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Thread: Building large LED matrix display for outdoor pedestal sign -- need advice

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Building large LED matrix display for outdoor pedestal sign -- need advice

    I am considering taking out the panels from a pedestal sign at my office (72" wide x 48" high) and replacing with RGB leds. At one time the Teensys and OctoWS2811 was recommended in conjunction with rows of LED strips. Is this still recommended or should I consider using LED tiles? I'm less concerned with running video output and can do without it -- but more interested in scrolling text messages and graphics with some pizzazz. There's more -- I will have obvious and sick power needs for example. The sign is perpendicular to a street -- and thus two sided and calls for doubling the hardware. What would I use to managing messages on a fairly basis -- The OctoWS2811 Library I presume?

    Also: Anyone know Ted Metzroth? He used to work at sparkfun technical help and helped me with an early discussion on this project but he no longer works there.. I'd appreciate the contact if possible.

    Thanks everyone for any nudges in the right direction.

  2. #2
    Senior Member crees's Avatar
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    While you will get some awesome results with the teensy and octo for your ws281x leds you may find that the nits or brightness may not be adequate for daytime use. Perhaps a hood to cover the pixel to prevent the sun from interfering may help. The other big part of your proposal is what software are you going to use and schedule and how are you going to interface the teensy? Perhaps using the wiznet ethernet module and a DMX protocol and control it from Xlights will work. On the teensy coding side the challenge will be is yielding a decent amount of pixels with the setup per teensy. I have managed to get 32 universes of data to frame over the 8 octo pins. some here using default libraries are only seeing 2-3 universes. If your doing it to learn and see some cool results then your on track. The important thing to keep in mind is that are you willing to support this setup in the next few years? I will be honest but ws281x LEDS can have a high failure rate depending on the batch and manufacture that made it. There are so many places in china that produce LED products based on ws281x that you often find strips with bad LEDs.

  3. #3
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    Crees: The sign is of a metal construction (15" thick) and I may have some latitude with incorporating a hood. I should include a photo -- later on perhaps. I hadn't considered the sun and daytime effect anymore as LEDs are pretty bright-- glad you brought it up. I am stuck on the controlling by software side -- would appreciate your further input on that as I research your suggestions. Is it worth going at this another way -- perhaps monochromatic? What do outdoor signs use then if not WS281x LEDs? Could I not construct this in such a way that a given strip of LEDs may be removable for replacement in the case of a failure -- and even if I pull from a different batch -- how noticeable could this become?

    Thanks for your post.

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