Power to the People of Iran

..and welcome to eeeGadgets! This blog is dedicated to everything associated with the wide (and interesting) field of mobile computing. The main focus is on presenting all the various hardware modifications I made to my eeePC, but I will also give short reviews of other interesting Mobile Internet Devices I come across. Further I want to share some tips and tricks I found out to be helpful in getting the most performance out of Ubuntu linux...
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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Adding color-changing LED bottom lights to my eeePC - Part 1

Since I like glowing light gizmos, I thought it would be cool to have an eee that would glow in different colors. If you're familiar with those ambiLight TVs produced by philips, you probably know already that they make the wall behind them glow in the colors of the picture they are just showing at the moment. This means a green hulk (seen in television) would make a green wall, giving you the impression of a more realistic image.
Now while the eee normally isn't hanging on a wall, (or standing face to front of such) mine at least often is standing on a white surface (my desk). Which would make for a nice color reflecting surface. You can surely imagine how it would look like in a dark room!
A new project was born. So I gathered all my google-fu skills, and found a nice LED controller board that would fit into my eeePC 1000H. While it cannot control the LEDs to match the display colors (watch out for part II of this article for real "ambilight"), the controller board I bought delivers individual 8bit pulse width modulated signals for each color, and thus is able to cycle through all possible color combinations (theoretically 16.7 mio different ones) at adjustable speed, and can stop at every color when a pushbutton is pressed (color preset stored even when everything turned off, until next pushbutton press). This was enough for the beginning, so I decided to give it a go. I also got myself some good RGB LEDs in smd form factor, and wired them to the controller board with parts of an old IDE cable I had lying around, of course using the proper resistor (120 ohm) in series to achieve the right current and not burn through my LEDs in several minutes..

Those are the LEDs I used

The controller board itself turned out to run fine with the 5V I wanted to supply it with, so it was just slightly modified in that I removed the push button from it, to be able to relocate it to a more accessible area (the red cables on the upper picture...). The controller was then attached to the back of the miniPCIe wifi card by means of some double-sided tape, and got power supplied by wiring it to one of the external USB jack connector's 5V/GND pins (green wires on pic).

I drilled two holes into the underside of my eee's housing to accomodate the LEDs and made sure they had a nice round shape and smooth edges to make for even light distribution, and finally I assembled everything (which actually was the hardest part, due to place constraints with the IDE cable wiring).

But I think the result was worth it.

Judge for yourself..

(looks MUCH better in the dark)

If you would like to copy this mod for your eeePC, maybe it helps you to know that I bought the controller board from a company called "LED-tech", you can find it easily with the google search button on top of my page, its the second entry on the results page I think (the search function is customized exactly for such purposes - finding vendors of needed modding parts in no time). By the way, you can buy your LEDs from them as well, saves on shipping costs. I got mine from them too, and they are pretty good. ;)

Make sure to read about the second part of this adventure too (featuring true "ambilight", color changing in real time with the LCD's colors when watching movies - I designed my own microcontroller for this) , which will be made available soon on this blog (as soon as I finish the work on it).

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