Very Hackable GE XMas lights with individual MCU / bulb.

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Very Hackable GE XMas lights with individual MCU / bulb.

Postby souplogic » Tue Nov 30, 2010 7:41 pm

http://www.deepdarc.com/2010/11/27/hack ... as-lights/

50 Addressable bulbs for $60-120 makes the blinkm type products seem very expensive. [edit: I do not mean to insult the blinkm stuff - its very cool and seems much more flexible, but for certain projects it may be more complexity and cost than needed]

How they work (see link for more detail)
>> Bulbs each have a microcontroller and communicate on a sequential bus
>> Bulbs are assigned one of 50 addresses on start up
>> Any bulb can have any address, multiple bulbs cab share any address
>> the simple method of assigning addresses allows more than 50 bulbs
>> After start-up addressing, bulbs are commanded by their address
>> Bulb colors are set individually in 12 bit RGB
>> Bulb brightness (a sort of multiplier) is set globally at 8bits of resolution

To summarize these are cheap, very cool, and pretty easy to work with as indicated by the article.

It would be extremely cool if Sparkfun could get the bulb components, or strands/lengths of the bulbs to sell with out the consumer parts on the ends.

I think it would reflect well on GE too, but who knows how they would feel about it.
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Re: Very Hackable GE XMas lights with individual MCU / bulb.

Postby n1ist » Thu Dec 02, 2010 6:28 am

There's more discussion about these lights over at DIYC...
http://doityourselfchristmas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=13062

/mike
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Re: Very Hackable GE XMas lights with individual MCU / bulb.

Postby ScottH » Mon Dec 06, 2010 12:21 am

I ported the original code to the Arduino and built a color organ this evening.

I'll post the code soon.

Demo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhd1Z_i5Bl4

-Scott
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Re: Very Hackable GE XMas lights with individual MCU / bulb.

Postby macegr » Tue Dec 07, 2010 1:03 am

They're based on a cheap Chinese chip used in a lot of these strings...it will glitch if you change brightness by more than one increment. It's definitely a move in the right direction, I would say in maybe a year we'll start seeing similar strings with at least 24-bit RGB, easy to use data format, and glitch free operation.
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Re: Very Hackable GE XMas lights with individual MCU / bulb.

Postby souplogic » Tue Dec 07, 2010 10:20 am

Cheap Chinese chips make the world go round. Is it just the brightness (global brightness) or the per-channel intensity that glitches?
Even with one brightness level locked in, you can make thousands of colors (12 bit color space).
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