While I take great pride in my work, I am no professional but just a good willing amateur. Therefor I have to warn you that if you decide to use the info on this blog or order some of my "product's", I cannot be held responsible for any kind of damage, burning down your cab/house/city or following addiction to pinball games in any way.

In other words: use is at your own risk !

Sunday, November 16, 2014

VP, DOF and loads off LEDs

Some of you may have noticed that Shifters and myself have picked up the pinballs again this year. With the introduction of the Direct Output Framework (DOF) from SwissLizard some amazing things are possible that made us totaly rethink the whole concept we had on VP-Fx.

The way we are working now is not based on hardware like ledwiz, boards to enhance the power and number off outputs but totaly focused on LEDstrips like the LPD8806 and WS2812. The driving of the strips is done from DOF via Artnet, a network based protocol. We connected an Arduino with a Ehternet shield to the network and Shifters made some very fast code to drive the strips.

With Artnet you can have many differens Universes each having 512 channels. Those channels we use to drive the individual LEDs on the strips, where the first channel is LED #1, the red one, channel #2 is green on LED #1 and channel #3 is blue on LED #1. This way you can have a maximum of 512/3 = 170 leds in one Universe.

The current situation in my cab is as followed:
  • 30 leds on the left side off the playfield (type LPD8806)
  • 30 leds on the right side off the plafield (type LPD8806)
  • 3 rows of 32 leds on the top off the playfield (type WS2812, 60 led/m)
To give you an idea how this looks view this video: (watch in full screen!)

 I have plans to add some more:
  • 34 leds on the bottom off the playfield 60 led/m
  • around 2.1 meter strip around the backbox, 30 led/m
  • undercab leds, probably not addressable but single rgb strip
  • behind the backbox strips, not decided what type
The Arduino we use is a Mega, type 1280 or 2560. You will need a W5100 ethernet shield to get it to work with Artnet. Both can be bought on various placed like Floris or eBay. To get this to work you need software to translate the Artnet code to something the LEDstrips can understand. That will be available later on. The current software is capable of connecting up to four different ledstrip on one Arduino driving a maximum of 170 RGB leds.

You might think, with a max off 170 leds on the Arduino with LEDstrips of 60 leds per meter, that is less then 3 meter I can have. Well, that is true, but making use off the different Universes and direct output on IP base you can have several universes each Arduino having its own. So when you have 10 Arduino's on 10 Universes you can drive 1700 LEDs. When you think you can place all off those let me know how that is gonna look, can't wait to see that !

Ok, this is it for today, in the next posting I will get into the making of a cabinet.xml for DOF so you can drive your leds in a flexible way.


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