Addressable LEDs

Getting started with addressable LEDs

In this guide I will show you what you need for an Audectra project with addressable LEDs, how to connect everything together and how to set everything up in Audectra. In my terminology addressable LEDs are strips or panels with RGB LEDs , where each LED can be controlled individually, like WS2812B RGB LEDs for example. Thus each LED is hereby referred to as a pixel. In contrast to non-addressable LEDs, these typically have at least one data channel, where the pixel information of all subsequent LEDs are pushed through.

Requirements

Lets discuss first what you’ll need for this kind of project. Beside the RGB strip or panel, referred to as target, you will need the following components.

Bridge Controller

This component is responsible for applying the render it receives from Audectra to your target. Currently, Audectra is capable of pushing the render encapsulated in the TPM2 or TPM2.Net protocol down to your bridge controller either over a serial interface or UDP.

You can simply buy TPM2 or TPM2.Net controllers on the internet, generally named “LED Player” or “TPM2 Controller”, if you don’t insist on building one on your own. In this case, you can take a look at our base firmware images in our Github repository. If you need help with this step, you are more than welcome to ask for help in the forums.

Note that each controller comes with a limitation of how many addressable LEDs it is able to control. However, you can easily create multiple patches of addressable strips or panels, hook them up in either one multi-channel controller or multiple single channel controllers, and patch them together to one big project in Audectra later on. I will show you in the guide below, how you can patch up multiple channels together to one project.

Power Supply

Don’t underestimate your power hungry strips or panels! Follow this guide to select the right power supply for your project!

Building the setup

The following illustration shows you roughly how to connect everything up.

The host is the PC, where you are running Audectra. The bridge receives the output render, which in this case is single-channel configuration, and applies the received pixel information on the target.

First steps in Audectra

Lets hook up your new target by adding a new client in Audectra and creating a sample project. If you need some help with the user interface, take a look at this guide! Since the exact configuration in the next few steps highly depend on your target or setup, we will consider two 16×16 panels connected to one multi-channel bridge controller and patch them together to one bigger project in this guide.

Adding a new client

Switch to the clients tab by clicking on the second button on the right side of Aduectra. This will open the client wizard, which will guide you through the process. First, you need to specify the connection settings. Note, that these settings depend on your system and configuration.

Clicking next will take you to the channel configuration for this new client. In this guide we cover the single-channel case, but you can easily add more channels if you are controlling more than one target from this bridge. Click on the “+” button on the top of the channel list to add a new channel. Set the pixel dimensions according to your target. In this guide, we will consider two channels with 16×16 pixels, which we want to stick together to one 32×16 project alter on.

 

Clicking next will show you a summary of your configuration. If it looks alright, click finish to add the new client to Audectra. Feel free to give your client a reasonable name by selecting it and pressing “F2” on your keyboard, enter the name you want to give it and hit enter.

Creating a sample project

With our multi-channel bridge connected and configured, lets create a new project for it. Switch to the projects tab by clicking the third button on the right side of Audectra. This will open the project wizard, which will guide you in creating a new project.

Select the “WS2812 Strip” project type on the right side and click next. The wizard will now ask you to specify, if you intend to create a strip or a panel project.

Select the panel project on the right side and click next. Now you will be asked to specify the pixel dimensions for this new project, which is in this case 32×16 for the guide.

Click next, review the configuration summary of your new project and click on the finish button to add this new project to Audectra. Now your new project is added to the project list on the left side of the project tab. Feel free to give it a reasonable name by selecting the project and pressing “F2” on your keyboard, enter the name you want to give it and hit enter.

Patching up the project

In this guide, we now have a 32×16 pixels project, but two targets with each 16×16 pixels. In this step, we will configure Audectra to split up the projects output render in two 16×16 renders and push them down to the corresponding channels of our multi-channel bridge. Select your new project and right click on it, click on “Patch” to open the patching wizard.

Select the channel you for the right side of the panel and click next. You will be asked to specify the patching mode for your new patch, which is in our case the “Snakelines – Top Left” patch mode.

After clicking next, the wizard asks you to set the position of the new patch, which is in our case 0 – 0, specifying the position for the left part of the projects render. Click next to review your patch configuration and click the finish button to add it.

I’ve added another patch analogously to the first one, but selecting the other channel of our multi-channel bridge and setting the patch position to 16 – 0, to push the right side of the project render to the other channel.

After adding both patches, the project list will show all applied patches under its node, like shown in the following image.

Adding a project state

So far we have connected our multi-channel bridge, where two 16×16 pixels panels are hooked up, and configured a new project to push patches of the output render to both targets. With the newly added project selected, switch to the “States Tab” and click on the “+” button to add a new state to the project. You can rename the new state just like described for the project tab above.

This project is going to be a single state project, thus we don’t need to add any further states or transitions.

Adding some effect layers

Now we can start adding some effect layers! With the new state selected, switch to the layers tab and add a new “Fire” effect layer by clicking on the “+” button below the layer list and selecting “Fire”. Rename it to “Fire” by selecting it and pressing “F2”, enter “Fire” and press enter.

Your target should now light up according to what you see in the layer preview. If it doesn’t, check your configuration and setup again. If you need further assistance, get in touch with us in the support forum. Add another layer, but with the “Color Wheel” effect, and rename the layer to “Rainbow”. Additionally change the blending of the “Rainbow” layer to “Soft Light” and its opacity to about 75%.

Next we want to bind the intensity of the fire effect to the total signal energy of our music output. First, open the layer configuration by selecting the “Fire” layer and clicking on the “LS” button below the layer list. This will open the layer settings as a side panel beside Audectras main window.

Click on the bind button beside the slider for the emission rate of the fire effect to open the expression editor for this value layer setting. Paste the following expression: “Limit((10 * Log10(Energy.Total) + 40) / 100, 0.20)”. which will bind the emission rate logarithmic to the total signal energy of your music output, offset and scale it, and limit it to 20 percent.

Click “OK” to save the binding. Right click on the bind button beside the emission rate slider to activate the binding, which will turn the button green. We’re done! Feel free to temper around with the project by adding new bindings, effect layers or states with transitions! But first, lets save the project in the next setup.

Saving the project

Go back to the projects tab, select your project, right click on it and select “Save”. This will open a dialog, asking you to specify the path and name for your project file. Click on “Save” and you’re done! Have fun!