Wires, Enclosures, and LEDs… Oh My!

Well, I’ve actually gotten quite a but accomplished the last two nights. Last night I got the remaining cords set in their enclosures. I also got the first of the PVC pipes that will be used to hang the enclosure outside attached. The plan is to drive 1/2″ rebar in the ground and slide the 3/4″ PVC that is attached to the enclosure over the rebar in order to keep the enclosure off the ground. The PVC has a cap glued on top to keep it sitting on top of the rebar, but I was worried that over the years, resting it on top of the rebar would start to wear on the cap, so before capping off the PVC, I took a cork from a wine bottle, and cut it in half. I put half the cork in the PVC and capped it off. The cork fit in rather tight, so it will lend some support itself and hopefully will help protect the cap.

I attached the PVC to the enclosures using the conduit mounts provided. After knocking out the… well… knockouts, I shoved a hose clamp in and tightened it down on the PVC. A small warning however, if you decide to go this route, be sure to not tighten it too much. On my test install of the PVC a few days ago, I tightened it too much and you can see where it started pulling the mount away. I think it will be fine, but if I had gone any further, i might be looking for some epoxy to make some repairs. Once attached, I filled in the holes where the hose clamps run through the inside the enclosure with hot glue. Someone on DIYC mentioned that he seals his enclosures with hot glue rather than sillicone because the silicone is corrosive to the electronics (I was going to use silicone). I don’t know if there is any truth to that, but I liked the idea of the hot glue because it would flow into crevices better, and would harden a lot faster. I wish I had used the hot glue rather than Goop on the screws, both for those reasons, and because once the Goop hardened, it seemed to shrink up a bit and I wasn’t too convinced of the seal it left on the screws that come through the enclosure. Just to be sure, I covered all the screw heads with a glob of hot glue. I also put hot glue on the outside where the hose clamp goes into the enclosure… say it with me… just to be safe.

I’ve got two more enclosures to get the PVC mounted to and the hot glue in and then it’s time to start wiring. After I got enclosure #1’s PVC installed and the hot glue on, I went ahead and put the PCB/Heat Sink in and re-wired it since all of the wires in that enclosure were already cut and tinned from the last time, so I once again have 1 complete working Ren24.

I probably could have kept going, but I was too excited about my other toys. The 1000 LEDs that I ordered from eBay arrived today from Hong Kong. These are the LEDs that will be going in the pixels. I wired up three of each color to see if they were going to work out and it appears that indeed they will. The plan is to put each pixel in a 5LB white food container, so I wanted to see how the LEDs diffused with white plastic. The closest I could find was a white plastic cup from Howards Pub, Ocracoke Island, NC. On a side note, if you ever get to Cape Hatteras, NC, make the ferry trip to Ocracoke Island. Eating at Howards is way worth it! Anyhow as you can see from the pics, the LEDs diffused nicely with the cup. They are actually brighter than I expected and that is only with three LEDs of each color. Each pixel will actually have 6 of each color, so I think the 5LB containers should work perfectly. I have pretty good faith that JEC will come through with new Pixel boards, but I’ve decided that if for some reason that falls through (which if it did, I don’t think would be any of his doing), that I want these things so bad, that I’ll lay out my own board (I think I’m capable), and get them printed up myself. I think he’ll come through though!

The last pictures of the set are of the LEDs – straight on. I found some information at Evil Mad Scientist about photographing LEDs, so I wanted to give it a try on the LEDs for the Pixels. They didn’t turn out too bad!

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