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VisualK-OS (v5.0)

rPi/Arduino-Powered Multi-Component Stage Lighting/FX System

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VisualK-OS is an RGB LED lighting system, featuring multiple custom components; Stage-wide flood bank arrays, an 8pc drum kit with individually-configurable lighting, and more.

The main system is run on a Raspberry Pi 3b, which displays on a 15" LCD salvaged from an old laptop and run through an HDMI driver board. All components are mounted into a modified aluminum briefcase, which contains a weirdly-practical custom 2 layer acrylic structure, which is bolted onto bits of wood secured underneath the case lining.  The system runs on a series of Python scripts, with a custom GUI (I don't like learning SDKs, if I can help it) that keeps everything nicely organized in a modular fashion. All lighting components have their own Arduino (Uno and Nano), which is controlled by the Pi with a custom serial-based scripting protocol.


Contents of the control center case:
- A/C power distribution block (w/separate switches for rPi/PSU/etc control)
- 30A 12v DC PSU (Flood Bank Array power)
- 6A 12v DC PSU ("Thor" Drum lighting power)
- Flood Bank Array circuit distribution box
- Raspberry Pi 3b (w/15" LCD and driver board)
- 7 port USB hub
- Blue LED interior lighting


The system is controlled by mouse and/or keyboard, with support for a gamepad (currently a PS3 controller connected by USB for rapid manual control of the FBA). The system's previous form, as a prototype, used a UI composed in Python/nCurses (for a callback to my love of DOS games)... As the system grew, it became less and less practical and eventually became a hindrance to work around. Due to this, the prototype's 3.5" TFT LCD was no longer sufficient and the original case could not hold a 15" LCD, so I opted to finally tear it all apart and build anew!

I am documenting as I go along, so updates will be posted as new parts are completed. Everything is being re-built from the ground, up. As a result, the Flood Bank Array boards are being re-made on lighter frames and with double the amount of LEDs, as is the same LED increase for each drum for Thor, so each component will be far brighter than they were in the prototype. All source code (Python and C++) is well-commented and standardized (despite being for proprietary hardware, the software is open source) for anyone to look through, if they would like.

(2019.09.27) vkos5 - Initial Source Release.zip

Initial release of source code. Run "./run_vkos_sh --emu" to run a demo of the GUI that does not require the proprietary hardware.

Zip Archive - 3.21 MB - 09/27/2019 at 09:55

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  • Initial Software Release

    Lord K-OS09/27/2019 at 10:01 0 comments

    The current version of stable (as far as I know...) software has been uploaded. This includes the Arduino source code, which uses ShiftPWM with default RGB wiring over SPI to boards containing daisychained (via Q8/Serial out on the 74HC595 chips) shift registers. This script uses Python 2.7 and does require PyGame, PIL, and PySerial to be installed.

    *** Linux: Use "python vkos_cc.py --emu" to test-drive the GUI, without the proprietary hardware requirements. While Python is cross-platform, I have no intention of making this software fully Windows compatible, as it is not meant to stand alone as a GUI engine. I have provided the source code merely so that others may possibly benefit from my trial-and-error results.

  • Initial post

    Lord K-OS01/28/2019 at 10:07 0 comments

    The software currently has functioning color configuration and UI elements for both the FBA and Thor devices. Once I have assembled the FBA control circuit, I will begin COMMS (serial) module implementation, as I would prefer to design the new circuit first and then make the code work with that, as opposed to the other way around.

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