Beacon3-OriginalPlans

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Beacon3 will be a more ambitious version of the Beacon2 project, targeted for use at Burning Man 2011.

Project Status

Putting together rough ideas, real work won't start until after Burning Man 2010 is over and we find out what worked well with Beacon2.

Post-2010 Burn Notes

  • Should be brighter than Beacon2, as it wasn't super-visible.
  • Maybe use 8x8 LED matrices? 3 around the pole to make a triangle, or 4 or 5 to make a box/pentagon maybe. Will have to order a few and play with them.
  • Larger than Beacon2 would be good too, as that would also help make it more visible.
  • Program 0 should run for less time. No more than 5 seconds at a time.

Pre-2010 Burn Random Ideas/Notes

  • LEDs up the whole flag pole, not just a beacon at the top like Beacon2 is.
    • Maybe do the guy lines too?
    • Maybe don't even involve the flagpole, make this standalone on the open playa?
  • Modular design like Beacon2 will keep costs down and make assembly and programming easier.
    • Master board will be a controller only, will have no local LEDs
  • Two half-circle boards at each level will increase yield, make assembly easier, and keep the board size within Eagle's limits
    • Maybe use 0.1" pitch rectangular connectors with locking arms to join the halves?
      • Like Digikey's OR1001-ND (would be about $1.50 per board in connectors, not too bad)
  • I2C probably makes the most sense for inter-board communications
    • Means basically any CPUs can be used on master/slave boards
  • Local regulators on each slave board will give more flexibility in lighting and less worries about how many LEDs can be on at once
    • Using switching regulators will greatly improve efficiency (and therefore runtime)
  • Transistors on each LED so that we don't have limits on how many LEDs per CPU
    • Alternatively could use a proper LED driver chip
      • Have a local ATwhatever to do supervisory functions on each board, and the LED driver to actually PWM the LEDs and such
      • I2C for inter-board comms and SPI for intra-board comms would work (as long as the ATwhatever has both at the same time supported)
  • Raw power supply will be completely separate, charging will be done as a separate board/project if required
  • PWM for all LEDs
  • LEDs need to be surface mount! Dealing with the through-hole LEDs on Beacon2 was a huge pain.