The 2,240 LED bodysuit v2.0

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Re: The 2,240 LED bodysuit v2.0

Postby ecweber » Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:20 pm

Junglesmacks,

I have two questions:

1. How did your suit hold up on-playa?

2. Did you use any type of material between the PCB and diffuser to keep the dust out?

My hat is off to you for your planning, design, and execution! Oh, and I apologize in advance if these questions were already answered earlier in the thread.

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Re: The 2,240 LED bodysuit v2.0

Postby junglesmacks » Mon Oct 29, 2012 10:10 am

Aloha!

I just saw this. Forgive me for not responding earlier..

I learned TONS about durability this year. Ugh. To be honest, I messed up big time in two main areas:

1) I used too light of wire gauge to chain the panels together with. Next time, a minimum of 18AWG primary wire with a decently sturdy insulation jacket on it.

2) If you're working with a high flex/movement location, ALWAYS include terminal blocks on your PCB designs to connect the wires to. Soldering the wires directly to pads is a no-no. The top was fine.. but the pants were a nightmare.

I was on the verge of disaster with wires popping and breaking everywhere until about Wednesday when I replaced every single wire with solid 18AWG wire on playa. The pads were starting to de-laminate from the PCBs from having to resolder everything a third time at this point as well. The wire worked great.. but.. the main point of failure after that was the copper traces and pads on the PCBs themselves having to support the flexing connections of the wires.

LESSON LEARNED!!!

No, I didn't use anything to block the dust from entering the PCB/diffuser layer.. and it wasn't bad. It would drain back out if it got in. Would have been nice to find a solution, but I didn't have time.

My biggest drawback was also the weight of the thing. After you added up all the solder, PCBs, panels, etc.. the pants + shirt weigh a good 10 lbs or so. In my dreams, I would be using flexible substrate PCB material with SMD RGB LEDs. Looking into it now.. but it may be cost/time prohibitive.

Stay tuned for LED Lightsuit v3.0.. coming soon to a playa near you for 2013.. :twisted:
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Re: The 2,240 LED bodysuit v2.0

Postby maladroit » Mon Oct 29, 2012 1:46 pm

Maybe you can redo the PCBs with 2oz copper and larger pads? A nice big custom wirepad...and maybe spec some drills near the wires so you can run zip ties through the PCB and cinch the wires down for good strain relief. It might be overkill, but you can also lace the wire through two holes for complete strain relief.
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Re: The 2,240 LED bodysuit v2.0

Postby BBadger » Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:04 pm

I like using ethernet cable for board-to-board runs that need some strain relief. It keeps the wires bundled nicely too.
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Re: The 2,240 LED bodysuit v2.0

Postby junglesmacks » Tue Oct 30, 2012 7:59 am

maladroit wrote:Maybe you can redo the PCBs with 2oz copper and larger pads? A nice big custom wirepad...and maybe spec some drills near the wires so you can run zip ties through the PCB and cinch the wires down for good strain relief. It might be overkill, but you can also lace the wire through two holes for complete strain relief.


Interesting. Hm. A simple low profile/set screw terminal block soldered on should do the trick though and also raise the wire up slightly from the edge of the PCB which is sharp enough with flex to compromise the integrity of the wire.

If I do the same thing next year, I'll redesign the PCBs to incorporate this and also bump up the trace thickness. This was my first time ever custom designing a PCB and I learned a few things after the fact.

Although.. I really.. REALLY.. want full selectable RGB color control as I PM'd BBadg about a couple months back. Still absorbing and figuring out. I think my main concern over functionality is that of comfort. I need lighter.. slimmer.. more flexible.. which would come from a more low profile design like a flexible PCB/SMD design. I could easily go with one of these dime-a-dozen RGB systems that are everywhere now (a la Bump Bed).. but I'm not so much into the low resolution thing. I want massive amounts of concentrated lumens that only comes with 2000+ LEDs. I've been told that working with 5mm dome RGBs isn't all that it's cracked up. Any thoughts on just using the same 2"x3" PCBs w/5mm RGBs?

Also.. anyone know anyone with an SMD assembly house hookup? As I've been learning with other ventures, it's not even the cost of the parts.. it's the cost of damn assembly that will get you..
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Re: The 2,240 LED bodysuit v2.0

Postby BBadger » Tue Oct 30, 2012 11:37 am

It's really not that bad hand-assembling PCBs when you're using SMD RGB LEDs, some solder paste, an easy-bake-oven reflow toaster, and a hand-vacuum part placer. The worst part about those 5mm domed RGB LEDs is that you have to spread out the legs before placing them on the PCB. I had previously attempted to avoid this by using IC sockets and pushing the LED leads into those, but that's still a big pain. With the SMD varieties of LEDs (I'd use PLCC-6 so you can provide different voltage rails for each color), you just grab the part with the vacuum grabber, place the part on the landing pad (solder already spread out with a stencil), they stick, and when you've got them all on the PCB(s) you put them in the toaster where they'll align themselves on their own.

Vacuum part placers make it a breeze to grab and place those parts. You can even make your own with aquarium air pumps if you don't want to pay $450 for a professional one.

Alternatively, if you have the money you could buy those RGB LED matrixes and string them up. They're pretty cheap these days ($7 each on eBay). Though they have the density, they're just not that bright from what I've seen. Also quite a bit of wiring and timing to get them to play nicely.
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Re: The 2,240 LED bodysuit v2.0

Postby 5280MeV » Tue Oct 30, 2012 11:57 am

BBadger wrote:and when you've got them all on the PCB(s) you put them in the toaster where they'll align themselves on their own.


Wait, is that a toaster as in the toaster oven that goes in the kitchen, or is that slang for the expensive looking thing that melts the solder paste?

Tiny SMD is maybe starting to look a lot less scary.
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Re: The 2,240 LED bodysuit v2.0

Postby ratkins » Tue Oct 30, 2012 12:12 pm

Dude, you know about the new 5050 SMD RGB LEDs with integrated WS2811 controllers right? Buck a piece or so in quantity from a US distributor, or $50-$60 per 4m roll (60 LEDs/m) direct from China.

Join us if you're not already: https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgr ... /led-nerds

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Re: The 2,240 LED bodysuit v2.0

Postby BBadger » Tue Oct 30, 2012 12:35 pm

5280MeV wrote:
BBadger wrote:and when you've got them all on the PCB(s) you put them in the toaster where they'll align themselves on their own.


Wait, is that a toaster as in the toaster oven that goes in the kitchen, or is that slang for the expensive looking thing that melts the solder paste?

Tiny SMD is maybe starting to look a lot less scary.


Yeah, it's not that bad. Just get a reflow controller and the parts and you're pretty much good to go. Sparkfun has a pretty nice tutorialon it; I think they're controller is a tad overpriced though.

ratkins wrote:Dude, you know about the new 5050 SMD RGB LEDs with integrated WS2811 controllers right? Buck a piece or so in quantity from a US distributor, or $50-$60 per 4m roll (60 LEDs/m) direct from China.


Yeah, but that's about one LED every 1.6cm. While that's much better than the previous 32 LED/m that used to be standard, I don't know if that'll have sufficient pixel density in this case.
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Re: The 2,240 LED bodysuit v2.0

Postby junglesmacks » Tue Oct 30, 2012 12:44 pm

ratkins wrote:Dude, you know about the new 5050 SMD RGB LEDs with integrated WS2811 controllers right? Buck a piece or so in quantity from a US distributor, or $50-$60 per 4m roll (60 LEDs/m) direct from China.

Join us if you're not already: https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgr ... /led-nerds

Cheers, Robert.


Yeah, I've got some test strips of WS2811s sitting here now. It's about time that they integrated the IC with the LED! You're paying too much for those, BTW.. I'm paying $12/m for the 60/m strips.

Still, that's too cost prohibitive for what I'd like to do which is use at least 2000 of them. Instead of having all 2000 LEDs individually addressable, I'd like to make just the panel itself addressable and single color.. and then divide the 8 channels of sequencing up into 2 color channels that are controlled by a rotary dial for on the fly color manipulation. Think: The same suit as this last year, but with two dials mounted on the belt line that I can change the colors with. Now, add in the design constraints of SMD and flexibility.

I just got off the phone with a flexible PCB fab house that specializes in LED arrays and they quoted me around $3/board for a fully dual sided board with a pretty tricky finish, etc. Now.. if I can get the design down and feel comfortable with SMD assembly..

5280MeV wrote:Wait, is that a toaster as in the toaster oven that goes in the kitchen, or is that slang for the expensive looking thing that melts the solder paste?


Check out this baby when installed in a common toaster oven such as they did here..

EDIT: Bbadg beat me to it above..


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Re: The 2,240 LED bodysuit v2.0

Postby BBadger » Tue Oct 30, 2012 3:12 pm

Argh, "their" controller.

Anyway, how big are those boards, and do they fix the LEDs on them for you? I'm not sure how well they'll respond to a reflow toaster.
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Re: The 2,240 LED bodysuit v2.0

Postby maladroit » Tue Oct 30, 2012 4:46 pm

I've put a few hundred boards through a cheap toaster oven, most of them including various types of SMD LEDs. You'll underbake/burn a few boards at first, but you can easily get a reliable-enough process just using a stopwatch. My cycle takes about 4 minutes per batch of boards.

Solder paste is easy. Either find someone with a laser cutter and make mylar stencils yourself, like I do, or buy some laser cut stencils online. Several places are offering that service now. The mylar or kapton stencils are very cheap compared to stainless steel, but you need to be aware the stencil will only last for 50 or so PCBs.
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Re: The 2,240 LED bodysuit v2.0

Postby ratkins » Tue Oct 30, 2012 4:57 pm

[quote="ratkins"]Dude, you know about the new 5050 SMD RGB LEDs with integrated WS2811 controllers right? Buck a piece or so in quantity from a US distributor, or $50-$60 per 4m roll (60 LEDs/m) direct from China.[/quote]

Yeah, but that's about one LED every 1.6cm. While that's much better than the previous 32 LED/m that used to be standard, I don't know if that'll have sufficient pixel density in this case.[/quote]

Right, on the strips yeah. But you can buy the bare SMD/WS2811 LEDs (I think for *much* less than a buck if you're interested in quantities of the order of thousands) and solder 'em as close together as you like (modulo melting yourself.) I'd actually be interested in *dimmer* controller-integrated SMD led strips, for power consumption reasons.

And as for the $50-$60/4m price for the rolls, that was one roll including shipping, which isn't that much more than $12/m so I'm not too sad. Like everything, cheaper in bulk.

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Re: The 2,240 LED bodysuit v2.0

Postby BBadger » Tue Oct 30, 2012 7:25 pm

ratkins wrote:Right, on the strips yeah. But you can buy the bare SMD/WS2811 LEDs (I think for *much* less than a buck if you're interested in quantities of the order of thousands) and solder 'em as close together as you like (modulo melting yourself.) I'd actually be interested in *dimmer* controller-integrated SMD led strips, for power consumption reasons.


Well that's kind of where we were at when you replied. :)

I usually prefer those TI LED driver chips (e.g. TLC5940) so I don't need as many parts, on PCBs at least. They're about $2 in quantity (100+ for TLC5940, less for others) and each have 16 channels. Only one resistor current setting resistor is needed too. The WS28xx chips are good for strips though, as they don't need to be fed by an MCU.

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Re: The 2,240 LED bodysuit v2.0

Postby illy dilly » Wed Oct 31, 2012 9:06 am

maladroit wrote:Either find someone with a laser cutter and make mylar stencils yourself, like I do, or buy some laser cut stencils online. Several places are offering that service now.

This might be pretty common knowledge, but I only learned it a couple years ago.

Most Trophy and Engraving shops have laser Cutters/stencilers. I'm not talking about really fancy jewelry engravers but the folks that cell trophies, plaques, etc.

The lady that we have do our Lamacoid labels for labeling equipment uses her laser cutter for everything. We've sent over some pretty crazy stuff for her to do. We even needed really small lines in some aluminum rack panels, so she ran her laser cutter over them about 60 times to cut through the aluminum. Her machine can take anything that is slightly smaller than 18"x24" and thinner than 1.5"

She also has this powder that she puts on aluminum, still, tin, copper, or brass, then when she runs the laser over it the powder sticks to the metal in what ever color it was. Its sort of like powder coating or anodizing but with a laser in very specific points. It stays on a hell of a lot better than trying to silk screen onto stainless steel (we use it for detailed control panels and wall plates).
We know the gal pretty well, and she'll pretty try anything we ask. She even let us bring in spools of Triax and try laser engraving right in the jacket of the cable.
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Re: The 2,240 LED bodysuit v2.0

Postby oscillator » Mon Nov 05, 2012 11:52 am

The "powder" is CerMark - a spray-on glass/metal coating that fuses with metal.

http://www.laserbits.com/index.php?main ... i3ebrjj513

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