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Oct 28, 2021 - 9:09:02 AM

Lightingbanjo

Netherlands

123 posts since 10/17/2011

1) Project Start

Started setting up hardware for new lights and updating the software for the effects/animation in the Banjos we will be using this winter. We hope to play again this year during Christmas after the locked down Christmas of 2020 and we will use a Long Neck Banjo (Richwood) and a Bass banjo (BB-400). So two banjos with lights this year.
Some project challenges are:
* the 14" size of the bass banjo (we need more leds on the inside and outside)
* standard head of the Goldtone Bass is too transparant so we need to add some diffusing material to make lights look better/more diffuse
* get communication between the two banjos so make the animations work together. Currently looking at Zigbee radios.
* playing the long neck and the bass

2) Update new disk + more leds arround - the BB-400+ Bass Banjo

New LEDs on 300mm disk (total increased with 108 compared to the 11" headed banjo). Outside number of leds increased from 24 to 32 to match the number of brackets.

Hardware and software for the 300mm disk updated. New animations added are Rudolph the Rednose and Snow Flake (last one inspired by Nature & Helix).

Tried to get some other 14" heads (white frosted) but all of them are drum heads, not fitting the BB-400. Only one I could find is the Remo 14" Renaissance Diplomat banjo head. Also noticed that the original Remo 14" head showed some difference of height along the metal ring looks like glue is degraded and that the zero fret used in the (new) BB-400 just dropped out during dismounting of head which gave some set-up problems/confusion during re-assembly.

3) Adding sound activation - Driving Home for Christmas

Extra in project is adding a sound sensor so light animation will start running when we start playing. Implemented it for the "on the road" animation, see short clip below in replies. Sound level is reviewed in a period of 1-3 seconds and if it is high enough animation is started and is accelerated to the maximum speed limit in a couple of seconds. When sound is below the threshold it will stop after 10-15s. Can also be used to record and monitor the activity of the banjo player .

4) Building in the 300mm disk - Back to Bass

The diffusing light filter material arrived and we've put the foil behind the 14" head, build-in the 300mm disk with 363 LEDs and re-installed the Humbucker on the outside. The filter works quite well and the light is diffused in all direction. This makes the appearance of the animation more equal for all viewing angles. As our bass player does not use wooden thumb rest we removed it from the head. As the Humbucker element was original mounted inside it has been removed and we'll re-install it above the strings at the last fret positions, see picture below. Also some pictures added of the Bass Banjo with the build-in disk and some pictures of the long neck and bass banjo together.

5) Communicating Banjos – Dueling Radios

 

When more banjos have lights, communication between them will enable animations or light effects to work together just as musicians in a band play together. Connecting them together with wires would be the most simple, but using wireless communication is more friendly in use, enables wider (future) communication possibilities and from engineering point of view a bit more challenging.  

A well-known wireless communication protocol nowadays in (Lighting) Electronics is called Zigbee and the radio units we use for sending and receiving messages are Xbees. The Xbees can be easily hooked up with the micro-controllers we use inside and the software we use to set-up the radios is called XCTU (from DIGI international). A picture of first communication between the Long Neck Radio and the BB Radio is shown below. In our case the Long Neck Radio is programmed as Coordinator (or Master) and the Banjo Bass as Router (or Slave).

The Coordinator sends out the message for example "GGGABCDCB" and the router listens and repeats.


Edited by - Lightingbanjo on 11/23/2021 08:12:43

Oct 28, 2021 - 9:20:06 AM

3 posts since 7/16/2017

Well that is tremendous. Maybe some day people will be able to afford a nicer instrument by agreeing to flashing advertisements? Just kidding around. I wonder if these new micro projectors would have any utility for stage performance? Thank you for sharing

Oct 28, 2021 - 11:23:20 AM
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Lightingbanjo

Netherlands

123 posts since 10/17/2011

Hi D,
Thanks for reply. We are using it for playing on-stage and outside playing. Advertisements would be something. We are always in for some additional earnings smiley
Inside the banjos I am using LEDs.

Oct 28, 2021 - 11:32:06 AM

9091 posts since 8/28/2013

I think ads on banjo heads could alienate some people, me for one. Product hype is already out of hand, as far as I'm concerned (I've seen ads in public restrooms and ads on DVDs, usually for movies I'd never want to see, ads on sports equipment, T-shirts, and heaven knows what else).

Please stick to decorative lights. One could even change the pattern dependiing on the song or its mood. I'm all for creativity, but not the use of such things in an attempt to sell useless products. Make money some other way besides selling out, please!

Oct 28, 2021 - 11:42:39 AM

199 posts since 2/27/2009

Pretty sure they were joking about the ads...

Oct 28, 2021 - 1:04:20 PM
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2374 posts since 9/25/2006

Ok, now we need somebody to create a group for those who like to put lights in their banjos! Someone get on that, would ya? LOL! I just love it. I also owned a Gold Tone Banjo Bass (without lights lol.). It was a basic model from when they were first introduced, not the BB-400+. I really enjoyed it and it sounded fantstic.

Oct 28, 2021 - 1:05:30 PM
likes this

2374 posts since 9/25/2006

quote:
Originally posted by Lightingbanjo

Hi D,
Thanks for reply. We are using it for playing on-stage and outside playing. Advertisements would be something. We are always in for some additional earnings smiley
Inside the banjos I am using LEDs.


You have to excuse us, we Americans are always looking for a way to make a buck!  LOL.  

Oct 29, 2021 - 2:21:25 AM

Lightingbanjo

Netherlands

123 posts since 10/17/2011

quote:
Originally posted by revellfa

Ok, now we need somebody to create a group for those who like to put lights in their banjos! Someone get on that, would ya? LOL! I just love it. I also owned a Gold Tone Banjo Bass (without lights lol.). It was a basic model from when they were first introduced, not the BB-400+. I really enjoyed it and it sounded fantstic.


Our bass player is also enthusiastic about the BB-400, previous years he played the electric bass but with this one it get's more acoustic and ofcourse from lighting engineering point of view I can do more with it smiley. I was looking for other head (more white & frosted so lights diffuse better) and looked at some 14" head at music stores but as these are drum heads they don't fit as the metal ring is too thick. Also the head material is much thicker, ofcourse too enable higher strength for drum sticks.

Only one I could find for sale is the 14″ Renaissance one. 

Oct 29, 2021 - 5:35:32 AM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

14793 posts since 8/30/2006

revellfa: Thanks Frankie, I like this idea, let's go.

Lightingbanjo: thank you for doing this work, it's ok to push on the screen. Don't listen to Scrooge, think about Christmas and the New Year.

If anyone is interested there is a known correlation between sound and color, so colors have been assigned to different notes of the 8 tone scale.

I am very interested in supporting your performances, let us know, please.


Oct 29, 2021 - 7:32:33 AM

Lightingbanjo

Netherlands

123 posts since 10/17/2011

quote:
Originally posted by Helix

revellfa: Thanks Frankie, I like this idea, let's go.

Lightingbanjo: thank you for doing this work, it's ok to push on the screen. Don't listen to Scrooge, think about Christmas and the New Year.

If anyone is interested there is a known correlation between sound and color, so colors have been assigned to different notes of the 8 tone scale.

I am very interested in supporting your performances, let us know, please.


Hi Helix Thanks 

Would be great to hear some more on sound & color or if you can share a link or reference. Next to sound detection I'm thinking of tone/chord detection so the colors change with the tones or chords. Hope to find some time to implement these nice ideas.

......and you know these electronics & banjos don't grow on trees  so if anyone wants to sponsor I am happy to make a nice company logo/animation during one of our plays. 

I remember Earl Scruggs also did something with cookies. 

Edited by - Lightingbanjo on 10/29/2021 07:33:40

Nov 8, 2021 - 6:18:35 AM

Lightingbanjo

Netherlands

123 posts since 10/17/2011

Project update
New LEDs on 300mm disk (total increased with 108 compared to the 11") for inside mounting into the BB-400 with 14" head. As the original head is too transparent we have to add additional diffusion material on the backside of the head, material ordered but waiting for it to arrive.

Hardware and software for the 300mm disk updated and below are two pictures of two animations. Rudolph the Rednose is a new one added for our Christmas show.

Next step 
* Building disk with diffuser into the BB-400
* get Radio communication between the Long Neck & Bass banjo so animation will work together


Nov 8, 2021 - 7:22:59 AM
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Lightingbanjo

Netherlands

123 posts since 10/17/2011

Added picture with Rudolph the Rednose animation on my Longneck, Using BJ-1100-M1 with coated top. Coating on this one is good for getting a nice light diffusion.


Nov 9, 2021 - 4:34:40 AM
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Players Union Member

Helix

USA

14793 posts since 8/30/2006

You will have to research the esoterics, it's in the literature. Note the chakras, each year and each day go through a rainbow progression. It is yours to exploit in a positive fashion. Every sunrise goes from indigo to red, then sunset.
Innovation is allowed here on the hangout, I use spoons as a "passive distributor" and Fresnel ledges to bounce sound with. 


In '76 in Portland, Oregon, I knew the drummer experimenting with colored tips on the drumsticks, they used batteries inside the Hickory.

But the technology is now fantastic. I met a drummer the other day who has red on the downstroke and blue on the upstroke.
Yes, it is fantastic, adaptable and expensive, I'll try to get a link for you, But they are way ahead of us.

Regarding commercial messages, they can be very enjoyable if used in the right way. No one has done it, not Scrooge.

Just for the fun, check out the fireflies or lightning bugs, they glow in several different colors to find mates.

Get ready for potential mates attracted by the pretty lights.

Let's get into some GOOD trouble. It would be good self-advocacy to go and get a company to sponsor their advertising on your banjos. Present them with a budget because their product will be seen in a very direct marketing situation, explore this territory, it's new. You need tech money.

A certain person tried to get Flatt and Scruggs barred from playing on the Grand Ole Opry, so they went and got Mrs. White's for a sponsor and cured that toxic personality blister.

Keep going, here's 4 hawks at sunrise, you never know what will happen.  Go forth.  


Edited by - Helix on 11/09/2021 04:49:04

Nov 10, 2021 - 9:12:59 AM

Lightingbanjo

Netherlands

123 posts since 10/17/2011

Thanks for feedback yes
Inspired by nature - new animation snow flake - during song it will grow, melt, change appearance, etc  Also many nice Snow Flake songs to play.
For $ we are looking for music/art (light) festivals to play but sponsoring would be an option too, to get funding for Light up project.
Working on new animation called "Logos on Banjos", a company can get their logo on banjo and the banjo player who has the light installed can turn it off by paying subscription.  
  
 
 
 
quote:
Originally posted by Helix

You will have to research the esoterics, it's in the literature. Note the chakras, each year and each day go through a rainbow progression. It is yours to exploit in a positive fashion. Every sunrise goes from indigo to red, then sunset.
Innovation is allowed here on the hangout, I use spoons as a "passive distributor" and Fresnel ledges to bounce sound with. 


In '76 in Portland, Oregon, I knew the drummer experimenting with colored tips on the drumsticks, they used batteries inside the Hickory.

But the technology is now fantastic. I met a drummer the other day who has red on the downstroke and blue on the upstroke.
Yes, it is fantastic, adaptable and expensive, I'll try to get a link for you, But they are way ahead of us.

Regarding commercial messages, they can be very enjoyable if used in the right way. No one has done it, not Scrooge.

Just for the fun, check out the fireflies or lightning bugs, they glow in several different colors to find mates.

Get ready for potential mates attracted by the pretty lights.

Let's get into some GOOD trouble. It would be good self-advocacy to go and get a company to sponsor their advertising on your banjos. Present them with a budget because their product will be seen in a very direct marketing situation, explore this territory, it's new. You need tech money.

A certain person tried to get Flatt and Scruggs barred from playing on the Grand Ole Opry, so they went and got Mrs. White's for a sponsor and cured that toxic personality blister.

Keep going, here's 4 hawks at sunrise, you never know what will happen.  Go forth.  



Edited by - Lightingbanjo on 11/10/2021 09:15:25

Nov 10, 2021 - 9:21:30 AM

Jbo1

USA

1069 posts since 5/19/2007

That's a really fun idea. Instead of different heads, you might just need to install an acrylic plate over the LEDs. There are many types of diffuser film from crystal dust to translucent white that would work. Be sure and post some videos. Did you make the LED disks or is that something off the shelf?

Nov 10, 2021 - 12:00:33 PM
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Lightingbanjo

Netherlands

123 posts since 10/17/2011

quote:
Originally posted by Jbo1

That's a really fun idea. Instead of different heads, you might just need to install an acrylic plate over the LEDs. There are many types of diffuser film from crystal dust to translucent white that would work. Be sure and post some videos. Did you make the LED disks or is that something off the shelf?


Thanks for feedback. Indeed I ordered some diffusing filter material, used for stage lights (LEE 216 & 250). But not sure if it will work. The frosted Reno head I mentioned works quite well and no additional filter is required but for BB-400 head is too transparent. Installing some acrylic plates over the disk could also be an option to be further explored. Also adding some white plastic folie from a supermarket bag improves it significantly but not from view angles it's the same. 

Some videos on light animations you can find on:

https://lightupyourbanjo.com/banjo-lights

or in earlier posts

The disks used you can get off shelf, make yourself on a PCB or you could use LED strips. if you are interested in making something yourself you can sent me an email I will be happy to give some support/tips. For new project I want to use LED strips to increase the number of pixels.

Edited by - Lightingbanjo on 11/10/2021 12:06:28

Nov 12, 2021 - 12:00:49 AM

Lightingbanjo

Netherlands

123 posts since 10/17/2011

quote:
Originally posted by Lightingbanjo

Hi D,
Thanks for reply. We are using it for playing on-stage and outside playing. Advertisements would be something. We are always in for some additional earnings smiley
Inside the banjos I am using LEDs.



Nov 12, 2021 - 12:02:27 AM
like this

Lightingbanjo

Netherlands

123 posts since 10/17/2011

quote:
Originally posted by G Edward Porgie

I think ads on banjo heads could alienate some people, me for one. Product hype is already out of hand, as far as I'm concerned (I've seen ads in public restrooms and ads on DVDs, usually for movies I'd never want to see, ads on sports equipment, T-shirts, and heaven knows what else).

Please stick to decorative lights. One could even change the pattern dependiing on the song or its mood. I'm all for creativity, but not the use of such things in an attempt to sell useless products. Make money some other way besides selling out, please!



Nov 12, 2021 - 5:23:02 AM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

14793 posts since 8/30/2006

Keep going.

Nov 18, 2021 - 2:06:55 AM

Lightingbanjo

Netherlands

123 posts since 10/17/2011

Update - sound activation added to hardware and used in the "on the road" or "driving home for Christmas" animation. 

 

Nov 18, 2021 - 4:15:18 AM
Players Union Member

Helix

USA

14793 posts since 8/30/2006

Yes

Nov 20, 2021 - 11:46:11 AM

Lightingbanjo

Netherlands

123 posts since 10/17/2011

Let it Snow on Long Neck & Bass Banjo

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