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5.25 LED Matrix

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5.25" LED Matrix

21 Nov 2003 Server troubles

The network card in my file server died a few days ago, because of this some of the video files on this page are currently unavailable. I do not know when they will be back up again.

10 Jul 2002 - How about two?

Q: What can be cooler than one 5.25" bay filled with LED's?
A: Two 5.25" bays filled with LED's of coz! Dual matrix A (4.5MB) Dual matrix B (6MB)

18 Jun 2002 - First video of the new hardware

I just recorded a new video (6MB), this time with the new hardware, of coz. Made with the same crappy webcam as before (colors are way off, and there is some flickering). No sound this time, sorry.

4 Jun 2002 - V2 hardware done

The boards and all the components have arrived! This is all the parts required to build a matrix:

And this is how it looks after seven hours of soldering (I am not kidding, there are more than 1100 solderjoints!):

I've not yet had the time to port my firmware to this new, slightly modified hardware, so it's not tested yet. The biggest difference is that this new hardware is built around a smaller, slightly less expensive (saved about $1) MCU. The biggest benefit is that I could fit it all to a smaller board, the drawback is that I'll probably have to rewrite some routines in assembly in order to save RAM, and possibly move the text scrolling routines from the firmware to the PC application in order to save flash memory (a font requires lots of flash memory)

14 Okt 2002 - Started development of V2

Due to popular demand I've looked into the possibility of offering this as a 'kit' with professional PCB's and a preprogrammed MCU.
I've worked out a smaller more compact version (almost all thoose cables you see on the picture below will be gone) of the PCB's and sent it to a PCB manufacturer for a prototype. It should arrive any day now. I'll Post pics of the boards and how it looks with all components soldered as soon as I get it. Assuming the boards are OK, of coz. This next version of the matrix will have one additional column of LED's for a total of 23*7=161 dual color LED's.
As for the software, my winamp plugin is now tested under win2k and win98, so it should work fine under any win32 OS. If the 'kit' becomes a reality then I'll just release the communication protocol details along with some source code to allow anyone to write software for it. It's really quite easy, And I feel that's the only way to allow anyone to explore all the possibilities 161 blinking LED's can offer. ;)

24 May 2002 - Page started

Normal Demo of the LED Matrix displaying Winamp frequency analyser.
Fire Demo of the LED Matrix displaying Winamp frequency analyser in fire mode.
Text Demo of the LED Matrix scrolling some text.
The mpegs are captured using a simple webcam, so the sound/video sync is sightly off and the colors of the LED's are waaay off ;)
The actual colors are like any normal red/green LED
For text scrolling, I just type 'echo "Insert text here" > /dev/ttyS0' at my Linux/UNIX prompt, or use a simple three line Visual Basic program when I run anything Microsoft.

This is a project in progress, it's a 5.25" LED matrix built using 154 (22*7) dual color LED's that fits exactly into a empty 5.25" slot.
The driving electronics is built around a Atmel AVR. It can work standalone or connected to the PC.
It connects to the RS232 port (that's the serial port for you software ppl) to make support under all operating systems and platforms easy, besides, I don't need more bandwidth than the RS232 can provide.
All LED's can shine in red, green or yellow. (and hopefully, soon they can be any shade inbetween).

Some applications I have in mind:

Generic text scrolling.
A plugin for WinAmp/XMMS that displays the frequency analyzer on the LED's.
Plasma effects might be possible when it can do shades.
Displaying system status and network load, since all LED's can be green/yellow/red it will be very easy to make good looking meters.

A somewhat ugly image of the matrix as it looks today:

(c) 2001 Timmy Brolin 'AmPz'