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Bored with Pandemic lockdown like the rest of us I started playing around with Arduino and LED strips.

I soon ran into the “ping pong ball LED clock” by thomasj152 at…

and decided to give it a try.

Now after many (way too many!) hours of learning and messing around I thought I’d publish the changes I have made to it - while the concept and execution is roughly the same, I ended up rewriting much of the software so that it is (I think) more flexible and quite different.

Two major changes were made:

- I replaced the ping pong ball diffusers with cloth. The effect isn’t quite as funky but it’s easier and shows how the LED’s are on a grid, instead of making it look like a hex pattern
- The software was largely rewritten to make it more flexible and allow for sprite - based animations

I ended up coding not just a clock but something that is almost a 23x7 pixel full colour LED display, with a set of different animations. In hindsight this was absolute madness - I’m sure there is an Arduino library out there somewhere which would have accomplished the same hassle-free and more efficiently, but the point was to keep myself distracted while in lockdown.

This instructable relies heavily on thomasj’s original for details, partly because I didnt change that much, partly because I forgot to take photos at the right time while assembling. I’m now working on a new version which will be more compact (higher density LED strip), have more pixels (24x12) and will be entirely in a 3D printed body, which should allow me to hide away the electronics a bit nicer. When (if) that is done I’ll publish a new one.

Hope you all like the result and look forward to seeing what creative modifications there may be out there!

- Triplex plate (I had some lying around spare, any flat background should do for mounting)
- Frame materials (I 3D printed these, but anything will do as long as it holds the cloth away from the LED’s)
- Semitranslucent cloth – I used some spare translucent curtain, an old t-shirt should work well too
- A 220V AC – 5V DC adapter I had lying around which I had stripped the wires bare
- Hotglue and a gluegun
- Arduino nano (clone): from China, ~1.50€)
- WS2812B LED strip (30 LEDs/meter, 5m, ~10)
- Wire, connectors, tools – I started out with an Arduino kit which had enough Dupont wires for my needs.
- Soldering iron and solder”

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