Something new, something BIG!

Work has begun on a marvelous LED Installation for the Maitreya Festival. The project, titled “Space Theatre” will comprise of a huge “planet vs black hole ” diorama !

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Some goodies for the installation above! We are using over 2000 APA102 Pixels, driven by a Raspberry Pi A+. This installation will be built on the backbones of the same tech used int the Wow Suit.

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Here they are fully built and tested! Now onto building the LED layout map…

MOFO 2016 – Electric Light Yoga & Faux Mo

This year, I was chosen to work with a talented costume designer Sabrina Evans, to create 10 LED covered suits for MOFO 2016 the summer arts festival held by MONA in Hobart Tasmania. The results were amazing

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One of the suits was used in an awesome arty yoga session, also held at MONA, called Electric Light Yoga. Above is one the shots. Here is the suit from behind…

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Noodles of cabling! The rest of the suits were used by actors at the Faux Mo nightclub event on Saturday. They roamed around the huge art filled space, created by Jamin Kluss for MOFO. The make shift nightclub was built inside 12 Murray Street, Hobart. The ex government building is to be demolished shortly and was well utilized.

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But nothing is without complications. The box containing the battery modules for all the suits was shipped down to Hobart using Fastaway couriers(don’t use them). They advised a 3 day shipping schedule, its been 6 days and the box hasn’t arrived yet. I had to repurchase all the battery modules in Hobart at an exorbitant price

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Here they are charging the night before the main event, at our Airbnb that we rented in Battery Point, Hobart(no pun intended).

Check out my Instagram for some short Videos of all the Shenanigans

A new project for MOFO 2016

I have been commissioned to create 10 LED suits for Faux Mo as part of MOFO the Summer Arts festival in Hobart, Tasmania. The webbing of the suits was built by Sabrina Evans, an awesome costume designer form Hobart. The webbing is made of nylon and clips on to the person.

Not yet sure what will be done with all 10 suits, but here are a few demo shots of them in action on my model:

Some mad disco patterns

A few other samples:

Each suit is powered by a 20,000mAh 5V Battery module. The Strips are APA102 and controlled by a NodeMCU/ESP8266 Micro Controller.

Some new tech for a new project

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Received a huge bunch of new power banks for an exciting project ill be doing in January 2016! Cant say much more at this time. These are 5V @ 20,000mah and they were VERY cheap. $24AUD each! Have tested one and it worked rather well!

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One of them powered the Disco Wig for 11 hours

Power distribution to large numbers of LEDs

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I hacked this guy together last night and it works perfectly.

The GND and 5V cables go to 6 x 10Ah 5v Power Banks. That gives the suit 12A @5v MAX draw before they all cut out! This is enough for me.

Each switch controls power to 2 power taps. The power bank are connected to this block and all powered on. I then sequentially turn on the taps. None of the LEDs light up randomly at all!! and everything works smooth as!

Too much power

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These bad boys are the solution to my power drain issues. Each 2 power tap cables will go to one of these. They will be sequentially cycled on to prevent the LEDs from randomly going HIGH

 

Wow Suit Gen 3 – Up and Running

Problems listen in the previous entry have been resolved. It seems that I can not push the APA102 strips to run above 5MHz using the Raspberry Pi’s SPI port. That seems to be the maximum before I get noise on the line. 6MHz works as well but you can see some noise on the very end of the block when allot of power is consumed. I think it is a combination of things. but im happy with 5MHZ

 

 

The other issue was the Power Up drain. For now the best forward is to put hardware switches onto each power tap. There are 11 power taps. Ill assign 7 switches on a small perf board that joins all the taps together to the 6 USB power cables. If i start up the sequence sequentially, the LEDs have 0 noise and power on in the OFF state, which is what we want! If i power up all the taps at once, i get a huge whopping bunch of noise and the batteries cut out to protect themselves from overload.

Wow Suit Gen 3 – Production Update

This was a busy weekend! I managed to complete all the panels for the 3rd Generation Wow Suit and have everything wired up ready to go. Software and LED Map is also done…

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My 1st run time attempt ran into several issues

  • Each panel has at least 1 extra power conduit as well as the main daisy chain connection from the previous panel. What this means is that when power is applied, its applied to all panels at once. This causes the pixels to power up randomly and drain a TON of power at once. I currently have the suit plugged into several high output 5v supplies plugged into mains. They cut out as soon as you apply power. This is going to be a massive problem come portability… I’m thinking of setting up switches to each panel and slowly apply power to each panel as i power the suit on…but this is annoying.
  • About half the suit is not getting enough power….Although this is just a thought. The left part of the suit begins to stutter as if its under-powered. I currently have 6 x 2A @ 5v and even running at super low power is faulting.. I have 2 things i may try. One is to reduce the SPI frequency, i remember this issue with the Galileo and the other Pi. I’m running SPO at 10MHz now, I’ll reduce it down and see if that helps. The other is to push more power. I have a couple of PC power supplies that can push out 14A @ 5v. That has got to be enough!

Hopefully reducing the SPI frequency will fix these issues. If so, this presents another problem. The refresh rate of the suit is going to be slow.. Gen 2 was already approaching a limit and this one has over 2200 Pixels, which is a 9600Byte frame..

Wow Suit 3rd Generation Production Update

Here is one of the panels that goes onto the arms for the 3rd Gen Wow Suit


Each arm will have 2 of these. I decided to make different sized panels for each body part. Makes it more interesting to look at. The panels are all very tightly packed with APA102 LED Pixels and so far have been working very well. Its taking me about 1-2 hours to prep each panel. I’m being super meticulous and testing each panel through each stage of construction.