AvBrand Exploring Technology
AvBrand Exploring Technology
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Home-Made Ambilight

11:16 PM, September 18th, 2012

I know there's lots of home-made ambilights out there, but I think this is the first one I've seen to use the GE Color Effects Christmas lights.


If you've not heard of these, it's an inexpensive (relatively) set of xmas lights with addressable bulbs. That is, you can individually set each bulb to any color. A set of 50 bulbs is about $70 here in Canada at Costco, and they are very very easy to hack. Just two wires to get an Arduino talking to it.




The plastic bulbs pop off easily, exposing the bare LED. I bought some aluminum channeling and cable-tied them into this.







Then I mounted them to the back of my TV:


I used the excellent, free, open-source software Amblone to control the lights with a simple Arduino program. And voila!









As you can see they work quite well. But not well enough -- they only offer 12-bit color, which is only 4096 colours, quite low. A computer monitor offers 16.7 million colours by comparison. So, stay tuned for version two!

Comments

Skyvola 11:27 AM, March 28th, 2013

Hey Man,
Haven't seen updates from you in a while, you ok?

Austtie 1:04 AM, September 5th, 2013

I've considered purchasing these very lights in the past...but I've read mixed reviews about their reliability. How are they working for you?

Really awesome ambilight project. I hope to do something similar.

Avatar-X 10:16 AM, September 20th, 2013

I ended up changing these out for something that could do more colour resolution, and I now use the xmas lights for a 200-pixel video wall (I bought some more sets)

-av

Austtie 1:46 PM, September 24th, 2013

Posted by Avatar-X
I ended up changing these out for something that could do more colour resolution, and I now use the xmas lights for a 200-pixel video wall (I bought some more sets)

-av

A video wall is another great idea for an LED project!

I love working with LED's. Recently I've been working on creating an LED 'color organ'. Except instead of restricting the LED's to one specific place, I'd like to spread the lights out (same idea as the musical Christmas light houses). I've been able to rig circuitry to power about a dozen LED's off a 5V power source (USB 2.0). This allowed me to manipulate one strand and get it moving with the music.

Now I'm considering buying a set of color effects lights for use with my musical lights project.

Great work, your projects are inspirational

Thanks av.

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