Stage Lighting

So the stage size is settled, it will use 3×3 LEGO standard baseplates (32×32 studs each).

Now time to think about the lighting.

For the first version I wanted to be able to control each of the spotlights individually. To minimize wiring I decided to use a 1-wire bus (2 wires for power, 1 wire for data) and I found a 1-wire USB controller that worked very well with linux and (of course) with ev3dev.

I was very happy with the Ev3 1-wire network but not so happy with the way I wired it with my LEGO trusses. I tried to create a pluggable system that would allow me to easily extend the number of spots but never got a decent and discreet solution so I use only fixed size wires, soldered in a daisy-chain. It worked but “locked” my spotlights to the trusses permanently.

So for this new version I decided to use just one or two control channels and use common LEGO Power Function lights (well, at least for this year).

As for the trusses that support the spotlights I also decided to try non-Technic parts – I liked my previous design with only Technic parts but it was already noticeable that the spotlights were too heavy and the 32L axles were bending.

Since LEGO has a truss brick already, lets try it:

So 1 one channel is easy: each Power Functions Light assures 2 spotlights and I just need to daisy chain several of them. We can even make the lights blink with just a electro-mechanic controller like In this video:

Unfortunately it makes to0 much noise so I will have to use something purely electric.

Xutos’ 25th Anniversary concert was indoor (at ‘Pavilhão Atlântico’, currently named ‘Altisse Arena’) and the lights were suspended from the ceilling so there were no vertical trusses in front of the band. If I can’t  keep it realistic I can try a mix: keep the X-shaped stage used in that concert but use a dome truss similar to this model they used in several outdoor concerts in the last couple of years:

So I tried an arch with the LEGO trusses to see it stands hold:

Then I added the Power Functions lights but since the weight was too much I had to redesign it a bit, ending with a much larger arc:

It holds ‘per se’ but is not stable at all, tending to fall to the front or to the back. So a second or even a third arc was needed and also had to raise it a bit because when wife saw it she said the lights were too low and that would prevent people to see the stage. And since wife is always right…

This has been holding tight in our leaving room for the last 7 days (and we have 2 kids!) so I’ll might just reinforce the middle connections of the trusses that have Power Functions cable extensions.

This is already a 2-channel system so I can control half of the spotlights at any time. So it’s a proper time to finally add a MINDSTORMS EV3 to the project… and since I already got six small battery-powered active speakers I can also play a music:


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