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Light Up Dress Questions
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Light Up Dress Questions

by zelkirb on Mon Oct 07, 2019 7:31 pm

Wow there is a lot to Adafruit and I love it!

Just wanted to get verification that going along the same lines as Marc Merlin

http://marc.merlins.org/perso/arduino/2 ... -Neopixels

Would work to make a dress possible?

Specifically I think using the individual sewable neopixels with conductive thread would work for this dress as it's massive. The only thing I'm not sure of is whether I should use flora or circuit playground, what I should use to power it, and what IR remote to use too.

Any help would be appreciated as I'm a little lost on what will or won't work.

Edit: I did find this which is helpful, but not exactly what I need.

https://learn.adafruit.com/fiber-optic- ... t?view=all

zelkirb
 
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Re: Light Up Dress Questions

by adafruit_support_bill on Mon Oct 07, 2019 8:28 pm

The fundamentals of powering and controlling neopixels are essentially the same - regardless of whether you are using strips or individual pixels. So much of Marc Merlin's project should be applicable to your dress.

Where things things will differ is how you will wire all those individual pixels. Sewing with conductive thread is possible. But I would not recommend it on a very large project for several reasons:
1) Reliability - knots tend to loosen over time which makes for flakey connections. One bad connection will affect all pixels downstream from the bad connection.
2) Conductivity - conductive thread is not as conductive as copper wire. When powering large numbers of pixels, you will need to add extra power and ground runs to adequately power all the pixels.
3) Insulation (or lack thereof) - Bare power and ground runs can cause short circuits if the fabric folds over itself in a way that allows those threads to cross. In a large project with a big battery pack and lots of pixels, a short circuit can create a fire hazard.

A better alternative is to use thin silicone insulated copper wire with soldered connections. https://www.adafruit.com/product/1970
This wire is super flexible and comes in a variety of colors to blend in with your project.

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Re: Light Up Dress Questions

by zelkirb on Mon Oct 07, 2019 8:46 pm

adafruit_support_bill wrote:The fundamentals of powering and controlling neopixels are essentially the same - regardless of whether you are using strips or individual pixels. So much of Marc Merlin's project should be applicable to your dress.

Where things things will differ is how you will wire all those individual pixels. Sewing with conductive thread is possible. But I would not recommend it on a very large project for several reasons:
1) Reliability - knots tend to loosen over time which makes for flakey connections. One bad connection will affect all pixels downstream from the bad connection.
2) Conductivity - conductive thread is not as conductive as copper wire. When powering large numbers of pixels, you will need to add extra power and ground runs to adequately power all the pixels.
3) Insulation (or lack thereof) - Bare power and ground runs can cause short circuits if the fabric folds over itself in a way that allows those threads to cross. In a large project with a big battery pack and lots of pixels, a short circuit can create a fire hazard.

A better alternative is to use thin silicone insulated copper wire with soldered connections. https://www.adafruit.com/product/1970
This wire is super flexible and comes in a variety of colors to blend in with your project.



Awesome I think the insulated copper wire is probably a better solution then. I didn't realize I could create a fire hazard. That's definitely not good.

With either that or if I were to do strips of LEDs which would be fine (as I was using fairy lights before, but that got easily tangled and couldn't turn off) Would it be easy to have one power source for all of them as well as one remote?

The only things I'm unsure of at this point are whether Flora will work ok and what power source to use. Thoughts?

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Re: Light Up Dress Questions

by adafruit_support_bill on Mon Oct 07, 2019 9:03 pm

The Flora is capable of controlling up to a few hundred pixels. But it can't handle the IR remote while it is controlling pixels. If you read through Marc Merlin's writeup, he has a couple of approaches to dong that - using processors that are considerably more powerful than the Flora. There is some pretty advanced stuff involved there. How essential is the IR remote to your project?

You can power both the processor and the pixels with a single power source. To choose an appropriate source, you would need to decide on an approximate number of pixels, and how much run-time you will need per charge.

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Re: Light Up Dress Questions

by zelkirb on Mon Oct 07, 2019 9:12 pm

adafruit_support_bill wrote:The Flora is capable of controlling up to a few hundred pixels. But it can't handle the IR remote while it is controlling pixels. If you read through Marc Merlin's writeup, he has a couple of approaches to dong that - using processors that are considerably more powerful than the Flora. There is some pretty advanced stuff involved there. How essential is the IR remote to your project?

You can power both the processor and the pixels with a single power source. To choose an appropriate source, you would need to decide on an approximate number of pixels, and how much run-time you will need per charge.


Yeah I did read through it and it was pretty advanced. I don't know much.

IR is pretty important unless I could have a wired remote that could turn it on and off that would work just as well. Pixel wise it's gonna be 400-500. I'm doing a 24ft dress made from a parachute.

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Re: Light Up Dress Questions

by adafruit_support_bill on Mon Oct 07, 2019 9:30 pm

I'm doing a 24ft dress made from a parachute.

That sounds awesome! You will have to post pictures when you finish it.

IR is pretty important unless I could have a wired remote that could turn it on and off that would work just as well.

A wired remote would be much simpler. You could start with that. And if you are feeling bold once you get that going, you could try upgrading to a bluetooth remote you can control from your phone. Believe it or not, even that would be simpler than the IR.

Pixel wise it's gonna be 400-500.

That's quite a lot of pixels for a wearable. But then you have 24 feet of parachute to light up. That is going to require a sizeable battery pack. Assuming that you are running them at just 10% of max intensity on average, 500 pixels would require about 3 Amps of current. At that rate, our largest LiPo pack would give you about 2 hours of run time: https://www.adafruit.com/product/353

If you need more run-time (or plan to run at higher average intensities, you may need to use multiple packs and power it in sections.

But in general, most wearable projects don't need to be run at such high intensities. This guide has some excellent information regarding efficient use of power for wearable projects. https://learn.adafruit.com/sipping-power-with-neopixels

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Re: Light Up Dress Questions

by zelkirb on Mon Oct 07, 2019 9:39 pm

adafruit_support_bill wrote:
I'm doing a 24ft dress made from a parachute.

That sounds awesome! You will have to post pictures when you finish it.

IR is pretty important unless I could have a wired remote that could turn it on and off that would work just as well.

A wired remote would be much simpler. You could start with that. And if you are feeling bold once you get that going, you could try upgrading to a bluetooth remote you can control from your phone. Believe it or not, even that would be simpler than the IR.

Pixel wise it's gonna be 400-500.

That's quite a lot of pixels for a wearable. But then you have 24 feet of parachute to light up. That is going to require a sizeable battery pack. Assuming that you are running them at just 10% of max intensity on average, 500 pixels would require about 3 Amps of current. At that rate, our largest LiPo pack would give you about 2 hours of run time: https://www.adafruit.com/product/353

If you need more run-time (or plan to run at higher average intensities, you may need to use multiple packs and power it in sections.

But in general, most wearable projects don't need to be run at such high intensities. This guide has some excellent information regarding efficient use of power for wearable projects. https://learn.adafruit.com/sipping-power-with-neopixels


Thank you so much for your guidance.

Bluetooth would actually be preferable! Less things I have to worry about.

This project is for doing lightpaintings so the lights only need to be on for a fraction of a second. So a battery pack that big wouldn't even really be necessary, unless I wanna do video. Attached is a picture of the attempt with fairy lights, but they don't work for my purposes.

Seriously thank you so much in walking me through this. I'm going to attempt a less complicated version tomorrow with lumecubes and fans. If that doesn't work I'm going this route.
Attachments
Attach4170_20190825_201836.jpg
Attach4170_20190825_201836.jpg (182.8 KiB) Viewed 64 times

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Re: Light Up Dress Questions

by adafruit_support_bill on Mon Oct 07, 2019 9:49 pm

That is quite a dress! Please keep us posted on your progress with this project.

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Please be positive and constructive with your questions and comments.