Archive for the 'LED Serial Strip' Category

LED Serial Strip v1.0

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009

LED Serial Strips v1.0

They’re in! I’ve finally gotten back the first factory run of serial LED strips and they look awesome. 50 meters of LEDs on a string and I’m really quite happy with them. I’ve tested about half of the batch and so far haven’t run into any build-quality problems. They just seem to all work.

In particular I’ve been impressed with how flexible the strips have been and how resilient (so far) they’ve been in the face of bending. Most LED strips that are available on the market now are coated with a rubbery like clear flexible coating which protects them from the elements and gives them additional strength. The factory was able to apply such a coating but I opted out of it since my intended application was indoors-only and I didn’t want the additional bulk. Also having them uncoated lets me change the color of the LED’s later if I need to. Thus without the coating these strips are significantly more fragile than your typical LED strip and yet they’ve put up with all the punishment I’ve dished out to them so far.


Serial LED Strip pt4

Sunday, May 11th, 2008

Testing Serial Strips

Progress continues on the Serial LED strips project. I’ve assembled a fair number of the prototype strips and have been experimenting with a few ideas. I’m really excited about this project… I keep thinking of new projects I can do with these little strips. However for now my focus is on testing the ones that I have in prep for a larger scale production run.

Also I got a lot of positive feedback from people at the Bay Area Maker Faire on the prototype strips I brought mounted on black acrylic (slapped together at the *very* last minute).

Today I set about testing the resistance on the power and ground rails. The resistance on these rails imposes a maximum length of serial strips that can be chained together before power needs to be re-tapped into the chain. Much to my pleasant surprise, the resistance that I measured closely matched my predictions. I had predicted a resistance of 5.70 mOhm on VCC and 6.48 mOhm on GND and I measured 5.79 mOhm on VCC and 6.42 mOhm on GND respectively. Not bad.

Video of the prototype strips in action after the jump.


My Breakfast with Reflow

Friday, April 18th, 2008

My Breakfast with Reflow

My prototype boards for the striplight came in this week, woohoo! Now starts the process of putting the design through its paces and making sure it works but before that can begin the boards have to be first assembled.

According to the guys over at SparkFun there’s no better way to do bulk surface-mount soldering in the home than with skillet reflow. According to universal truth, there’s no better use for a skillet than for making delicious fluffy pancakes. Thus it follows that any activity combining the two must be a doubleplus good.

Besides, heavy metals poisoning is the sweetest sauce.


Serial LED Strip pt3

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

Here’s a crude mockup of one particular idea I’ve had in mind for the serial LED strips. One particular idea would be to use this as a network traffic visualization.

This was all done in Processing which I have to say, this being the first time I’ve used it, is really pretty awesome. Thanks to Phil for turning me onto it.

Serial LED Strip pt2

Thursday, March 13th, 2008

LED Striplight pt2

It truly astounds me sometimes how much work can go into a PCB layout, even a relatively simple one. I’ve spent a better part of this week refining the design of the serial LED striplights I’ve been working on. I believe they’re just about ready to be sent off to a board house for a prototype run. Infinite thanks to Dan for helping to catch my gotchas before they became design show-stoppers.

Note the bendy circuit traces and teardropped holes. These are apparently things you have to do when you’re designing with flexible circuits in mind.

Serial LED Strip pt1

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008


This is a simple snapshot glimpse of something I’ve been working on: a serial LED strip light. Basically instead of all the LED’s being lit at once, there are shift registers which drive the LED’s as part of a big daisy chain.

There are two primary goals for this:

1. make every LED be addressable by driving the serial clock *really* fast

2. drive the clock slower and turn the whole chain into a sort of “light pipe”.. where you turn a LED on at the start and you see it animate down the chain. I have a couple ideas which use such a display.

Besides, circuit layouts look pretty.