Flashbar for festival using sACN over WiFi with ESP8266

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This flashbar, aka blinder, was used under a concert to give a blinding effect for the audience.

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A mosfet driver is enabling the LED’s. The LED’s is 10W element, and there is 8 elements on the flashbar giving 80W of power.
It’s powered from an PC power supply.

The ESP8226 is running a small UDP server and listens for sACN packets. sACN is like DMX512, but over UDP instead of RS-485.
You can find the firmware here https://github.com/TimGremalm/FlashBar.

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The LED’s are screwed down on top of a steel bar to transfer the heat.

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Festivalljus – LED, Lens, Heatsink Assembly

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One of the hardest things with this project is to solve the problem with the heating. 9 pieces of 3W LED tends to get very hot, 27W that have to be transferred to the air.

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If I bend the pins on the led I can make the LED’s go through the PCB. An alternative is to use a lot of small via’s under the LED to transfer the heat to the underside. But I think a direct contact with the heatsink will be more effective.

Assembly PCB with LEDs 3D Without Lens
Assembly PCB with LEDs BottomAssembly PCB with LEDs 3DAssembly PCB with LEDs SideAssembly PCB with LEDs Top

Assembly PCB with LEDs 3D With Heatsink Fan
Assembly PCB with LEDs 3D With Heatsink LensesAssembly PCB with LEDs 3D With Heatsink Side
A CPU cooler should be sufficient enough to transfer the heat out to the air. I don’t know if the fan is necessary.

The whole assembly will look something like this:
Assembly Spotlight With Chassi 3D 2Assembly Spotlight With Chassi 3D 3Assembly Spotlight With Chassi 3D 4

Optics Specification

Alco Bong 9000

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This is an alcoholic bong, two ultrasonic elements forces the water into small particles that forms a mist. The elements is normally used for water in decorations or water humidifiers.

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I got this old Ikea bowl from a second hand store. It holds the electronics for driving the ultrasonic elements, as well as an MCU to drive some leds.

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There’s two systems that is powered from a single 6S LiPo battery.
The ultra sonic elements is apparently sensitive about over voltage and will fry if the voltage exceeds 24V. The first system consists of a buck that caps the fully charge voltage of 25.2V down to 24.0V. That system is activated by a momentary switch on the front.

The second system drives the RGB LED’s. A nice party bong should look good. A small Arduino Nano is driving some WS2812 RGB leds around the glass pitcher. A buck converter caps the voltage at 5V that is used by both the WS2812 RGB strip and the MCU.
The led lights is slowly breathing when the alco bong is idle, and rotates the color hue when in use.

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The glass pitcher was glued on the bottom with epoxy and seemed to bound well with the wooden bowl.

Orkide Random – A IoT flower with pretty random power

A video posted by Tim Gremalm (@timgremalm) on


Probably the most random plant in the world, it fetches a “true” random signal and display pretty colors on a WS2812 addressable LED strip.
The seed is based on one of the best randomization generators; cosmic background radiation from random.org. Yet another Internet of Things device made out of the ESP8266, the dirt cheap powerful WiFi enabled microcontroller.
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IoT Nalle dances to Twitter feed

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An Internet of Things enabled teddy bear that dances at filtered Twitter statuses.

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To move the teddy bears arms servos is used. It’s a pretty simple setup, some extenders for the arms that is going through the real arms of the teddy bear.
The servos is quite weak, so they bearly move the arms at all.

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Mounting of the servos.

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The electronic setups contains of a small cheap microprocessor called ESP8266. The ESP8266 have a small WiFI-antenna integrated in the breakout board and can hook up to any access point, or even create one.
I’m running the firmware NodeMCU , it’s a real time LUA interpreter. So the firmware is only programmed once on the flash. To write your own program you just transfer them over serial UART, and the firmware will save the script on flash.
The processor is running at 80MHz so it’s pretty fast.

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I’m using Twitters API to fetch the latest post on a specific search term. The API gives me a detailed formated JSON file containing the time and date of the post, as well as the post.
The Twitter API is quite messy to work with, a lot of headers and authentication is required. The ESP would likly handle both the SSL and the big JSON format, but it will steal some CPU-time and it’s hard to work with. I made a PHP-proxy for the twitter feed, parsing the time and date and presenting it in unix timecode. The message of the post is stored as an MD5 hash sum.
On the IoT Nalle i keep track of the already “danced” Twitter posts and only dnaces to new posts.

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Final assembly, a lot of hot glue and screws was used.

Interactive LED balancing board

A video posted by Tim Gremalm (@timgremalm) on


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An interactive game were the visitors can build complex structure with help from an interactive LED balancer.
The installation was part at Vetenskapsfestivalen.

It’s a project by Stig Anton Nielsen read more about it in this post.

TeiSteadyBuilds from stig anton nielsen on Vimeo.

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A video posted by Tim Gremalm (@timgremalm) on

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The loadcells is build from 16 layers of conductive carbon packaging film. The recistance ranging from 500k to about 450 Ohm loaded at 8kg. Because it’s a so huge range the loadcells can be directly hooked up in a voltage divider, no amplifiers needed.
3 load cells us used to detect the direction and force of the balance. They are really sensitive to touch, small pressures from fingertips will be easily detected. A backside is that the film tends to be squashed so that it takes long time form the form and resistance to return.
The value from the 3 loadcells is arranged in 3 forces 120 degrees apart. The Forces is calculated into a resultant that is describing a thrust vector.
The thrust vector is indicated with a led strip of addressable WS2812 LED light. The stronger the force, more inbalanced, the greater the red marking will grow.

Att this Google Drive document I’ve collected som measuring data from the loadcells. There’s also some information of how the resultant is calculated.

LED lights in Iceland

LED pixel wall at Keflavik airport

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At the airport a stumbled on some cool LED fixtures, it was some kind of addressable LED with an extraordinary diffuser made out of textile.
You can see the beautiful animation of a volcanic eruption lava on the right screen, and a sweet animation of aurora on the left.

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Addressable LED facade at Harpa concert hall Reykjavík

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They had lit up the whole facade of Reykjavíks concert hall Harpa.
It had small narrow LED strips in each window pane that covered the building completely, it looked beautiful at night.
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