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 Post subject: Live display.
PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2005 3:06 pm 
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I had a though the other day that it would be nice to know what the kit on the outside of the car was doing. So i came up with quite a nice idea, but i'm not sure whether many people would want it...

It is simply another 7-segment display that would sit beside your main red one. But it would be a tri-colour one, (had a quick search on the web, there are some available but cost a bomb!) which you couls program the different segments to show what certain pixels were doing around the car.

You would have control of 8 leds on the device, so there is scope to put the front UFO tube on the top segment the side ufo tubes on the sides of the display, and the rear tube on the lower segment, the scanner could then go on the middle segment, and you still have the '.' (decimal point) spare!

This would be particularly helpful for when the new serial control module is released for when you link the UFO tubes to the side/tail/indicator lights, you would then know what is happening outside! (and it would look pretty cool!)

The other idea i had was just to get four of the new 'MEDUSA' kits and use one of the pixels from each kit to light up under a model of your car on the dash! Giving you a scaled down car with UFO!

Let me know your opinions!

Tall_Paul

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2005 3:43 pm 
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It sounds pretty interesting ! But since I don't have any knowledge of electronics, I wouldn't be able to tell you if this would be possible. Adrian and Iceledman are the people you''d want to get an answer from.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2005 7:35 pm 
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i asked before, but using a small tft from a mobile phone... but apparently it would cost mucho!!! would be easier to plug a laptop or pda in via the bluetooth link and view the pattern that way??

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2005 2:39 am 
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Any thoughts Adrian?

T_P

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2005 12:21 pm 
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Tall_Paul \$m[1]:
Any thoughts Adrian?

T_P


Shame it can't be done so easily. The explanation for this is technical (so you might just want to skip to the final paragraph :wink: ) The processing power of a 1' tube is is max'd out driving nine different LEDs to any of 128 intensity levels, at a flicker-free refresh rate. These nine LEDs represent just 3 pixels!

UFO uses distributed processing to acomplish what it does - i.e. there are 14 of these little max'd out processors all hammering away to produce the overall patterns. This is what gives UFO its unique capabilities and sets it apart from all the other kits on the market and also accounts for the higher price-tag.

Even if more expensive processors were thrown-in to 'up' the bandwidth, the basic architecture is still divided into four separate data channels. To collect all the pattern data required to put up a 'telltale display' would mean having four asynchronous uarts. All this is pushing what sounded like a simple requirement towards a very expensive solution. It's a great idea but would cost an arm and a leg.

If the market for digital car lighting was on the same scale as car stereo and ICELED was something the size of JVC or Pioneer, then yes, you might expect to see this sort of thing happen - but unfortunately that's not the case. You're buying in an extremely niche market which is currently only properly served by hard-working enthusiasts like us :twisted:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2005 1:10 pm 
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Doh!

I didn't realise that was how you controlled the LEDs. Very nice!

I'm guessing there might be scope for a GUI on the BT module that will show realtime effect? Or again is that tricky to do? The refresh wouldn't need to be high, And it only needs to be a 'this tube is on / off' signal.

Either that, or i'll build another of my 'low tech' solutions!

Or i'll just try and persuade you to customise the MEDUSAs i'm gonna buy, so that they have 7 LEDs rather than 6! :D


Cheers!

T_P

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2005 4:22 pm 
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I think it might have been mentioned in a similar thread a while ago, but you could always go with a webcam mounted under the car, and a laptop, or in-dash monitor to show real-time what is going on.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2005 5:12 pm 
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I might have missed some info or just couldnt understand what Adrian said but would\could this work??

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2005 5:29 pm 
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What I was trying to explain is that it can be done in principle, but although we only want a small display with a handful of LEDs, it still requires nearly as much processing as the complete UFO kit. This has a "you can't dodge it" cost attached to it, so it would not be as cheap to make as you might expect.

Then again, so long as the cost doesn't stifle the demand and you don't mind connecting a five-way cable to some of the UFO outputs, it could be a possibility. It should work out somewhat cheaper than a camera and monitor anyway!

Who's interested?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 9:47 am 
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Still saving for the kit and other ICELED goodies to go with it but sure i'm quite interested.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 11:13 am 
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Adrian,

You know i am up for crazy priced new technology.

I think i might have a go at doing the idea with four MEDUSA kits. I'll wire them into the four channels of the UFO and have one of the lights used to light a model of my car on the dash.

That to me sounds like the most cost effective solution. And since i'll be buying the MEDUSAs anyway...

Although i still like the idea of the tricolour 7-seg!

T_P

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My Impreza is now even more 'Imprezive'
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 12:33 pm 
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I can't promise anything, but I'm looking into this for you guys, I do fancy one myself :wink:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 20, 2005 1:37 pm 
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id be interested in this....my varad kit used to have a simple diplay like this using 4 l.e.d's on the control box which would just crudely copy the pattern of the side tubes i.e...they would sweep back and forth, strobe, pulse.. etc.....it's just useful to know whats goin on...also it means i dont have to remember the iceled patterns, which can be quite a task ;)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat May 21, 2005 6:31 pm 
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I've been scratching my head quite a bit over this one. It turns out to be reasonably practical to reproduce the side-tube pattern (like MadJon sketched) with six integrated RGB LEDs (even though with this simple sounding requirment the circuit has 18 individual LED drivers :shock: ).

But add to this the extra parts for decoding the front and rear tubes and it starts to get pretty hairy. For one thing, having front/side/rear on the display calls for another set of six LEDs for the opposite side-tube. This then needs a larger, rectangular, area to display everything in... and when it comes to wiring-up it needs three data connections and two for power. Not out of the question, but...

...If, on the other hand, the display was restricted to just the side tube pattern then it becomes a neat line of six LEDs and a standard three-wire connection. I've prototyped just this bit and have to say it's rather sweet. The great thing is you can see a suprising amount of detail in the pattern, and when you change the colour range the display does a good job of representing the six palette colours 8)

But I can't say I'm decided. The idea of a complete overview is still very attractive. One other very big problem to overcome is how to house the display. Being realistic, not many of these would ever get sold so a purpose-made injection molded enclosure is out of the question. But it's not really practical as a "bare-board" product - is it :?:


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun May 22, 2005 12:16 am 
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There's plenty at maplins if thy're any good?

http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?Mod ... =&doy=21m5

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