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Controlling individual LEDs in a sign


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We're trying to make an illuminated sign using LEDs inserted around the outline of our logo. The sign will be made of wood with small holes drilled for the LEDs. It's to be used in a club setting and the ideal situation would be to have RGB leds controlled via DMX but I think this would probably be much too complicated for me to wire up. A simple chaser with different settings would be okay (maybe even christmas light style) but it would be good to give the club's light operator remote control of the sign.


As you can probably tell I'm not very far along with the thought process so any ideas would be great.




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Why not just get some LED fairy lights and poke them through the holes. Then you can control them with the in-built effects.


There'd be no form of remote control with this though. Would be good to be able to make it part of the light show.

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It depends how handy you are with microcontrollers.

If you're able to build something yourself, then take a look at this individually addressable LED strip from Adafruit.

They also have a couple more similar products.


Probably the simplest way to get something DMX controlled up and running (based on these products) would be an Arduino (there's a library for them available for the Adafruit site) plus a DMX shield for it. My personal approach would probably just use a Microchip PIC, but that's only because I'm more familiar with them.


For a ready-made solution take a look at Barco MiPix. I guess they won't be cheap, though.

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Led strip or led tape like mention above would be the way to go. I installed some in a club last week, one driver can control 5m of tape, and they can link straight in to a wall mounted controller that let's you control colour, chase, speed, and brightness.


I can't find the link at the moment, but I believe they were from whole sale led.

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If you want to put LEDs in a sign then addressible LEDs are a good way to go:




You can get all sorts of pretty LED stuff from a supplier with a good reputation who is loved by the Christmas Light brigade, the Ray Wu store on AliExpress. No connection other than as a satisfied customer.


I put a digital led strip around the prosc of our tiny theatre, fully DMX controllable, the only drawback is that you cant easily turn the stuff off, but I know how and will write it up sooner or later. (short version - you need to interrupt the power to the strip, and use a LS244 or similar buffer to tri-state the strip logic drive lines when the power is off, otherwise the logic drive current is enough to make the LEDs light dimly and annoyingly and they flicker)




I am in love with this stuff.


Power and control:




There are at least three different driver chips with different characteristics used for these addressable LED products, and you need to get a controller that matches the driver chips you want to use. I used the simplest, HL1606 strip, but this has the drawback that you cant individually dim the LEDs. Leter (and slightly more expensive) chips allow 8 bit dim on each LED individually.

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