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Thread: Somethiing completely different

  1. #1
    "Thermionic Apocalypse" -JT nickb's Avatar
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    Something completely different

    Now and again, something unusual comes along.

    This is the unique Nick Rhode's (Duran Duran) Pixelator guitar. This is a strat with a hollowed out body which is then fitted with a matrix of RGB LEDS. Software running a on a laptop allows you to display video on the guitar via a serial data stream. The problem was the processor which decoded the serial data and fed it to the LEDS has been killed by static. The code was not available so I had to reverse engineer how it worked and then write the code from scratch. Thankfully it all worked out.


    The hollowed out guitar body:
    body-2-sm.jpg



    The PCB showing the LEDS
    pcb_leds_sm.jpg

    And the business side

    pcb_drivers_sm.jpg

    Test rig with first time getting the leds to go again. Logic analyser pod and on far side of PCB a card that I had to make to interface the low power Cypress PSoC programmer to the high power board.

    first-test-sm.jpg

    Once all the code was done, I got a quick test using the built-in pattern
    test-2_sm.jpg

    and then running off the laptop

    pix_lit1.jpg

    Finally, time to send it home...

    case-sm.jpg


    Care to share any of your unusual projects?
    Last edited by nickb; 09-03-2017 at 09:08 PM.
    Experience is something you get, just after you really needed it.

  2. #2
    Old Timer Leo_Gnardo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nickb View Post
    This is the unique Nick Rhode's (Duran Duran) Pixelator guitar. This is a strat with a hollowed out body which is then fitted with a matrix of RGB LEDS.
    That is way kool! I hope it sounds good besides looking flashy.

    Somewhere there must be an account of Ace Frehley's guitar tech "Ampy" installing the smoking pickups trick in a Les Paul. I heard Ampy has a book out - he's had a lifetime of adventures on early tours with Kiss, and later as a dealer of collector cars & being an inventor. Would be easier to find if I knew his real name.

  3. #3
    "Thermionic Apocalypse" -JT nickb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo_Gnardo View Post
    That is way kool! I hope it sounds good besides looking flashy.

    Somewhere there must be an account of Ace Frehley's guitar tech "Ampy" installing the smoking pickups trick in a Les Paul. I heard Ampy has a book out - he's had a lifetime of adventures on early tours with Kiss, and later as a dealer of collector cars & being an inventor. Would be easier to find if I knew his real name.
    I found this video about it:

    https://youtu.be/D3TV76IXc74
    Experience is something you get, just after you really needed it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo_Gnardo View Post
    That is way kool! I hope it sounds good besides looking flashy.

    Somewhere there must be an account of Ace Frehley's guitar tech "Ampy" installing the smoking pickups trick in a Les Paul. I heard Ampy has a book out - he's had a lifetime of adventures on early tours with Kiss, and later as a dealer of collector cars & being an inventor. Would be easier to find if I knew his real name.
    John Elder Robison He wrote Look Me in the Eye about his struggles with Asperger's which is how I found out about him. His Brother wrote Running with Scissors describing their life growing up. Both books I highly recommend.

    nosaj
    nickb likes this.

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    There can't be many guitar jobs that are so visual. The owner is really lucky to have got this fixed - there can't be many people around with the patience, skills or determination to see this through.

    Just realized, there's a pun there.
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  6. #6
    "Thermionic Apocalypse" -JT nickb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mick Bailey View Post
    There can't be many guitar jobs that are so visual. The owner is really lucky to have got this fixed - there can't be many people around with the patience, skills or determination to see this through.

    Just realized, there's a pun there.
    Those are kind things to say - thank you.

    The point of the starting the thread was there must me quite a few strories of odd jobs that people have had to do. I always enjoy hearing about them and especially any creative solutions they had to come up with to fix them. I imagine others might too. So, chip in...
    Experience is something you get, just after you really needed it.

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    I recently did a Staffords Stageprompter conversion. Not something I really was interested in, but it belongs to a guy who brings me lots of work. The problem with the original is that it's tied to their software and system and has no HDMI input. The screen is a regular TV stripped from its casing, but the input circuitry has been removed and a custom interface fitted. It was cheap enough to gut and install a small LCD monitor (with the plastic case intact) and wire-in a panel-mounted HDMI socket + IEC mains socket. The advantage of this is any content can be displayed. It's connected via an iPad and can use a wireless dongle. No software license and the owner is really pleased with how useful it is.

    The rubbish thing about this is the original TV unit had an HDMI input and this was scrapped by the manufacturer. It would have been really easy to have included this. Maybe this was done to tie someone up into having to exclusively use their software?
    nickb likes this.

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