[rescue] Was: SGI Challenge L Now: LEDs

Ethan O'Toole ethan at 757tech.net
Fri Sep 17 09:26:03 CDT 2004

> Yeah, I'm glad to be seeing in use more.  No more driving around like an
> idiot
> because you didn't know one of your taillights blew out.  Headlights are
> obvious, but how often do people walk around their car to check their
> lamps?
> BTW, I work for a company that manufactures light fixtures.  I still
> remember
> the new employee orientation where they harped on calling them lamps and
> not
> bulbs.  "Bulbs are what you plant in the ground.  Lamps make light!"  Ahh,
> well..
> -E.

I'm afraid to admit this, but I bought this kit from a guy that imports
them. It has 480 some odd LEDs, and mounts under the car. The electronic
"brain" was fried, so I repaired it and got it up and running. Each tube
has R + G + B LEDs, and 8 wire cat5 coming off of it. There are 5 ground
segments and 3 power segments (R + G + B) so they can only do a single
color at a time. I'm going to replace the electronics with some custom
hackery, and control it with a MidiBox board (Pic 18Fxxx)
(www.midibox.org).. Core module and DOUT module. It will be driven by an
in-car PC (Mini-ITX). Basically, playing midi files will trigger the
lights (noteon/noteoff for each segment, 20 total, 5 one each bar on each
side of car).

The LED kits aren't terribly expensive. I've been tempted to pick up a
white LED kit (they are about $50 on eBay for the single color ones) and
mount the bars under my desk as a cheap indirect light source. Same with
the office, on the overhead raceways.

The color balance isn't perfect, green is brighter than red/blue so during
"white" it has a bit of greenish tint:


.--[Ethan O'Toole]-------------------------------+
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