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Starlight Skydome

The goal was to turn a 40 ft. dia. geodesic dome into a convincingly starry night sky. Mission Accomplished.

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Almost 500 stars were constructed individually and operated under the power of a coin cell for close to a month. Each star was adhered to the surface of the dome with adhesive, in my case, hot glue. Pay close attention to the threshold voltage across the LEDs, as reasonably priced bulk coin cells only come as high as 3V.
  • 1 × 555 timer
  • 1 × Resistor
  • 1 × Capacitor
  • 1 × PCB
  • 1 × smd LED

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gmwatbot wrote 03/12/2014 at 21:24 point
If using fabric in the future consider sewing/gluing in conductive thread. We did a small area running parallel lines an inch apart which were then alternatively hooked up to + and - to them at the edge. Treat like a flexible breadboard then to power stuff on the fabric with short hookup wires.

Works well for small areas, not sure about a 20ft wall though.

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Sarah Wittman wrote 03/13/2014 at 16:15 point
That's a great idea! I'd have preferred to do something like that, except the fabric was already up prior to creating the lights. I'll keep this in mind for next time!

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BrendanMatkin wrote 02/20/2014 at 00:26 point
Did they twinkle or something, or just static? Can you post your drive circuit?

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Sarah Wittman wrote 02/20/2014 at 16:26 point
They did twinkle, though there was definitely room for improvement in the twinkling behavior. I'll post schematics when I'm not on a mobile device. Thanks for the reminder!

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Sarah Wittman wrote 02/21/2014 at 20:28 point
Posted.

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BrendanMatkin wrote 02/24/2014 at 21:25 point
Cool, thanks! I always go to microcontrollers for stuff like this and forget that a simple electronic circuit can handle it!

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mpinner wrote 01/23/2014 at 19:36 point
brilliant. when's the next setup?

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Sarah Wittman wrote 01/23/2014 at 21:22 point
I'm considering redoing the whole project in fiber optics. This quantity of cell batteries proves a bit expensive for a consumable cost each time we set up the dome. The main drive behind batteries was that we didn't have much time, and we didn't want to worry about how we were going to distribute power over the whole thing.

The next installation is going to be a wall indoors as a particle effect, so thankfully I won't have to mount things on a 20ft high concave fabric surface.

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Mike Szczys wrote 02/22/2014 at 16:40 point
Hi Sarah,

I didn't see any info on mAh for the batteries you used. But when you mentioned consumables I wondered if you could possibly get away with a super-cap setup? I envision an inductive charging system that puts a stick with a coil on the end of it... like lighting oil lamps of yore, someone would go around each evening and juice up the caps. Whimsical, isn't it?

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Sarah Wittman wrote 02/26/2014 at 17:44 point
In response to Mike, because nested replies aren't a thing yet.

The more I think about your idea, the more I like it. I'll have to look into doing that for future installations. I can probably even modify my existing boards, rather than having to buy new ones, which is a huge plus.

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