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Controlling LEDs on costumes wirelessly


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Is it possible to wirelessly control LED costumes? I've done it using an arduino microcontroller and xbee transceivers, but it would be much easier with the sequencing editor instead of writing code. Also, has anyone used the sequencing editor with arduino?

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Anything is possible. I have not done it, but it would require a controller, battery pack, and some form of wireless radio transceiver. I would suggest lights that work on D.C. for safety. And the voltage is 24 volts or less. And you would need one of those Director cards I am thinking. I suppose that this would be an animation, less the music?  I remember the gal at the Blue Man Group concert was hard wired with an umbilical cord. Yet on the America has talent show were wireless I presume.

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I'm working on that very same project for marching bands.

 

Wireless DMX to RGB dumb strips, powered by R/C batteries. Initial testing looks like a minimum 250 foot range.

 

LOR S3 software to control them. Three songs will be recorded and programmed (hopefully they stay on beat).

Each person will have three of their own DMX channels, except for the drum line, who get sound activated units,

triggered by DMX relays to switch colors on an internal 10w RGB chip.

 

Band directors have software to design patterns for the performers placements; I just watch that for patterns to program to.

Pit instruments (marimbas, xylophones,etc) will have AC powered units, since they never move from the 50 yard line area.

 

Already designed and will be testing after the holiday season. Looks like $85 per person.

Edited by Ken Benedict
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Ken,

 

Sounds like an interesting project.

Will you use RGB strips for the band members?

And you will use one DMX receiver coupled to a Basic RGB 3 Channel DMX Controller and then to the strips?

You will have to drop the voltage to 5 volts for the DMX receiver but the dumb controller can take up to 24 volts so there should be no problem there with 12 volts.

 

I'd be interested in the design as I have another application I may wish to use this for...  B)

Edited by htmagic
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Ken,

This sounds like fun.  Can you bring some of this stuff to our next meet up.  I want see how this works.  I not so much interested in the wireless aspect of it but more so the ability to have a portable RGB strip.  I guess i never considered that a simple 12V battery is all it takes.  Though it would be nice to program something.  

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Ken,

 

Sounds like an interesting project.

Will you use RGB strips for the band members?

And you will use one DMX receiver coupled to a Basic RGB 3 Channel DMX Controller and then to the strips?

You will have to drop the voltage to 5 volts for the DMX receiver but the dumb controller can take up to 24 volts so there should be no problem there with 12 volts.

 

I'd be interested in the design as I have another application I may wish to use this for...  B)

 

Yes, from the DMX receiver to the 3 channel controller to the strip itself would be the flow.

 

Two options on the 5 volts versus the 12 volts: put a little 12v-5v regulator on the receiver board or get a custom battery made with a 4.8v tap and a 12v tap. I've has this done before by Batteries-Plus in the Sacramento area. I have everything but the receivers, which are being slow-boated from China.

 

The other implications are putting DMX type displays on your neighbors house (with their permission, of course) and putting on a bigger light show.

 

Someone suggested I float this stuff from a helium balloon (or several balloons) and put on a light show 50-100 feet up.

Maybe, when I can afford that much helium.

 

I'll bring this to the Sacramento meeting, but might have to work on the next one.

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Ken,

I wanted to use individually addressable leds (like the WS2801 rgb leds strips) so I can chase and animate the lights. Is that even possible using dmx through LOR? Here's a link to a costume I would like to control via LOR wirelessly:

 

 

Thanks!

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  • 2 months later...

Ken,

I wanted to use individually addressable leds (like the WS2801 rgb leds strips) so I can chase and animate the lights. Is that even possible using dmx through LOR? Here's a link to a costume I would like to control via LOR wirelessly:

 

 

Thanks!

This is something I am interested in also. I do a synchronized light show as part of a high school christmas choir concert every year. This year we found some gloves with flashing LED's in the finger tips for the show choir to do a dance routine with in the dark and it looked awesome. I would really like to step it up and have individually controlled jackets or something. I want to use a Sandevices E6804 to control the pixels and a small wireless router to connect the controller to my network. I have parts ordered and will start experimenting soon!

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Now we are talking. Here is how I would do this. Sandevice sells a little 4 connector RGB driver, the 6804. This can be used with either the 5 volt or 12 volt smart strips. Then you will need a little wifi bridge that will feed E1.31 signals to the 6804. Also 12V display will need less current. Batteries are not light weight to carry. Now at the computer you would have a wifi AP or Bridge connected to the lan port of the computer. You are now wireless and controlling dumb strips. Might need to build a voltage regulator for the mobile wifi radio.

 

Like I said, just about anything is possible.

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  • 4 months later...

I actually want to do this for a Christmas Light parade.  I wanted to use Komby stuff but can't get Greg to price out a finished unit.. Ken, who's wireless are you using?

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  • 5 months later...

I'm working on that very same project for marching bands. . . . . . . Already designed and will be testing after the holiday season. Looks like $85 per person.

 

 

How did this go? We had lighted props this year and now the band director wants to look at band members and in instruments. I used a raspberry Pi, falcon dongle and controllers with smart strings. Our biggest prop was 6' tall x 12' wide billboard.

 

Brian

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I finally got all my Komby stuff.  I had my niece put some pixels on a red jacket I bought just to do with..  I added some to a hat and  used an RF1 to drive them all.  We are only using about 43 pixels to keep battery life viable.  It works great in the shop. i Haven't put it on and walked outside yet.. but I can't see any issue with it for now.  Perhaps next year I will do something a bit more over the top.. but nothing like that Lightman video.. LOL

 

I am programming it to run with the shows. 

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I finally got all my Komby stuff.  I had my niece put some pixels on a red jacket I bought just to do with..  I added some to a hat and  used an RF1 to drive them all.  We are only using about 43 pixels to keep battery life viable.  It works great in the shop. i Haven't put it on and walked outside yet.. but I can't see any issue with it for now.  Perhaps next year I will do something a bit more over the top.. but nothing like that Lightman video.. LOL

 

I am programming it to run with the shows. 

 

I would love to see your parts list and a diagram if possible of how you got from the controller to the hat. What do you expect the range of the RF1 to be? I would need to cover a football field from the 50 yard line.

 

Thanks for your time,

 

Brian

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Parts list is "stuff I got from Komby".   Greg hooked me up with an Arduino, a Shield, an ant, and a few RF1 units.  Don't know the part numbers other than the RF1, sorry

 

As for the hat.  I used WS2812B pixels that I had to solder to and I made only about 11 for the hat.  It is a spiral Santa hat.  The spiral is a springy thingy.  I zip tied them going up that.  I also had her run a flat cable from the inside pocket that she made to  come out the shoulder.  So the hat is hard wired to the end of the other strings.  Not too tough..     

 

Sorry Brian I have no drawings or BOMs..                                                                                                                                    

Edited by plasmadrive
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  • 1 month later...

All of these ideas are mind-blowing!!!   I rember seeing this show many years ago and was amazed with this video - not only does it incorporate everything being discussed here, but I gotta imagine each ball needs to be properly balanced to roll uniformly!

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPMaSUtVAj0

 

Check out the video at about 3:14 where it is really showing off the capablites....

Edited by Jay Czerwinski
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Now that the season has passed, here is the outcome of my jacket using the Komby wireless gear.  I was able to go down the street about 500' or so and it was still working.  I don't know if it was hitting every time because the LEDs are where I can't see them, but I could see them reflecting off of cars and they seemed to be all working in sync.

 

I ran off of a AA battery pack.  I used 5 batteries and ran thru a board I made with 3 LDOs on it.  I used one battery pack for the entire month.  I didn't run it every night but I would guess that I had about 20 hours on it.  I am sure it was getting low, but still worked fine. 

 

The Arduino and transmitter were in a demarc box on a wooden stake in my front yard with a plastic bag over it.  It stayed live 24/7 for a month.  The only thing I was not too found of was the minor delay from input to output..I think the Arduino was the cause of that delay chewing up e1.31 and spitting out DMX to the Rf1.

 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/6jolinr86pf937j/jacket%20short.mp4?dl=0

 

This is a short video that my wife was taking while I was chatting with another light guy one night in front of the display.  I wasn't even aware she took it till later.

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