on adding the lighting to our camp's art projects for BM 2018. I've used WS2811/WS2812 LED in previous years on my clothing and bike, but only with the cheap controllers you can get off amazon that have preset patterns.

This year I want to create my own patterns that compliment the geometry of the art project the lights will be attached too. So I want to create patterns where I have control over each individual LED.

I have minimal experience with Arduino, but I know how to program other languages so I'm fairly confident I could come up with a custom solution using a library like http://fastled.io/. However, I'd rather not reinvent the wheel if I don't have too.

What software is typically used to control RGB LEDs? Glediator looks interesting? Madrix looks expensive ;-)

Instead of using an Arduino, what about the T-1000S or K-1000C controllers that take an SD Card? Apparently, I can use some software called LEDEdit2017 to create patterns. Is there any documentation on the format of the files read by these controllers?

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BBadger
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Re: Controlling RGB Leds

Post by BBadger » Wed Apr 11, 2018 2:41 am

Supposedly the .led files that those controllers use are encrypted and only generated by that LEDEdit software, which is apparently not very good.

I do full custom software with my own lights because I want complete control and those other programs feel too limited.

Maybe you can use something like Processing for controlling yours, using something like a Fadecandy controller. It only allows 8 strips of 64 pixels though, but it might be enough.
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1durphul
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Re: Controlling RGB Leds

Post by 1durphul » Wed Apr 11, 2018 4:16 am

BBadger wrote:Supposedly the .led files that those controllers use are encrypted and only generated by that LEDEdit software, which is apparently not very good.

I do full custom software with my own lights because I want complete control and those other programs feel too limited.

Maybe you can use something like Processing for controlling yours, using something like a Fadecandy controller. It only allows 8 strips of 64 pixels though, but it might be enough.
I'd agree with BBadger, making your own custom software programs is the best way to go. The software itself is actually the not so much a difficult part (it is not particularly complex to push pixels read from a flat file through to a controller). The programming of shows is going to be the creatively interesting (and difficult) part. I've also used Processing before, it's effective if you're not solid on programming.

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Papa Bear
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Re: Controlling RGB Leds

Post by Papa Bear » Wed Apr 11, 2018 3:54 pm

I wound up doing the LED programming for the art project I helped with last year. Like you, I had no Arduino experience, though I do have plenty of programming experience (including Java and some very rusty C/C++).

I found the FastLed library worked quite well for our purposes, in my case driven by a Teensy 3.5 controller. There are a number of GitHub repositories with sample animation code out there for the library, so you don't necessarily have to start from scratch.

vasan25
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Re: Controlling RGB Leds

Post by vasan25 » Mon Dec 14, 2020 7:52 am

I developed RGB Screen Recorder, a free software to drive neopixels using fastled from sdcard. You can design any custom pixel layout and screen record motion effect into txt or binary format. Embed the rgb effects in your program or load from sdcard to drive the neopixels using Arduino and FastLed offline.
Download for FREE and watch on youtube for program features and demos.
homepage:
https://www.rgbscreenrecorder.com

*Program overview:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=_A3-kxO_6KI

*Drive ws2811 custom pixel layout using Arduino Nano, Fastled and sdcard:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=sSXufwXOUPo

*Drive ws2812b strip using matrix layout, Arduino Uno, Fastled and sdcard:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=c_8gYvnOjkE

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FlyingMonkey
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Re: Controlling RGB Leds

Post by FlyingMonkey » Thu Dec 17, 2020 10:03 am

In 2019 we pushed the limit of what you can do with small controllers & RGB strips when we built an art project for GLEAM called Bifrost http://www.olbrich.org/GLEAMInstallations.cfm . Overall there were 52 arches programmed with shifting rainbow patterns. In the end it was a pretty cool effect.

We used Teensy's & OctoWS2811's and controlled a ton of lights. Using the Octo's RJ-45 outputs we used 1 twisted pair to feed data to pairs of arches. We had some issues (like any project) but honestly I think we were trying to drive way too many LEDs. One thing we had to make sure was that each end of the strips had power & they all had a common ground. I was pretty impressed with how much we were able to do with the Teensy's but you can obviously do way cooler things with more processing power. As mentioned above fadeCandy looks pretty cool.

For what we did it was a relatively low tech solution but it worked well.

https://www.adafruit.com/product/1779
https://www.adafruit.com/?q=teensy&sort=BestMatch

Bifrost-close-up-2.jpg
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