Introduction: Build a Better RGB LED Controller.

Picture of Build a Better RGB LED Controller.

This RGB LED controller kit is somewhat different to other offerings on the 'net. Whereas most others use a single button to step through short pre-programmed loops this controller is intelligent enough to understand different colour palletes and generate colours in real time using a huge 8 million bit randomiser. It lets you choose a colour pallete from sharp vivid colours to soft pastels and the speed and way it will move between them. It also has a selection of other effects thrown in just for good measure, and remembers it's current settings when the power is turned off.

The fact that this kit does the equivalent of thousands of dollars worth of architectural lighting equipment means it's widely used in theme parks, cruise ships, trucks, architectural installations, techno-art and many other applications. It's also perfect for mood lighting in your workshop, games room, garden and home.

The unit is shown here with a selection of RGB panels connected to it for demonstration purposes. Almost any common anode (common positive) array can be used with suitable resistors. In the picture you can see a strip of Dioder LED lighting from IKEA http://www.ikea.com/, a round MR16 sized panel as featured at http://www.bigclive.com/happy.htm and a large floodlight panel as featured at http://www.bigclive.com/flud.htm.

The finished module will run an any voltage between about 8V to 30V and is capable of switching up to about 5A (5000mA) per colour without need for heatsinks on the MOSFETs.

This kit has been around for many years and the software has been steadily refined. I do a complete kit of parts including the PCB on my website at:-
http://www.bigclive.com/shop.htm

This kit is also a great base module for writing your own code for any application that requires a couple of button inputs and three high current outputs.

The module uses the following colour palletes:-

Full spectrum - over 16 million colours ranging from black through all colors to white.
Bright - a large array of bright colours ranging from saturated primaries to intense pastels.
Vibrant - (my favourite) super saturated colours from deep purples to brilliant turquoises.
Primary - a small selection of hard primary colours.

Here are the programs included in the controller kit. You use the program button to step through them, and the option button to change speed/colour etc.

1. Morph and hold with vibrant colours.
2. Morph and hold with bright colours.
3. Morph and hold with full spectrum colours.
4. Red marker to show where you are in the program list.
5. Sweep continually between vibrant colours.
6. Sweep continually between bright colours.
7. Sweep continually between full spectrum colours.
8. Green marker.
9. Indie dim full spectrum.
10. Indie dim pastels.
11. Blue marker.
12. Rainbow that can be stopped and started with the option button.
13. Rainbow with variable speed.
14. Black marker

Programs below here can be "locked out" if required to avoid flashy effects in an architectural application.
To lock or unlock them, just hold both buttons in for 15 seconds until the output changes from blue to either red (locked out) or green (unlocked). You can do this as many times as you like.

15. Colour burst with vibrant colours.
16. Colour burst with bright colours.
17. Colour burst with full spectrum colours.
18. Cyan marker.
19. Color plasma lightning. (variable speed)
20. White plasma lightning. (variable speed)
21. Colour strobe with variable speed (vibrant colours).
22. Windswept flames. Each channel wavers like a flame with variable speed.
23. Subtle flames. Much softer waver effect.
24. Rainbow trail. (variable speed).
25. Jewel fountain. (variable speed).
26. X-fader. The classic two channel cross fader with variable speed.
27. Peppers Ghost with variable delay.
28. Juddermeister. Just completely psychedelic! Variable speed.
29. Hazard. For controlling two channels of LED hazard warning lights. Variable reps and styles.
30. Random static full colour. A new one is picked at random when you press the option button.
31. Random full spectrum colour. Option button selects a new random one.
32. White marker.

Morph and hold programs sweep to a random colour, then hold it for an adjustable delay selected by the option button in 3 second increments.

Sweep programs continually fade between random colours.

In indie dim modes each channel does its own thing, fading between random intensities.

Colour burst steps between random colours with variable speed.

Peppers ghost is an optical illusion where two images alternate via their reflection on a piece of glass. Look it up on the 'net. This is ideal for Halloween FX. The option button can be used to increase the hold time between fades in multiples of 3 seconds.

Rainbow trail and Jewel fountain whizz through hundreds of colours a second to leave a trail of colours on any moving object. If you get the angle right this looks amazing with fountains, since the water droplets sparkle with different colours. Also looks great on any high speed moving object. Experiment!

The hazard mode could be used to control banks of yellow LEDs for use as highway hazard lights or red and blue for police/fire applications.

Step 1: Starting Construction.

Picture of Starting Construction.

When I design PCBs I always try to make them single sided with big chunky pads and tracks. This makes them much easier to build, modify and repair. The downside to this is that sometimes links are needed, but with a bit of care you can minimise the number required.

The two links on this board carry the full current of the red and green channels, so they should be fairly thick links. You can use a bit of solid wire or component lead off-cuts. I like to use off-cut leads from diodes because they are nice and thick.

I strongly recommend the use of traditional lead-tin based solder for my projects. The modern lead-free stuff is nowhere near as easy to use or as good as the lead based stuff. Lead has effectively been banned from mass produced consumer products for safety reasons but it's still perfectly acceptable to use it for DIY stuff like this.

Step 2: The Diode.

Picture of The Diode.

Now comes the diode. This is a polarity sensitive device that limits the direction electricity can flow. It's function in this kit is to protect the circuitry from damage if power is applied to the unit with the wrong polarity.

The diode has a band round one end and should be inserted into the PCB so that it matches the graphic.

The module can use just about any diode in the 1N400X range.

Step 3: Adding the Resistors.

Picture of Adding the Resistors.

There are four resistors to install and to keep things simple they are all the same value - 1000 ohms.

They are not polarity sensitive, so can be inserted any way round. Perfectionists might like to make the colour bands all read in the same direction.

The group of three resistors in parallel are for the MOSFET control, while the one that sits at the bottom of the PCB on its own is to limit current through the power indicator LED to a few mA.

The colour code on each resistor reads as follows. Brown (1), Black (0), Red (2), Gold (5%). The resistor value is worked out as 1, 0 and a multiplier of 2 which means two more zeros. Therefore it is 1000 ohms. The gold band indicates that the measured value has a tolerance of plus or minus 5%.

Step 4: Adding the Decoupling Capacitors.

Picture of Adding the Decoupling Capacitors.

The decoupling capacitors are 100nF ceramic capacitors. Their function is to help suppress any spikes or transients that might find their way onto the power supply. There is one on either side of the voltage regulator.

These capacitors are not polarity sensitive, so they can be put in any way round.

Step 5: The Power Indicator LED.

Picture of The Power Indicator LED.

The power indicator LED will only light if it is installed the correct way round, so note that the PCB position has a "+" symbol to indicate the long lead (the anode). LEDs generally have a longer positive lead and a small flat surface on the negative side of the resin package. If you look through the LED you will see that one of the electrodes is anvil shaped inside and holds the chip, while the other electrode is quite thin and just goes up the side of the anvil. Generally speaking the anvil is on the negative lead (but not always).

The power indicator LED is a simple but very useful addition to any control module. It makes troubleshooting so much easier if you can see that your unit is powered up and the 5V supply is healthy.

Step 6: Adding the Voltage Regulator.

Picture of Adding the Voltage Regulator.

The voltage regulator is an incredibly neat little component that takes any voltage between about 8 and 32V in at one side and regulates it down to 5V at the other side. It must be installed the correct way round, and as such the PCB graphic shows the outline of the plastic case.

Step 7: Adding the Electrolytic Capacitor.

Picture of Adding the Electrolytic Capacitor.

The purpose of the electrolytic capacitor is to smooth out any ripple or glitches on the power supply. The circuitry derives it's own 5V supply from the main power supply and it's useful to have a small reservoir to ride out any dips or glitches that may be caused by the switching of large loads.

This component is polarity sensitive and MUST be installed the correct way round to avoid damaging it. The PCB graphic has one side marked with a "+" symbol and the side of the capacitor with the longest lead goes to that side. The negative side of the capacitor is usually marked with a stripe with a "-" symbol on it.

Refer to the picture if in doubt.

Step 8: Installing the Control Buttons.

Picture of Installing the Control Buttons.

There are two control buttons that are used to step through the different programs and change option settings like speed or colour.

The leads have little kinks in them which makes them a snug fit in the PCB to hold them in place while you solder them.

Step 9: Installing the Terminal Block.

Picture of Installing the Terminal Block.

This is one of the most expensive components on the PCB. It is a rugged industrial rated connection block for attaching wires easily to the module. This particular one has what are called rising clamp terminals which makes them very easy to put wires into.

It solders into the PCB with the wire ports facing out to allow easy insertion of wires.

Step 10: Preparing the MOSFET Leads.

Picture of Preparing the MOSFET Leads.

The MOSFET pads and tracks on the PCB are chunky to allow them to handle the high current controlled by the MOSFETs. To allow for this the MOSFET leads are bent to be a bit wider. I recommend gripping them with a pair of long nosed pliers, and carefully bending the leads as shown in the picture.

Step 11: Installing the Power MOSFETs.

Picture of Installing the Power MOSFETs.

The MOSFETs are soldered in with their metal tabs facing the side of the PCB with the diode as shown. It helps to solder the middle lead of each, then carefully line them all up before soldering the other leads.

Step 12: Fitting the Processor.

Picture of Fitting the Processor.

The PIC is the chip that basically does all the work. It will normally be supplied pre-plugged into a good quality turned pin socket to protect it from damage during shipping. You can either solder the whole chip and socket assembly in as supplied, or unplug the chip, solder in the socket and then plug the chip back into it again.

The chip is polarity sensitive and the indent at one end must go in the direction shown on the PCB. The socket also has a matching indent.

This chip is what makes the whole module work. It's a PIC microcontroller programmed to full capacity with lean and efficient machine code (assembler). Using machine code was the only way that it was possible to give 16 million colour resolution while keeping the PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) fast enough to prevent flicker. It was also the only way to give the chip the intelligence to understand colour and be able to generate random colours in different palletes in real time.

It took me a long time to perfect the software to it's current level. All the colour generation and morphing algorithms are quite seriously interwoven to make them as lean and fast as possible and still leave room for some more frivolous and fun effects.

Step 13: The Mounting Hardware.

Picture of The Mounting Hardware.

I like to make my kits as complete as possible, so this one even comes with four mounting pillars and screws to let you attach it to a panel or mount it into an enclosure. Even if you intend to leave it out on your bench I'd recommend at least clipping the plastic spacers into the PCB as shown. This will help keep the bottom of the PCB clear of any conductive bits lying on your workbench.

Step 14: Wiring Up LEDs to the Controller.

Picture of Wiring Up LEDs to the Controller.

In most instances you will use a 12V supply for your LED arrays and wire the LEDs in series groups of three with a suitable resistor in series. If you use existing LED strips designed for 12V or the modules I sell on my website at http://www.bigclive.com then they will either already have the LEDs and resistors built in, or will have suitable circuitry present to accommodate the LEDs and resistors.

The power supply is connected with it's positive and negative going to the "+" and "-" connections as shown. The two "+" connections are already commoned on the PCB, and the top one is the common for your LEDs. It;s best to use a regulated supply to help ensure that the LEDs don't get over-driven. A cheap and readily available plug-in regulated 12V power supply is ideal.

If you're hard wiring LEDs or making your own RGB panels then they are connected as shown in the image. The resistors are chosen to suit the forward voltage of the LEDs, but in most cases an average value can be used. Typically this would be:-

150 ohms for green or blue LEDs.
270 ohms for red LEDs.

For premade panels you just connect the common positive to the top positive connection and the switched RGB connections to R,G & B respectively.

Step 15: Adding More LEDs.

Picture of Adding More LEDs.

To connect more LEDs or panels you just parallel them up as shown in the image.

Comments

Ghanei98 (author)2017-09-27

Thanks
has been the Best RGB controller project.

Clint Eccher Fine Art (author)2017-01-26

How much would it cost to have such a controller build with a few
customizations over a traditional controller? I used to be web
programmer, but I don't have the time to do it anymore, and I need to
have a custom controller built.

dezinger (author)2016-06-14

Hi. I was wondering if an opto-isolator would be able to cope with fastest speed of the PWM?

wiarsana (author)2015-04-16

greeting sir, i whould like to make an rgb led that connected to phone, for external led notification light, connected though micro usb pin.. how can i make this stuff, since i know nothing about electrical instruments..

iamdarkyoshi (author)wiarsana2016-05-29

You would need to do some software programming for this. Search arduino OTG RGB LED. You can set the color of an RGB LED using a phone's OTG port (uses the micro USB as a host) and sends serial commands to an arduino. At this point you might need to make a mod for the android OS that creates a virtual notification LED as part of the phone's hardware, and an app that spits out serial commands over USB based on what this virtual LED is doing.

Touliloup (author)wiarsana2015-09-10

This is a very complicated to achieve. Especially managing the communication over micro USB...

Try first to do some simple RGB strip controlled from a phone over wifi. And then you could maybe step up to processing notification...

godofthunder (author)2014-02-05

how much does it cost to purchase the kit.?

bigclive (author)godofthunder2014-02-05

You can find my project site and online shop at www.bigclive.com

manicmonday (author)bigclive2015-12-08

Will you sell only the schematic, so I can build it without the kit?

manicmonday (author)bigclive2015-12-08

How can I determine the cost in USD $$$? Thanks

I3L4ck5h33p (author)2014-11-24

These kits are awesome, I purchased a few of each RGB controllers and some of the boards for mounting LEDs onto about 5 - 6 years ago. From what I remember the shipping/transit times to the U.S. wasn't bad at all and the product/components are of great quality. I still have one of these boards set up in an aquariums light hood and even used another for night lighting a terrarium.

LongLiveCHIEF (author)2013-11-26

This is a great step-by-step guide! I'm looking to use this as a base for a wireless controller (Xbee or WiFi).

uncle_ed (author)2013-10-17

I purchased 2 of your kits and have been using them for my back yard lighting. I recently had to change the power supply. I am now using a 12 volt landscape lighting xfmr. with a rectifier to convert it to DC. I have 2, 5 meter RGB 5050 strips connected in paralell both coming off the terminal strip of the controller. The problem I am having is that even though the wires of both stips are connected itentically the 2 strips show differant color patterns. I am not ure if the power supply is causing this or the controller is going bad. Thanks in advance for your thoughts
uncle_ed

THX 1138 (author)2012-10-16

Hi BigClive. Is it possible to modify the design so that it doesn't simply give 12 volts for each channel, some of which then needs to be dropped by resistors?

For example, I want to power about 100 or so 5 mm RGB LEDs that have only four legs and therefore cannot be connected in series. It would be wastefull to drop 9 volts using resistors and I wish I could control the output voltage of the circuit so as to avoid this.

bigclive (author)THX 11382012-10-16

Yes, you can use a lower voltage by replacing the voltage regulator with a link across it's two outer pins, and using a 5V supply to power both the LEDs and the controller. That way you're just having to drop between 3V (for the red LEDs) and 2V (for the green or blue LEDs) across the resistors. You could also replace the diode with a link to give the full 5V to the logic as opposed to about 4.5 with the diode in place, but I'd suggest keeping the diode in circuit in case of power supply polarity issues.

THX 1138 (author)bigclive2012-10-16

Will the logic function properly at a voltage lower than 4.5 V?

bigclive (author)THX 11382012-10-16

Technically speaking it should operate down to a few volts, but the MOSFETs require near 5V to turn on properly and may behave like resistors if they don't get their desired gate voltage. As such I wouldn't really recommend going below about 4.5V .

dezinger (author)2012-09-30

First of all, thanks for making this kit available for those like me who haven't a clue how to program, but can solder and follow the steps to make one.

My question: Can I use, in place of resistors, Supertex's CL6 Constant Current LED Drivers to limit the current to the leds? I have a 24V, 5 Amp power supply, and want to light as many 100mA Leds per color as possible with heatsinks on the CL6's. Or maybe the CL7?

bigclive (author)dezinger2012-10-02

I know others have used LM317 regulators to do this, so it should work. The LM317 version is very simple. It's just the regulator and a single resistor to set the current.

Keep in mind that these regulators all dissipate the excess voltage dropped across them as heat.

agr00m (author)2012-08-31

Thanks! I'm still pretty new to using transistors/mosfets as switches. I get the basics and understand some about the datasheets on switching full on, but not enough to know what substitutions will work in different applications.

Great instructable though, I've been looking for something like this for a long time!

bigclive (author)agr00m2012-08-31

MOSFETs are a revelation in the sense that they exhibit such a low voltage drop when turned on. The controller was originally designed to handle a variety of transistor types, but MOSFETs are the best choice in this application.

I'm not sure I'd class this as an instructable though. It's more of a kit building guide with the added benefit of describing the function of each component.

The module does make an excellent base for other projects though, since it's possible to write your own software to do other things if you just need two inputs and three outputs.

agr00m (author)bigclive2012-09-12

Yeah, I've been working with some I2C RGB controllers called ghetto pixels. The chip I'm using is an Atiny45 and so far I've only been using it with single RGB LEDs, but I want to start using it to control larger LED arrays. I'm horribly new to electronics, but I have a programming background. So coding the master I2C chip has proved much easier than coming up with a simple board like this for regulating power to the chip as well as the LED array.

So as you said, I have a great project with two inputs and 3 outputs :) Thanks again!

agr00m (author)2012-08-30

I have some STP55NF06 MOSFETs, would those work ILO the 36?

bigclive (author)agr00m2012-08-30

The letter "L" at the end of the MOSFET code is important. It means that the MOSFET is optimised for being driven at 5V logic levels. If you use an ordinary MOSFET then it may not turn on fully at 5V. Other than that, the STP55NF06L has a lower on-state resistance and would theoretically allow use at a slightly higher current without heatsinking.

lnijs (author)2012-02-12

so I'm kind of a dumbass as far as figuring out how many leds I can drive with this goes, I wonder if you can help me.

I will be using this strip:

www.sparkfun.com/products/10262

There's a datasheet that explains how much it consumes, but it's making me completely confused.

how much of those strips could I possibly use to run on your controller?

bigclive (author)lnijs2012-02-12

Each group of 3 LEDs will draw about 20mA per colour, and as each metre has 30 RGB LEDs that's 10 circuits at 20mA = 200mA per colour. So the whole 5m strip will draw 1000mA per colour. The controller will switch up to 5000mA per colour.

You can also buy RGB amplifiers that buffer the controllers outputs to drive sections on separate power supplies.

dvjpopo (author)2011-08-29

number of MOSFET gk2yp p3wn or v3

Exiumind (author)2011-08-23

"The group of three resistors in parallel are for the MOSFET control" What is their function? will some irf630 work? i plan to do this with an arduino..
sorry im quite a noob =P

WardXmodem (author)2011-06-30

1) "lock out" - what a GREAT idea - to keep idle hands from playing and bringing up annoying pattern options!

2) No source - bummer, I like programming pics more than the effects of what they do - Perhaps a nominal charge to sell / license it?

3) schematic: Ditto, this IS after all "Instructibles", not "Details on a commercial-only product". I don't know FETs from much, but DID buy some little 100ma cheapies to play with and find 0-2v gate = open, and between 2V and 2.8V they conduct (going to try auto AAA battery replacement gizmo, allowing you to continue to listen to an MP3 even tho a battery died - the repl was switched in with an FET and an LED says which batt needs recharging, etc.

BUT STILL a very nice instructible 'cept for the source and schematic

bigclive (author)WardXmodem2011-06-30

As mentioned elsewhere, I made an earlier version of the code open source, but it was used in a commercial product by a company, and at that point I decided to protect the more complex code I write by not making the source available. I do however sell pre-programmed chips. Sorry, I wish it wasn't that way, but it's galling when you see someone else cashing in on your hard work.
There's never really been a schematic for this design. I usually just do a few scribbles and then go straight to copper. It's super simple by design, with all the complicated stuff being done in software.
MOSFETs have a specific gate voltage where they start to turn on, and will not turn on fully until the rated voltage is reached. Below that they tend to act more as resistors.
Although this is a commercial kit, I don't actually approve of putting stuff like this on Instructables. My hand was forced when someone in Canada who seems to make a career of ripping off other peoples designs started selling a rival kit based on a copy of my design with someone else's ripped off software. He put the assembly instructions here on Instructables and I just kinda did the same. (But I asked Instructables management first.)
Check out my website at bigclive.com and you'll see that while I do have a few commercial projects, the bulk of the site is free.

flyinfinn (author)2011-03-05

Hey,
Love the instructable! When you say that others offer an RGB driver that uses a single button to step through the RGB, where did you find that? Or is there a certain name for that type of circuitry? Thanks!

bigclive (author)flyinfinn2011-03-05

Hi. You can find the single button version at www.picprojects.org where it used to be free, but may not be any more since unfortunately it was used without Pete's permission on a commercial kit sold by someone in Canada.

Pete's software allows you to edit a table with specific target colours then fades between them. It requires a programmer like a PICkit2 to program your chip.

tchristensen0209 (author)2011-02-23

I want to order one of these kits from your website, as it looks like it is what I need.

I am not worried about the software, I will easily be able to learn the coding, I just have a few questions on the hardware.

It says that you can control "thousands", I would like to have around 600-800 leds in my project.

Question is, how would I go about hooking the LEDs to this controller? Would I need more hardware? Thanks, and great job!

Hi. The MOSFETS used are rated at 35A each but without a heatsink they can handle up to about 5A due to their low internal on resistance.
Assuming 5A (5000mA) and series wired strings of three LEDs of each colour in series with suitable resistors, that would allow you to drive 750 LEDs per channel at 20mA or 1500 per channel at 10mA.
If using combined RGB LEDs with four wires it's not possible to connect them in series multiples, so you could only run 250 at 20mA or 500 at 10mA. Series multiples is a much more efficient way of using the LEDs.
The controller does come with built in software for a wide range of effects. Note that writing your own software for this controller would require a good knowledge of assembly code, since it's the only way you can achieve a fast enough PWM rate from the microcontroller used.

Thanks for the reply. Few more questions for you, if I may.

Your software is more of a mood lighting system if I understand correctly? So there is no patterns or flashing involved in the code?

If I were to get a heatsink for the MOSFETS, could I run more leds?

I am going to be using 4-wire common anode RGB LEDs. I could make due with 500 LEDS.

I would love to have them all working on the same controller, but if I couldn't go the heat sink route, is there a way I could hook two of these devices together?

There are flashing and psychedelic effects included, but they can be locked out if desired. The controllers were designed for mood/architectural use.

You could add a thin fin to each MOSFET since they are close together, but note that the tab of the MOSFET is electrically connected with the outputs, so putting all the tabs on a common heatsink wouldn't work unless they were mounted with isolating hardware. If mounted off board on external heatsinks you would need to keep the connections to the MOSFETs short and keep the gate wire well away from the power carrying wires.

You can't really sync two controllers together, since they automatically reseed their randomisers based on user input and would be virtually impossible to match up.

If I went around that problem and added a little pc fan (powered separately), do you think I could put 500 LEDS on one controller?

Or is there any other way to get 50o LEDs to run off of 1?

A fan would definitely help, but also keep in mind that if the LEDs are changing colours then the RGB channels are not going to be at full all the time. If you ran your LEDs at 10mA per chip (effectively 30mA per LED total) then you should be able to do the full 500. The standard 5mm package has low dissipation so running all the chips at 20mA (60mA total) may be pushing your LEDs thermally anyway.

Whatever you do I recommend splitting your LED circuits into a series of sub-circuits with a fuse on the common of each to allow the use of thinner cable without a meltdown if something shorts out.

CThoma031 (author)2010-11-16

Very nice build and kit on your website.

If you have a moment I had a few questions about your Full RGB Controller Kit. Im very new and never done anything with RGB LEDs only single color ones.

Could you use your controller to control full RGB LEDs or does it only work with single color LEDs in an RGB array?

I want to make a grid of 9x7 RGB LEDs and think your controller would be great for my purposes.

bigclive (author)CThoma0312010-11-16

Hi, the controller will work fine with combined RGB LEDs but because the internal chips can't be wired in series groups you will need to use three resistors per LED. For standard 20mA RGB LEDs you could use three 470 ohm resistors per LED on a 12V supply.

CThoma031 (author)bigclive2010-11-16

Thanks for the fast reply- like I said before Im very new to LEDs and wiring things
2 last questions if you don't mind.

Would I still be able to run all 63 LEDs on it?

How/ where exactly would I put all 3 of the 470 ohm resistors for each led?

Thanks for your time again!

CThoma031 (author)CThoma0312010-11-16

Did you mean in a setup like this

(very basic diagram and only showing 1 led) or did you mean all 3 resistors before the LED

bigclive (author)CThoma0312010-11-16

That's right. And all the LEDs and resistors would be connected in parallel like that.

CThoma031 (author)bigclive2010-11-17

Since blue and green are 3v 470 ohm resistors would work but red is only 2v wouldn't that require something like 510 ohm resistors?

bigclive (author)CThoma0312010-11-17

With a common value of resistor the red would run at about 20mA and the green and blues at about 18mA. The voltage dropped across the resistors is high enough that the resistor value is less critical. If you're using this in your car then choose the resistors for 14V since that reflects the charge voltage of the battery. This would give a resistor value of about 600 ohm or the nearest higher value you can get. It may even be an idea to use all 1000 ohm resistors.

CThoma031 (author)bigclive2010-11-17

Thank you very much! Should have my order in soon for your controller unit.

I cant wait to get started!

Once again thanks you have been a great help in answering all of my questions!

CThoma031 (author)bigclive2010-11-17

I should also say that I plan on running this in my car so I don't know if the battery will be enough, I would think so but never tried it!

First time for everything.

bigclive (author)CThoma0312010-11-16

You would have to use common anode LEDs (the red, green and blue chips have a common positive connection) and put the resistors on the red, green and blue leads, which may vary between different types of RGB LED.

The controller can handle up to about 5A (5000mA) per colour, so it will handle all your LEDs fine. You will need a fairly beefy 12V 4A power supply to run that number of LEDs.

bdexter (author)2009-11-09

Awesome Controller!!!!
Build mine this past weekend very easy!
Using to control five 3 watt RGB lights on top of entertainment center. Illuminates very nice, ceiling and walls around the entertainment center.
The police type light program is a nice touch. 
Keep making updates to the program maybe add some music sync?  

Thanks Clive

bigclive (author)bdexter2009-11-10

Glad you like it.  I get asked about doing a music reactive version a lot, and have written a bit of experimental code.  Unfortunately I've still not found a simple beat detection circuit that can reliably pick out a pattern over the huge volume range between a home setting and a nightclub setting.  One day I'll revisit the beat detection circuitry (again) and finally crack it.

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