This whole project developed out of a color organ that inspired additional complexity and more features. The finished product creates a motion-controlled light show synchronized to an audio source. It started off small - just a color organ - but rapidly grew to take on new features and to incorporate more complexity. I just wasn't satisfied with blinky lights. It had to be spinning blinky lights that are super bright. It's similar to those commercial rigs that you've probably seen. I could have just picked up a system like that, but any time I can make something instead of buying it, I'll opt for the maker mentality!
I would place the difficulty of this project in the intermediate category. There isn't a whole lot of programming involved, but you'll need to do some careful soldering work or (if you're equipped) make your own PCBs to finish the project. I did everything on proto-board, but in retrospect, it would probably have been easier to troubleshoot if I had taken the time to make some custom PCBs for everything.
From start to finish, this project took several months (although that included experimentation and waiting for parts to arrive from China). If you aim to just make a copy, and not experiment at all, it should take you significantly less time, although I wouldn't try and do it all in one sitting!
You will need to draw on a variety of skills, including: soldering, programming arduino, building a circuit on perfboard, and trying not to blind yourself by looking directly at the LEDs. I'm still having trouble with that last one...
Inspiration for this project was found in many different places. I will attempt to list all of them here. If I missed any, my apologies, and just add a comment so I can give you credit!
- Constant current driver for high-power leds by dan
- Colin Cunningham's LED color organ (slightly modified to suit my purposes)
- Yet another Daft Punk coffee table by lincomatic (used his idea to synchronize with input from an audio source)
- Lucidtronix's HSB RGB Arduino Color Library (used to convert HSB values to RGB. Check out the link if you don't know what the heck that means)
- Julio Terra's HSB RGB Arduino Library
- The triple channel musicator by qs (this is the project that planted the seed a few years ago)
- Beginning Arduino Programming by Brian Evans
- Arduino Programming Notebook from Brian Evans again (this one's open source!)
- The Arduino Cookbook by Michael Margolis
- Renbotics Servo Shield documentation and libraries. (I chose this one over the Adafruit servo shield because shipping to Canada was $50 from adafruit, or about $4 from seeedstudio for the Renbotics shield. Choose whichever you prefer - but the code might end up looking different)