Now, each NeoPixel can consume a maximum of 60mA of current when all three of its RGB elements are at full brightness. In reality, the display will almost always be running with only a portion of the pixels on at any one time, and only a subset of those pixels will have their RGB elements fully on, but I prefer to design for worse case scenarios, so 16 x 16 x 60mA = 15.36A. Wow! That's a lot of current, plus I need to keep some "oomph" in reserve for powering other stuff, so I just placed an order with Digi-Key for a 5V, 26A power supply (Digi-Key part number 285-1817-ND).
With regard to the look-and-feel, I've decided to go with the Steampunk genre again, so my BADASS Display will be presented in a cabinet boasting a "wood-and-brass" motif. However, unlike my Inamorata Prognostication Engine, which is based on real brass panels, I've decided to construct my BADASS Display out of everyday materials that anyone can lay their hands on. Here's a sketch illustrating my initial thoughts:
First-pass "look-and-feel" for Max's BADASS Display
(Click here to see a larger image.)
Starting from the outside we will have an antique-looking wooden cabinet. The main (outer) front panel will be formed from 3/4" plywood stained to look like cherry wood. The inner portion of the front panel will be formed from pressed board (hardboard in England), painted to look like antique brass. Also, this wonít simply be stuck onto the front of the plywood -- instead, it will be mounted flush with the front of the ply (I'll show you photographs as I'm making it).
Underneath the main display will be a small control panel comprising six momentary push buttons: one red button for "Reset"; four black buttons for "Up," "Down," "Left," and "Right"; and one orange button for "Menu" / "Enter" / "OK." I'll use these to implement a simple menu system that allows me to select between different effects (I can use the 16 x 16 LED array to reflect what the controls are doing).
Like the main display area, the small control panel will be formed from pressed board painted to look like it's antique brass and inlayed in the cherry-stained plywood. Furthermore, I'm planning on having brass acorn nuts (I'll age them to make them look old) mounted around the edges of the main panel and the control panel holding them to the plywood.
Brass acorn nuts will add to the retro look-and-feel.
If I were a betting man, I would wager that I'll be bringing this little beauty as one of my entries to the Gadget Smackdowns at EE Live! 2015. Well, that's about it for today. I have lots and lots of ideas with regard to how we process the audio stream to extract the spectrum data, and how we subsequently present that data to the display, but that will have to wait for my next column in this miniseries. Until then, as always, I appreciate any comments and suggestions.
— Max Maxfield, Editor of All Things Fun & Interesting