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Enginursday: Building Large LED Projects

Learn how to build larger-than-life LED installations.

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In conjunction with our seventh annual Autonomous Vehicle Competition, SparkFun recently unveiled its first ever retail space! Leading up to the event, several SparkFun employees took on the task of breathing new life into older projects, or creating new projects altogether. One such project was the CandyBar.

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The CandyBar in the background, along with our newly revamped GPS Wall Clock.

At 46 feet of illuminated fun, the CandyBar takes the LED strip to a whole new level. It uses eight meters of addressable LED strips, controlled with a FadeCandy and a Raspberry Pi B+ running the FadeCandy Server. Power and signals are sent out across the bar using custom PCBs, a 24V/250W power supply, and many feet of Ethernet cables. The patterns output by the extra long strip are created by passing various images through Processing and having the colors of the images sampled and sent to the corresponding LED. The real beauty of this project is that, because the strip can be controlled through a server, almost any Internet-connected device can potentially control the colors and patterns.

The build of the CandyBar was documented along the way, and we have gathered all that content and written a tutorial to help others who may want to build similarly large LED installations. The tutorial can be found at the link below.

Building Large LED Installations

July 16, 2015

Learn what it takes to build large LED installations from planning to power requirements to execution.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to post them here or in the tutorial's comments section. And, if you're in the Boulder, CO, area, stop on in and check out the SparkFun Retail Emporium and all the dazzling projects it has to offer.

Comments 7 comments

  • That GPS wall clock needs some cable management. Those hanging wires make me feel like Louise Belcher

  • Are you guys planning on building more retail locations? Personally I think that you should because without Radioshack the world will soon plummet into darkness like Star Trek. :)

  • Wish you'd have some practical info about the Retail Space somewhere (logical) on the web site -- like street address (for the friendly GPS) and the hours of operation.

    • Basically what Member 81851 said. If you check the bottom of the page and click the Niwot, CO link it will take you to Google Maps. As for hours of operation, the building is open from 9-5, but we tend to encourage people to come between 10 and 4 to give us a bit of time to open and closet things. If you are unsure as to whether we are open you can also give us a call (303-284-0979) as well.

      • Now that you mention it, FireFox will show me (decoding the URL) "6353 Dry Creek Parkway, Niwot, CO 80503", which is what I need to put into my car's GPS.

        Making the info easy to find (maybe "Retail Emporium", either at the bottom, or maybe under "About Us") with that info would be nice.

    • I guess it's not obviously logical, but at some point I found some location information on the shipping information page referring to local pickup.

      There's also the contact page available at the bottom of the home page along with a subtle Niwot, CO linked to a map among those at the very very bottom of the most pages.

      I agree that it could be more prominent, but it only seems useful for people in the area already. I had better luck finding an address via a Google search as an out-of-town visitor for AVC 2015.

  • Cool space. My eyes went right for the clock then the cables below it, once that happened they stuck out like a sore thumb.

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