LED Water Wall

From Makers Local 256
Revision as of 09:24, 19 June 2013 by Tylercrumpton (Talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search

Initial investigation
Born On:
00:52, 11 June 2013 (CDT)
Last Updated:
09:24, 19 June 2013 (CDT)

Initial prototype of a smaller version of one of the panels.


A board member of Huntsville's Downtown 47 and a member of their investment committee approached us on May 28th, 2013 with an interesting proposition. They are "interested in a project to build a wall covered with LED lights that illuminate when the diodes come in contact with water. Our intent is to place the wall in Big Spring Park as a 'water graffiti' exhibit". A similar project was undertaken by Antonin Fourneau in Poitiers, France (video).


  • The group is willing to spend a decent amount of money to get this built, they don't want to cheap out on the project. They are willing to provide the money for a quality production.
  • Our contact thought that 6' by 18' is a good size for the wall, but it is open for negotiation.
  • Timeline is flexible; they would prefer that it would be done before it starts getting cold again, but if it takes until next summer, that may be acceptable.
  • The exhibit will be transportable, and would not need to be left outside 24/7. It will be pulled out and set up for events as necessary.
  • We would likely be able to keep the wall at the shop (only if we want!) to show off when the city isn't using it. (I know there are mixed feelings about this; they will not try to force us to hold it if we don't want to)
  • They are very excited about Makers Local and the hackerspace scene, and would love to include us in things like this in the future.
  • They are willing to pay for a small demo board to show off how the wall would work, and give us a chance to determine a more accurate budget/timeline before ordering thousands of LEDs.
  • Depending on the cost, they are interested in looking into extra features/improvements of the LED wall.
  • It needs to be safe (obviously); I don't think this will be an issue, if we take the proper precautions.

Design Decisions

Wall Size

Panel Size

Number of LEDs

Panel Construction

Type of LED

Corrosion Prevention

Power Supply


Cost Estimation

PCB Manufacture

PCB Option 1

40 boards, 500mm by 500mm, 1.6mm-thick FR4, 1oz ENIG plating, black soldermask, white silkscreen

  • Quote: $2370 + shipping from Shenzhen (~$60 per board)
  • I also got a quote for a limited run of just 5 boards: $684 + shipping (~$137 per board)



Power Supply

Progress Log

00:56, 11 June 2013 (CDT): Started the wiki page with some PCB cost information. We have also created a small sample prototype to prove the viability of the overall idea. The prototype worked very well, and it seems that the water-sensor shape does not really have much effect on the LED brightness or conductivity of the water.