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Today we're elbow-deep in LEDs for another exciting project — we're building a high-resolution flame lamp! Kick-starting the endeavour with a 1024-pixel LED matrix, we proceed to throw in the towel with a faulty old flame lamp boasting a mere 300 LEDs. Mislabelled PCBs and questionable diodes keep us on our toes, making this undertaking a little more Sparky than usual. With the help of competitive soldering skills, a beefy 5V power supply and a 3D printer, we channel our inner Edison to bring our LED matrix to light. After a pinch of struggle, our LED matrix rollercoasters into a tube shape, faintly resembling our coveted flame lamp. Tune in to bask in the warm (or cool) glow of our LED flame lamp.

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[0:00] We’re back with another project.
[0:01] This time I have an LED matrix.
[0:03] There’s 32 pixels wide and 32 pixels high.
[0:08] So we’ve got 1024 pixels.
[0:11] So quite a few pixels to play with.
[0:14] Now, what I’m doing is I built this flame lamp
[0:18] a few years ago, oops,
[0:21] Rather hap hazard in its construction.
[0:23] And of course, there’s a bit of breadboard
[0:26] and this is no longer working.
[0:28] Now, this had, I think there were 15 LEDs
[0:32] on each of these towers.
[0:34] And there’s 20 towers, so 300 LEDs in total.
[0:38] And it looked pretty good.
[0:39] I have a link to the video.
[0:41] It should be somewhere around there, hopefully,
[0:44] or maybe it’s there.
[0:45] I don’t know, I’m not sure how YouTube works anymore.
[0:48] So I’m going to replace this flame lank, lamp, flame lank.
[0:52] I’m going to replace this flame lamp with a new version,
[0:55] a much higher resolution version.
[0:57] So let me just put this down somewhere.
[0:59] There we go.
[1:03] I put it on my pile of projects that lives by my desk.
[1:08] So yes, so we have this 1024 matrix LED display.
[1:13] Now I’m powering it off the same PCBs
[1:17] that I used for my crystal globes.
[1:20] So let’s plug one of those in and I’ll show you those.
[1:25] If I can find another cable.
[1:26] Let’s just grab this one.
[1:29] And we’ll use the, let’s take, there we go.
[1:35] It’s actually already plugged in.
[1:37] So here’s one of these crystal globes.
[1:40] Let’s turn that on.
[1:41] So I’m using the WLED software for all of this.
[1:45] So that one.
[1:47] So there’s our nice crystal globe.
[1:49] I think you should be able to see that.
[1:52] So this is the moon.
[1:54] And the PCB is just under here.
[1:57] Now this is powered by USB.
[2:00] So currently I’m just powering this whole LED matrix
[2:03] off the USB connection.
[2:05] Now of course, let’s just turn this off.
[2:07] Where’s the off button?
[2:09] Unplug it.
[2:11] Now of course with 1024 LEDs,
[2:14] we could be looking at almost 30 amps or 40 amps required.
[2:20] Now WLED does have a
[2:24] why is everything turned off now.
[2:33] I’ve lost power.
[2:34] Of course, I unplugged it.
[2:37] What a fool.
[2:42] Now of course WLEDs does have a mechanism
[2:46] for limiting the amount of current.
[2:48] So if we look at the setup I’ve got here,
[2:51] if we go into config, go into LED preferences,
[2:54] I’ve told it to limit the current to five amps.
[2:58] It’s quite high,
[2:59] but I’m powering it off a fairly beefy USB supply.
[3:02] So we can actually see what the current
[3:05] is being drawn at the moment.
[3:06] So currently we’re doing about two amps.
[3:08] Let’s turn the brightness up to maximum.
[3:12] It’s 2.1 amps.
[3:16] And let’s just change the color to white.
[3:19] So actually we stay around 2.1 amps.
[3:22] Let’s go into the config and just change the,
[3:27] let’s turn off the current limit, see if this goes up.
[3:30] So actually we are staying around two amps.
[3:32] So that’s pretty good.
[3:34] Hit save.
[3:35] Okay, there we go.
[3:36] So now we’re up to three amps.
[3:38] I hope you can see that.
[3:39] I can’t actually see what’s on the camera
[3:41] ‘cause it’s too high up
[3:43] because I can’t actually fit all this on my desk.
[3:46] So let’s go back.
[3:47] So we’re on maximum brightness, got about three amps.
[3:51] It’s sort of a white color.
[3:52] It’s not quite white.
[3:54] Let’s see if I can actually change the color
[3:57] to a custom one.
[3:58] Nope.
[4:01] Don’t know how to use the WLED software.
[4:05] Anyway, so it’s around three amps.
[4:07] It’s a bit high.
[4:08] Now for the flame lamp,
[4:10] I did buy myself quite a hefty power supply.
[4:17] I’ve got here a five volt supply that will do 10 amps.
[4:23] So it’s not kind of 30 or 40 or 50 amps,
[4:26] but 10 amps is a lot beefier than what we can get via USB.
[4:30] Now the little circuit board that I use in my crystal balls,
[4:36] it does actually have support for external power.
[4:39] So let’s get a bit of light on the situation
[4:42] so you can see what I’m showing.
[4:45] Let’s turn this off.
[4:46] There we go.
[4:47] That’s a bit easier to see.
[4:49] So this has a few diodes.
[4:50] So what I can do is input external power
[4:54] to power the LEDs and chips on the circuit board.
[4:57] But I’ve got some diodes here
[4:58] to protect the USB power supply.
[5:01] Now, the only thing I need to do
[5:02] is this little solder jumper here
[5:05] that I need to remove
[5:06] so that we don’t try and power the LEDs via USB
[5:11] at the same time as the external power.
[5:14] So let’s remove that from this little PCB here
[5:19] so that I don’t blow things up.
[5:21] So we’ll unplug this.
[5:24] It is getting quite warm.
[5:25] So some of these diodes get quite warm
[5:28] because we’re not really supposed to put
[5:29] that much current through them.
[5:32] So let’s get the soldering iron powered up.
[5:34] And I’ll remove this solder jumper.
[5:37] Okay, so that’s that solder jumper removed.
[5:40] We’re now only drawing 0.1 amps
[5:42] even though the LEDs should be lighting up
[5:47] and they’re not lighting up anymore,
[5:48] which is exactly what we want.
[5:50] So what we can now do is inject power
[5:52] straight into this LED matrix.
[5:54] So let’s just move this out of the way.
[5:57] So if we flip this over,
[6:00] you can see what I’ve actually got
[6:02] is several of these panels joined together.
[6:05] So I’ve got one, two, three, four panels.
[6:07] Now it does have these cables here
[6:10] for injecting power straight into the board.
[6:13] So what I’m going to do is connect these two wires here
[6:17] to our five volt power supply.
[6:20] And power will go through here, the screw terminal.
[6:24] It will still power the board.
[6:25] So our ESP32 will still power up.
[6:30] And then I’m just going to join these cables
[6:32] together so ground to ground.
[6:35] We’ll join all three of those and the three power ones
[6:39] so that we get sort of power injected, right up the board.
[6:43] So in theory, there’s probably quite a lot of voltage drop
[6:46] over these panels because they’re quite long.
[6:48] But if we join these together,
[6:50] that should even out the power flow.
[6:52] So what we need to do now is just join these cables together.
[6:57] There is something interesting.
[6:59] So if you look at the actual markup on these panels,
[7:02] it does say five volts and data in.
[7:04] So that did worry me slightly
[7:06] because that’s a little bit strange.
[7:08] But if you do a continuity check on these panels,
[7:12] so let’s just do that quickly.
[7:14] So if we measure between DIN and ground,
[7:18] then that’s actually connected.
[7:20] So all of the DINs are actually ground.
[7:23] So they’ve messed up their labeling on their boards.
[7:27] I can’t be too critical about that
[7:29] because I messed up the labeling on my board as well.
[7:32] So on my screw terminal, I swapped over ground and power.
[7:37] So you can’t get a PCB perfect.
[7:40] I think a perfect PCB would just anger the PCB gods.
[7:45] So always good to have a little mistake
[7:47] so the gods don’t get angry.
[7:48] So let’s just move that over there.
[7:53] I really do need a bigger desk for these projects,
[7:58] but here we go.
[7:59] Let’s just, I’m just gonna join these cables
[8:00] using some of these nice connectors.
[8:04] I don’t know if these are official connectors.
[8:07] I got them off of AliExpress.
[8:10] But they seem reasonable quality, so fingers crossed
[8:13] we won’t burn the house down.
[8:15] So let’s stick that one in there.
[8:22] Put that one in there.
[8:23] And then this one as well.
[8:28] And then let’s do the same for the ground cables.
[8:42] So they should all be nicely connected.
[8:46] Now I just need to put these two cables
[8:49] into this nice DC jack socket.
[8:54] So let’s do that.
[8:57] Now assuming I’ve done everything correctly
[9:01] and my PCB is correct with all of its diodes,
[9:04] we should be able to plug in the five volt supply.
[9:08] And everything should spring into life, so fingers crossed.
[9:14] Here we go, haven’t tested this yet.
[9:15] Let’s see what happens when we power this up.
[9:18] Well, that’s pretty promising.
[9:20] The LEDs on the board are on.
[9:23] And all of these lights are on.
[9:27] It’s actually surprisingly bright.
[9:29] It’s probably not coming through in the camera,
[9:30] but that’s quite bright.
[9:33] Let’s turn it to white.
[9:35] Yeah, that is pretty bright.
[9:37] Pretty blinding, I can barely see anything now.
[9:41] Let’s just check some of the effects.
[9:43] Turn on the grid effects.
[9:47] I’m not sure what half these are, oh, there we go.
[9:52] Yep, I’ve got something there, DNA.
[9:55] Yeah, so this LED matrix is working great.
[9:59] So the plan is I’m gonna roll this up into a tube like so.
[10:04] And then I’m going to put this nice diffuser on top.
[10:14] So I’ve 3D printed a bunch of support things.
[10:19] So we have, this one lives on the top.
[10:23] Like, come on, get in.
[10:27] This one lives on the top, like,
[10:30] apologies for the noises.
[10:33] Yep, there we go.
[10:35] This one lives on the top.
[10:37] This one lives on the bottom.
[10:40] And then our LED matrix will live inside of this
[10:45] and then have a very fancy lampshade to put around it.
[10:48] So I’m gonna try and assemble this.
[10:50] I might turn the sound off for the assembly
[10:52] ‘cause I suspect lots of plastic noises
[10:55] is gonna get quite irritating.
[10:57] But let’s get that done now.
[10:59] One Eternity Later
[11:02] So that actually proved to be
[11:04] a lot more difficult than I expected,
[11:06] but we’ve kind of got a tube shape.
[11:08] I do need to do a bit more thinking
[11:12] about how to form it into that shape.
[11:16] But it’s not too bad.
[11:18] Let’s actually see if it still powers on.
[11:26] Ah, there we go.
[11:27] We have light, so that’s good.
[11:30] Let’s just bring up the WLED software.
[11:34] Where has it disappeared to?
[11:35] Okay.
[11:36] Let’s just try the flame effect.
[11:42] See if it does what we want.
[11:47] Okay, so that doesn’t look too bad.
[11:50] Let’s put the diffuser on.
[11:52] And we can put the lid on as well.
[11:55] This is really hard to show on my desk.
[11:57] It’s just not big enough.
[11:59] Okay, I think that’s as good as I’m gonna get it for now.
[12:02] I think I need to revisit some of the 3D printing
[12:06] ‘cause we’re not quite managing to…
[12:09] Oh, maybe we are.
[12:11] Squeeze it on.
[12:12] Oh, there we go.
[12:14] So, oh, look, that’s come out of whack now.
[12:18] That’s annoying.
[12:19] Okay, kind of the…
[12:22] Let’s plug this back in.
[12:24] It’s not the most stable of builds at the moment.
[12:28] We need to revisit a few things.
[12:31] Let’s see if we power that on.
[12:33] There we go.
[12:34] And then we switch on to the fire effect.
[12:42] So let’s have a look.
[12:49] Yeah, that’s not too bad.
[12:50] So what I’m gonna do is I’m gonna put the lampshade on
[12:52] and install this, and then we’ll see how it looks.
[12:56] This top bit is currently not completely going on.
[12:59] I forgot that there are some wires here,
[13:03] so we’ll need to reprint this top bit
[13:05] so it actually slides on completely.
[13:09] And my power cable keeps falling out.
[13:11] But I’m going to install this,
[13:13] and then we’ll see how it looks.
[13:14] So there we go.
[13:15] It actually looks really good.
[13:16] I’m pretty impressed with that.
[13:18] Quite pleased.
[13:19] Now, of course, we do have all the different effects
[13:21] that you have with WLEDs.
[13:24] So let’s just put some of those on.
[13:27] Very bright, extremely, oh, very flashy as well.
[13:30] We do have the audio effects.
[13:34] I think we can make those work.
[13:36] So this should be something called frequency matrix.
[13:39] Should be responding to my voice.
[13:40] Frequency waves.
[13:44] So that’s some waves of frequency, I guess.
[13:48] Interesting.
[13:49] Got various different things.
[13:53] Don’t know what these are.
[13:54] So yeah, but I think the flame effect
[13:58] is probably the nicest one.
[14:01] Well, that’s very, very flashy.
[14:03] Lots of flashes.
[14:04] I’m not sure I like that.
[14:05] What does this one do?
[14:09] Nope, don’t know what that does.
[14:10] Oh, that’s more audio effects.
[14:13] So that’s responding to my voice and doing stuff.
[14:16] Heartbeat, don’t know what that does.
[14:20] Yeah, interesting.
[14:24] So my new lamp works.
[14:26] Let’s put it back to the fire effect
[14:28] ‘cause that’s what I was trying to build in the first place.
[14:31] So let’s have a look.
[14:33] Fire 2012.
[14:35] Yeah, it’s a really nice effect.
[14:37] My flame lamp version two is done.
[14:39] Thanks for watching.

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Chris Greening

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A collection of slightly mad projects, instructive/educational videos, and generally interesting stuff. Building projects around the Arduino and ESP32 platforms - we'll be exploring AI, Computer Vision, Audio, 3D Printing - it may get a bit eclectic...

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