Small stand-alone LED theatre lighting system

Wife: “We should find a way to light up the little theater whitout setting curtains on fire, with something we can easily move, with some way to switch lights from behind the curtains…

Axe: “Oh well, this weekend I’ll try to think something…


…and here it is: 4 LED semi-spot for the stage, LED bars for the guests, single LEDs in the actor’s spaces in the backstage and a small remote control. All material can be stored in a metal case easily transportable. And almost of the materials is recycled: wood floor panels, Ikea led lamp holders, leftovers from my house wiring, and two lead acid batteries from an UPS.


Spot lamps and LED bars have magnetic hooks (dead hard disk magnets ;) ), so they can be attached to metal bars that makes the theater structure, and small leds for the backstage can be hung to the curtain fabric. I also provided for a car inverter connection, so we can power the audio player and speakers and be independent from an external power source.

2013-06-19 20.11.03

The theater, with my lighting system, is dedicated to the performance “Burattinesque” by Manuela Tamietti.

Two notes: first of all, McGyver is an amateur ;) and… I hope that the acting company never needs to take a fly, because thist thing seems too much an explosive device to clean safely the airport security controls. :)

This is the performance promotional video:


This is my little Christmas tree cat-compliant. Schematic and HEX code is available.

Details are here

LCARS switch

finalestep-by-step guide to build a working back-lit touch sensitive switch with the look and behaviour of Star Trek LCARS panels.

High power LED display

leddispThis was my first “real” project years ago (I mean … someone asked me for it and paid me !!!)

It’s a 16×16 LED matrix, driven without multiplexing, with a little logic on board to allow a PC to draw on the display connected to the parallel port. It was really bright, with just 16 of the 256 leds turned on, it was impossible to look directly at the display.

I built then a stand-alone controller, with some image sequence stored on EPROM, and placed all in a custom built aluminium box. This was used as a sample to show display capabilities to potential customers.

Obviously the customer kept the 16×16 version But I kept for me the very first 8×8 prototype (the one in the picture), entirely wired by hand.