Jurek and the Amazing Techno, Colored DreamWall

Jurek and the Amazing Techno, Colored DreamWall

The title is mostly a placeholder, as I haven't really figured out a name for it yet. This project is a wall hanging that consists of semi-large triangular pixels using discrete RGB LED's and PWM to control intensity levels of each LED, resulting in a 4096-color display.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Driver boards

Before going off into the driver boards, I did a small amount of searching online and found that the Budweiser Times Square ad has been in place since at least late 1998. As you can see in this picture:

The countdown timer says 369 days, 7 hours, ?? minutes, 24 seconds to the millenium, which puts the date of the picture somewhere about December 27th at around 5pm, 1998. The display is 16 triangles wide and about 42 triangles (41 + 2 halves) high (my approximation of 16x45 was pretty damn close). Thankfully, as this picture shows, the display can show more than just red, white, blue, and tan.
From this picture:

you can sort-of see that each triangle pixel is made up of 21 smaller hexagonal pixels (wow... nested coolness, huh?) and the nifty-looking stars they were displaying for the US flag.

Driver Boards and Soldering

Man, I'm glad I only ordered 2 of those boards and w/o silk screening or a solder mask. They look really sweet:

but I found out that the holes I specified for the headers were way too small and unusable. I had to redesign the layout slightly because the power traces I layed out couldn't fit between the largened holes any more. The design increased only 0.1" on each side and left me with slightly more room to work with (it doesn't really matter a whole lot because the minimum area for cost is 4 square inches.

I've got that basically done and I think I'm going to put in an order for about 50 or so tonight. I only need 12 for the entire wall, but I've got to plan for screw-ups. The little bit of soldering I did on one of the boards was rather troublesome. I'm getting better, but I've still got a long way to go if I want to make 12 completely-working boards. The main issues I'm having are that there ends up being non-infinite resistance between the pins. Anything under 1 MOhm, I've found, is just asking for trouble. Hopefully, the solder mask will help fix all of those issues.

Even with the holes being way too small, I was able to solder the headers on (with a ton of solder) and test the board out. Of the 4 chips soldered on one of the boards, I've only really been able to get 1 of them working properly.

Not a whole lot of progress other than that... I've got another list of random things I need to order from Digi-Key next, but they can wait until I have something else more critical to order.

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