The Wine Sign

An art work for my non-genetic brother - and a practical reason to deal with major power handling to help the Quamera

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This is a far more accessible project than the Quamera, it's just a bunch of 'puters controlling 36 high power RGB LEDs. Umm, thats 189 watts passing through those LEDS, so the power handling does get 'interesting' - this is related to the Quamera, as it is known that Gen2 of the Quamera is going to have a great thirst for power, and this is just power and LEDS, whereas the Quamera is often a perverse nightmare of multidimensional math and hardware

This is an art installation project for my non-genetic brother -  it is an old Mexican cantina sign he found at a flea market (Elephant's trunk in CT) which I am tarting up to have 36 high power RGB LED's -  that means it's going to need 8 Arduino Mega's just to control the 108 PWM lines, 3 to each RGB LED.  The Mega's will be responsible for handling the simple color setting/animation of the LED color channels, and another few Arduinos will be used to provide environmental sensing, i.e. audio, RGB environment color sense, and so on - and then there will be some (hopefully) small number of Beaglebone's that serve to orchestrate the entire process and drive the cross bulb animation effects, tie in with cloud processing, and so on.  It's 'Smart Art"™  :-)

There are two parts to this project - first, its an art installation, and that's both different and interesting.  Secondly, it allows me a chance to deal with high power consumption circuits, which I'm going to need for Gen2 of the Quamera project, now estimated to use in excess of 40 SBCs.  In this application the LEDS alone have  189 watts of power flowing through them, so its an opportunity to play with MOSFETS, hefty resistors, and really spend quality time thinking about how to give your brother a present that doesn't burn down his house.

From a bit of time playing with these 3 watt LEDS, my guess is that if the sign went from off to full on white, the impact of the photons alone would probably blow you backwards into the next county.  Seriously folks, these things emit way more visible radiation than your eyes and nature herself ever believed came from a point light source.  It's technically one of the more interesting things, and its weird when you get an eyeful of bright red (diffused) light from the red LED and for the next 5 minutes, every black letter you write in your notebook looks distinctly red.

The art project itself is strictly a signed one-off, but the software, lessons learned, parts lists (minus the cool sign) will all be published here, should you have no better judgement than I in taking on such a project.  Do be careful though, the lights are exceeding bright, and at this scale there are a dangerous number of electrons whizzing about.

  • Baseline - I've started, here's where I'm at

    Mark Mullin10/29/2017 at 19:32 0 comments

    OK, here's some videos that record the incept of the project

    The first step was to ensure I could actually create/design/use a high power (3W) LED and its little friends, the MOSFETS and resistors that switch PWM power and limit current flow respectively -  since I'm the madman creating this, I get to hijack the test rig for my own toys - 

    Now that we have an LED (1 of 36, but who's counting)  the next thing is the intake scaffolding of the artwork - umm, Houston, we've got a bit of a mess on our hands.... 

    OK, fine, lets get to work, I really didn't need the flesh that encloses my fingers -- 

    OK, now we've got it (and my fingers, pinholes on my face, my clothes) stripped - just waiting for those water molecules to show up and have a rust party -- 

    And finally, its primed and this mess is out of my hair for the moment -- "art is pain""™   

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