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[COMPLETED with TUTORIAL] Ambilight - Atmospheric lighting behind your TV/Monitor

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Posted · Original PosterOP

AMBILIGHT PROJECT:

 

Hi all,

 

I thought I might as well do a write up of an Ambilight project that I have just started to work on. Please note that my experience working with electronics is very limited and what I did learn, I learnt over 10 years ago. This document will be a WIP so if you wantto do the same I suggest waiting until it is complete as items/materials and processes may change as I go along/

I guess first thing first, what is Ambilight?

 

Philips first introduced this on some of their TV’s, basically it analyses what is being displayed around the rim of the screen and projects those colours behind the TV and onto the wall behind giving a larger feel to your TV and letting it bleed out instead of just suddenly stopping at the TV frame. This was very proprietary to Philips but after some time people have been making DIY systems using the Arduino micro computer. This relies on a computer running Windows, Linux or OSX to analyse what is being displayed and sending information through the Arduino to power the LED’s and colour them appropriately.

My Finished Product

 

Now there are lots of different variations. Adalight, Ambilight, Boblight, Atmolight but their function is all the same, to project familiar light from the display border onto the wall behind.

 

NOTE: I will also add that there are other methods using the much more powerful RasberryPi. I picked the Arduino because I wanted to learn this first, I then intend on moving to a RasberryPi later.

 

INDEX

 

I have done up this tutorial in 5 sections

Part 00 - Building a frame

Part 01 - Sticking down your LEDs

Part 02 - Programming you Microcontroller

Part 03 - Wiring up your LEDs

Part 04 - Configuring the capture software.

 

 

My Application.

 

In my main living room I have a wall mounted 58” Plasma of which I use XBMC running on a shuttle with Windows 7 OS. My plan is to make an ‘Ambilight’ replica for my TV. Here is some awesome MS Paint drawing to explain.

 

Brown is a frame that will need to be made and fixed to the back of the TV

Blue is the LED strips to be mounted to the frame, blue swirlies is bad ass LED lights projecting onto wall.

Red box is a Teensy 2.0 which is directly connected and driving the LED strip. Thin red line is a USB cable running down to my HTPC.

9qV2cBi.jpg

 

Tools Required.

 

I used the following tools but will note alternatives or if they are not a necessity.

Jigsaw (any wood cutting tool would do)

Measuring tape

Square, for marking out at right angles (optional)

Drill/Screwdriver

 

Materials/Items.

 

A Microcontroller. An Arduinno Mega/Uno can be used but an example I found is using a Teensy 2.0 so this is the device I will be using. It's more powerful, smaller and cheaper than an Arduino. I will show Pin outs for both the Arduino and Teensy 2.0 and Teensy 3.1. If you decide to get a Teensy in stock form, they don't have any female header pins so you'll have to solder these in OR buy them with them installed. For this project they all work well enough but the Teensy does have a very slight performance edge. 

 

An Arduino Uno

ArduinoUno_r2_front450px.jpg

 

A Teensy 2.0

teensy_MED.jpg

 

A Teensy 3.1

teensy31_front_small.jpg

 

 

A RGB LED Light strip – Make sure you are educated in your decision. If you're going to copy these instructions they MUST be WS2801 LED's.

 

These come as a string (which is how I got them)

 500pcs-WS2801-pixel-module-Waterproof-DC

 

Or as a roll/strip

 11W-WS2801-LED-strip-Tube-light-IP67-wit

 

Or individual satellite modules with single IC's but multiple LED's for high brightness.

 A_string_Programmable_WS2801_6_LEDs_per_

 

Each have their advantages and disadvantages. the 1st example needs a mounting solution such as the frame I built for a very high zone and pixel density. The 2nd example is very easy to install as you can just use double sided tape on the back of your display. The 3rd example will give a lower zone count but should give a better throw of light. To try and put into perspective I was able to get 200 string LED's with 200 zones around my 58" TV. If I used the strip it probably would have been around 120 LED's with 120 zones. If you use the satellite style you would maybe get 180 LED's but 30 zones as each zone is connected to multiple LED's, hopefully that makes sense.

 

POWERING YOUR LED's! You will need to consider how you are going to power these LED's. Their power draw will vary depending if you get 12v or 5v versions. I will use mine as an example. The tech sheet says at full white brightness (all colours on) each LED will draw 55mA. I have 200 so 55mA x 200 LED's gives me 11000mA OR 11Amps. I went over and above on my configuration installing 2x 5v x 10Amp Power supplies. If its convenient and your game enough you can probably wire 12v/5v from your PC power supply to power them.

 

I suggest everyone read THIS POST when selecting their LED Strip.

 

Some Single core wire or prototype/breadboard wires, they look like this

 prototype_wires_1.jpg

 

If building a Frame for string LED's

Wood for the frame. I used 18mm x 18mm square.

Right angled brackets for assembling the frame.

Right angled aluminium. I used 20mm x 20mm

 

 

The Process.

 

STEP 00 – Building the Frame. NOTE - you do not have to build a frame if you select a LED strip like this LINK. The reason I went the way I did is because I wanted to get in as many pixel as I could. A typical LED strip will give you 128 LED's to do the same size TV as mine instead of the 200 I used. Its up to you if its worth the effort or not.

 

Firstly I had cut my timber to size. I measured a suitable size to be 1320mm wide x 770mm tall. This was about as big as I could go but still ensure that the frame would not be visable outside the TV frame. I cut 2 extra horizontal and vertical pieces for the LED mounting which will make sens in the photos.

 

All my TIMBERRRRRRRRRRRR

LQocn6d.jpg

 

Measure twice, cut once.

I marked out the first at 1320mm and then squared it off. Then squared off the other 3 pieces I needed, marked and then cut them.

VKpxmjo.jpg

 

6ZiOmIo.jpg

 

Then I did the same for the 770mm pieces. Everything cut to length.

vYQgMFP.jpg

 

Then I laid out the frame to make sure everything looked OK. Notice the extra vertical and horizontal pieces I mentioned earlier that will be used for mounting the LED’s.

NYo99G1.jpg

 

I marked and then predrilled before screwing in the brackets, probably a unnecessary process as long as you screw things in square.

ZiNRBCm.jpg

 

There we go! All screwed together.

Owwp3bY.jpg

 

Now I installed brackets on the backside of the frame and then I screw into the ends of the extra lengths I have. It quite important that the brackets you get will give you enough room to spin these bits of wood. Also a good idea to mark the centres so they spin evenly not like an egg, also don’t screw them all the way hard in, you need a tiny bit of movement.

r6h0xCF.jpg

 

Let’s call this 45 degrees rotation

IzfGjGE.jpg

 

30 degrees rotation

5wQWQLF.jpg

 

0 degrees rotation

eVR9o3l.jpg

 

Next was the Aluminium right angle to mount the LED's into.

I got this from Bunnings in 1 meter lengths.One this worth mentioning is you want the LED's to span the size of your actual screen and not the bezel otherwise your lights wont line up. With new TV's the bezel is so small but mines a bit older so I thought worth mentioning.

 

BcXdrYK.jpg

 

Next was to drill all the holes, 200 of the suckers! I decided to invest in a drill press for this job :)

vIjzANK.jpg

 

A quick file over the top to clean any burrs

ELZmNuN.jpg

 

Next mounted to the frame!

STA91MP.jpg

 

Finally the frame is done now it was time to start installing the LEDs

gxEx5L4.jpg

 

A couple more....

5WJhYx1.jpg

 

Wow that's a butt-tonne of LEDs!(and fixed to the back of my TV mount)

GBqI7NB.jpg

 

 

STEP 01 – Stick down your LED Roll/Strip

 

Now if you're using the roll/strip style just stick it to the back of your TV. Line up the LEDs with your screen and not the bezel as best you can. Make sure that you start at one (doesn't matter which) of the bottom corners first as this will make programming easier later.

 

STEP 02 - Program your Micro Controller.

Firstly you will need to download the Arduino IDE Software regardless if you have an Arduino or Teensy. you can download it from HERE. If you are going to use a Teensy you will also need TeensyDuino. You can download that HERE.

 

The process is almost the same but an extra step for the Teensy.

1. Install the Arduino IDE if using the Arduino or BOTH the Arduino IDE first and then the TeensyDuino software onto your PC (any PC doesn't need to be the HTPC)

2. Go to Adafruits Adalight Github site and download their Adalight project .ZIP. Link HERE.

 

NOTE:
there is an updated LED Driver if you are having flicker problems. Please follow Vlada's link here

 

My friend, copy this code from link below and paste it to your arduino program, run it, than run ambibox and should resolve your problem. I have had the same problem with flickering and I resolved it with this code:

 

http://forums.adafruit.com/viewtopic.php?f=47&t=59464&p=301431&hilit=WS2801#p301431

 

 

 

Jznc2AY.jpg

 

3. Once downloaded Extract the file and go into the Arduino folder and copy the LEDStream folder and copy it into the Arduino folder in your My Documents

yOEDApp.jpg

 

4. Send the LED program to the MicroController. Now plug in your Arduino or Teensy

Select FILE then SKETCHBOOK and then you should have LEDstream which will open in a new window.

Now select TOOLS and then BOARD and select which MicroController you have (Ardiono Uno, Teensy 2.0 etc...)

Now Press the (->) arrow on the top left hand side to upload this code to your Microcontroller NOTE: If you have a Teensy it should ask you to press the reset button to complete the upload

Your Microcontroller has now been programmed to talk to the WS2801 IC and LEDs!

 

It's probably a good idea to run a quick test on your LED's. 

 

STEP 03 - Wiring your LED strip and connecting it to your Microcontroller.

 

Adafruit has a fantastic diagram here for an Arduino BUT DON'T TRUST THE COLOURS! the LED strip should clearly state what is (+) (-) Data and Clock. NOTE the strip IS DIRECTIONAL. Make sure you going 'out' of the Arduino/Teensy and 'into' the LED Strip

 

For the Arduino; 

GND on the strip goes to GND on the Arduino

CLOCK on the strip goes to PIN 13 on the Arduino

DATA on the strip goes to PIN 11 on the Arduino

The POSITIVE wire on the LED strip goes to the POSITIVE from your POWER SUPPLY!

 

For the Teensy 2.0/3.1;

GND on the strip goes to GND on the Teensy

CLOCK on the Strip goes to PIN 1(B1) on the Teensy

DATA on the strip goes to PIN 2(B2) on the Teensy

The POSITIVE wire on the LED strip goes to the POSITIVE from your POWER SUPPLY!

 

4GjqN8e.png

 

When I ran mine I ran 2 stands of 50 LED's. Where the 2 meet connect the Positive to Positive and Ground to Ground of the strips. Then at the end of the 2 strands together I connected a power supply, then I repeated the same for the next strand. That's confusing so maybe this is clearer

 

yDezB7p.jpg

 

If you have done this right when powering on the Microcontroller after a few seconds you should see the LED's flash, RED - BLUE - GREEN. If so, good job you've wired everything correctly. if not go back over what you have done and check for any mistakes.

 

STEP 04 - Setting up the Ambibox Capture Software.

 

Now, on your HTPC you need to install Ambibox, you can find the software download HERE

 

When installing it recommends to use PlayClaw, you don't have to but PlayClaw is known for capture with minimal CPU utilization. I would recommend not using it unless you find your CPU struggling, if it is struggling you can always make the purchase later. 

 

Run the Ambibox software, it auto minimizes itself to the system tray so right click its icon and select show.

Under the "Intelligent backlight display" menu select device and set this as "Adalight" Select the Port and select the COM port that your device has been detected as, if you're unsure have a look in device manager here;

LU8koFg.jpg

 

If select correctly you should see Device Status: Connected, also down the bottom left it will say Adalight: connected.

 

In here you can also select you capture method I suggest GDI FS Aero or PlayClaw. Now under number of zones select the number of IC's you have, If its a string or roll/strip it will be one IC for every LED. If its a satellite module it will be 1 IC per module. Hopefully that's clear.

 

Once you have set these up you can select the "Wizard capture zones" which will automatically generate all you capture zones for you.

There are a heap of options in her they should all be obvious as to their function. 

 

If you are running up to 80 zones you can probably leave the selection size how it is, any more than that and you may want to manually increase its size. A good test I found is if on a black screen you are getting a white backlight you should increase the size of the sample zones. 

 

For example here is the default size for 200 zones;

WjM4Ocd.jpg

 

And then after I modified the zone capture size.

a976rdA.jpg

 

 

Save your settings and now you should be able to give it a test!

You'll no doubt find some settings to tweak, I found I had to offset the zone one extra zone to correctly align the LEDs with the screen image, also I turned up the green as I felt it wasn't very strong and turned down the blue as it seemed overpowering.

 

PRO TIP: if you find your colours are washing out or seem very white rather than colourful OR getting a white backlight on a pure black screen adjust your gamma settings. It will take a bit of fine tuning but worth it!

 

WELL DONE! 

 

.

How does it look? A little like this! Its really hard to capture the light, the camera wants to show the light as white all the time but im really impressed with it!

 

MzABfYO.jpg

 

0qDIA90.jpg

 

And here's a Video...

 

 

Plus my full HTPC and NAS config

 

And then after some refinement of getting the zones in the right places and reducing gamma

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Looks promising.

You had me at the MS Paint drawings :P


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Of course there is always lightpack :D

 

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/woodenshark/lightpack-ambient-backlight-for-your-displays

 

- This way you obviously learn more though :)


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Posted · Original PosterOP

Looks promising.

You had me at the MS Paint drawings :P

Damn straight.

 

Of course there is always lightpack :D

 

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/woodenshark/lightpack-ambient-backlight-for-your-displays

 

- This way you obviously learn more though :)

It was actually lightpack that threw me over teh edge to doing this. Lightpack would be easier. But this will be cheaper and a lot brighter. A single Lightpack uses 8 LED zones per kit and its $140ish? This set up will come in around the $90 mark and 'should' blow lightpack out of the water though obviously will need a lot more customization. Also, I'm on leave for 2 weeks and LightPack wouldn't reach me in time :)

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This looks very interesting, I have wanted Lightpack since I first saw it, a diy version would suit me much better.


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Posted · Original PosterOP

You do know that Phillips have ambilight tv's

No I didn't, oh... yes I did I said that in the second paragraph, Let me quote myself... 

 

I guess first thing first, what is Ambilight?

 

Philips first introduced this on some of their TV’s, basically it analyses what is being displayed around the rim of the screen and projects those colours behind the TV and onto the wall behind giving a larger feel to your TV and letting it bleed out instead of just suddenly stopping at the TV frame. This was very proprietary to Philips but after some time people have been making DIY systems using the Arduino micro computer. This relies on a computer running Windows, Linux or OSX to analyse what is being displayed and sending information through the Arduino to power the LED’s and colour them appropriately.

 

Also I can see how buying a Philips TV would be much cheaper than a DIY process like this. Seriously, I understand that you're trying to give input but in no way was your one liner helpful to this project beside the fact that you are stating something I've already addressed only makes you look like a silly sausage.

 

 

This looks very interesting, I have wanted Lightpack since I first saw it, a diy version would suit me much better.

 

Hopefully i'm successful and it's easy enough that you can give it a go. If it works off the hardware I've bought it's a very low cost project.

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Posted · Original PosterOP

So I've just discovered a BIG problem.

 

So... when I was doing my research there were a few buzz words around the LED strips and obviously I have not done enough research.

 

The thing that has stung me is a reference to a LED strip with "5050" LED's. While this is correct, its not the complete package. "5050" is in reference to the LED only, for this design to work each LED must be 'addressable' therefore have a little chip that partners the LED allowing it to be controlled independently  of all the other LED's.

 

This is a NON ADDRESSABLE LED strip. Every LED on this strip is only capable of doing the same as the others. They are all the same colour or off no matter how many you have. Unfortunately this is the design of LED strip I purchased. Here's an example picture. The top is a single colour I would assume white-ish in colour. The bottom is RGB.

 

analog_led_strip.jpg

 

Now that you know you need an individually addressable LED there is basically 2 common options.

The WS2801 and the WS2812 (is also called a WS2811, a WS2812 is a WS2811 built into the 5050 LED module). Here's a picture where you can clearly see the little chips on the WS2801 but not on the WS2812 because they are underneath the LED.

 

digital_led_strips.jpg

 

The WS2801 seems to be the LED of choice with the most support for well documented projects. As I will have to steal the coding from somewhere because I am not knowledgeable enough to write it myself from scratch this is the LED design I will be going for.

 

The WS2811/WS2812 seems to be cheaper to manufacture and is on the rise but I haven't found a good example with drivers and code for it yet. I believe this is a better product however they do operate quite differently and I have seen written that the WS2811/WS2812 will not work with the Raspberry Pi because of this. That is the reason I will be going with the WS2801.

 

So I'll finish the frame today but then I need to order in some LED's which I cant find in Aus so that has set me back a couple of weeks. Sorry guys.

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I'm the type that would just get the Philips TV with the ambilight built in but I'm definitely curious to see how this turns out.  Hope you have time to take a video of the final result!

 

Also thanks for introducing ambilight to me.  Today I learned that ambilight is awesome and it's on my distant future to buy list now

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Ive been looking at all teh different software, Boblight seemed to be my favourite but I managed to find a program called AmbiBox. It has a very easy set up wizard and zone configuration. And you just grab the Adalight settings and point it to teh Arduino's com port. Processing is done by the PC which is even better because I have an e8400 which should keep up well.

 

200 zones. BOOM

wcBD92j.jpg

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Posted · Original PosterOP

So after my little mix up of buying the wrong LED's initially my correct LED's have arrived!

 

200 strung LED's that can all be chained together. These us the WS2801 IC chip for addressing. It uses 4 inputs, (+) (-) (Data) (Clock) which makes it one of the more versatile programmable LED Strips.

 

Here they are!

EeIOkZ0.jpg

 

evC6d9C.jpg

 

I also got 2 power adapters for them, as they will all be on constantly (that seems obvious but in another project upcoming they wont be) they will draw quite a bit of power. I got 2x 5v 10A power injectors

Vr8vPbT.jpg

 

 

The final new piece I got was I have decided to use a Teensy instead of an Arduino. The Teensy is smaller, more powerful and cheaper than an Arduino and can accept all the Arduino code. Also the examples I have of this project have been done on a Teensy so it made it easier for me to replicate. 

 

This is a Teensy 2.0

QSWllAF.jpg

 

This is a Teensy compared to the size of an Arduino!

EBKRGaV.jpg

 

And this is compared to my finger! Crazy!

EKKXPyJ.jpg

 

This is everything I need to finish the build. I will update in posts but will edit the main post as a Step by Step on how to do this project.

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It's cool but it has a big delay... :S


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Posted · Original PosterOP

It's cool but it has a big delay... :S

Why do you say it will have a big delay?

 

I know sometimes the processing is done on an Arduino or similar device itself and I can understand a lag as these have very small and slow processors on them but I will be using Ambibox where the PC does the analysis.

From the examples I have seen I have to disagree with you.

 

This project should be finished tomorrow, just trying to find time around my newborn :)

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Of course there is always lightpack :D

 

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/woodenshark/lightpack-ambient-backlight-for-your-displays

 

- This way you obviously learn more though :)

Oh nice i totally forgot about this kickstarter project - nice to see it was fully funded by miles!


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Posted · Original PosterOP

So... just quickly I finished this on the weekend!

 

I've updated the main post with the updates that I have done, ill edit later to show the configuration of the Micro Controller and wiring. :)

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the ws2801 needs Power data and clock connection,

the ws2811 needs power and data connection,

and the ws2812 is the name of Leds with the ws2811 controller build inside!

 

the ws2801 is the older version of the protocol and they need a clock line wich makes problems with some controllers

the ws2811 is newer and doesn´t need a clock line but it makes the timing more difficult

 

so both has there pros and cons

 

the number of leds/meter is your taste!

 

i have chosen the ws2811 and i´m using a mix of ws2812 and ws2812b leds

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Posted · Original PosterOP

 

the ws2801 needs Power data and clock connection,
the ws2811 needs power and data connection,
and the ws2812 is the name of Leds with the ws2811 controller build inside!
 
the ws2801 is the older version of the protocol and they need a clock line wich makes problems with some controllers
the ws2811 is newer and doesn´t need a clock line but it makes the timing more difficult
 
so both has there pros and cons
 
the number of leds/meter is your taste!
 
i have chosen the ws2811 and i´m using a mix of ws2812 and ws2812b leds

 

What code and on what device are you using?

 

It has to be something recognised by the AmbiBox software, unless you are using something else to interface with screen capture software?

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This deserves much more credit!

 

Anyway i already got a philips tv with ambilight so no need for this tutorial :)


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Posted · Original PosterOP

Awwwwwwwww yissssssssssss

 

Just found a way to control WS2812's, which I can get in a 144 LED per 1 meter string, this will take me from a 200LED system to a 550-570 LED system... Amazing...

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Awwwwwwwww yissssssssssss

 

Just found a way to control WS2812's, which I can get in a 144 LED per 1 meter string, this will take me from a 200LED system to a 550-570 LED system... Amazing...

Wow that sure is commitment. Good luck you have way more patience then I could ever have.

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Wow. This is amazing! Gotta love Arduino Projects. Big fan and this is so much better than an Ambilight TV off the shelf...you know...CUZ IT JUST IS

 

Good Job sir.


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Question: In the video, what is the server rack/mount on your wall called? 
 

Thanks,

 

-Shrimp


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Posted · Original PosterOP

Question: In the video, what is the server rack/mount on your wall called? 

 

Thanks,

 

-Shrimp

Which part are you talking about exactly?

 

I'll break it down for you to cover everything.

 

24 port patch panel up top, that's self explainitory

24 port ProCurve Gigabit Switch

Eaton UPS

1x Synology DS1511 and 1x Synology DX510 (5x 2tb, 4x 3tb and 1x 4tb disks)

 

Rack is a 12RU Swing Away 650mm Depth Comms Rack.

 

Does that help you out?

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