It wasn't until 2011 when the led strips using LPD8806 driver chips came on to market that I found the opportunity to do this cost effectively (of course cost effective meaning if you plan to use these waterproof strips elsewhere during the 364 days of the year).
I planned to use these strips with an Arduino. Sadly I couldnt code in Arduino but I used Adafruits forums to find someone who could do the programming. (kudos to Edwin Mak for help with the Arduino programming)
Step 1: Project in Detail - Requirements
A few things I could put to words regarding requirements:
-Pattern: This is the colorful sequence that travels the strip.
--The color of the pattern: I wanted the color of the pattern to also change as it travelled down the strip. From yellow, to blue, to red dominant pattern color. yellow-red, blue-yellow and to randomization of all these.
--The sequence of patterns: Also once a certain pattern travelled I wanted the next pattern to be of different color, so I needed a function that spits out random sequences of colors that matched on all strips, [Note: however this didnt prove to be easy so I went with a single pattern repeating: greens and yellows followed by red and black... the black in the pattern end is basically leds off. so if the pattern is 13 Leds long. it would be 3 leds green, 5 leds yellow, 3 leds red and 2 leds off. ]
-Style of pattern travel: The sequence changes once in a while . Style1: The pattern starts and then fades itself after about 30cm then begins again to start fade again in 30cm. Style2: It follows the whole led strip without fading. [Note: Style1 proved to be difficult so we went with Style2 where the ]
-Brightness: I wanted to attach a third potentiometer to control brightness.
-If possible, I wanted a potentiometer to change the pattern color of the sequence. The dominant color would always be red but the overlay sequence of colors or the overlay style could be changed too. There were a couple of styles in the video. [This proved to be difficult so it wasnt done]
-I wanted to change the speed with another potentiometer. [This was done successfully]
-Of-Off-Flickering Effect: I wanted to have an on-off button or a switch that would help me turn OFF the display of the sequence when pushed and ON when pushed again. However I wanted the sequence to continue behind so that when I switch back it would display where it was as it continued. I was planning to use this for manual / really crude beatmatching. [I didnt have time to do this as well so I basically snapped the cables off Arduino when I wanted to do this and it worked pretty good. That was pretty awesome for beatmatching. Note: I had arduino's power connected to a seperate 9V battery. So when I turned up the led strips power, which used led acid battery, the strip and Arduino continued running. This made flickering of the led strips much more attractive.]