I think you’ve all heard of Ambilight, the Philips exclusive system on the top of its televisions. No ? Strange. Finally, the ambilight system uses LEDs to project the colors from the edges of your image to the back wall. Basically it looks like this:
If I’m telling you about that, it’s because I find the idea really excellent. Having projected light allows you better immersion with a feeling of having a larger screen and two to avoid visual fatigue (it can replace the much recommended small nightlight when watching TV). In short, I’ve been enjoying such a system for a while now, but I didn’t want to replace my PC screen (which is in 21: 9 format) with a Philips television. And that’s how I heard about LightPack, an open source system simulating Ambilight, funded through KickStarter. Of course dozens of other systems exist now, but I found it to be the easiest to set up and use.
Good after you have dropped a sumptuous photo (I have to furnish) with a storage of cables worthy of the D & co show, here is a little explanation. The LightPack system consists of three key elements:
The 10 ribbons are connected to the control box, then the control box is itself connected to the PC via USB. Once the installation is complete, everything happens on the computer. Indeed we have a management software, either Prismatik (developed by the guys from LightPack), or AmbiBox another control software. These, once launched, analyze the image of your screen to then manage the colors of the different strips of LEDs. The configuration is carried out very easily using a small rectangle to be placed where desired, while managing several profiles.
For information, the black bands on the sides are normal, indeed having a 21: 9 th screen, I have the right to black bands on everything that is in 16: 9 th format (anime, youtube, console, etc. .).
Well, since a picture is worth more than words, here are two videos above and below of the visual rendering of the LightPack.
The advantages of such a system are quite numerous, firstly and this is a very important point, that greatly reduces eye strain for those who are not used to using a night light. On the other hand, this system allows better immersion with a feeling of having a slightly larger screen. As I have used it (and you guessed it I think) the films are not so colorized than we think and we find ourselves most of the time with rather dark projected colors. Unlike the anime where I enjoy! The only limitation comes from the aspect ratio of my screen, forcing me to have a few black bands on the sides when watching 16: 9 content, but otherwise the rendering is just great!
A Lighpack system costs $ 89 (~ € 80) on the official website, note that it is possible to have up to 5 Lightpacks at the same time (for very, very, very large TVs). Of course, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate!
Ambi-like with a WS2801 ribbon, a Raspberry Pi and Hyperion
The Ambilight system from Phiilips has made my eyes soft for too long, so I decided to make a DIY Ambilight system. There is no shortage of projects and tutorials on the net, many people have tried their hand at exercise and some apps are even very complete now (Hyperion not to mention it).
In terms of hardware, I chose a 50 led strip, a 5v 8A power supply and a jack power connector.
- 1 strip of 50 LEDs WS2801 for 21 €;
- 1 5V 8A power supply for 12 €;
- 1 jack power connector (individually 3 € or 10 for 7 €).
I started by making a frame with pieces of MDF that were of no use to me. It’s light, easy to work with but quickly weakened with the holes given the thickness.
Connection with the Raspberry Pi
The connection with the Raspberry Pi is relatively simple, as you can see in the diagram below.
Since LEDs are voltage sensitive, it is preferable to power them with an external power supply connected in parallel to the 5v of the GPIO port.
The easiest way to use Hyperion is to use a Raspbian on your Raspberry Pi, if you ever absolutely want to run on a different OS, I can bring you back to the Hyperion wiki which explains the additional procedure to follow here.
First, you need to install a few libraries to run Hyperion on your Raspberi Pi.
sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get install libqtcore4 libqtgui4 libqt4-network libusb-1.0-0 libprotobuf7 ca-certificates
Then downloaded and deployed Hyperion.
wget -N https://raw.github.com/tvdzwan/hyperion/master/bin/install_hyperion.sh sudo sh ./install_hyperion.sh
Note that Hyperion will launch automatically the next time the Raspberry Pi is started.
You can then test simple to light your ribbon in red.
hyperion-remote –priority 50 –color red –duration 5000
If you want to disable the automatic launch of Hyperion on startup.
sudo / sbin / initctl stop hyperion rm /etc/init/hyperion.conf
For information, I could not get my Edimax usb / wifi connector to work on the Raspbmc even though it was working fine on my Raspbian, so I resolved to connect my Raspberry Pi to RJ45.
There is a free Android app to control the Hyperion server remotely, available on the store.
Hyperion has a very well done configuration software, called HyperCon, it allows you to manage all the LEDs (position, colors, lighting, size, etc.). All the possibilities are detailed in the previous link.
Hypercon will therefore generate a hyperion.config.json file for you to drop by default in / etc.
My MDF frame is not very strong, I bought some steel angles, which I cut and then painted. The result is much better, the whole is solid, light and holds up much better on TV.
Configuration with XBMC
I struggled for a while before getting my XBMC to communicate in my media center (Windows) with the Hyperion server on the Raspberry Pi.
The only solution (at the moment) that I have found is to go through the XBMC Boblight addon which makes communication between XBMC and Hyperion possible over the network.
I tested the Hyperion addon for XBMC but could not establish a connection …
Ambilight system using
the colors actually are 99% true, the whites in this video have been more purple since im recording using my iphone: D
so, here is guys, the ultimate ambilight clone you can do.
What are we trying to accomplish scan the edges of a screen and determine the average color of those spots, then apply those colors to the LEDs, in a quick way, that we shouldn’t notice any r **** d while watching a clip
to do this we need:
* addressable leds, to be exact we need the ws2801, they come in a lot of shapes, i got the 5m strip from:
* arduino uno microcontroller with usb cable, you can find it easily, no need to buy online .. :))
* a pc under windows, I only tested under windows 8.1 pro x 64 and recently with windows 10 pro x64
* a power supply to power the leds, in this case im using the pc power supply to get the voltage of 5 volts, don’t use the power from arduino or usb, it would not work.
the whole project normally costs around $ 70, if you get the whole 5m of led strip.
We are going to connect these wires… 🙂
Step 1: Wire connection diagram
connect everything from the IN side to led strip and not from the external side, since this strip is not analog, it is digital, direction of the data is important
the ws2801 has 4 conductors to be connected, let’s start with the ground, ground from the GND led strip to the arduino and the power supplies to the ground, very important to avoid flickering.
the next thing is to connect the arduino pc, easy, using usb cable.
to power the led strip we need 5v, tab the is not used a molex connector in your spower supply, usually 5v is the red wire, check with a voltmeter, if it has it, plug it into the 5v in the led strip
two wires are lifting, the SD is the data, connect pin 11 on the arduino
last wire is ck wire, which is clock wire, connect it to pin 13 on arduino.
It’s all about the connections
an observation :
your led strip around the setup screen, you can either make it go all around the screen, or just the main 2 sides and top like i did, since usually the bottom of the screen is not far from a table, it would look a lot better if your screen was on a wall, the closer to the wall the better.
Step 2: Code, software and downloads
first of all, download arduino IDE, install it.
Download this library:
fastled downlaod library
import the zip library to arduino IDE.
You have to know which com port your arduino is connected to, you can find the usage of the manager device.
Download the sketch and upload it.
on pc we need the capture program, i have tested all 3 programs, ambibox is the best so far, specially if you are on windows 10, it has the ability to capture your screen and full screen apps and games, so no worries 🙂
last thing is to install ambibox, select adalight as a device, choose your com port.
count how many LEDs you’ve used around your screen, set up your scan box, and you’re good to go.
Note that some bands have different colored stops, the one I got is BGR so you can select which also… 🙂
Also note that the arduino sketch is not the same as the one on the adalight site, I have found this modified ruler faster version that works fine with me
for the capture method, select windows 8, even if you are under windows 10.
You can you change the parameters such as gamma and saturation to make the colors match the color screen.
ambibox has many other features like constant color and mobile control as well as profiling for certain moods like letterbox movies and full screen videos.