LED Sign In Progress


#1

So I saw some metal letters on sale at Michael’s a while back…
Had a few ideas for a couple signs signs I had wanted and had a bunch of WS2812 pixels…

Thought I’d try a test before making a larger sign with them…
So I made up a base out of MDF to mount a single letter…
I had a spare H…

Glued and nailed the base together…

Sanded it and gave it a coat of primer…

Wanted to light the letter from behind but the letter had lost of gaps and cracks in the various joints that let the light show through… Used JB Weld to seal the joints…

Gave it a coat of primer then filled the remaining cracks with spot putty

Another coat of primer and it looked good… Will eventually use some sort of textured metal paint…

I then attached the WS2812 strip to the inside of the letter. I figured on somehow mounting it about 1/2" away from the base (the whole thing is meant to mount on the wall) to let the light show…

Then I added some hot melt glue to secure the led strips more securely…

Then I powered up the LEDs (using a little pixel tester I made) and discovered a few things…

  1. The LED are not bright enough. These are 30 led per meter strips. I had thought 60 per meter would be better and have ordered some but got impatient and went ahead with what I had. I may add a second row of leds and run them in parallel. I should also paint the inside white to reflect more of the light.
  2. I get funny shadows because the leds are mounted on the side. This may change depending on how I mount the letters. Right now I’m thinking dowels with small magnets but not sure… Or I may rip out the leds and mount them facing down. Most likely I’ll just put it in a box to join the other unfinished projects…


#2

Very cool. You are working with backlit channel letters. For the effect you
want you might try mounting the LEDs on the back of the face. Backlit
letters usually use standoffs to mount the letters to a fascia or more
often to a channel, a box that houses all the electrical.


#3

I am going to mount the pixels to the back of the letters rather than to the side. However I don’t think I get enough light out of the 30 led/meter strip that I have so I am going to wait till I get some 60 led/meter strip that I have ordered.


#4

If you’re impatient and want some dense WS2812s right now, I have unpopulated boards that hold 5 LEDs each, and a reel of them. Works pretty well when you reflow them well, but is kind of a pain if you do it really sloppily (like me).

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3_kCL0lNAM9RER3OXEwcEk4Yk0/view?usp=sharing

I panelised them, so, uh, I have some extras.


#5

Thanks for the offer…
How long are the boards?


#6

About 40x13mm with 5 x WS2812B

Can give you a couple if you want to play with them, if you like, or sell a
bunch of them for, like, $2 per board including LEDs


#7

I’ll take 12…
Does it have pads for caps?
Do we have said caps at the space?


#8

Yep, one decoupling cap per LED. We have many reels of 0603 caps anywhere
from 100-20 nF that’ll work fine. Each board (kinda) slots into each other
and is soldered to the next. I’ll dump some in the dropbox for you.


#9

Lemme know when you leave the 12 boards and 60 pixels in the drop box…
I can leave the $$ there or wait till I see you in person…


#10

This topic was automatically closed 365 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.