This is very high complexity project aimed at replacing obsolete DMX remote control systems with more reliable and feature-rich software and hardware mix. The main goal is real time control of hundreds of light sources via PC in flexible and user-friendly manner.
One part of the project deals with the communicaitons protocol and the hardware able to implement it in real time without glitches. The other part of the project deals with PC applications software able to form autonomous lighting effects of very high complexity, able to reproduce on-screen images etc. In addition, the system will be able to operate fully autonomously without the PC by interpreting user commands issued via a standard IR remote control unit.
A short flash video above demonstrates some simple autonomous effects generated by the central controller unit. User controlls the effects via an RC-5 compatible IR remote control. There are three modules visible in the video, each containing 6 SMD RGB LEDs (200mW LEDs in red and green, 100mW LED in blue colour).
Here are some specifications of the system still in development:
There can be up to 128 uniquely addresible modules in a system, each containing 6 RGB pixels, or 18 monochromatic pixels.
Fully populated system is able to refresh all 128 x 6 = 768 pixels up to 50 times a second. Framerate can be higher if the number of modules is less.
PC software is able to adjust the pattern of addressing individual modules in time, so that maximum subjective quality of "image" can be achieved in each particular situation (glitch- and flicker-free gradient motion, fast flashing etc.)
All LED modules get power supply from the central 18Vdc power supply unit. Each module contains a 18V/3V DC-DC converter able to provide up to 15W of electrical power to its LEDs. Using relatively high power supply BUS voltage means that lower current needs to be fed to the modules, which enables using lighter and less expensive conductors between them.
Target applications of the project include both home entertainment systems and more powerfull commercial systems such as those found at modern caffees and disco clubs. Although designed having in mind LED lighting systems, additional hardware components will be available, such as multiple channel 115/230V AC incandescent and halogen light bulb controllers, multiple channel motor actuators and so on.