Video Wall Mk. 2 the led'n'ing

So as you may be aware we have a functional video wall in the space now, and playing games on it is AWESOME (seriously, try tengen tetris for NES, it has a two player coop mode that is a fantastic relationship tester).

This then begs the question of what do we do with the remaining 4 LED panels we were given?

First some background notes:

  • the system goes basically pc -> sender card -> reciever card - > led panel - > led modules
  • works exactly like a monitor, takes a portion of the display and mirrors it.
  • we definitely have enough working 16x16 LED modules to get 3 more of the panels running.
  • we have an entire bankers box of Schrodinger modules that might be functional
  • we definitely have 3 more working receiver cards
  • we have 2 more receiver cards that are not configured correctly and display really awesome glitch art
  • we could figure out the configuration settings for the receiver card, I got most of it working but got hung up on the pixel draw order, this could be an hour to fix, could be a weeks work
  • our sender card can drive more receiver cards, but without having the configuration settings for the receiver cards we are limited in how we can set them up.
  • each panel is 112x128 pixels, measures 44x50.5" weighs around 80 pounds, and draws up to 8amps of 120v ac, running it at 20% brightness drops the consumption to 1 amp draw at full white.
  • We did a group buy on the last sender card, 3bien, jon, Metal_Janet, mirong & packetbob and myself kicked in. steve roy made some cables, I paid out of pocket for the steel and other supplies (~$400, I am thinking I will put a tip jar on the sign if no one objects).
  • I put in a bunch of hours to get this running, and am looking to hand over the next part as much as possible, but can help.

To get another display going we would need:

Some ideas that have been tossed around:

  • Sidewalk pong - screens in the front window, sensors outside, two player pong played by people on the sidewalk
  • Attic kaleidoscope - run one or two screens flat in the attic, mount mirrors above them, stare at and enjoy
  • Led work tables, mount screens under a plexiglas cover, play games
  • mobileish screens for events
  • junk it and sell parts to members

So votes? Post any other ideas below

  • Sidewalk pong - screens in the front window
  • Attic kaleidoscope
  • Led work tables
  • Mobileish screens for events
  • Junk it and sell parts to members

0 voters

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sorry if I missed the detail in the other post(s), but what was the reason we can’t increase the size of the first wall with the extra panels? is it a fraction thing, like we need 4 more panels to add a column and only 3 work?

also, for other crazy ideas, are these waterproof, and would they fit in the building’s sign? (or can we even do that per Vancity bylaws?)

what was the reason we can’t increase the size of the first wall with the extra panels

Physical space, that wall is already 8’ wide and just clears the pipes on the ceiling, adding another 4’ to the side would basically block the sewing area, and the lounge access, there isn’t enough room below the ceiling to add another panel on top.

Software wise if you extend the video area you can run more panels and then place them somewhere else but you run into the problem of having the edge of one window bleed into the display of the next, like the scroll bar or window edge of an emulator, you might be able to get around this by adding a gap to the panel configuration (so it would draw the one window for the wall, have a 112 pixel gap, then draw the next screen), but it would be tricky to set up, and would definitely cause issues with window focus and controls if we are running multiple screens with interactive elements (most of the emulators pause when they lose focus). Not to mention the joy of people horsing around with the inside screen and potentially dragging something inappropriate across the display for the outside screen.

also, for other crazy ideas, are these waterproof, and would they fit in the building’s sign? (or can we even do that per Vancity bylaws?)

So the sign is grandfathered in as it is, we cant change anything on it without a permit, and if we tried to change anything they would want us to take it down as it is way too big and sticks way too far out.
Also, not really waterproof, they are with us because of corrosion and water damage.

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Awesomeness - love all these ideas. We got a lotta heat up there in those front rooms. Would sidewalk pong add lots moar?

How about a dance floor?


LA Story sign? Might need a permit. :smiley:

LED See Saw? On grass strip next to windows? Could be tricky/waterproof stuff/also high effort.

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Sidewalk Pong is AMAZE. I can help with the websocket backend if someone builds the mobile web front-end.

Design sketch:

  • The screen shows a URL ( on the screen at all times, even when there’s a game on
  • Anyone who goes to the URL on their device can join a game already in progress if there’s room, or wait for the current game to end.
  • To join a game, people should have to enter a random code displayed on the screen (so remote jerks can’t DOS the game)
  • The “controller” is a mobile web app, ideally one that allows people to drag their finger to control the paddle, rather than having to use buttons
  • Up to four players can play at once (left/right first, then top/bottom)
  • The game should have random obstacles/targets that pop up on the screen, and players can score extra points by hitting them
  • There should be power-ups like in Arkanoid (wide paddle, MULTIBALL!!!1~1, etc.)

Who’s in? :slight_smile:


I love the ideas Arrgh, sidewalk pong needs to happen, unfortunately upon further reflection, I don’t have the cycles to move forward on this.

So who wants to help?

To make this happen, we would need someone to do or organize the following:

  • fundraise the $200ish needed for the new sender card
  • order a new sender card (I ordered from these guys:
  • acquire and set up some sort of computer with hdmi/dvi to drive this thing.
    Its helpful if the computer has:
    • dual monitor support
    • windows (though if you are good with code, you should be able to sniff the traffic coming from the windows app on the current video wall, specifically the brightness and screen turn on signals it sends).
  • build/figure out some sort of stand for this thing maybe built in such a way it can come out easy for events.

I can help with:

  • Technical support and advice
  • Getting the sender card configured
  • Spending a day or two trying to reverse engineer the receiver card configuration so we can have better control of the brightness, contrast, and refresh rate.

So who wants the baton?


FYI I’ve been playing with these as FPGA devel boards but if the ethernet protocol has been reverse engineered they’d make a cheap driver board unmodified.

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So we do already have 5 of those receiver cards. What we are lacking is the sender card. They are very different beasts.

The sender cards are all in the $150-200 range, I am guessing due to more horsepower in the FPGA as it has to process the DVI signal in real-time and kick the data out to all the displays. They support up to 1280x1024, which is a lot of data to drive at a decent refresh rate.

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So we could make 5 fpga development systems each with a led square and a receiver card. Then I would have hardware to run fpga workshops!


Okay those workshops would be amazing. Woot.