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Thread: Illuminated Dome Project Guidance

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Illuminated Dome Project Guidance

    Hi,
    Glad I found this forum. I am going to be building a project for an upcoming festival and I would like to get a bit of hardware advice.

    The Project: AromaDome
    A 16' (foot) diameter smelly light and sound spectacular! A geodesic dome constructed from EMT pipe will be fitted with a semi-opaque fabric covering that will function as a screen for light to wash across. Each strut will have individually addressable LED's along their length. These will will have different animations programmed into it that will be timed to music. Speakers will be mounted inside the structure creating a soundscape for those inside. Fragrances will be released through atomization of essential oils to complete the experience.

    The Sketch
    Click image for larger version. 

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    My Calculations
    I am planning on covering everything but the base, and it comes out to be about 5000leds.

    What I need
    Curious as to what hardware controllers I should use. I would like to be able to inject images into a program, and also be able to control individual sets of geometry (struts, triangles, pentagons, the full sphere). I likely will be controlling the fragrances manually. Audio integration will would be nice.

    I appreciate whatever direction you can give. Let me know if you need any clarification or refinement on details.

  2. #2
    Senior Member PaulStoffregen's Avatar
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    This is probably a job for Teensy 3.6 and the Octo board. To put then together you'll need the 14 pin sockets and double insulator 14 pin headers, as you can see in the photo on that page.

    Teensy 3.2 or 3.5 could probably do well enough to control 5000 addressable LEDs, but if you're also going to process audio you'll likely want the extra speed of 3.6.

    Of course a project like this needs a tremendous amount of power for the LEDs. Underestimating the current needed and the number & size of wires to carry that current is the most common mistake in big LED projects. You can find quite a bit of info on that page about recommended wiring. The key thing is to minimize the distance between you 5V power supplies and keep the power leads as short as reasonably possible. Running long wires with so much current almost always results in a failed project. Keeping the power wires short is the key to success.

  3. #3
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    Paul,
    Thanks for the response! I was pretty sure I was going to go with the teensy 3.6 for this build; you confirmed it. As for power, I will have a 2kw generator that I can have on site, and I have reliable access to quite a few 5v power supplies.

    It seems like the main benefit of 5v over 12v is that most boards are tolerant of 5v signals but voltage drop is significantly smaller with 12v. Beyond that 5v are a bit more efficient?

    Personally, I have only programmed a _very_ little bit of leds with fastled on a wemos for my project radical botanical. Can you recommend any software that might help me work with some more complex animations? I recently learned of madrix but that is so far beyond my budget it is crazy. Since the project is inspired by The Firmament by Christopher Schardt I am planning on seeing how LEDlab might work for the project. Are there any matrix softwares that are (or arent) worth my time?

    Cheers!

  4. #4
    Senior Member PaulStoffregen's Avatar
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    Most of the LED strips that run on 12V aren't addressable (the whole strip is the same color) or they are addressable in groups of 3 LEDs. Especially if you're shopping on a site like Aliexpress, be careful which ones you buy. Sometimes the descriptions are confusing and what looks like a great deal turns out to be the wrong type of LEDs.

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