LED Lighting

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Initial Prototype Complete and Operational

Research needs to be done on an easier way to create a magmount module. The current level of effort per module is too large, more specifically the mounting of the magnets themselves.

Implementation Details


At the moment, I am investigating several methods of construction. Any construction method will likely include a 12V power supply and some combination of red/green/blue LEDs as we see fit. It will be modular such that if a portion goes bad, it can be removed and replaced with a working module. Options for modularity include magnetic power rails as used in the multitouch table, adjacent vampire taps, and parallel separated vampire taps. At the moment, we're looking at vampire taps as having power rails along the wall might look bad. We would prefer magnetic attachments if an aesthetically pleasing version could be found.


  • 12/15/07: After some research, it appears that vampire taps (insulation piercing connectors or IPC) are somewhat hard to find and are not as cheap as we need them. Magnetics are the way to go for this project. An option instead of magnetic rails is magnetic cable to run them from.
  • 12/26/07: Brim and I were poking around last night when we (brim) had an idea. Poke thumbtacks through the insulated speaker cable where you want to mount to it and magnetically attach to those. I will be going to the store to look at some thumbtacks and ordering magnets, LEDs, resistors, and breadboard tonight. Hopefully, I can have this up and running before the semester starts back up.
  • 12/31/07: The LEDs and resistors have arrived. Let the soldering begin! (after I go to radioshack and get some breadboard)
  • 01/01/08: I went out and tried to get breadboard. NOTHING WAS OPEN so no breadboard was had.
  • 01/02/08: I went out to W&W and got some breadboard. I now have the first three working prototypes for the boards, each slightly more refined than the next. It looks like we're going to need some kind of diffuser for the LEDs as they're quite directional, but make a neat pattern. I have yet to install magnets on the modules.
  • 01/03/08: I built 20 or so blue modules today. The magnets came in to Digium instead of my apartment, which is why I couldn't find them.
  • 01/04/08: Today will be spent acquiring more breadboard and possibly a little soldering before the 2600 meeting.
  • 01/05/08: Got all the modules built with the help of nykodemus and tanstaafl. Those plus brim helped with the setup of the wire+thumbtacks. As it turns out, only four wouldn't power up at all. There are still a couple that are flaky.
  • 02/10/08: It's now on Instructables


Strages came up with the LED Mesh idea. Unfortunately, a dead LED means alot of work to replace it. Depending on the implementation, it could also mean a surge of power causing higher LED mortality rates. To compensate for dead LEDs, a resistor would be needed on EVERY LED which could get expensive.

On a side note, this could probably be done with some kind of female pin headers, but the details need to be hammered WAY out before even attempting it. This is also a very location specific design and would have to be reworked for each place you put it.

After further thought, I don't really know how well LEDs directly in parallel would work. I've never tried it and I've not seen schematics on it. Also, using 1 or 2 resistors total for the entire mesh would mean that the entire mesh can only be one color. A 3.5V-5V supply would be optimal for this situation with a resistor on every LED allowing for multiple colors throughout the mesh. Resistors are relatively cheap, so that wouldn't be too much of a problem.