Instructables
Picture of LED Umbrella with Arduino
IMG_5398.JPG
The LED Umbrella with Arduino combines an umbrella, an 8x10 LED matrix and an Arduino microcontroller to create a controllable, programmable LED experience in the privacy of your own umbrella. This project was inspired by the Electric Umbrella by sockmaster and a number of LED matrix instructables on this site, particularly this very complete one by barney_1.

Get ready to Pimp My Umbrella!



Anyone undertaking this project should have access to standard soldering tools -- pliers, diagonal cutters, wire cutters and strippers, soldering iron and solder, multimeter -- and have experiencing working with the Arduino. The Arduino setup is not difficult and a program including several different animations of the LEDs is included in this instructible.

Video is on the way! Sample code (see last step) is also on the way, too. The code that I do have does not take advantage of the pushbutton switch and I am working on that now.

 
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Step 1: Parts

There are very few parts for this project and they are mostly generic. They can be easily obtained from any number of online retailers -- Adafruit Industries, DigiKey, Jameco, and  All Electronics, among many others. Substitute as seems reasonable.

Electronics
1 x Microcontroller -- Arduino Diecimilia
1 x Umbrella
1 x MIC2981 -- 8-channel, high-voltage, high-current source driver array -- 576-1158-ND
1 x Protoshield for Arduino with tiny breadboard -- Adafruit Industries

80 x LED -- many options are possible
8 x resistors -- depends on choice of LED and source voltage

Wire
Lots of wire is needed for this project. Each rib of the umbrella has a black wire (for the cathodes of the LEDs) and each circle of LEDs around the umbrella requires a full length of red wire (for the anodes of the LEDs). Some is also necessary to return the ends of the chains back to the Arduino.

24 feet black wire for cathode chains (follow ribs back to center)
70 feet red wire for anode rings (rings around umbrella)

Miscellaneous
Standard male headers --
Heat shrink tubing 1/16" -- about seven feet of tubing is needed
Tactile switch -- Off-Mom

Patience
...and soldering skills. The matrix of LEDs has to be carefully constructed and the anodes and cathodes insulated from one another with heat shrink tubing. This can take a while.

mmateo2 years ago
so could this be actually be used outside in the rain
Dumchicken3 years ago
dosent an electronic umbrela defete the porpois?
scottinnh3 years ago
Aww man, you should have used RGB LEDs! Joking ;-)

Seriously, this is an awesome writeup, and a great effort. I also like how you self-reviewed things which could be improved in rev 2 of this (stranded wire with darker insulation, etc).

I noticed you used a big Arduino, but this type of project seems perfect for the LillyPad version of Arduino.

I'm almost upset this instructable has so few comments; I would have thought a lot more people read it and commented. What I mean is, your project is -that- good.

BTW, how many hours would you estimate?
matthewpoage (author)  scottinnh3 years ago
Thank you for your kind comment. The RGB LEDs would be a really good idea. They would add to the cost, number of pins, and number of wires, EL wire would be nice too, but I like the idea of individually controlling LEDs in various locations. Both effects would be great. The big Arduino and breadboard were to keep the project simple. I started making one with a really small Arduino and soldered wires, but found it difficult to make the right shield, get the battery pack right, and keep everything small enough. The LilyPad and its components, especially the small power supply, are a good suggestion. Assembling the matrix was the most time consuming part. It took a lot of space and burned finger tips. I did the whole thing over a two week break working off and on. Not sure how long it actually took, but I remember the soldering was getting pretty boring at the end.
I haven't tried the Lilypad myself, yet, but I did just get a "JeeNode" from modern device. It's really small, and 3.3 volts so it will run longer on less power and requires fewer dissipating resistors for any add-ons.

They also have a matching battery pack that provides 3-5v from ONE AA battery (you can use more than one battery but the the jeenode is kind of small and looks perfect with a single battery).

I have a nice black umbrella - the golfing kind that will never break. I'm not sure if I'll ever try this, but I know I want to. :-D
Rob3113 years ago
EL wire would be awesome....

you should make one inside of those funky clear dome umbrellas.

http://www.mileskimball.com/MilesKimball//images/p51865b.jpg
navegen4 years ago
is it bright? would you of used different LED's the next time around?
lol when i saw the pic I thought u were using EL wire, but this is still an awsome project
Jayefuu4 years ago
The instructions look good :) Can we have a video please?