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Controlling Many Individual Lights

Mon Jan 08, 2018 7:46 pm


I would like to create a system that would control many individual lights. My goal is to input a word into the system, and have it light up a light on a diagram (Imagine a skeleton that would light up depending on which bone you choose). Is it possible to control upwards of 200 or more individual lights with Raspberry Pi? If so, what equipment would I need?

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Re: Controlling Many Individual Lights

Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:07 am

I'd be Googling Addressable LED strings.

They consist of LEDs (often red, green and blue together in a single block) mounted on top of a control chip.
Each has a serial data input pin and serial data output pin, with each one taking its own data and passing the rest onwards.
So you only need a couple of GPIOs to feed the first in line, the rest being fed from the previous one.

There are two different systems available, called Neopixel and Dotstar. The latter has a second input and output for a clock signal, meaning timing of the data is less critical, so is probably better.

Many companies will sell you a long string of them ready-mounted in a flexible tube or on a flexible strip.
For example is 5m long, with 30 LEDs per metre, so 150 LEDs

However, for your project, you may wish to buy them individually.
Again, Adafruit will sell you monochrome ones for $4.95 for a ten-pack, $44.60 for 20 ten-packs, or save some money and get RGB ones for $4.50 for a ten-pack, $40.50 for 20 ten-packs

Handy break-out pcbs will set you back another $44.60, which might be a good investment

You will have to provide 5v of power to the LEDs. Current-wise, Adafruit is less than helpfull regarding the current required - 200 could to take anything upto or beyond 12A if they're all lit, but just one or two wouldn't need much at all.

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