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Thread: Teensey 3.6 + OctoWS2811 + 50+ WS2812b strips behind wall

  1. #1

    Teensey 3.6 + OctoWS2811 + 50+ WS2812b strips behind wall

    Hey all..

    Been drilling down the forums looking for answers for my questions before I spit them out on this thread. Iíve got the basis down I just want to confirm and ask some questions. Any help would be greatly appreciated or Links to anywhere would be as well =)
    Hereís what Iím looking to do in a nut shell.

    50 strips of WS2812b laid out top to bottom spanning a 75í wall all 1M strips debating on going with 60LEDs vs 144LEDs.. Iím leaning more towards the 144 just because it will look more defined but 60 LEDs may be more cost effective.
    The LEDís will not be side by side nor at the same height.. so itís not going be a display but more of just ambient lighting affects for the wall..
    I was working with a UNO as a proof of concept only to realize the board canít drive 720pixels. Thus me ending up here.

    Iíve ordered a the 3.6, OctoWS2811, pins headers etc. and have 5 of the 1M 144leds. Iím supplying power with a 5v 60a . I know Iíll need more power once I get ready to go full scale.. this is just for visuals atm.
    I also know once I get the hardware this week Iíll be able to knock out a bunch of my ?ís with trial and error.. but Iíll ask the more info you get the easier it is to understand the end result.
    Now onto my questions..
    I have read the Octo can control 8 strips.. And since Iím really not doing any type of display.. Is it possible to control 1000Ledís with each channel? I read that somewhere and if thatís true then then end number of 3.6ís I will need is drastically cut down.

    Next is a verrrrrry vague question that I donít know how to word right other than just ask.. This is something I need to think about for future use of the wall.. Is it possible to switch from (not even sure what program Iíll be doing here) whatever program is controlling the lights on the boards to say either a music input or a DMX controller without having to flash the board.. Once I get the board and can get some hands on time Iíll better know what I can and canít do.. so if anyone knows what I mean.. otherwise just ignore this =p

    Last question for this post..
    https://www.pjrc.com/teensy/external_power.html
    This shows cutting the pads apart.. I intend to power all the hardware with the power supply.. So Iím guessing I need to do this as well.. is this just using a knife to scrap / cut the board? Is it just that easy? And then applying 5v power to the Octo on the header pin?

    Thatís all for now. .I know Iíll have more questions and Iíll for sure update this thread with my findings / updates on the project as I go along.

    Thanks again!

  2. #2
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    Your project seems very ambitious. 7,200 LEDs is going to take a ton of power. That's like 432amps of power.

    Anyway, I'm new to the world of Teensy myself (mostly used Arduino thus far) but I can answer one question partly: regarding switching programs. You should be able to have multiple "patterns" or whatever you want, and accept input in order to switch patterns - provided you don't have any blocking code (example: delays). So if your main loop is looking for input first, and then calling a corresponding function based on the input (or saved variable, given no new input)... then that inner function can do a "has enough time passed since i last animated? --> ok animate" check so that you aren't using any delays (and thus can get rapid response to your user input). and what that input is, is obviously up to you. bluetooth via a custom phone app; physical button to simply engage the sequence by one; etc.

    good luck with your project!

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by GhostToast View Post
    Your project seems very ambitious. 7,200 LEDs is going to take a ton of power. That's like 432amps of power.
    I still haven't wrapped my head around how massive this is going to be. The board arrive tomorrow so I'll be able to really get started once they come.. I did hook up the Uno last night and was able to get 4 LED's up and working through Glediator =)

    Quote Originally Posted by GhostToast View Post
    Anyway, I'm new to the world of Teensy myself (mostly used Arduino thus far) but I can answer one question partly: regarding switching programs. You should be able to have multiple "patterns" or whatever you want, and accept input in order to switch patterns - provided you don't have any blocking code (example: delays).
    Me too! actually I've yet to even get started. =) and wonderful.. thank you. that's what I was thinking.. I just need to figure out the input parts.. but first I need to get the proof of concept up so I can work off that and scale. I've sourced this project out to several professional companies and they've gave me quotes of $15k all the way up to $30k.. Software is expensive! and the controllers as well.. which to me, as an opensource kinda guy.. I just can't see paying someone for their proprietary setups. I find it strange that one company didn't even know what a WS2812b strip was..

    Once I get my hardware I'll post some updates and hopefully have a better understanding of what I even am trying to do =)

    cheers!
    Last edited by RyanLED; 12-17-2018 at 08:24 PM.

  4. #4
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    I did make a somewhat large (to me, at least) project on a Mega 2560, which I'm aiming to replace with a Teensy 3.5 or 3.6 (asking for one from wife for Christmas) as I'm hitting too many limitations with the main board. It's 896 LED across 14 panels, each with 64 LEDs. It's one strand, and each panel is behind it's own glass block, inside my office. Actually here is a short video demonstrating what it looks like doing a "matrix"-esque pattern I wrote: https://photos.app.goo.gl/y3FdcSkP7Hn4uxbY7

    The refresh rate and clock speed are definitely limiting factors, hoping to overcome that with the Teensy, but secretly hoping I won't have to rewire the whole thing to be 7 separate strands (easiest math given 14 panels).

    One thing worth noting on this project is I had to do a bit of trickery to allow for the "negative space" between the panels (if you'll notice in the rainfall demo, the "comet head" has slight delay between leaving the upper frame and entering the lower frame). It's not perfect but I think it's convincing enough.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by GhostToast View Post
    I did make a somewhat large (to me, at least) project on a Mega 2560, which I'm aiming to replace with a Teensy 3.5 or 3.6 (asking for one from wife for Christmas) as I'm hitting too many limitations with the main board. It's 896 LED across 14 panels, each with 64 LEDs. It's one strand, and each panel is behind it's own glass block, inside my office. Actually here is a short video demonstrating what it looks like doing a "matrix"-esque pattern I wrote: https://photos.app.goo.gl/y3FdcSkP7Hn4uxbY7

    The refresh rate and clock speed are definitely limiting factors, hoping to overcome that with the Teensy, but secretly hoping I won't have to rewire the whole thing to be 7 separate strands (easiest math given 14 panels).

    One thing worth noting on this project is I had to do a bit of trickery to allow for the "negative space" between the panels (if you'll notice in the rainfall demo, the "comet head" has slight delay between leaving the upper frame and entering the lower frame). It's not perfect but I think it's convincing enough.
    trickery you say! =) I'll for sure read up on this tonight.. thanks for this!

  6. #6
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    In that case, here is the whole album if you want to see some of what all I went through, including some comments on some of the images: https://photos.app.goo.gl/ADcRzWSOY0mPjzje2
    Happy to discuss and here is my work-in-progress experiments too (pretty sloppy, but gives you some ideas maybe)
    https://github.com/GhostToast/lightwall

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by GhostToast View Post
    In that case, here is the whole album if you want to see some of what all I went through, including some comments on some of the images: https://photos.app.goo.gl/ADcRzWSOY0mPjzje2
    Happy to discuss and here is my work-in-progress experiments too (pretty sloppy, but gives you some ideas maybe)
    https://github.com/GhostToast/lightwall
    Fantastic.. I love everything about this =) two questions.. What AWG wire did you use for your power to leds? I bought 22AWG but then ended up then getting a spool of 20 AWG just to be safe. Second is what are the fuses for? the 10Amp.. is that to protect the LEDs from surge?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by RyanLED View Post
    Fantastic.. I love everything about this =) two questions.. What AWG wire did you use for your power to leds? I bought 22AWG but then ended up then getting a spool of 20 AWG just to be safe. Second is what are the fuses for? the 10Amp.. is that to protect the LEDs from surge?
    Thanks! I used 20AWG. And yep the fuses are to protect from surge. Those power supplies are ridiculously cheap, so I feared turning on the unit (whole thing powered by light switch) could send too much juice to my leads, wanted to protect my investment (time and materials).

  9. #9
    Here's a few shots from my tinkering tonight.. The 3.6 was suppose to come today but is delayed with UPS (what is it xmas out there?) so I just used the UNO and hooked up all strips. I have
    5 144led strips
    1 60led at the end. I am supplying power at the start and end with 22AWG wire until I get the 20AWG this week. One thing I need to research is where I need to supply power.. I think I read every 3M I need to inject.. Right now it works perfectly. but I am only powering 576 of the 780 hooked up. Then on top of that I need to figure out what the max pull is going to be so I can calculate how many PSU's I'll need and how many pixels per PSU I can use.

    Another question I have / will need to research is how to hook in multiple PSU's .. Do I hook them all together or do I need to only connect the 5v to what I intend to power. and connect a common ground to all.

    https://ibb.co/fpG90c5
    https://ibb.co/0jRzGQx

    And with the diffuser on..

    https://ibb.co/85qmQ3C

    Then I hooked up a 60LED strip to compare with..

    https://ibb.co/DGC0Gcc
    https://ibb.co/hZLjdyH


    I'm not happy with the channels since you can see led's from them.. so I lifted them up out and I like the result much better. I won't be using these channels on the end these were just something I got to play with. Another thing I just can't decide on is if I want to go 144 or 60.. I'm just torn on it.. I haven't sourced bulk LED strips yet, but these strips cost me $10 and $20.. but the real cost will be when they stack up.. I'll put together a spread sheet to figure out cost. One thing I am not going to do something now and have to replace it down the line. Rather spend a little more now and have what I want. I may end up ordering 4 more 60 Strips so I can really compare =)

    https://ibb.co/jwqnjcc
    https://ibb.co/S3mG2ht

    For connections at the LED side I am going to used these https://ibb.co/CKf5yn4 to easily splice into power and data unless I can find something nicer (and waterproof) before I finish. otherwise I'll tape / shrink around the connections.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by GhostToast View Post
    Thanks! I used 20AWG. And yep the fuses are to protect from surge. Those power supplies are ridiculously cheap, so I feared turning on the unit (whole thing powered by light switch) could send too much juice to my leads, wanted to protect my investment (time and materials).
    very true. I'll add that to my "yea I need to think about that too" board =)

  11. #11
    Found the answer to two of the questions

    https://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-...ring-neopixels

    If you go this route, the key is to have all of the ground pins among the strips connected in common, but the +5V from each power supply should be connected only to one length of NeoPixels ó those should not all be joined. Every power supply is a little different ó not precisely 5 Volts ó and this keeps some from back-feeding into others.
    Pro Tip: NeoPixels donít care what end they receive power from. Though data moves in only one direction, electricity can go either way. You can connect power at the head, the tail, in the middle, or ideally distribute it to several points. For best color consistency, aim for 1 meter or less distance from any pixel to a power connection. With larger NeoPixel setups, think of power distribution as branches of a tree rather than one continuous line.
    So that answers where and how to apply power.

  12. #12
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    Yeah I was just gonna share that link, great stuff in that series of articles.

    I'm really curious what pattern/layout you're going for. A perimeter around outside wall or something?

    The diffusers are a cool touch! I previously experimented with velum paper and got some neat effects, but my glass blocks do enough diffusing on their own.

  13. #13
    As I started this new post it got quiet long =) I've highlighted questions I have in blue so they don't get lost =)

    The best thing about online shopping is being able to send the packages to where you're traveling for the holidays I'll be gone for a week so I wanted to make sure I had plenty to keep busy with.. I just hope some knuckle head doesn't wrap and put my boxes under a tree! =] Here's what I'm getting next.

    The IP65 60LED strips are out of stock =( so I'll just stick to what I have for now. .3w x 780leds = 234w so my 300w PSU will be good for this trip.

    I am following suit with the adafruit site (and your setup) with 1000 uF capacitors & 10amp fusebox after the PSU

    I haven't found anything online yet about how to use a computer to push sound to the board so I got a DFRobot Audio Analyzer and some 3.5 audio jacks BUUUT... this won't arrive till after I get back so I shipped that here.. and got a Adafruit Electret Microphone Amplifier for sound in.

    Quote Originally Posted by GhostToast View Post
    I'm really curious what pattern/layout you're going for. A perimeter around outside wall or something?
    The pattern is going to be | | | | | going left to right up and down. but all strips will be vertical.. It'll be like a TV Matrix. but exploded. Right now I have three end control inputs I'm toying with doing.

    - Automatic. just random light / flashes / spirals etc.
    - Sound specific - So a line in from whatever is playing is making the Arrays jump flash boop
    - User controlled so someone can be at a screen and control what the lights do if they want.

    It seems like a rather large project but it's just a lot of pieces tied together.. Here's what I'm calculating right now.. I'm sure I'm missing something and It'll throw a kink into things but that's the part of the fun!
    https://www.pjrc.com/teensy/td_libs_OctoWS2811.html

    Approximately 1000 LEDs per Teensy 3.0 or 4000 LEDs per Teensy 3.2 are recommended for large LED projects, to maintain high performance. Any number of Teensy boards may be used to support large LED arrays. The video frame sync signal must be connected to pin 12 of all the boards.
    And I'll be using 3.6 boards so I'd suspect I could do more than 4k? but we'll say 4k for now.

    1M Strips LED per Total Pixels .3w per pixel = Watts PSU Power how many PSU's runnign at 80% needed 3.6 can control 1000 pixes
    100 60 6000 1800 300 8 4000 2
    100 144 14400 4320 300 18 4000 4

    As we're redesigning the space from the ground I'll have plenty of options for power. 220v won't be an issue for these PSU's (that will all be handled by our contractor) I just tell them what I need and they work out the what nots.

    another thing to note is FPS isn't really a big deal with this (I don't think anyway) as I'm just needing lights.

    The first of two 3.6 boards arrived.. but in my late night ordering I ordered one with pins already attached. So this can't hook into a Octo shield GAR! BUT! the second board is on a truck out for delivery =) I'll keep this board for now to play with in a breadboard. One question I did have that I cant' find an answer for either..

    Is it possible to put a 3.6 onto a Octo Shield AND this Audio Adaptor Board for Teensy 3.0 - 3.6? https://www.pjrc.com/store/teensy3_audio.html I wouldn't think you'd just stack on top of each like a pancake.. would you?

    All for today! unless I get some progress on the new boards but UPS doesn't get here till 8pm usually and well.. that's HH =)

    thanks all!
    Last edited by RyanLED; 12-18-2018 at 09:32 PM.

  14. #14
    UPS came at 5 on the dot! so.. of course I needed to solder

    https://ibb.co/Qpf3KNY --- =/ he's a little wobbled over but that's ok! he's connected
    https://ibb.co/T2MLf0p
    https://ibb.co/ZcR9j1h

    I attached the two header blocks and the power/sync pin.. I won't use the power pins for a while as I will always have my computer connected for now.. once I finish I'll cut that wire.. I see it now! =) I also plugged in and it blinks! hooray.. not let the fun begin. Now where did I put that bulk cat6 cable!

  15. #15
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    Not yet possessing a Teensy myself, (Christmas wish list) I don't have answers for most of those questions. But regarding FPS I would think you'd want things to appear pretty responsive if you plan to have sound-reactive display. To keep up with complexities of music, a high FPS could be ideal.

    Is this a commercial space?

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by GhostToast View Post
    Not yet possessing a Teensy myself, (Christmas wish list) I don't have answers for most of those questions. But regarding FPS I would think you'd want things to appear pretty responsive if you plan to have sound-reactive display. To keep up with complexities of music, a high FPS could be ideal.

    Is this a commercial space?

    I guess I was thinking FPS was more how close to the video sync the led would be.. but you're right.. and from what I can tell.. I should be very close to what would be a good FPS .. but all will be figured out as I go.

    for the space.. it is a business, yep. But the project is my own personal adventure.. In a nut shell .. I'll be using this to grow and better two fields of my life.. 1) Programming (which has been a better 27 years of it) and 2) the physical obsession / love of LED's. Everything is better with LEDs! =) The crazy part of this entire adventure is I'm covering 100% from the install to the research all the way to the financial investment. Which when done.. gains me nothing other than having something I can put my name on =) most people would think I'm crazy for donating this much time, effort and money to a space.. But I look at it as learning and hopefully.. Helping others learn from my adventure =) Money well spent!

    Hopefully the elves bring you a teensey gift! It's killing me not to tinker with him tonight but I will wait till I'm setup after the roadtrip.. until then!

  17. #17
    Now onto troubleshooting might not be able to this till I get home =/ I didn't bring my Arduino Board to test with to make sure wiring is right. Here's whats happening. Wire coming off PSU is getting HOT..

    The wire is 20AWG and 3-4' long which is about how long they'll have to be once inside the wall.. From the PSU I have wire going into the Fuseblock with 10Amp fuses 1 144/m Strip. I put a 1000uf CAP on the PSU terminals. I apply power and the Red (+) cable gets warm hot. which isn't going to work if that's how this will be.

    What is confusing to me is the LED's aren't even on. and the cable is getting hot. Its been a long day so I may of missed something so I'll work on this again tomorrow and see if I see anything wrong.

    Would there be anything obvious I did wrong for the wires to get hot with the LEDs not even on?

    edit. random thought .. Im wondering if putting these "Insulated Female Spade Connector" on the wire is causing resistance (using to connect to the fuse box) I had this all working before and the wires weren't getting hot.. the other new thing is the Cap's I'll take these things out and do some a/b/c troubleshooting tomorrow.

    thanks!
    Last edited by RyanLED; 12-22-2018 at 12:36 AM.

  18. #18
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    If the LEDs aren't on, did it blow? Are they smokey or anything? Hot wire... Hmmm - are you powering the LEDs via a breadboard? Those tiny filaments can't handle that kind of amperage. The LEDs should be powered directly, but share ground with the microcontroller (if memory serves)

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by GhostToast View Post
    If the LEDs aren't on, did it blow? Are they smokey or anything? Hot wire... Hmmm - are you powering the LEDs via a breadboard? Those tiny filaments can't handle that kind of amperage. The LEDs should be powered directly, but share ground with the microcontroller (if memory serves)
    they're not on because the controller hasn't told them to turn on which is where I wasn't getting why the wire was getting hot.. I ended up just disconnecting everything. I tried one more time and the fan on the PSU instantly turned on.. I unplugged everything and then plugged in one LED and one wire to and fro the Fuses. and tuned on.. it's now not hot. I'm wondering if I miss wired something.. (its been a long day) I'm going to try and get this one LED up tonight and go from there tomorrow.. it's been bugging me since last post because it was working perfectly with 22AWG wire with 4 of the LED's full power..

  20. #20
    so after stewing for a few hrs.. I got annoyed and looked at it again.. problem is these

    https://ibb.co/fdW06zh

    that I used to connect to the power in. so tomorrow ill just solder them on.. when im done ill just unsolder them..

    I need to figure out a better way to join power.. I didnt want to solder but that may be the best option..

    ill sleep better tonight knowing it isn't a bust of a plan... just a melted connector .. these connectors were temporary anyway.

    tomorrow I hope to figure jinx out.. glediator loaded up perfectly and led lit right UP !

  21. #21
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    Glad you got that sorted and no damage to LEDs!

  22. #22
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    Close to 8000 lights with 6 custom teensy 3.2. We could have done it with two boards but way to much zigzag wiring if we did. Each board can do up to 5440 leds at up to 40 FPS.

    I’d you want decent frame rates then keep your lengths under 680 pixels per port.


    https://youtu.be/-IsUMm2kVko

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by GhostToast View Post
    Glad you got that sorted and no damage to LEDs!
    tell me about it!

    Quote Originally Posted by crees View Post
    Close to 8000 lights with 6 custom teensy 3.2. We could have done it with two boards but way to much zigzag wiring if we did. Each board can do up to 5440 leds at up to 40 FPS.

    I’d you want decent frame rates then keep your lengths under 680 pixels per port.


    https://youtu.be/-IsUMm2kVko
    will watch this more tomorrow but from what I see love it!

    I was able to get 5 144 strips and the 1 60 for a total of 820 pixels lit up on the first channel of the Octo.. I still haven't wrapped my head around how this works... but I also had 4 ppl rambling on about the holiday so can't really have thinking time to figure it out. I think my main problem is I am trying to run all these strips as strips not as a matrix.. so it's not making sense to me. and I can't figure out how to control / drive random across them all.. but tomorrow / the next few days I'm going to use the 8 channels and drive 1 strips each so rather I'll do 6 of the 8 as that's all I got .. =/ when I get home I think I'm going to order more of the 60 LED's . . I love the 144/m strips but they just are to much for the simple design I'm trying to do

    thanks for the replies.. I'll keep ya posted!

  24. #24
    After getting caught up with the real Job from being off (gotta pay those bills!) I'm back to tinkering with this project. I'll be googling these next 2 questions but if anyone has any links or insight I'd love some feedback.

    1) Universes - how does one handle these / or rather make one.. Is there one per pair off the Octo? or is it one uni per OCTO/Teensey.
    2) Adding LAN to the board.. I see there are adapters that are soldered onto the board.. but didn't find any info on how to use one with the octo as well when I did a quick search few days ago.

    Once I get unpacked and set back up here in the home I'll post some updates as to where I've got.. cheers

  25. #25
    Hey Creese.. I saw this post and am in midst of reading through it..
    https://forum.pjrc.com/threads/45760...light=ethernet

    I also see the Video above and am intrigued with how things work.. Are the boards able to accept the Teensey 3.6?

    thanks!

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