The Partybox





Introduction: The Partybox

This is the Partybox: A portable (well more or less, it's kinda heavy... ;) ) music box with build in PC, LCD display and some LED decoration. Since the PC-part is quite straightforward and this is about LEDs lets concentrate on the front LED screen! (Building the case was quite complicated though, but thats another story :) )

The screen itself consists of eight identical modules with 8x8 RGB LEDs each, resulting in a full-color (24 bit per piel) screen with 32x16 pixels (almost HD :P). The PCBs are homemade and soldering them took me quite a while... but I guess it was worth it :)

Every module is controlled by an Atmel ATmega48 with three 8-bit PWM channels - one for each color. Therefore massive multiplexing is needed to drive all 64 LEDs. At first I had doubts if this setup would be bright enough, but as you can see, brightness is ok (although today I would choose an controller with more PWM channels but this thing is actually three years old and I didn't find a good one back then).
The controller is clocked with 8 MHz, per pixel 256 clock cycles are needed for PWM and some more for switching the active pixel. Nevertheless this results in a refresh rate of round about 400 Hz, making it absolutely flicker free.

All eight modules are connected to an SPI Bus, which is responsible for transferring the image data. Since a standard PC hasn't a SPI interface I took an USB to serial converter and used another microcontroller as serial to SPI converter. The serial port runs at 460kbaud resulting in a maximum frame rate of 37.5fps. This is ok but today I would take an Controller with built-in USB... :)

On the PC a small programm generates the video data for the screen. On the images you can see an audio spectrum. I have a few other visualizations (scolling text, a simple pong game, even videos are possible but scaled to 32x16 pixels most videos loose their details ;) ) but the audio spectrum is my favourite.

Here's a video showing it in action:



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    hey mackes
    im not pro user, can u send me to my email please? i will try to build it for my restaurant

    This is awesome!
    Are you going to make an 'ible soon?

    Awsome, you should post a 'how to', for this

    amazing !!! :O are you gonna upload the pcbs?

    1 reply

    I've uploaded the pcb layouts for top and bottom layer. I also uploaded the schmeatic (as pdf) but for some reason it doesn't show up...

    you made a music box and then you made a video... with no music ._.

    1 reply

    Yes, thats because this is about LEDs and ... my cam is crappy :) Maybe I can make another one with music soon :)

    Damned that's hot, dude! Your party box is my favourite!!!
    I looking forward to a little beach party with your box!

    You'll get a from me!!!


    you did all the soldering for the main board by yourself?

    DANG dawg, and the back too?

    Congrats, I think this is a winner, and btw how do you only have a 3 star rating?
    This should have 7 stars lol, (i gave you 5 stars but it didn't really effect much :(

    Could you post a video link so that we can see this thing in action?


    2 replies

    I was a little busy (exams are getting close...) but I finally managed it to get a video of this thing

    Thank you :)
    I will try to make a video later today.

    And yes I really did all the soldering myself :)