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Thread: Large indoor pixel-art display frame

  1. #1
    Senior Member Projectitis's Avatar
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    Large indoor pixel-art display frame

    Hi all,

    Just playing around with an idea for an indoor art piece. I'm a fan of 8-bit art (who isn't ), and instead of printing and hanging on the wall, I'v been toying around with a large matrix display.



    I'm thinking 256x384 pixels (the image above, by Waneella, is similar at 270x405) - this is 24 times 64x64 panels, 4 wide, 6 high (similar to these). It'd be around 0.8m x 1.6m all up.

    I currently have two main issues with this:
    • Power consumption. Looks like it'll be consuming around 400-500W. Eek!
    • Brightness. I think it'll turn my living room into an airport runway.


    Any advice on alternative displays? I really want to build something from large individual pixels rather than wham a monitor on the wall and call it done, but I also don't want it too bright or power hungry.

    Cheers,
    Peter

  2. #2
    Senior Member Projectitis's Avatar
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    I guess I could find some very low power RGB LEDs and wire up each pixel individually. However I think I'll be dead before completing all 100,000 pixels
    At an estimated ~15 minutes a piece, that's 25,000 hours of soldering and circuit building. Or 12 years solid of 40 hour weeks, with no holidays!

    Any alternative ideas welcome! Anyone?

  3. #3
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    Large indoor pixel art display frame

    Great job Would this work on the HU with the EQ?
    This is the unit I have. Sometimes the display is completely off.

  4. #4
    Senior Member PaulStoffregen's Avatar
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    Aside from the sheer number of LEDs, the tough part about LED pixel art is eliminating the light bleed from any LED to its nearest neighbors. Every project I've seen do this well has highly visible dividers between the LEDs which make the display look like a checkers board where the individual squares light up, but you still see a visible dark border between them.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Projectitis's Avatar
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    Hi everyone,

    I ended up purchasing 6 LED displays at 64x32 pixels in size, which I'm connecting in a 3x2 matrix for a total size of 128x96 pixels. Each pixel is 5 x 5mm square (P5) and the size of each display panel is 320 x 160mm. The total art work (without a frame) is 640 x 480mm (about 25" x 19").

    To make this easier on myself I also ended up purchasing an HC-1 Wifi enabled controller. It's a card maybe twice as big as the Teensy 3.6 for less than US$10. Unfortunately this project doesn't currently use a Teensy to drive the displays, but I hope to in the future There is a free mobile app available for iOS that is used to update the controller and what's on the display (over WiFi) and despite having a steep learning curve (because of the Chinese language) it works very well.

    Here's a quick preview of 4 of the displays hooked up using my lab power supply.

    There is an option to change the display brightness, so this has been set to 50%. Not only does this use less power, but means it makes it viable as an artwork in the house without the light burning holes in our eyelids. This image has a lot of black in it, and only 4 of the 6 screens are hooked up, but it's is currently drawing about 1A at 5V. The power supply I purchased can supply up to 40A.

    These parts (6 displays, 5v 40A power supply, HC-1 controller) has so far cost me around US$100 (NZ$160) including delivery to New Zealand.

    My hand is for size reference

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  6. #6
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    You identify a HC-1 Wifi enabled controller. Can you please describe the functional capabilities of this controller?
    In other words, what can you display, what is the frame rate, etc?

  7. #7
    Senior Member Projectitis's Avatar
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    Hi Richard - Google is your friend

    Basically, it can drive up to 26,000 LEDs in full-colour. It supports slideshow-style images only (no video, but does support animated GIF and SWF - i haven't tried these) with lots of different transitions, scrolling text overlay and border effects. It can be updated via a mobile app or windows software over WiFi, or transfer the settings manually via USB drive.

    Click image for larger version. 

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