digital LED strip or wearable LEDs for shirt chaser pattern
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digital LED strip or wearable LEDs for shirt chaser pattern

by chyldofthebeat on Sat Dec 08, 2012 2:13 pm

I was wondering if the digital LED strips can be made to be sewn into clothing and be flexible? Is there a way to power them through conductive thread?

In general, what I'm looking to do is have LEDs in lines on a shirt, that make fading chaser patterns similar to this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPVOxvABhdA#t=0m34s

I figure I'd have LEDs in angled lines, running through the chaser pattern, with the waterproof sheathing frosted over to enhance the 'beams of light' look.

I'm aware of the Lilypad and Flora's own sewable LEDs, but wasn't sure if they would be practical in terms of the number of connections they would all need.

I'm very new to electronics, LEDs etc but am eager to learn to make this project happen. First I was hoping to accelerate the process of knowing if it is even possible, and where I would start.

All info is appreciated!

--Ryan
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Re: digital LED strip or wearable LEDs for shirt chaser pattern

by adafruit on Fri Dec 14, 2012 5:54 pm

LED strips will crack if flexed/worn, thats why we have flora pixels as well as strips :)
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Re: digital LED strip or wearable LEDs for shirt chaser pattern

by chyldofthebeat on Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:19 pm

So, I guess the Flora pixels would be set up in such a way that you daisy-chain them but still have individual control of each in a 'line', similar to the digitally-addressable LED strips?
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Re: digital LED strip or wearable LEDs for shirt chaser pattern

by chyldofthebeat on Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:21 pm

Also, if so, any estimate when the Flora and pixels will be back in stock?
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Re: digital LED strip or wearable LEDs for shirt chaser pattern

by adafruit_support_bill on Thu Dec 20, 2012 6:10 am

Yes, the Flora pixels can be daisy-chained. The availability date on the product description page is our best estimate at this point. You can sigh-up for email notification as soon as they are back in stock.
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Re: digital LED strip or wearable LEDs for shirt chaser pattern

by mohawkpiper on Thu Dec 20, 2012 2:05 pm

i didnt know the strips would crack, i guess thats definitely something to consider...
but it has been done with the strips...

http://www.instructables.com/id/Interac ... -Lab-Coat/
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Re: digital LED strip or wearable LEDs for shirt chaser pattern

by pburgess on Thu Dec 20, 2012 3:15 pm

You might get away with it for a while, especially if you avoid high-flex areas like the elbows and shoulders, but eventually solder joints will start to crack and fail. Though the strips are "flexible," they're designed for architectural use...following curves around columns and signs and such, then left in-place, not for repeated bending.

Depending on the garment design, you could try making short backing plates a few inches long, and glue the LED strips to those in sections with flexible cables between them (with strain reliefs to make absolutely certain the solder joints don't move), and sew these on the inside of the garment. Something like BMX armor might also work, since it's not real bulky, it might fit and not look out of place under a loose overcoat.
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Re: digital LED strip or wearable LEDs for shirt chaser pattern

by chyldofthebeat on Mon Dec 24, 2012 12:52 am

Wow, the BMX Armor is a really good idea! That I'll look into!
Also thanks for the other LED strip link!

I did order the Flora starter kit, so I'll play around with that, but I'll also take a look at that tutorial for the LED strip! I don't think I was planning on having the strips around joints, so I'm not too worried about them flexing
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Re: digital LED strip or wearable LEDs for shirt chaser pattern

by bekathwia on Mon Jan 07, 2013 11:57 am

The LED strip definitely simplifies construction of this type of project, and as PhilB says, as long as the strips aren't in high-bend areas and are supported by some kind of shoulder support (football armor etc) you should be fine. The strip and the Flora pixels daisy chain together, but depending on your design you may end up having to wire the end of one line to the beginning of another in order to save pins on your microcontroller. Use a beefy power supply as indicated in the LED strip tutorial and you should be all set!
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Re: digital LED strip or wearable LEDs for shirt chaser pattern

by chyldofthebeat on Mon Mar 04, 2013 8:32 pm

Hmm. So I've got the Flora & its Pixels, and the NeoPixel Digital LED strip and an Arduino Uno. I've played around with the Flora and like it. One question I had is, can it be used to drive the digital LED strip? I started looking at the RGB LED belt kit... it includes a 4xAA battery holder as power source, and uses a small Atmega controller.

I also noticed that the digital LED strip's solder points have holes in them. Can conductive thread be used to connect different 'lines', maybe multiple strands if needed, going from the Flora? Since this is a wearable project I don't want to use wires if I can avoid it, though I guess heatshrinking may be the answer there. I did get some copper tape, if that could be used at all to connect the separate 'lines' together.

My current thinking is, if the Flora can't or shouldn't be used, possibly getting the 4xAA battery holder and Atmega, solder those as per the belt kit, then use copper tape to connect to that stuff (which would be in my pocket) to the start of the LED strip on the shirt, then use conductive thread to connect the different segments.
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Re: digital LED strip or wearable LEDs for shirt chaser pattern

by pburgess on Tue Mar 05, 2013 12:48 am

Flora should work fine with the digital LED strip. The JST battery connector on the Flora accepts 3.5 to 16V, so 4xAA is just dandy (if using alkaline cells, not rechargeables, add a diode as in the belt tutorial to lower the voltage for the LEDs).

Interesting thought on the solder points and conductive thread. I've not tested this combination. Seems like it might work, my only concern there is that the thin flex strip might not have enough surface area for a good connection to the thread (most wearable boards have large vias with lots of contact area).
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Re: digital LED strip or wearable LEDs for shirt chaser pattern

by chyldofthebeat on Tue Mar 05, 2013 10:24 am

Cool, thanks for the info! Yeah at first I was tempted to use the SmartPixels for sewing ease, but I'm not sure how I'd do the plastic tube thing over top of 'em. I wouldn't think they would retain the straight lines as well.

I think I'll get the necessary parts and try out the strip!
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Re: digital LED strip or wearable LEDs for shirt chaser pattern

by chyldofthebeat on Tue Mar 05, 2013 10:30 am

The 4xAA battery holder... do I have to add a JST connector?
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Re: digital LED strip or wearable LEDs for shirt chaser pattern

by chyldofthebeat on Sun Mar 10, 2013 9:12 am

So um... The 3xAAA battery holder has a connector at the end.
Does the 4xAA holder have the same connector, so it can be plugged directly into the Flora?
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Re: digital LED strip or wearable LEDs for shirt chaser pattern

by adafruit_support_bill on Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:29 am

The 4xAA does not have a connector. https://www.adafruit.com/products/830
We do have connectors with leads that could be spliced on: https://www.adafruit.com/products/261
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